10 Most Beautiful Small Towns in Hawaii You Should Visit

Last Updated on October 28, 2023 by Nikki Jain

Picture-perfect sunsets, lush landscapes, and the warm embrace of the aloha spirit await you in Hawaii's small towns, where time slows down, and dreams come true. Step into a world where 'small' means 'big' in charm, and let these small towns in the Aloha State weave their magic around you.

It’s hard to narrow down a list of ten beautiful small towns in Hawaii. To be honest, pretty much every Hawaiian town is beautiful. However, there are some small towns that are a little greener, brighter, and prettier than the rest. Check out these Hawaiian small towns, and you’ll wish you could pick up and move there immediately.

Best Small Towns in Hawaii

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1: Haleiwa, Oahu

Haleiwa, Oahu
Haleiwa, Oahu is among the best Hawaii small towns | Flickr/Luke H. Gordon

Oahu’s most beautiful small town is a place worth visiting. Located along the northern shore of Oahu, Haleiwa is home to the beautiful Waialua Bay. This beach is popular for surfers because of its big barrels, but it also has plenty of sun, sandy shores, and cultural activities for everyone else.

Address: Haleiwa, Oahu, HI

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2: Naalehu, Hawaii County

Naalehu, Hawaii County
Naalehu, Hawaii County | Flickr/Ken Lund

Naalehu has the distinction of being the southernmost town in all of the United States. Its population is around 1000, making it big enough to be interesting but small enough to be a small community. The volcanic black sand beaches are a draw for tourists from within Oahu and around the world.

Address: Naalehu, Hawaii

3: Hilo, Hawaii Island

Hilo, Hawaii Island
Hilo, Hawaii Island | Flickr/brewbooks

The Big Island has two sides: the Hilo side and the Kona side. Hilo is the most popular of the two as far as vacation destinations go, and it is one of the most gorgeous places in the Pacific. The town of Hilo, located on the Hilo side, of course, has plenty of things to do and see within its borders. Wailuku State Park, Rainbow Falls, and the Boiling Pots are all in the environs of the town. Hilo is also a great place to stay when you’re exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park!

Address: Hilo, Hawaii Island

4: Hawi, Big Island

Hawi, Big Island
Hawi, Big Island | Flickr/Ewen Roberts

Hawi is known as the spot where you turn around during the Ironman World Championship that’s held on the island each year. However, there’s more to do here than just bike (although biking is an awesome activity choice). The main street of the little town is lined with picturesque shops, restaurants, and galleries. Don’t forget to check out the statue of King Kamehameha!

Address: Hawi, Big Island

5: Hanalei, Kauai

Hanalei, Kauai
Hanalei, Kauai | Flickr/Robert Linsdell

Hanalei sits on the shore of Hanalei Bay, a white sand beach with a green mountain backdrop. This town is popular with surfers, since the waves are often ideal here. Locals love this town as much as the tourists do—it has a strong sense of heritage and features much traditional art and local cuisine.

Address: Hanalei, Kauai

6: Lahaina, Maui

Lahaina, Maui
Lahaina, Maui | Flickr/Prayitno

Lahaina is packed full of interesting history. And you can discover it while you’re there! There is an 1831 fort that stands on the edge of the sea, and it still contains its original cannons. There’s also a whaling ship from the 1800s that was sunk a little ways from shore, which you can explore if you go diving at Lahaina. Mahe buildings date back many decades, and visitors can stay the night in a historic home. Of course, like every other coastal town in Hawaii, there is also plenty to do in the sun and sea.

Address: Lahaina, Maui

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7: Paia, Maui

Paia, Maui
Paia, Maui - one of the charming small towns in Hawaii | Flickr/Andym5855

Paia was built around a sugar plantation that was in operation from 1880 to 2000. This town attracted mostly plantation workers until the mid-20th Century, and in the 1970s, it became famous as the “Wind Surf Capital of the World.” Today, pro windsurfers still travel from around the world to practice and compete in Paia’s waters. This, of course, makes it a wonderful place for visitors to relax on the sand and watch the windsurfing show.

Address: Paia, Maui

8: Honokaa, Hawaii

Honokaa, Hawaii
Honokaa, Hawaii | Flickr/anokarina

Did you know Hawaii has a ranching and rodeo culture? It is technically in the West, after all. If you want to see the best of it, head to Honokaa on Western Weekend. On other days of the year, you can still ride horses through the beautiful valley, marveling at waterfalls and enjoying majestic ocean views.

Address: Honokaa, Hawaii

9: Lanai City, Lanai

Lanai City, Lanai
Lanai City, Lanai | Flickr/Josh Friedman

Lanai City is the center of the island of Lanai and was built as a pineapple plantation town. Dole Park is the most important location in Lanai City; it’s a grassy park around which all the businesses in the town are built.

Address: Lanai City, Lanai

10: Kaunakakai, Molokai

Kaunakakai, Molokai
Kaunakakai, Molokai | Flickr/Patrick McNally

Step back in time when you enter Kaunakakai. You’ll experience life as it once was in all of Molokai: meet Hawaiian cowboys, see people fish for their dinner, visit the last royal coconut grove, and view the house where King Kamehameha V once lived.

Address: Kaunakakai, Molokai, HI

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