15 Pros & Cons Of Living In Hawaii

Hawaii, often called the “Aloha State,” is a popular tourist destination and a dream location for many to call home.

Located in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 2,500 miles from the West Coast of the United States, the state consists of eight major islands and a population of approximately 1.4 million people.

The location and natural beauty of Hawaii make it a desirable place to live, but there are both benefits and drawbacks to residing in this tropical paradise.

Some people perceive it as a stress-free and laid-back lifestyle, while others argue it can be expensive and isolating. So, let’s dive into the pros and cons of living in Hawaii to see whether it is a good place to live.

Pros of Living In Hawaii

Hawaii is a tourist paradise and an incredible place to call home. Here are the pros of living in Hawaii:

Educational opportunities

Hawaii offers students from all over the world access to some of the best academic institutions in the country. These educational institutions provide programs to help students comprehensively understand various cultures and their histories, focusing on the Pacific Islands.

For students looking for a unique academic experience, the University of Hawaii is a great choice. The university provides a range of academic programs in various fields, including astronomy, marine biology, environmental studies, Hawaiian language, and many more.

Lots of shopping and tourist activities

Hawaii is heaven for retail therapy enthusiasts, with many shopping malls, boutique shops, and local markets. For instance, the Ala Moana Center is a shopper’s paradise, offering high-end designer stores and local brands.

Tourist activities also abound, including visits to Black Sand Beach on the Big Island, hiking in Diamond Head State Monument on Oahu, whale watching, or sunset sailing around the islands.

Gorgeous Beaches

Hawaii boasts some of the world’s most stunning beaches, crystal clear waters, soft white sand, and breathtaking sunsets.

With over 750 miles of coastline, beachgoers have endless options, ranging from secluded coves to bustling tourist hotspots. Some popular beaches include Waikiki Beach, Lanikai Beach, and Sunset Beach.

Diverse Culture

Hawaii is a melting pot of different cultures, with influences from Polynesia, Japan, China, and the United States.

Living in Hawaii allows you to experience a unique blend of traditions, customs, and cuisines. From Hawaiian hula dancing to Japanese sushi, you can marvel at the mix of cultures and learn about new ones.

Relaxed Lifestyle

Living in Hawaii means adopting a laid-back way of life known as “island time.” Hawaiians believe in taking it slow, feeling the sun’s warmth, and enjoying the ocean’s waves.

The lack of a bustling city atmosphere allows people to enjoy life more relaxed and peacefully. People in Hawaii prioritize their work-life balance, with many businesses practicing the “aloha Friday” tradition.

Incredible Natural Beauty

Hawaii is home to some of the most majestic natural landscapes in the world. The island state is a nature lover’s paradise, from active volcanoes to cascading waterfalls to lush rainforests.

The stunning beauty of Hawaii is not only reserved for tourists but is accessible to residents as well. Living in Hawaii allows one to explore and appreciate the natural beauty that most people only experience while on vacation.

Cultural Activities

Aside from the natural beauty of Hawaii, the island state also offers unique cultural activities.

You can experience traditional Hawaiian festivals like the Merrie Monarch Festival, which celebrates hula dancing traditions, and the annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, which offers a chance to sample Hawaii’s famous Kona coffee.

There are also museums, art exhibits, and historical landmarks to visit, such as the USS Arizona Memorial, which pays tribute to the victims of the Pearl Harbor attack.

Delicious Food

Hawaii’s cuisine blends diverse cultures, creating a unique assortment of dishes that reflect the island’s lifestyle. Residents of Hawaii enjoy fresh, locally sourced ingredients that reflect the region’s tropical climate.

Some popular food items include poi, a traditional staple made from taro root, poke, a raw fish salad, and shaved ice, a dessert made from finely shaved ice and flavored syrups.

More: 13 Pros And Cons Of Living In Arizona

Cons of Living in Hawaii

The cons of living in Hawaii are important to remember when considering a move to the 50th state.

High cost of living

Hawaii is the most expensive state to live in in the United States. Everything in Hawaii comes with a higher price tag, from housing prices to groceries and gas.

For example, a gallon of milk in Hawaii can cost twice as much as it does on the mainland. Additionally, Hawaii has a higher minimum wage than many other states, but it’s still insufficient to keep up with the high cost of living.

Limited job opportunities

The state’s economy relies heavily on tourism and the military so job options can be limited for those outside those industries.

Many of the available jobs tend to be lower-paying service jobs. Finding well-paying jobs in Hawaii in tech, finance, and other highly-skilled industries can be challenging.

Expensive real estate

Hawaii real estate is notoriously expensive, and housing costs significantly burden many residents. According to Zillow, the median home value in Hawaii is over $830,000.

Another issue with the high cost of real estate is that it can be difficult to find affordable rentals or even secure a mortgage. This issue is further complicated by the fact that Hawaii has a low rental vacancy rate. In short, if you plan to move to Hawaii, prepare to pay more for your housing than you would on the mainland.


Living in Hawaii can feel very isolating for many people, especially those who are not from the islands.

Hawaii is thousands of miles away from the mainland, making visiting family and friends or attending events outside the state challenging.

Additionally, smaller islands like Molokai, Lanai, and Kauai can be even more isolating, with fewer people, less to do, and limited access to healthcare facilities.

Natural Disasters

Hawaii is prone to natural disasters, primarily volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and tsunamis. Although the state has advanced warning systems and emergency protocols, these natural disasters can still be costly and destructive.

For example, the eruption of Kilauea in 2018 resulted in thousands of people losing their homes, businesses, and jobs.

Hawaii’s location, with its tropical climate and vast ocean, also makes it more susceptible to climate change-related issues, such as rising sea levels, which could significantly impact Hawaii’s economy and landscape in the coming years.

Tourism pressures

Tourism is a double-edged sword for Hawaii’s economy. On the one hand, it provides many jobs and brings much-needed revenue to the state.

On the other hand, it can also significantly pressure the state’s natural resources, environment, and infrastructure. Over-tourism can lead to crowded beaches, traffic congestion, other annoyances, and damage to the delicate ecosystems that make Hawaii so special.

Culture Clash and Discrimination

Hawaii is a melting pot of diverse cultures, and it’s easy to assume that the people who live there all get along well with each other.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Intercultural misunderstandings and even outright discrimination can occur in Hawaii, especially toward newcomers who do not understand the intricacies of local Hawaiian life.

There’s sometimes a difference in attitudes and beliefs between “mainland” or more modern attitudes and traditional “local” attitudes. One example is homeowners opposing plans to build a new cultural center or a religious site in their neighborhoods.

This conflict can be challenging to navigate for those who are not well-versed in Hawaiian tradition and history.


Despite its natural beauty and appealing climate, From the incredible weather to the gorgeous beaches, diverse culture, and natural beauty, Hawaii offers much more than what meets the eye.

The high cost of living, limited job opportunities, and the high cost of real estate are just a few of the significant challenges that residents must face. Coupled with potential natural disasters and distinct cultural differences, Hawaii is an experience that may not be as idyllic as many people think.

Hawaii provides the perfect blend of paradise living and city conveniences. It’s no wonder many people dream of calling these beautiful islands home.