A photo by Xavier Mouten of a mother and son on the beach.

Buying a home for your family raises the stakes of a home purchase significantly — not only do you have your own happiness and contentment to consider, but that of your partners, children, and whomever else will reside in your new home. 

While searching for the best places on Oahu to raise a family, it’s important to determine what characteristics and attributes your family prioritizes. Parks within walking distance, stellar schools, modern developments, or quiet and quaint surroundings?

Oahu’s most family friendly neighborhoods lie in various corners of the island with an assortment of offerings. From the urban epicenter of Kaka’ako drawing in the modern family adapted to condo living to suburban Mililani Mauka with single-family homes offering space and homeliness — there’s something for everyone. 

Because this decision carries weight through your entire family (meaning lots of emotions and most likely lack of sleep), we’re here to provide you with our expertise so you and your family can get back to resting easy.  

Here’s 5 of Oahu’s most family friendly neighborhoods that have fostered thriving families for many years:

Photo by @thestayatbeachmom featuring her and her son walking through the Kaka'ako Farmer's Market.

#1 KAKA’AKO

Dynamic and energetic, Kaka’ako is quickly stealing the hearts of families all over Oahu with its unparalleled urban lifestyle. The prime location lands this Honolulu hot spot a top 5 placement — from leading schools to outdoor extracurriculars to premier eateries and shops, Kaka’ako offers the best of the best all within a bike- or walk-approved distance.  

For an up-and-coming urban core, Kaka’ako is praised for its tangible sense of community. With the award-winning planned community Ward Village occupying a large portion of this neighborhood, the entire region follows suit boasting cleanliness and a contemporary, hip aesthetic throughout. A modern celebration of Hawaii seems to weave through each business, structure, and resident with Oahu’s largest farmer’s market operating weekly, locally owned shops lining every street, and smiling faces always coming and going. You can find lush parks of the grass and beach variety alongside luxury condo living for a best of both worlds lifestyle that turns condo- and city-doubters into enthusiasts. 

A photo by @towncenterofmililani of the town center recreation center.

#2 MILILANI MAUKA

This suburb of Honolulu, residing at the heart of the island, is oftentimes referred to as the “crown jewel of central Oahu.” Once home to pineapple fields, this family-friendly neighborhood has developed into a thriving suburbia of close-knit neighbors, laid-back ambiance, and convenient comforts at close reach.   

With an association that holds firm against a set of rules and guidelines for the area, Mililani Mauka provides a safety and orderliness that doesn’t go unnoticed. Paired with exceptional recreational facilities and schools, a golf course, and an expansive shopping center, families never need to leave the comforts of this has-it-all neighborhood. 

A photo from @mykailua of Kailua Beach

#3 KAILUA

Located on the windward side of the island at the base of the Ko’olau mountain range, the quiet and humble neighborhood of Kailua resides — a famous little beach town with a defining sense of community. While it’s only 30 minutes out of town, Kailua’s easy atmosphere and celebration of all things outdoor provides a homey, nostalgic feel. Children biking around after school, picnics on the white sand beaches, dogs at every turn. 

From Coconut Grove to Enchanted Lakes, Kailua hosts many pockets of different families sharing the same small-town pride. Local is celebrated at every touchpoint from weekly farmer’s markets to mom-and-pop shops to the unspoken rule of letting in the next car on Oneawa Street, Kailua Town takes their Ohana very seriously. 

A photo by @kahala_resort of Kahala Beach.

#4 KAHALA

On the other side of Diamond Head to the east is the small, secluded community of Kahala. This tranquil residential neighborhood boasts expansive homes of the upscale sort with sheltered beach access that rarely (if ever) sees Waikiki crowds. Sprawling front lawns, ultra-wide streets, and waves from fellow neighbors walking their dogs and newborns — it’s no wonder Kahala is oftentimes referred to as the “Beverly Hills” of Hawaii.

Amidst the historical trees and homes of the area you’ll find the finest public and private school offerings, community-maintained parks with sand volleyball courts, and an overall sense of security and protection permeating throughout. And if you step beyond the confines of Kahala, conveniently located shopping provides groceries, boutiques, and restaurants of high-quality, low-foot traffic.   

A photo by Jeremey Bezanger of the Hawaii Kai neighborhood.

#5 HAWAII KAI

Hawaii Kai earns the honor of being the first planned community on Oahu. Developed in the 1960s with the mission of curating a celebrated family neighborhood, this beloved area has become just that. Offering a mix of condos and single-family homes, Hawaii Kai also earns looks from potential buyers for its wide sidewalks (a rarity on Oahu), its premier public schools, its close proximity to famed outdoor opportunities, and its convenient access to leading dining and retail. 

A former fishpond and wetland, Hawaii Kai is now a cherished neighborhood housing families that take morning hikes up Hanauma Ridge, mid-afternoon kayaks to Maunalua Bay Beach Park, and dinner plans to Koko Marina — a thriving sense of community since 1960. 

Each of these family-friendly neighborhoods hosts a variety of pockets that may be best aligned to you and yours — reach out today to find the area that will serve as the perfect home for you and your family for years to come!