Just over 2,500 miles separate Orange County from Honolulu, Hawaii—a distance that can be covered in just over five hours when flying between LAX and Daniel K. Inouye Airport on Oahu. Given Hawaii’s isolated position in the Pacific Ocean, that qualifies as “close!”
Maybe it’s the proximity that motivates so many of the moves we see between Hawaii and Orange County—Irvine especially. Or maybe it’s the similarities the two places share. (More on that below!) Whatever the reason, IRS change-of-address data only underscores the fact that Orange County is a top-ten origin point for people moving to Hawaii and a top-ten destination for people leaving the state.
If you’re one of those many people considering a permanent move between Irvine (or another Orange County destination!) and Hawaii, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know.
We’ll show you the parallels you can expect between both locations, give you a few ideas for places to live in California and Hawaii, and start you off with some thoughts around spending your leisure time, no matter which direction you’re moving in.
Let’s start with the links between Irvine, California and Hawaii.
4 Striking Similarities Between Irvine and Hawaii
Although living in Hawaii feels a little different than most anywhere else, there are a few parallels you’ll find between the Aloha State and Orange County:
#1: Great Weather
Both Southern California and Hawaii feature famously good weather. In Hawaii, you’ll enjoy warm temperatures year-round, although the exact numbers might vary a little, depending on where you live. In Honolulu, average highs are in the 80s throughout all twelve months of the year. In other locations like Princeville, Kauai, or Captain Cook on the Big Island, daily highs can sit in the 70s during the winter months.
In Irvine, temperatures will reach the 70s and 80s for a little more than half the year. Although late fall and winter highs might only get to the 60s, you’ll still enjoy that celebrated California sunshine all year round.
#2: Similar Home Values
The price of housing in Hawaii comes as a surprise to many people considering a move to the Aloha State. Although real estate prices vary significantly from island to island, Zillow puts the typical value of homes in Hawaii at $689,945. When you focus in on Honolulu, that number rises to $744,434. However, if you’re transitioning from Irvine, California—where Zillow puts that same number at $953,079—you might feel a little less sticker shock, which can make for an easier transition between the two locations.
#3: You’ll Need a Car
While Orange County has its bus and Metrolink train services and each of Hawaii’s four major islands has its own bus system, if you want to explore either place thoroughly, you’re going to need a car of your own. Considering how close Irvine is to the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, it’s pretty simple to ship your car between the two locations. Plus, once you’ve got your own wheels, you’ll be able to take full advantage of this last perk of Hawaii and California living.
#4: Plenty of Surf Breaks
As you probably know, Hawaii is home to some pretty incredible world-class waves that have made many a headline—Pipeline, Jaws, and Sunset Beach among them. If you’re leaving the Hawaiian Islands behind, you’ll still find plenty of surf breaks within striking distance from Irvine. Lower Trestles in the southern part of Orange County will be the stage for this year’s Rip Curl World Surf League finals, and you’ll find ample additional line-ups along the coast, especially in San Clemente, Doheny, and Dana Point.
Now that you have a sense of the similarities between Irvine and Hawaii, let’s explore where you might want to live in each area.
What Are the Best Places to Live in Irvine and Hawaii?
Where you decide to live will depend heavily on what matters the most to you about your new neighborhood—location, convenience, peace and quiet, access to good schools, proximity to friends and family in the area, etc. As you do your own research, we’ve got two ideas for you to consider:
If you’re moving to Irvine, consider Woodbridge. This family-friendly neighborhood offers great schools for kids, and you’ll also find a number of amenities like grocery stores, restaurants, and coffee shops in and around the area. Additionally, if spending time outdoors was a favorite pastime of yours in Hawaii, Woodbridge offers some simple opportunities to keep it going after you make the move. The neighborhood features two lakes, as well as a series of trails that wind through the area. If you’re up for a long walk, you can also hook up with the nearby San Diego Creek Trail, which stretches for 14.5 miles and is open to hikers and bikers alike.
If you’re moving to Hawaii, consider Mililani on Oahu. When you move to Hawaii, your first task will be figuring out which of the islands you’ll want to call home. Each has its own distinctive character, as do the neighborhoods you’ll find within Oahu, Maui, the Big Island, and Kauai. If you’re looking for a family-friendly place like Irvine, Mililani on Oahu might fit the bill. There, you’ll find top-rated public schools, proximity to grocery stores and other shopping options, plus access to Mililani’s seven recreation centers, which offer fun for the whole family.
And speaking of ways to spend your leisure time, let’s explore a few ideas for getting the most out of your days off in the Aloha State or the Golden State.
4 Activities You Can Enjoy in Irvine and Hawaii
#1: Hit the Beach
If there’s nothing you love better than a day at the beach, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to relish the sand between your toes in both locations. One big difference you’ll notice, though, is the water temperature. Whereas the water at Newport Beach swings between 59–68° degrees throughout the year, compare that to the 75–81°-degree water you’ll find in Kihei, Maui. Depending on which direction you’re headed, this could be good news for you!
#2: Shop ‘Til You Drop
The South Coast Plaza, just a ten-minute drive from central Irvine, is one of the largest shopping centers on the West Coast, with more than 250 stores and restaurants. (And that’s just one of the malls you’ll find in Orange County!) If you move to Hawaii, you might think you’re leaving shopping sprees behind. Enter Ala Moana, the largest open-air shopping mall in the world. You’ll find its 350+ stores and restaurants in Honolulu, so, no matter whether you end up in Hawaii or California, you can be sure retail therapy is never far away.
#3: Play Tourist for the Day
Whether you settle in Hawaii or Orange County, you’re living in a place where many people vacation. There’s no better way to capture the magic of that vacation spirit than to play tourist for a day. Near Irvine, you might be overdue for a visit to Disneyland or Knotts Berry Farm. In Hawaii, consider a visit to the Pearl Harbor National Memorial or the Iolani Palace on Oahu; make the drive down the Road to Hana in Maui (start early!); tour the unique landscape within the Big Island’s Volcanoes National Park; or take a sunset cruise to marvel at the golden hour light on the Kauai’s Na Pali Coast.
#4: Take a Farm Tour
Or, if you’re looking for something a little more low-key than a local tourist attraction, consider taking a farm tour. Near Irvine, head on over to Tanaka Farms enjoy a wagon ride and some U-pick strawberry fun for the day. If you’re out in Hawaii, check out Kahuhu Farms’ Grand Tour on Oahu or Kula Country Farms on Maui (great for pumpkins near Halloween!) On the Big Island, stop into Greenwell Farms to see where that famous Kona coffee comes from.
Making the Move from the Golden State to the Aloha State
Although it would be a stretch to call Hawaii “easy” to get to from anywhere in the world, California is certainly one of the simpler jumping-off points for the Aloha State. So if you decide to make the move between Irvine, California, and Hawaii, you’ll find it easy to visit any family and friends you might leave behind. Additionally, given the similarities between the two places, you’ll likely find your 2,500+ mile relocation a little easier.
Speaking of your transition, we’d love to help you make it even simpler. We’ve helped tens of thousands of families move between the mainland and Hawaii, and we’d be happy to help you. It all starts with a free quote from one of our moving experts.
Tell us about your move!