Nestled just above Marine Corps Base Hawaii on the lush Windward Side of the island, Kaneohe is a popular choice for military families looking to embrace the slower pace of island life. Kaneohe means “bamboo man,” and the area is fabled to have been named after the man who created the bamboo nose flute. In the late 1800’s, rice and taro were primary crops and cultivated heavily in this area, later to be replaced by pineapple farming.

However, the negative environmental impacts of farming and competition eventually tanked Kaneohe’s agricultural resources and the area became primarily residential. The arrival of the railroad and navigable roadways made Kaneohe more accessible, and in 1960 the Likelike Tunnel (or Wilson Tunnel) was opened through the Ko’olau Mountains to further ease commutes and bring even more residents to this stunning locale.  

The lifestyles and views in Kaneohe are comparable to those found in Kailua, but at slightly more affordable prices. The pace is slower here than in cities farther south, but there are still great shopping and business districts in the area. The Windward Side sees more rain than the rest of the island, producing lush and exotic flora, and the topography is dramatic. Mountains with cliffs and sheer rock faces rise up abruptly from the beach. The cooling winds and still waters of the bay make this an ideal spot for boaters, fisherman, or water sports enthusiasts.


Kaneohe is home to a very diverse population. Being so close to Marine Corps Base Hawaii and slightly more affordable than Kailua, there is also a significant military population. Families love the area for the calm beaches and slower paced lifestyle. You’re also likely to have neighbors who commute to “town” (Honolulu). Coming from the Windward Side into town on H3 is considered reverse commuting, making Kaneohe a popular Honolulu suburb.

Neighborhood Feel

The area is rich in culture and history and many locals trace their ancestry back to migratory plantation workers. The area is fairly densely populated, so the houses can seem pretty close together and street parking is difficult to come by. Kaneohe has a more industrial, blue collar feel and, like on most of the island, single-wall construction is the norm.

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Neighborhood Location

JBPHH – Borchers Gate
Schofield/Wheeler – Lyman Gate
Tripler AMC – Main Gate
Fort Shafter – Buckner Gate
MCBH – Front Gate
Drive Time to Gate
18 to 26* minutes
30 to 40* minutes
20 to 35* minutes
20 to 40* minutes
10 minutes
By Transit
60 minutes
2 hours
1 hour 3 minutes
1 hour 8 minutes
28 minutes

Neighborhood Info

Kaneohe - Marine Corps Base Hawaii, HI - gomillie.com

Points of Interest

Mokolii – Unique island in the Kaneohe Bay.

The Kaneohe Bay Sandbar – Rent a kayak or boat and enjoy this low-tide landmark.

Valley of the Temples – Replica of a 950 year old Japanese Byodo-In Temple.

Na Pali Cliffs – Dramatic cliffs with breathtaking views of the bay.

Windward Mall

Big Plus

Kaneohe is just a ten minute drive to Marine Corps Base Hawaii and an easy reverse commute to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on the much less congested H3.

Being on the Windward Side, you’ll have the trade winds to keep you cool. Open those windows and live as high up as you can to take full advantage of nature’s air conditioning!

Most homes have either mountain (mauka) or ocean (makai) views.

Shopping and amenities are abundant. There’s a Target, Safeway for groceries, many local businesses, and independent shops and restaurants. There is also a fantastic library and parks-a-plenty.

Things to Consider

The Windward Side sees more rain, though light, than the Leeward Side. The systems move in and are blocked by the Ko’olau Mountain Range on the western border of Kaneohe. However, with the rain comes super green landscapes and lush mountainsides.

Homes are packed in pretty tightly and the neighborhoods are dense.  Street parking can be hard to come by, and traversing the narrow streets congested with parked vehicles can be tricky.

How’s the Market?

The median home value is $740,200 according to the Zillow Home Value Index.

Home Values are forecasted to increase by 1.0% in the coming year.

According to Zillow’s Rental Index, the median rental rate for single-family homes in Kaneohe is $2,766.

School Scoop

Kaneohe contains 17 schools. One of the highest rated schools is Governor Samuel Wilder King Intermediate School, which has a rating of 9 according to GreatSchools.org.

Hawaii is the only state with a unified school system, meaning all taxes are distributed to the schools at the state level and schools are not grouped into districts.  

When looking at Oahu’s test scores and GreatSchools.org ratings, we advise you to look at the entire picture. Hawaiian public schools are evaluated based on Common Core standards, but many areas suffer a fairly large achievement gap due to socioeconomic disparities, despite offering a better quality education than the ratings imply. Many spouses report that the rankings don’t always reflect a school’s quality of education, so we encourage you to talk to friends, or Scouts, about specific schools.

Geographic Exemptions (GE’s) are available if you wish for your child to attend a different school from where your family is zoned, but these are granted on a space available basis and are at the principal’s discretion. Keep in mind – if your child attends a school while in a temporary lodging facility, he/she will have to move schools when you move out of the TLF if your new home is zoned to a different school. You may apply for a GE, but it isn’t guaranteed. Priority goes to those zoned to a failing school (based on No Child Left Behind standards), children of teachers at the school, and children who already have siblings at the school.

Highlighted Areas


Halekou Heights

Mahinui View