While life is certainly a little slower across the Hawaiian Islands, there are undoubtedly some places more peaceful than others, more removed from the hustle and bustle of Hawaii’s capital, and our popular resort destinations. These 13 small Hawaiian towns offer serenity, seclusion, and little more than the sound of the waves crashing against the shore, or a gentle breeze swaying through the palm trees.
With the greatest concentration of artists on the island, Hanapepe is known as “Kauai’s Biggest Little Town.” Its historic, plantation-style buildings are now home to charming shops, eateries and a surprising amount of art galleries - and it’s a beautiful place for a weekend retreat.
The largest town on the island of Molokai has a population of approximately 3,400 residents, and was once the location for King Kamehameha V's royal summer residence. The port town was bustling back in the days of pineapple and sugar exports, but has since calmed down tremendously.
This small town on Oahu’s northeastern shores might be far away from the big city, but that is what makes it so serene and stunning. Better yet, you aren’t likely to find any tourists at Hauula Beach Park, or on the Hauula Loop Trail.
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 incredible skydiving, ziplining, farm tours, and a pretty charming vibe. Two decades ago, a new generation of entrepreneurs and artists flocked to the former plantation village and, with the help of longtime residents, moved bookstores, galleries, boutiques and restaurants into the town’s decaying storefronts.
They say that it’s not the destination, but the journey that it takes to get there, and nowhere is this more true than Hana. The infamous Road to Hana is full of twists, turns, several one-lane bridges, waterfalls, and incredible vistas - and as one of the most isolated communities in the state, Hana will certainly appeal to anyone who truly wants to get away from it all.
The first European settlers to reach Hawaii landed in Waimea in 1778, and I’m sure they were absolutely blown away by the stunning coastline. The historic town is home to approximately 1,700 residents, and is full of charm.
With a small one-lane bridge leading into town and an unusual mix of shopping and dining options, the very small town – approximately 0.8 square miles – is full of old world charm. Fun fact: If you’re a musical junkie like me, you’ll love to know that scenes from the 1958 musical South Pacific were filmed in this town, and at a neighboring beach.
With a population of 213, this town is located near the southern tip of the Big Island. Mark Twain supposedly visited Waiohinu in 1866, and allegedly planted a monkey pod tree here.
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.
With a population of little more than 500 people, Honomu is small, we’re talking approximately 0.5 square miles, and offers little more than stunning views, and pastel-colored houses.
Tucked into Hawaii Island's Puna district near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village is home to 2,500 residents, and little else.
Prior to 2010, Makena was grouped into Wailea-Makena, but now is considered its own census-designated place with a population of fewer than 100 individuals – 99 residents, to be precise.
13. Lanai City
The island’s only town sits at 1,645 feet above sea level, boasting a population of just 3,200. The historic plantation village was built in 1924, and not much has changed since then, preserving the town’s original charm – but increasing the home prices, of course.