Kaneohe oceanfront homes don’t have the same cache as those in other areas of Oahu. There are certain reasons for that. Without any real beaches in the town, it lacks the feature that defines Hawaii in most minds.
The very urban environment of the central also contrasts strongly with the more slow-paced Windward Oahu village setting of Kailua, which, along with Waimanalo, are held up as defining this side of the Island.
That generalization misses the fact that there are many who prefer combining life on Kaneohe Bay with the availability of greater shopping and recreation options they get being here. It also completely overlooks Kaneohe Bay’s singular beauty and the grand playground it is for so many residents who love sailing, kayaking, fishing or a raucous time making new friends out on the Sand Bar and finally, not to forget, Kaneohe oceanfront living is still a lot more affordable on Kaneohe Bay than in Kailua and Waimanalo.
Let’s look at the oceanfront neighborhoods of Kaneohe, but also those just north of where the 96744 zip code ends. Why? Because they’re a part of the overall community, on the water as well as off of it as they shop in Kaneohe’s malls or dine at its restaurants, their lives revolving around this same place in at least some important ways.
You’ll find the homes in these neighborhoods offer a greater choice of experiences and lifestyles than anywhere else on Oahu. Oceanfront living comes in many forms here and at least one of them is the right one for you.
Alii Shores / Alii Bluffs
If you headed directly makai from Windward Mall you would pass through Alii Bluffs and then Alii Shores, ending only as you hit the water’s edge. The directly oceanfront houses of Alii Shores are a mixture of large and extremely large residences whose backyards end abruptly, the ocean kissing the very edge of their land.
A lot of the Alii Shores inventory date from the 1960s and 70’s when the lots here were first occupied, but recently new, and often larger, replacements have taken the places of some of those. With lots measuring 7600 sq ft on up, there’s room to expand.
Being directly on Kaneohe Bay’s aquatic playground means private docks are common – and used often. Staying at home and enjoying the views is equally pleasurable, with some able to see Chinaman’s Hat up the coast.
Even if you’re not able to live on the strip of waterfront lands here, the upward sloping of the area creates ocean views for a large number of Alii Shores homes. That characteristic of the terrain benefits the Alii Bluffs homes as well, bringing Kaneohe Bay’s beauty right to their windows. Alii Bluffs followed the same general buildup pattern, springing up in the same era between 1960 and 1980. The lots are large here as well, though the interiors tend to be smaller, measuring 2000 to 3000 sq ft within most.
The definitive verdict of these two neighboring areas is the fact that very few of these Kaneohe homes ever come on the market. Residents have lived here for years, even generations, kept by friendships, the beauty of the homes and the sight of the bay caressing the shores, all of that creating the feeling that they’re ‘lucky to live Alii’.
Kaalaea lies toward the northern end of Kaneohe, where the surroundings are much more rural, not surprising for a place that’s just makai of Senator Fong’s Plantation. The location away from the main part of the city opens things up, allowing lot sizes of anywhere from 4300 to over 60,000 sq ft.
The homes are large, with often very nicely remodeled interiors, but wouldn’t be called luxurious in the majority of cases. On some lots you’ll even find multiple residences, where multiple generations of a family of often share the property. Up here things are decidedly greener and calmer, with most traffic coming through being people on their way north or south.
Like the other areas above Kahalu’u Pond, residents enjoy a respite from the busiest section of Windward Oahu, yet remain in reach of the shopping and leisure choices found there. A mid-point balancing the benefits of built-up Kaneohe with the calm, Hawaii pastoral of the North Shore.
Creating a rough semi-circled peninsula, the lands Kahanahou homes sit upon stick out from the mainland. This curvature gives these oceanfront Kaneohe homes sweeping views out at the Pacific at wonderfully different angles, giving each one something a little unique from their neighbor.
Houses are created for higher occupancies, with a minimum of 3 bedrooms and as many as 7. The houses on the coastline tend to fill most of their lots, while moving back, and toward the center of the semi-circle, the lands are less built upon due to the house sizes being smaller.
