33. Koolaupoko, Hawaii
|AT A GLANCE|
|Median Home Price||$766,500|
|Commute time||26 minutes|
If you think of Hawaii as just a vacation destination, Koolaupoko might surprise you. This southeastern district off the windward coast of Oahu has the lush valleys, gorgeous beaches, and barrier reefs that the 50th state is known, along with a lesser-known but rich history. Koolaupoko ("Ko'olau" means "windward"; "poko" means "small") supported one of the largest populations in the islands prior to British explorer James Cook’s arrival in 1778. Its proximity to downtown Honolulu—a 30-minute drive to hotels, resorts, and restaurants—means there are tons of jobs nearby. (Koolaupoko boasts a low 3.6% unemployment rate.) And the new Windward Mall in Kaneohe gives locals plenty of shopping and dining options, as well as a two-days-per-week farmers’ market.
One caveat: Housing costs take a serious bite of Koolaupoko residents’ earnings. The median home price through July 2016 was a steep $766,500. Median household income is $87,342.