Hawai‘i Kai – Mauka to Makai Living at Its Best

The quintessential Hawai‘i lifestyle includes the ocean, the mountains, and outdoor space to enjoy our wonderful climate each and every day. Maybe you have dreamed about your perfect Hawai‘i home. But what exactly does that life look like?

Close your eyes and think about that for just a minute. 

Does it include the sound of ocean waves helping you to drift off to sleep? Or are you high on a mountain looking down into a lush, verdant valley while you drink your morning coffee from your lanai? Maybe your ideal backyard is just a few feet from jumping onto a stand-up paddleboard and cruising along the coastline or snorkeling among tropical fish and turtles. Maybe it’s something as simple as not having to commute very far to the office.

Family in enjoying some time together on stand up paddleboards (SUP)

If any of these options came to mind, then Hawai‘i Kai just might be your perfect place to live and play. It’s a community that boasts a beautiful coastline that encourages an active lifestyle, with easy access to a variety of energetic, outdoor pursuits for the whole family. Kids play soccer at the parks. Golfers hit the links at nearby public and private clubs. Hikers keep in top shape scrambling up the steep stairs at Koko Head Crater. Tennis lovers get together for foursomes at the O‘ahu Club on weekend mornings. It’s an ocean lover’s paradise, too, with great waves to ride, and a calm inner harbor to kayak and stand-up paddle on.

Hawai‘i Kai, situated just east of Diamond Head crater, is just far enough from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki to be peaceful, but it still provides easy access to the many diversions there. It’s also a short commute to downtown Honolulu, for the vast majority of us who work there. This upscale neighborhood also packs loads of luxury, combined with a laid-back lifestyle and vibe. Did we mention the finer things in life? There are also tons of dining options, shopping, art, and relaxation to be had in this East Honolulu neighborhood.

Life at Koko Marina

If you love the ocean and hate traffic, join the many Hawai‘i Kai residents that make Koko Marina their pit stop before or after a day out on the ocean. Leave the car in the garage and park your boat in one of the marina’s many slips, and step out to excellent dining, spas, and shopping. Koko Marina has plenty of luxury, as well as fun to offer. It’s loaded with yummy food options, a brewpub, and there’s a big 24-Hour Fitness next door for the health-conscious. Don’t own a boat? Not a problem. Ocean living isn’t about who has the biggest boat; it’s about doing what you love. Many Hawai‘i Kai residents on the marina use the boat slip to access the water with jet skis, kayaks, and paddleboards.

Ocean Fun Abounds

Koko Marina and the surrounding beach park areas are a hub for ocean activities. If ever there was a beach designed for a multitude of ocean fun from the shoreline all the way out to the edge of the reef and beyond, Hawai‘i Kai is it. With a protected cove, the water is calm and ready for anything on the water you can imagine. While Koko Marina epitomizes luxury, it also houses lots of ocean activities and rental spots. Schedule a scuba diving or jet ski adventure. Be daring and go parasailing with the sun smiling down on your chute. Off the banks of the Gateway Peninsula, venture out on a stand-up paddle adventure. Take the kids for a paddle in some kayaks. The waters are calm along the shore for hundreds of yards, making this an ideal family location. For some of the best snorkeling in the islands, check out Hanauma Bay at the top of Kalani‘ana‘ole Highway just around the corner.

Hiking to Spectacular Views

The challenging railway tie stairs leading to the top of Koko Head Crater

There is so much more to living in Hawai‘i Kai than the marina and surrounding ocean bliss. From the oceanfront properties of Portlock to the mountain homes on Mariner’s Ridge or Hahaione, Hawai‘i Kai offers true mauka to makai living. O‘ahu residents flock to Hawai‘i Kai for its hiking spots that boast panoramic views. The stairs at Koko Head are a heart-pumping, thigh-busting challenge, climbing straight up to a 1,092-foot elevation. But we guarantee the view is well worth the burn–with sweeping views of O‘ahu’s southern and eastern shorelines from the top and bragging rights that you made it!

If you’re looking for a less challenging workout and more scenery, the crater rim hike takes you along the extinct volcano with breathtaking views on either side of the ridge. Be prepared for lots of sun on this exposed (and usually pretty hot) hike that offers beautiful views from start to finish. Remember to tote lots of water!

Championship Golf

You won’t have a hard time finding a regular group to golf within Hawai‘i Kai and you don’t need to go far for a great course. The Hawaii Kai Golf Course is a public facility that feels like a private club, offering both a championship (par 72) and an executive course (par 54) for golfers of all abilities and experience. The William Bell-designed championship golf course rises up the ridge, challenging your strokes and invigorating your mind with ocean views. On a good day, you won’t mind if you bogie the back three because you’ll see Molokai’s amazing silhouette along the horizon. During whale season, you might also catch a pod of humpbacks rounding the island with their calves.

The executive course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, is more challenging. Take in the historic Makapu‘u lighthouse sitting along the eastern sea cliffs. Be sure to account for the trade winds on your tee-offs, or else you’ll be finding the many hazards of the course. Within 5 minutes driving distance, there’s also the Waialae Country Club (home of the Sony Open each year), offering a private club experience.

Koko Crater and Hawai‘i Kai, O‘ahu

Tennis and Swimming

Arguably the best swimming and tennis club on the island can be found at the O‘ahu Club, located in the heart of Hawai‘i Kai. With robust tennis programs for all ages, six well-maintained outdoor courts with beautiful views, and an Olympic-size swimming pool, the facilities are some of the best around. They provide swimming lessons for kids, as well as Masters Swim classes for adults, a swim performance training program, and they’ve been Hawaii’s #1 swim team for the past 15 years. It’s a great place for families to gather, stay fit, and be active together.

Proximity to Honolulu and Waikiki

Living in Hawai‘i Kai makes you feel like you are out and away from all the hectic energy of the city, yet it’s only a few miles to get there. It’s ideal for those working in Honolulu or the surrounding area. You’re just minutes from the dinner and dancing of Waikiki and Honolulu. In Hawai‘i Kai, you will find a community dedicated to an outdoor lifestyle, family time, and preserving the natural beauty of the area. There are good schools, easy access to private schools in town, a number of grocery shopping options, a Costco, as well as enough dining options to keep you close to home on evenings and weekends.

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