Boat slips are a common, but not dominant, sight jutting outward into the waters from the yards of those on the front row of properties. It must be stunning to sail toward Coconut Island or down the Windward coastline. Those looking to park their craft here may need to be patient, however. Listings are a rarity in recent years, but who can blame them?
Sitting in the southeastern part of the vague elongated U shape of Kaneohe Bay, Kokokahi is at the midway point between the more Kailua-like southern area of Kaneohe and the developed center with its shopping centers and office buildings.
Many of the homes were built in the 1940s and 50’s with large dimensions of 2000 – 3000 sq ft, reflecting that this was an upscale section of Kaneohe real estate even then. Lots near the coast are good sized as well, but not huge, 8000 to 10,000 sq ft being safe to expect. Still, that’s a nice slice of oceanfront.
Median home values hover around $850,000, though the small number of sales in recent years could be holding that number down a little. Docks are not the standard accessory here, due to the rockiness of the waters immediately off the shoreline. While that may lessen the appeal for boat owners, it does mean there’s little in the way of immediate views for neighboring properties.
Later decades have seen often larger structures put up here, but the more vintage homes are still prevalent. That can mean a listing that cites a need for TLC, but with the center front row seat on Kaneohe Bay is hard to beat.
Heeia View consists of houses collected immediately on the mauka and makai sides of Kamehameha Hwy, where there’s little room for more than 1 home on each. The small amount of land between the deep green mountains and the unending ocean here only allow for that limited number.
Built along a sharp turning point of the coastline, life here can feel even more isolated and remote since most of your neighbors might be around that corner, with both sight and sound of them blocked fully by this geography.
Much of these houses are from the 1940’s to 1970’s, the often large homes (2,300 to 4,000 sq ft) broken up by smaller homes of little more than 1000 sq ft or even less sometimes. The same range applies to the lots, but in greater gaps, providing owners with 2000 sq ft on up to 6000 or more.
Those on the mauka side of the highway still have awesome ocean views due to their being on higher land than their makai neighbors. One very significant sight that the land’s turning seems to point to directly is the notorious Kaneohe Sand Bar. A famous social site that emerges for a few hours at times, calling revelers from all over, it is a Must Experience item for all locals.
Though the serenity of Heeia View living is a prime attraction for living here, it will never be completely boring with the Sand Bar not far away. Even if you enjoy it from the safety of your home.
Kaneohe Bay / Mahinui
These combined neighborhoods begin with Mahinui at the very south end of Kaneohe, where Kaneohe Bay Drive meets H3, taking over from Kailua, stretching all the way to where Nanamoana St meets that same drive, also marking the far end of Kaneohe Bay’s community.
Though many of the properties in Kaneohe Bay are a more conventional 5,000 to 7,000 sq ft lots, this is one of the few places you can also have your own spot on the Bay of as much as 24,000 sq ft. Houses within both still stand from the 1930’s and 40’s, with entries from every era since. The 1000 to 4000 sq ft range is common for interiors across the duo as well, making for modest to good-sized residences.
Being the city’s closest neighbor to Kailua it shouldn’t be too surprising that it resembles that town in some ways. There tends to be more separation between homes and little blocking your sight lines since most everything nearby is limited to two stories.
The picturesque docked boats of Kaneohe Yacht Club and Coconut Island are both parts of your vistas that go on seemingly forever. One look and you might want to stay just that long yourself.
Many know this neighborhood for being on the lands of Lilipuna Point, which extend outward from Windward Oahu, as if trying to reach Coconut Island lying just off of here. This was another early section of modern Kaneohe real estate, homes in Lilipuna still lining the shores that had their first residents in the 1930s and 40’s. The mid-20th Century surge in construction filled the rest of the oceanfront lots of Lilipuna, so listings cover every decade since.
