Hawaii and me.
October 2, 2008 7:33 PM   Subscribe

Where should I live in Hawaii?

My company is sending me to Hawaii for 2 months. I leave in two days and I'll be staying in a hotel for the first few days. After that, I need to find a short-term rental property. Where should I go?

My budget is kinda vague, but I'm sure $1400/month is fine, and $2000 is probably too much. I'll be working in the Waikiki area, so I need to live on Oahu, but I'd be willing to be 20-30 minutes away since I only need to be onsite 2-3 days a week. I'll have a car.

I'd like to be in a quieter area away from the crowds and off the main drag. But, and I know this makes it tougher, I'd love to be able to go to the beach every morning to swim, so walking distance to a beach would be great, but 5-10 minute driving distance is as far as I want to be, unless it's just impossible. What neighborhoods/districts fit this bill?

I've been looking at craigslist, any other sources I should be looking at?

Any suggestions for a first-time Hawaii visitor? Thanks!
posted by bluejayk to Travel & Transportation around Hawaii (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My information might well be out of date. When I was living on O'ahu I couldn't afford too much and I lived in a shared house on Wilhelmina Rise, in Kaimuki. It's ten or fifteen minutes' drive - except during the rush hour - to Black Point in Kahala. You can forget about living in Kahala on your budget.

My dad lived not far from Punahou School - it probably counts as downtown or Nu'uanu; the old-timers would call the area Kawananakoa. He had a penthouse in an otherwise unremarkable building and it was very, very pleasant. However, the beach access was not exactly what you're after.

Traffic on O'ahu can be beastly and parking in Waikiki is iffy - similar to San Francisco. Be ready to walk from the Ala Wai canal to your job site because you're most likely to find parking there. Drive to work, park by the zoo, go to Queen's Beach before work.
posted by jet_silver at 8:55 PM on October 2, 2008

Best answer: Kailua is a half-hour-ish from Waikiki, and has nice beaches. Lanikai, slightly further south, is more expensive and less direct for commuting, but an absolutely gorgeous quiet beach. Craigslist shows listings for both in your budget range.
posted by judith at 9:47 PM on October 2, 2008

jet_silver's Dad lived in a neighborhood called Makiki (Barack Obama's Grandma still lives there), which is pretty close to Waikiki and easily accessible by bus. If you don't mind walking a bit, you could save a lot of irritation in the form of time not spent looking for a parking space in Waikiki, or for that matter Makiki if you choose to live there. Driving in Honolulu is frustrating during rush hour, and the city has done it's best to make finding your way around an adventure, by limiting the size, number, and accuracy of it's road signs (so as not to ruin the natural beauty by covering it up with useful, informative signage).

Kailua is a nice little beach town and far away enough from Waikiki that it won't feel like you never get away from your job, but if you have to commute during rush hour it'll take forever to get to work or home from work. The beach there is terrific, much better than any beach on Oahu's south shore.
posted by motown missile at 1:15 AM on October 3, 2008

Kailua is more than a half-hour away from Waikiki during rush hour. If you do not mind a lengthy commute, though, Lanikai does have very nice beaches. It's upscale residential area. However, if you do not want to be driving around a lot and waiting in traffic, I would recommend not living on the windward side. You can expect traffic in town to be pretty brutal, especially if you are commuting in from the windward side, where there are a limited amount of corridors to town.

How about living in Waikiki itself? Or in Kapiolani, Ward, or related areas? Those are fairly close to Waikiki beach, and I've known people who lived in relatively cheap apartments there. However, that isn't a quiet area, and very much the main drag. Kaimuki is inland of Waikiki, and there is a lot of housing there, and it is more reasonable than Kahala.

The thing is, quiet areas that are away from the main drag and 5-10 minutes from the beach (this is the hardest of your requirements. If you took it to 20-30 minutes away from the beach you would have many more options.) are either expensive places or relatively remote ones, meaning that you'd be looking at a much longer commute.
posted by Charmian at 1:49 AM on October 3, 2008

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