Oahu’s 10 Most Desirable Neighborhoods

If you’re considering buying in Oahu, you’ll find several options that offer private beaches, distinctive architecture, gated communities, and breath-taking views. Oahus 10 best neighborhoods offer diversity from housing options, shopping, restaurants, hiking, and parks.

1. Kahala

Kahala is on the eastern end of Diamond Head. It’s a quaint community that is known as one of the best neighborhoods in Oahu. Residents are attracted to the unique homes and beachfront estates that provide mountain range and coastline views. Kahala’s open streets are enhanced by luxurious, low-rise landscaping.

The Kahala Mall has local and national stores, restaurants, and a movie theatre. The popular Kahala Community Park, adjacent to Kahala Elementary School, features two full basketball courts, two tennis courts, two baseball fields, a community meeting room, and a playground area.

Kahala is also home to Waialae Country Club, which hosts the Sony Open golf tournament, as well as the distinctive Kahala Hotel and Resort, an upscale luxury retreat for celebrities, world leaders, and vacationers.

2. Diamond Head

Diamond Head is the most recognizable landmark in Oahu and the symbol of Waikiki. The 760-foot volcanic crater got its name from British sailors who mistook the white calcite crystals for diamonds.

This peaceful area offers lots of luxury real estate options with spacious interiors and top end amenities; there are about 60 Diamond Head homes located right on the ocean. In Diamond Head residents can enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle including amazing beaches for whale watching and surf. Area highlight are the Diamond Head Lighthouse, which marks Oahu’s most southern point, and popular hiking trail with dramatic island views.

3. Waikiki

Waikiki is bordered by Kapiolani Park and Diamond Head to the south-east and Ala Moana to the west. Its central location is a hot spot for both tourists and residents.

Waikiki has high-density housing includes apartments and condos. There are a few single-family homes mixed into the area that is dominated by high rises.

Many choose the neighborhood because of its diversity and the ability to walk to area amenities. Residents enjoy easy access to Waikiki Beach, various restaurants, and shopping. Streetscapes are enhanced with green parks, tropical flowers and ocean views.

4. Black Point

Black Point, which is a result of a volcanic eruption, is home to some of the best places to live in Oahu. Many rich and famous live and vacation in this exclusive area between Diamond Head and Kahala that consists of approximately 75 homes.

Black Point is home to Shangri-La, the estate of American heiress Doris Duke, whose father founded the American Tobacco Company and Duke Energy Company. The former home is now a museum offering display of Islamic and Indian architecture, and tropical gardens.

Black Point offers a mix of postwar design and modern mansions with lot sizes ranging between 5,000 to 22,000 square feet. Finding a home in Black Point can be difficult, if you’re lucky enough to call the area home you’ll be treated daily to beautiful ocean views.

5. Portlock

Once an ancient fishing spot, Portlock is located 30 minutes from downtown and makes up the eastern border of Maunalua Bay. Situated like a peninsula, residents are removed from the bustle of Kalanianaole Highway and treated to views of both the bay and Diamond Head.

Henry J. Kaiser helped make Portlock one best places to live on Oahu in 1959 when he built a pink mansion for his wife that included two circular houses for their poodles, a greenhouse, and private harbor. The property, which has since been separated and sold, hosted famous guests including Bob Hope and Jackie Onassis.

Most homes in Portlock were built in the 1960s and 1970s, but many have undergone recent renovations. The community offers generous lot sizes. Residents have access to Koko Kai, Triangle community, and Koko Kai Beach Park.

6. Hawaii Loa Ridge

Developed in the 1980’s, Hawaii Loa Ridge offers a gated community of approximately 500 homes situated between Aina Haina and Niu Valley. Hawaii Loa Ridge is one of the best neighborhoods in Oahu providing a mix of Mediterranean and Modern.

The premier gated community offers generous sized homes on lots between 8,000 to 30,000 square feet. Many homes feature ocean views with Koko Head in the east and Diamond Head in the west. Community amenities include security, private clubhouse, tennis courts, and a park. If you enjoy hiking you can also take advantage of Hawaii Loa Ridge and its scaling opportunities.

7. Beachside, Kailua

Beachside is on the ocean side of Kalaheo Avenue and offers resident only access to the picture perfect white sandy beaches of Kailua Beach. Beachside is known for providing an easy-going, small-town vibe and is one of the best places to live in Oahu. Residents enjoy quiet streets and private lanes within the community enclave. President Obama and his family are known to vacation in Beachside.

The area features homes in every size and design; you’ll find everything from classic Plantation homes to vintage beach cottages to large luxury homes. Lots vary from 10,000 square feet to over an acre.

8. Lanikai

The name Lanikai means Heavenly Sea, you can see why it makes Oahus 10 best neighborhoods the minute you arrive. Its location adjacent to Lanikai Beach, consistently ranks it among the best in the world. Stunning beachside, beachfront, and hillside estates make it a must-see consideration for any Oahu buyer.

Lanikai has a private, beachy feel with an active community. Turquoise waters and views of Mokulua islands provide a constant state of tranquility. The beauty doesn’t end outside, homes offer top of the end luxury, many taking advantage of indoor/outdoor spaces.

9. Kaimalino

Bordered by Mokapu Road to the Southeast, Marine Corps Base to the North, beaches to the East, and the canal to the Southeast, Kaimalino is one of Kailua’s premiere neighborhoods.

Popular are for executives and military officers. This quiet community dates back to the 1950’s, experiencing expanded development in the 1960’s and 70’s. Through the years some older homes have been demolished and replaced with a new home. The community is a mix of waterfront, golf course views, and historic homes.

Interior square footage ranges from 2,486 to 2,486. All lot sizes start are 10,000 square feet or larger.

10. North Shore – Kawailoa, Mokuleia, Sunset and more

The North Shore consists of several communities in the north-facing coastal area of Oahu between Ka’ena Point and Kahuku. The area offers more a more remote setting with a laid-back vibe that reminds many of Southern California.

There is only one way in and out of the North Shore, Kamehameha Highway. From there you can access North Shore beaches which are considered Hawaii’s premier surf destinations and host international surf competitions. The towns of Laie and Haleiwa offer boutiques, shopping, galleries, and restaurants.

As you turn off Kamehamha, the homes climb from 2,300 to 11,000 square feet with over half of them being oceanfront. Area residents are spoiled daily at beautiful Sunset Beach whose views are hard to beat. Mokuleia offers the ocean on one side of the road, farms are on the other side, and the Waianae Mountains are further inland.

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