Breathtaking scenery, plenty of activities to enjoy, and gorgeous weather: There are numerous reasons to love living in Monterey, California. But maybe it’s time for a change and you feel the Hawaiian Islands calling your name. 

Or, perhaps the opposite is true. Maybe you’ve enjoyed your time in Hawaii, but you’re looking for a different life on the mainland, specifically in Monterey. Although there are a few striking similarities between these two destinations, each has its own unique perks. 

If you’re considering a move between Hawaii and Monterey, California, we’ve got the goods for you: the similarities you’ll enjoy in both locations, tips on where to live in both places, plus a few ideas for spending your leisure time, no matter which destination you choose. 

Let’s get started with the unexpected similarities between this central California coastal city and the Hawaiian Islands. 

The Connections Between Monterey, California and Hawaii 

#1: They’re Both Popular Tourism Destinations – Whether you live in Monterey or in Hawaii, you’re living the dream. You get to live where most people vacation. That has its perks, including plenty of activities in and around the area that you’ll get to enjoy as a resident. On the flip side, it does mean that, during certain times of the year, your home area can get pretty busy with visitors. However, with some experience under your belt, you’ll know exactly how to cope during prime tourist season and maximize your enjoyment of your home base. 

#2: You’ll Enjoy Enviable Weather in Both PlacesResidents wax poetic about the weather in both Monterey and Hawaii. In Monterey, you’ll enjoy a slightly cooler climate than Hawaii, with winter highs in the 50s-60s and summer highs in the high 60s-low 70s. If you enjoy gentle breezes and weather that will rarely make you break a sweat, Monterey fits the bill.  

In Hawaii, you’ll find similarly steady weather, although it tends to be warmer than what you’ll find in Monterey. However, if you make your home on the side of one of Hawaii’s dormant volcanoes, you can find those same cool nights and refreshing breezes. Waimea on the Big Island or Kula on Maui can offer a climate similar to Monterey.  

Either way, no matter which destination you choose, you can forget about harsh, cold winters. 

#3: Neither Place Is a Late-Night Hot SpotSome people are early birds and others are night owls. If you fall in the former category, you’ll find plenty of people who operate on the same clock in both Monterey and Hawaii. Both places tend to shut down on the early side (unless you’re in Honolulu, where things tend to stay open a bit later). In contrast, if you’re someone who thrives on night life, neither of these places is probably right for you. However, if you love being up to enjoy the sunrise on the water, you’ll find plenty of kindred spirits in both Hawaii and Monterey. 

#4: You’ll Be Ready for the High Cost of Living A number of people who move to Hawaii aren’t prepared for the islands’ high cost of living. Hawaii regularly hits the top of the list for most expensive states to live in, including this recent list compiled by CNBC. However, if you’ve been living in Monterey, you’re likely used to it. Although Monterey’s housing can be more expensive than what you’ll find in Hawaii, the higher cost of utilities and food makes up part of the difference, leaving Monterey and Honolulu about tied in a BestPlaces.net comparison. (Note: Your mileage will vary a bit depending on where exactly in Hawaii you decide to make your home!) 

Now that you’ve gotten a sense of the links between these two destinations, let’s explore a few neighborhoods that you might want to check out in both places. 

What Are the Best Places to Live in Monterey and Hawaii? 

If you’re headed to Monterey, check out Monterey Vista. The neighborhood is one of the 16 that make up the city of Monterey. Residents love the walkability of the neighborhood, which is perfect if you’ve got a dog in your household. You can explore the boundaries of all 16 neighborhoods on the City of Monterey’s website. 

If you’re headed to Hawaii, consider Hilo on the Big Island. Hilo is the fourth most populated area in Hawaii, so you’ll enjoy that small-town feel that many people love about Monterey. Plus, since Hilo is on the eastern side of the Big Island, you can still enjoy the coastal feel of your old home, plus get easy access to all that a population center has to offer—cultural activities, bars, restaurants, shopping, and more. 

Now that you’ve gotten a head start on your research around where to live, let’s talk a little about how you might want to spend your days off. 

4 Ways Spend Your Leisure Time in Monterey and Hawaii 

#1: Continue to Feed Your Ocean Obsession – If you love watersports, you’ll be easily able to continue your passion whether you end up in Monterey or Hawaii. You’ll find reliable waves in both Monterey and Hawaii so you can get your fix much more often than in other locations (weather willing)! And while the Pacific Ocean is pretty much your playground in Hawaii, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary offers similarly easy aquatic access. With Monterey as your base, you’ll never have to drive far to enjoy scuba diving, paddleboarding, sailing, and many other popular water-based activities.  

#2: Take in the Incredible ViewsWhether you do it from the seat of a bike, from behind the wheel of a car, or while you’re putting miles on your own two feet, both Monterey and Hawaii offer you some breathtaking views to enjoy in motion. You’ll find plentiful hiking trails and awesome scenic highways in both places. Depending how comfortable you are biking on the roads of Hawaii, you can also clock some miles on two wheels in both places while soaking up the scenery around you.  

#3: Celebrate Some Fascinating HistoryMonterey was the site of a number of California firsts: the first theater, the first public library, and the first newspaper, among many others. In short, there’s a rich history to explore in Monterey, and you’ll find a similarly interesting history to explore in Hawaii. The Hawaiians were the first to surf, ultimately inventing the sport. Iolani Palace was one of the first major public locations to enjoy electric lights, before even the White House. Hawaii’s last king, King David Kalakaua, was the first person in history received by the United States Congress in a rare joint meeting in 1874. Additionally, Hawaii is home to the first federally funded windmill, located on Kahua Ranch on the Big Island. In short, if you’re interested in the history of the United States and the country’s evolution, there’s plenty to dive into in both locations. 

#4: Go Wine TastingYou might expect wine tasting in a California destination like Monterey. (Bonus: Take the area’s Grapevine Express bus for a no-designated-driver needed tour of the local wineries!) However, did you know that Hawaii also has its share of wineries? Check out Volcano Winery on the Big Island, MauiWine on Maui, Oeno Winemaking on Oahu, and, for something a little different, Nani Moon Meadery on Kauai. The oenophiles among you will find plenty to sip and savor in both places. 

Making the Monterey-Hawaii Move—and Making It Easy 

Whether you’re moving to Monterey or headed to Hawaii, you’re in for a treat—spending your days in the kind of place that many people dream of visiting. Now that you understand some of the similarities these two spots share, along with some ideas around where to live and what to do, you’re that much more prepared to make an easy transition between these two gorgeous locations. 

Looking for some help making the move to Monterey or Hawaii? We’d be happy to help! We’ve helped tens of thousands of individual and families make the transition between the mainland and Hawaii, and we know how to make it easy for you. Just get in touch with us to get started with a complimentary quote. 

Tell us about your move!