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With its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and laidback atmosphere, Hawaii seems like paradise for families. But is the Aloha State truly an ideal place to raise kids? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll examine the pros and cons to help you decide if calling Hawaii home is right for your family.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Hawaii offers a relaxed lifestyle and access to outdoor activities that support healthy family living. However, the high cost of living and limited education options are downsides. Overall, Hawaii can be a great place to raise a family if you have the means and are seeking an alternative to mainland suburban life.

The Pros of Raising Kids in Hawaii

Outdoor Lifestyle

One of the biggest advantages of raising kids in Hawaii is the incredible outdoor lifestyle that the islands offer. With its stunning beaches, lush mountains, and year-round warm weather, Hawaii provides a natural playground for children to explore and enjoy. From swimming and surfing to hiking and camping, there are endless opportunities for outdoor adventures that can help foster a love for nature and a healthy, active lifestyle. Additionally, the abundance of outdoor activities can contribute to improved physical and mental well-being for both kids and parents alike.

Multicultural Environment

Hawaii’s multicultural environment is another major benefit for families. The islands are a melting pot of different cultures, with a diverse population that includes native Hawaiians, people of Asian, European, and Pacific Islander descent, as well as immigrants from all around the world. Growing up in such a multicultural society can expose children to a wide range of perspectives, traditions, and languages, helping them develop a sense of tolerance, empathy, and cultural appreciation. This multicultural environment can also provide a unique opportunity for kids to learn about different cultures and broaden their horizons.

Low Crime Rates

When it comes to the safety of your family, Hawaii boasts relatively low crime rates compared to many other states in the U.S. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting statistics, Hawaii consistently ranks among the states with the lowest violent crime rates in the country. This means that families can feel more secure knowing that their children are growing up in a relatively safe environment. Of course, it’s important to note that crime can happen anywhere, and it’s always wise to take necessary precautions regardless of the location.

The Cons of Raising Kids in Hawaii

While Hawaii may seem like a paradise for many, there are some drawbacks to consider when it comes to raising a family on the islands. Let’s take a closer look at some of the challenges you might face.

High Cost of Living

One of the biggest downsides of living in Hawaii is the high cost of living. Housing, groceries, and utilities tend to be more expensive compared to the mainland United States. In fact, according to the Numbeo, the cost of living index in Honolulu is 92.95, compared to the national average of 100. This means that everyday expenses may take up a larger portion of your budget, leaving less room for other necessities or savings. It’s important to carefully consider your financial situation before making the move.

Limited Education Options

Another challenge for families in Hawaii is the limited education options. While there are public and private schools available, the choices may be more limited compared to larger cities on the mainland. This is especially true if you live in a more rural area. It’s important to research and visit schools in the area to ensure they meet your standards and educational goals for your children.


Living on an island can also bring a sense of isolation. While the natural beauty and tranquility of Hawaii are undeniable, it can also feel far away from the rest of the world. Traveling to and from the mainland can be expensive and time-consuming, and it may not be as easy to visit friends and family as it would be if you were living closer to them. Additionally, the small close-knit communities that exist in some areas may make it harder to find a sense of belonging if you are new to the islands.

Despite these challenges, it’s important to remember that every family is different, and what may be a drawback for some may not be for others. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons and carefully consider your family’s needs and priorities before making the decision to raise kids in Hawaii.

Best Places to Raise a Family in Hawaii


Oahu is the most populous island in Hawaii and offers numerous advantages for families. The island is home to a variety of schools, both public and private, that provide excellent education options for children. In addition, Oahu has a well-developed infrastructure, with modern amenities, healthcare facilities, and recreational activities. The island also boasts beautiful beaches and parks, allowing families to enjoy outdoor activities together. With its diverse communities and vibrant culture, Oahu offers a rich and diverse environment for families to thrive.


Maui is another fantastic option for families looking to raise children in a beautiful and safe environment. The island is known for its stunning natural landscapes, including pristine beaches and lush green mountains. Maui also offers a range of family-friendly activities, such as hiking, snorkeling, and exploring volcanic formations. The island has excellent schools and a tight-knit community, creating a supportive and nurturing environment for families. Whether it’s enjoying a day at the beach or exploring the island’s natural wonders, Maui has something to offer for every family.


