How expensive is Hawaii?

Navigation://How expensive is Hawaii?

Unless you live in the heart of America’s biggest cities, you’ll probably be in for some serious sticker shock when you visit Hawaii.  The median price for a single family home in 2018 is $795,000.  But there’s more. Our local girl Aina not only gives you some examples of how things are expensive but also gives you an idea as to why it costs so much.

Read: “Is Hawaii expensive?” now


About the Author:

I’ve lived Hawaii since the mid ‘80s when I moved here at the age of 21. I arrived site-unseen in Honolulu with zero contacts and about $5k in savings. I worked from nearly zero and today Hawaii has given me the greatest gifts in the world in all aspects: spiritually, financially, romantically (married since early ‘90s w/ 2 children), and most important, peace. My goal with this site is to share the magic of this Land of Aloha and help others who are on a similar quest.


  1. Rob 08/09/2017 at 9:25 am - Reply

    I agree, these statements are simply untrue. Normally I’d just scroll right past this, but I actually know a little something about lakes, and don’t see why it’s necessary to bash the mainland in order to praise some of the local natural treasures you enjoy in Hawai’i. First let me preface all of this by saying, I love Hawai’i. I just spent all of last month there. I spent time there in the Army. I used to go there in the Summers when my Dad was in the Army. My parents retired there. I’m considering moving there. I have friends there. It’s probably where I feel the most comfortable having moved around every couple years as a kid when my Dad was serving. I’ve only been back for less than a week and would hate to say anything negative about it given how special of a place it is to me and how I still have that glow people get when they come back from Hawai’i…. but there’s no comparing to the lakes on the mainland. As far as beauty goes…there isn’t anywhere in the world that has more picturesque and iconic lakes than here on the North American Continent. Yes, Alaska, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan are states with the most lakes…yep they’re up North and yep they’re cold. Except for Michigan. I lived in Michigan as a kid and swam in the lakes during the Summer. Same when visiting relatives in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Anyway, the states with the most lakes after the 4 up on the Canadian border are Texas and Florida with about 14,000 lakes combined. That’s a lot of lakes. That’s more lakes than Minnesota. Throw in South Carolina, North Carolina, and the rest of the South, and there’s a whole part of the country with pretty lakes you can swim in. Off the top of my head right now in the area around me: Lake Mead, NV. Lake Powell and Lake Havasu, AZ, Bass Lake, Lake Isabella, Big Bear Lake,s CA….and all the other lakes nobody knows about all over California and the Southwest. I don’t know what constitutes tropical lake temperature, but all the places I named average in the high 70’s to low 80’s in the Summer. It’s still warm enough to go swimming in Lake Mead (outside of Las Vegas) in October. Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Nebraska…there’s more states with countless lakes you can swim in with jaw dropping landscapes and visibility.

    I think we can all agree that everybody has their own criteria on what makes a lake special to them. Some people prefer warm waters to swim in, some people like to go wake boarding, boating, kite boarding, water skiing, others actually prefer the cold water because they go to the lake to fish. Some people are drawn to the landscape and views…some are drawn to the sounds. Others might favor a lake because of the mystique and history surrounding it….because we have legendary lakes here on the mainland. Legendary. Anyway, now that we’ve established that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what is it you’re actually trying to compare here? I mean challenging someone to find a tropical lake on a glacial continent like North America is like me trying to challenge someone in Hawaii to a snowman building contest. Tropical lakes are formed differently. Actually they’re really just pools of water formed from streams, rivers, and precipitation. They’re only in certain parts of the world. Lakes in North America are Temperate Lakes. Completely different class of lake and ecosystem. Temperate lakes are of glacial origin and the big ones were formed back in the Ice Age. So I probably can’t name any tropical lakes in North America any more than I can name a species of snake you can find in Hawai’i. Different ecosystem and natural history over there than here. What I can name are probably a dozen lakes off the top of my head with temperatures that average over 70 and 80 right now at this very moment….and in the winter I’ll name half a dozen natural hot springs in my area…and we aren’t even known for those.

