Whether you’re hoping to change careers, retire, or find you own little slice of serenity in Hawaii, these ten towns will provide you with a welcome refuge from the hustle and bustle of the state’s capital city. These cities are rural enough feel peaceful, yet still provide the amenities you’re looking for.
1) Lanai City, Lanai
With a population of approximately 3,200 people, life in Lanai City, the island’s only town, is much slower than the state’s bustling capital, Honolulu. The city sits 1,600 feet above sea level, and is a tidy grid of pastel-colored, tin-roofed cottages that date to when the town was first settled in the 1920s.
2) Haleiwa, Oahu
I know this town located on Oahu’s North Shore has been mentioned a lot lately – in the best places for creative people, charming small towns, etc. – but it deserves all the recognition in the world. This sleepy surfer town has a laid-back vibe and charming aesthetic, but also luxuries like killer beaches, great restaurants and adorable shops.
3) Hilo, Big Island
I know, I know, 40,000 people isn’t exactly a small town, but Hilo has so much to offer as a getaway. For one, the quaint city is full of Victorian-style houses overlooking a half-moon bay. And another perk (if you’re like me, that is) – it is actually the rainiest city in the United States, and is a welcome retreat from the constant sunshine of paradise.
4) Hanalei, Kauai
Though Hanalei is located just north of the Princeville resort area, it feels like worlds away from the Hawaiian tourism scene. With fresh air, beautiful beaches, local history, and breathtaking views of ancient taro fields and the island’s valleys, Hanalei is the place to go to truly relax.
5) Paia, Maui
Approximately 2,700 people call the sleepy surfside town of Paia home. With a variety of stellar restaurants, charming galleries, adorable boutiques, and the best windsurfing spot in Hawaii, it’s no wonder why many Maui residents travel to Paia for a weekend getaway.
6) Kaunakakai, Molokai
When pineapple and sugar exports were huge in Hawaii, this was a bustling port town. King Kamehameha V’s royal summer residence was once in this ancient canoe landing, and now the Old Western-style storefronts paint the picture of a town stuck in time.
7) Laie, Oahu
This small town on the northeast shore of Oahu is home to two major institutions: the Polynesian Cultural Center, and Brigham Young University’s Hawaii campus. Other than that, you’ll find basic necessities, beautiful beaches, and a retreat from the bustling capital city of Honolulu – even though it’s just an hour’s drive away.
8) Hawi, Big Island
Often described as one of Hawaii Island’s best-kept secrets, Hawi is perched along the northern coastline of the Kohala coast, and is home to some of the greatest ziplining, skydiving, farm tours, and a pretty charming vibe.
9) Kapa’a, Kauai
A small Polynesian paradise, Kapa’a was recognized as one of America’s prettiest towns by Forbes. The small-town Hawaiian vibe with a ton of hotels and vacation rentals pairs perfectly with lovely little shops, and some ono grinds from one of the town’s amazing fish taco trucks.
10) Lahaina, Maui
Once a crazy whaling town and the original seat of Hawaiian royalty, Lahaina has since been tamed and is now full of restaurants, surf shops, boutiques, and galleries lining the city’s Front Street. Perfect for those who want to be on the water as much as possible, Lahaina Harbor is home to a variety of fishing charters, whale watch tour boats, snorkel tours, and sunset cruise options.
Are these cities still too large for your liking? You can always move to one of these
16 small towns with less than 1,000 residents. Where other cities would you move to in order to escape from it all? Share your opinions with us in the comments below.