What stands out is the fact that these large coastal lots, falling usually between 7500 and 24,000 sq ft, are left remarkably open. While the dimensions inside are comfortable (1,200 sq ft) to extremely substantial (8500 sq ft), the residences often occupy a mere ¼ to 1/11 of the property. That’s a testament to the large lot sizes, of course, but also the respect that reigns here for the intoxicating creation of Mother Nature that residents enjoy.
The wide ocean views, accentuated by Coconut Island’s exceptional tropical charm, cannot help but draw the eyes and calm the mind. The personal docks that many of the homes have provide entry to the water’s beauty at the drop of a sail. All aboard!
Lulani Ocean picks up right where Heeia View ends its northern climb up the coastline. The neighborhood’s sits where the land curves inward in a shallow semi-circle, creating a visual and geographic cushion from the rest of Windward Oahu’s edge. It heightens the intimacy of your place here between the soaring emerald mountains and the blue ocean vistas.
A good number of the homes in Lulani Ocean came up in the 1950s to the end of the 70’s, marking Oahu’s time of explosive growth. The interiors offer you from 1,300 to 4,000 sq ft, making them roomy, yet not imposing. Like Lilipuna the large lots (7000 to 11,000+) combine with these home sizes to dive into outside pleasures.
Some of these oceanfront residences are located on the mauka side of the highway due to a lack of land on the makai side. However, with the higher lands they sit upon above the road the viewpoints are unobstructed and forever. That includes the Ahu’Olaka and Kapapa Island not far off as well as the unmistakable Chinaman’s Hat. The noise levels may be sedated in Lulani Ocean, but the call of the distinctly Hawaiian backdrop around you will be gladly answered at every opportunity.
For those who like to be in the thick of town, yet experience the ocean as part of every day, Mahalani fits the bill. These oceanfront houses in Kaneohe follow the same pattern of being from the first buildup in many cases, with birthdates ranging from the early 1950s to the early 70’s.
The lots along the curving coastline of this neighborhood customarily cover 5000 – 7000 sq ft of land. Of that, 2000 to 3000 sq ft hold the interiors of these homes, including at least 3 bedrooms, some as many as 6.
More very nice, rather than luxurious, it’s a place more for locals with a high 6 figure or low 7 figure budget, rather than the outside wealthy buyers who want all the frills. The views to the Pacific, and the access to it from the private docks many have, are still nothing short of amazing. It’s a place with a local feel, where residents can feel like a real part of this community – with a backyard vista their neighbors would die for.
Mikiola is a water-lover’s neighborhood. With one or two exceptions, every residence on the shoreline of Mikiola Drive has its own dock sticking out from their land. The deepwater channel just off this part of Windward Oahu is a highway out to the open ocean, for not only boats, but kayaks and stand up paddlers as well.
Similar to Mahalani, the lots claim 5000 to 7000 sq ft of space, the homes commonly coming from the 1950s on up to the 80’s. The inside dimensions are more intimate, however, falling between 1300 and a little over 2000 sq ft with 2 or 3 bedrooms.
The outlook from your home is positioned to look almost head on at Coconut Island, a pleasurable sight to drink in as dusk falls, along with both the sunrise and sunset over the Koolau Mountains. The best days will be spent watching both from your house in Mikiola, with little between but the sounds of the water lapping at your backyard.
Much of the attention recently has been on the new Waikalua Bayside project, 20 homes total, 6 of which are duplex. These are among the newest of Kaneohe homes, holding 3 to 5 bedrooms over 1976 – 3057 sq ft. Owners have their own park as well as bay access shared by the community.
The rest of the neighborhood are older homes, some on the interior along Kaneohe Stream that also look over Waikalua Fishpond on the other side. Bay View Golf Course sits on the far side of the stream as well, keeping the neighboring lands that way wide open and deeply green.
The oceanfront house are larger, geared to a more upscale buyer in general. Across the bay sits Kaneohe MCBH, making it perfect place for military owners to enjoy some R & R.