    Anyway, I just think it’s a pretty bold statement to say MOST of the lakes on the mainland are disgusting and no fun to swim in. My friend, there are 123,439 lakes in the lower 48 states alone. To be an authority on only HALF of them means you’ve seen and swam in over 60,000 lakes. I didn’t even include the 3 million plus lakes in Alaska. There just isn’t any comparison. Speaking of Lake Tahoe, you’re absolutely right. It’s not a warm lake and too cold for water sports. It’s about 66 degrees right now inside the water. And that’s temp. was probably taken closer to the shore. It actually gets as deep as 1,600+ feet. So there’s one reason it’s cold. Another would be that it’s an alpine lake and sits over 6,200 feet above sea level in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.because it’s an alpine lake has a depth of over 1,600 feet and is over 6,200 feet above sea level up in the Sierra Nevadas. Yet despite it not being at bath water temperature..,it’s the clearest lake in the country, is the largest alpine lake on the continent, and has the purest water in North America as far as lakes go. There are endless hiking trails, miles and miles of mountain biking terrain, countless places to go camping….I mean real camping, not the beach tent community that they have at the beaches on Saturdays. World class ski and snowboarding terrain…and something like 3 million people visit that disgusting cold lake each year. But who wants to hang at the tourist spots, yeah? So I’ll just end this ridiculously long reply by sharing with you the spot all the locals on the mainland go to; right next to that alpine lake way up in the Sierra Nevadas, is a smaller lake called Fallen Leaf Lake in South Lake Tahoe. Still has the same majestic views as Tahoe, only not nearly as many people. Clear waters with so much visibility you can see Nevada or California depending on which side you’re standing on. It’s over 1,200 acres in size…..and the water temperature is about 79 in the Summers. Moral of the story? There’s like a gazillion lakes in the U.S. I don’t think one can accurately say what MOST of them are…except for maybe, most of them are wet. Anyway, it’ the diversity of all our natural resources and beauty from all these different climates and ecosystems that makes us so fortunate. There isn’t any other country with as much natural diversity and variety that we have…that’s the bigger picture. That’s what makes us all so fortunate to live around different forms of amazingness. There really isn’t one place in my mind that can lay claim to being “the best”. It’s a big world and there’s a lot to see. It’d be a shame to only be able to see one little tiny part of it. I can’t believe I just wrote a New York Times length article about why I think lakes are nice on the mainland. The internet time suck strikes again.

    • Peter Kay 08/09/2017 at 10:06 am - Reply

      Thanks so much Rob for taking the time to write all that! You’ve put forth some really good arguments and we’re going to revise the piece. I so appreciate your contribution!

  2. Lori 08/03/2017 at 9:04 am - Reply

    ” Also, most mainland lake water is either freezing or disgusting, so it’s not actually that much fun to swim in; ”
    That statement is VERY untrue. There are many many many lakes that are beautiful and pristine and great for swimming. Where do you get your information? Have you been to the mainland?

    • Peter Kay 08/03/2017 at 4:19 pm - Reply

      It’s a simple fact that most mainland US lakes are in the northern part of the country and far, far too cold to swim in for most of the year and certainly never reach tropical temperatures like Hawaii.

      • Lori 08/08/2017 at 10:10 am - Reply

        Are you serious? It’s NOT a simple fact. I live in California. Have you ever heard of Lake Shasta. Lake Tahoe, Lake Berryessa? The mainland has 123,439 lakes ranging from 10 acres up to the ocean-like Great Lakes. Some are reservoirs and some are natural. You should probably google this before you start bashing the mainland in an article. I love Hawaii, but when I see untrue comments like that I feel I should stand up for truth.

        • Peter Kay 08/08/2017 at 10:40 am

          Clearly you’ve not gone swimming in Lake Tahoe. It’s gorgeous no doubt but freezing cold. If you can show me a single US lake that reaches tropical temperatures AND has visibility over 100 feet in the US I’ll happily correct the statement.

Join the conversation! What do you think?