Biggest Cities in the Hawaiian Islands

While known for its sandy refuges that surround the Aloha states’ tropical islands, Hawaii’s stunning beaches are mostly situated in remote areas. However, if you’re looking for some kick of energy and fun, Hawaii also has cities with a fair share of seashore havens scattered across the island. Here, discover the biggest and wonderful cities that you can visit to witness impeccable sceneries and get slices of the fun Hawaiian life.

Honolulu, Oahu

A view of Honolulu from the Diamond Head Crater

Settled against the Pacific Ocean’s coast, Honolulu is Hawaii’s capital and most populated city, brimmed with famous tourist attractions and resorts. It is the home of Sand Island State Recreation Area, Ala Moana State Recreation Area, Kaka’Ako Waterfront Park, and Honolulu Zoo. The world-famous Waikiki Beach also nestles in Honolulu and offers a plethora of activities from day to night. From canoe paddling to surfing, sand combing, swimming, to simply getting a golden tan, or watching beautiful sunsets, every visitor can genuinely have a good time in fulfilling their bucket list.

Pearl City, Oahu

USS Arizona Memorial

Pearl City is not a tourist destination like the other cities on this list. Labeled as “Central Oahu,” the five square-mile city, which has a population of more or less 47,000,  is more of a residential area and where people do their everyday errands, work, watch cinema or enjoy delicious meals at restaurants. Nevertheless, you should not miss the city as the Pearl Harbor National Memorial is located in the area, and commemorates one of the most pivotal events in United States history.

Hilo, Hawaii

Hilo Bay

Hilo is Hawaii’s third-largest city with a population of around 43,000, located on “The Big Island.” It boasts the largest concentration of residents of “native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander” heritage, accounting for more than 14% of its population. Hilo is a worth-seeing as it still possesses an exceptional air of quaintness, apparent in its aged streets, and generations-old businesses. Plus, the city serves as the doorway to the Hawaii National Volcanoes Park, which features volcanology exhibits and provides an overlooking view of the Halema’uma’u Crater. Nature lovers will also enjoy the city, as it is filled with rain forests, flower gardens, and waterfalls.

Waipahu, Oahu

A souvenir from Waipahu

A former sugar plantation town located north of Pearl Harbor, Waipahu is an uprising city and tourist destination in Hawaii. It’s biggest attraction is Hawaii’s Plantation Village, an outdoor museum with multicultural buildings and homes, once resided by Japanese, Chinese, Puerto Rican, Filipino, and Korean workers during the mid-1800s to mid-1900s. Afterward, you can shop at Waikele Premium Outlets or play golf at the Waikele Country Club. Then, check out local flora and fruits, such as bilimbi, plumeria, taro, and pigeon peas. Lying close to Honolulu, Waipahu is a great and convenient alternative for travelers looking for a more laid-back ambiance.

Kailua, Oahu

Kailua Bay

Located on the east of Oahu, Kailua is the state’s fourth-largest city and the home of more than 38,650 residents. One of its main attractions is the three-mile-long Kailua Beach Park, which has a grass area, perfect for a picnic with the family. While it’s not an urban hub, the city draws attention from its bed-and-breakfast accommodations, a wide array of local boutique shops, and comfort food restaurants. Other places you should explore are the golden shores and calm waters of Lanikai Beach, the Lanikai Pillbox Hike, and the 800-acre Kawainui Marsh, the Aloha state’s largest wetland.

Kaneohe, Oahu

Kaneohe Bay area

A place of marvelous contrasts, Kaneohe is both a city and a country, showcasing both the greatness of the past and the present, with sceneries ranging from mountains to oceans. The mountains can be great for beginners.  Byodo-In Temple sits in the city, which is a Buddist temple dedicated in 1968 to commemorate the centenary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in Hawaii. Once the home of the early kings, the city also has ancient royal fishponds, which some have converted to park, allowing visitors to learn about their exquisite history.

Kahului, Maui

Aerial view of Kahului

Another city with a history of sugar cane cultivation, Kahului is now the home of over 32,000 residents and hosts Maui County’s main airport. With a seemingly limitless sandy shore and a striking backdrop of the West Maui Mountains, Kahului is another huge draw for travelers. Visit the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, shop fresh treats at the market, or relax through a calm stroll and learn about Hawaiian plants at the Maui Nui Botanical Garden. If you have a big heart for animals, take a tour at the Kanaha Wildlife Sanctuary, and spot waterfowls, such as the Hawaiian stilt and Hawaiian coot, while relishing the saline air from the vast marshlands.

Final Words

Hawaii is more than just its beguiling shorelines. Its large cities are as wonderful and offer distinctive sets of attractions, encompassing the islands’ amazing people, fascinating nature, and rich history. Explore each of them, and get a unique experience on each visit.