Kauai, often referred to as the “Garden Island,” is a paradise for families seeking a tranquil and close-knit community. The island is known for its breathtaking natural beauty, with stunning waterfalls, pristine beaches, and rugged mountains. Kauai offers a slower pace of life compared to the more developed islands, making it an ideal place for families seeking a peaceful and safe environment. The island also offers excellent schools and a range of outdoor activities, such as hiking, surfing, and exploring botanical gardens. Living on Kauai allows families to experience the true beauty of Hawaii while enjoying a strong sense of community.

Big Island

The Big Island, also known as Hawaii Island, is the largest of the Hawaiian Islands and offers a unique and diverse environment for families. The island is home to stunning natural attractions, including active volcanoes, black sand beaches, and lush rainforests. The Big Island also boasts a range of educational opportunities, with top-rated schools and cultural programs that allow children to immerse themselves in the rich history and traditions of Hawaii. Families can enjoy a wide variety of activities, from exploring the volcanic landscapes to stargazing at the world-famous Mauna Kea Observatory. With its natural wonders and educational opportunities, the Big Island is a great place for families to call home.

Tips for Moving to Hawaii with Kids

Prepare for the Cost

Moving to Hawaii with your family can be an exciting adventure, but it’s important to be prepared for the higher cost of living. The cost of housing, groceries, and healthcare in Hawaii can be significantly higher compared to mainland United States. It’s essential to research and budget accordingly to ensure a smooth transition for your family.

One helpful tip is to start saving money well in advance of your move. Look for ways to cut expenses and create a financial cushion to help cover any unexpected costs. Additionally, consider reaching out to local Hawaiian families or online communities to get a better understanding of the cost of living and how to manage your finances effectively.

Find the Right Neighborhood

When moving to Hawaii with kids, it’s crucial to find the right neighborhood that suits your family’s needs. Each island in Hawaii offers a unique atmosphere and lifestyle, so take the time to research and visit different areas before making a decision.

Consider factors such as proximity to schools, parks, and community centers. Look for neighborhoods with a low crime rate and a strong sense of community. It’s also important to think about your family’s interests and hobbies. For example, if your children enjoy outdoor activities, you may want to find a neighborhood close to hiking trails or beaches.

Choose the Right School

Education is a top priority for many families, and Hawaii offers a variety of options for your children’s education. Research the public and private schools in the area you plan to move to, and consider factors such as academic performance, extracurricular activities, and student-to-teacher ratios.

Additionally, consider whether you want your children to learn Hawaiian culture and language. Some schools in Hawaii offer immersion programs that can provide a unique educational experience for your family.

It’s also a good idea to visit the schools and meet with teachers and administrators to get a feel for the environment and ensure it aligns with your family’s values and goals.

Build Community Connections

Building connections within the community is essential when moving to a new place, especially with kids. Hawaii is known for its strong sense of community, and there are various ways to get involved and meet new people.

Consider joining local parent groups, sports teams, or community organizations that align with your family’s interests. This can provide opportunities for your children to make friends and for you to connect with other parents who can offer guidance and support.

Additionally, take advantage of the Hawaiian culture and participate in community events, such as festivals and traditional ceremonies. This will not only help you and your family feel more connected to the local community but also provide a rich cultural experience.

Moving to Hawaii with kids can be a wonderful experience for your family. By preparing for the cost, finding the right neighborhood, choosing the right school, and building community connections, you can ensure a smooth transition and create a fulfilling life in the beautiful islands of Hawaii.


Raising kids in Hawaii has its trade-offs. While the outdoor lifestyle supports family health and wellbeing, you’ll pay a premium price for island living. With proper planning and reasonable expectations, Hawaii can be a rewarding place to give your children an upbringing surrounded by natural beauty and cultural diversity. Evaluate your family’s needs and priorities to determine if the Hawaiian Islands are your ideal setting for raising the next generation.

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