NEIGHBORHOODS JUST NORTH OF KANEOHE
This is as far up the coast as we’ll go, a neighborhood just below Laie. It grabs some extra attention for having probably the widest strip of sand along it of the neighborhoods we’re covering. So living here gives you that Oahu beachfront home with the added visual touch and the leisure possibilities that come with that.
Much of the real estate in Hauula is smaller and older residences, put up in the years between 1940 and 1980, with 500 to 1300 sq ft between their walls. An average lot spreads out over 4500 and 5000 sq ft, but listings come up sometimes at points below or much higher than that.
Some of these properties sit with the famous Alligator Pond not far from them. During low(er) tides, a wading pool is formed by the rocks, complete with temporarily stranded fish. Families love coming here with their children, many of them Hauula residents, naturally.
Large, modern houses, even mansions, have come up here and there, but most of this area is still Old School Hawaii. With a population of about 3000, the community doesn’t feel completely isolated. It does, though, feel like a different Island sometimes.
Kaawa can boast about their beach, too, it stretching the entire way alongside its span. A little south of Hauula, it has just 1/3 of that community’s population, making it one of those places that creates an instant bond when you meet someone else from there.
The oceanfront lots here can be divided between those on the mauka side of the highway, with only beach across the way, and those on the makai side when and where there is land there, making those beachfront.
With pedigrees that can be almost 90+ years old in some cases, a good deal of the structures fall in the build dates between 1940 to 1979, with a few that have emerged since the Millennium. Surprisingly, Kaaawa properties average out at around 6000 sq ft, but you will find lots of as much as 13,000 sq ft on both sides of Kamehameha Hwy.
The often exceptionally thick greenery all around, added to the lulling white noise of the close-by ocean and a neighborhood bound by a common commitment to peace and quiet, will bring your days the kind of calm and serenity that is the ideal Hawaii.
Anyone who’s gone to Kualoa Ranch knows just how magnificent the scenery is in that part of Oahu. Few realize that living in the midst of that is possible at Kualoa Beach. Just across from the entrance to the ranch, every one of these homes is beachfront on lots measuring 5000 sq ft on up to a little over 9000.
This very small collection of houses date mainly from the 1960s, with at least one going back to 1926, giving you 1,141 to over 3500 sq ft in them to settle and make your own. From them you can gaze out at Chinaman’s Hat rising out of the water or up at the soaring Koolaus that have appeared in so many movies shot at the ranch next door.
This far northern end of Kaneohe Bay offers outstanding fishing or just about any other ocean sports and activities. The greatest satisfaction of all, though, will be the envious look on the faces of the tourists heading to Kualoa Ranch as they watch you pull into your home across the way. Yes, you’ll think, it is that good to live here.
On a map you can pinpoint Punaluu as being between 2 State Parks, Ahupua’a ‘O Kahana State Park and Sacred Falls. If you’re looking for a large spread right on the ocean, the southern section should have your attention, boasting lots of 25,000 to 34,000 sq ft. As you travel up the highway the lots aren’t as big, but remain good sized for residences, 5000 to 10,000 sq ft for the most part.
Almost all of Punaluu’s residences are gathered on either side of Kamehameha Hwy, with open green fields spreading out between them and the mountains. This undeveloped, and gorgeous, stretch of land is unique in this upper half of the Windward Coast, adding an openness that is invigorating.
Every era is covered here, listings in recent years coming from every decade from the 1930s to the present day. The interiors of these beachside houses can run the gamut of just below 1000 sq ft to a little over 4000. However, neither the dating of the structure or the lot size reliably predict the room inside. What you can rely on is the vast breathing room from the mountains to the open ocean that is part of the Punaluu experience.
The Promise of Kaneohe’s Oceanfront Neighborhoods
Kaneohe oceanfront homes, and those just outside its border, are a rich section of Oahu real estate, with every variety possible. Almost urban coastline environments on one side and pure South Pacific country on the other. The views on the waves might be lesser known than Honolulu’s or the North Shore’s, but never less riveting. Once you buy here, you’ll be glad they are that way, in both cases.