Coast Guard Base Honolulu
Coast Guard Base Honolulu is located on the island of O'ahu, on Sand Island, which is directly across from downtown Honolulu. If you are lucky enough to get stationed here, you'll be able to enjoy everything Hawaii has to offer--from beautiful beaches to great hikes, good food and fun cultural adventures. You are near several major military bases on the same island, including Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Tripler Army Medical Center, Fort Shafter, and Schofield Barracks. Coast Guard Sector Honolulu includes CG Station Maui, on the neighboring island. As part of District 14, Sector Honolulu is responsible for the Hawaiian islands and 12,000 miles of shoreline in the Pacific.
Hawaii is considered an overseas duty station, even though you are still on U.S. soil. You will rate an OCONUS move, and will receive additional COLA pay while you are here. All service members in Hawaii rate COLA to accommodate the high cost of living. Gas, groceries, cars, and also car insurance all cost more here. Car registration is offered for the military at only $25/year, and you get to keep the pretty Hawaii tag after you move away. Amazon Prime is an excellent option to mitigate shipping costs and usually takes 5-9 days to reach Hawaii. And from experience, order the Christmas presents you want delivered to the island by December 1 to accommodate seasonal shipping delays.
One of the great things about Hawaii is being able to live just about anywhere and still have a [semi] reasonable commute to a military installation. Here are some popular areas to live off base: On the Leeward (West) Side: Ewa Beach, Kapolei, Central, Mililani, Wahiawa, Salt Lake On the Windward (East) Side: Kailua, Kaneohe, and Hawaii Kai. Most homes in the Honolulu area, especially downtown, are older homes and original to O'ahu, built in the 1940s- 70s and without AC. Newer construction is found at Ewa by Gentry, however Ewa Beach still remains with the older homes. Ko Olina has condos built in the 90s to 2000s. O'ahu is not known for having upscale homes unless you are on the North Shore. Waikiki is the multi-million dollar beach front properties in the tourist districts. 80% of homes do come with solar power because electricity is so expensive, but most of the air conditioning are window units. Yards are scarce and home buying is a bit of an art. If you're looking for land, there are stipulations in place to stay true to Native Hawaiians.
On Base Housing
The Coast Guard has minimal government-owned housing in Hawaii. However, this housing must maintain full occupancy, so incoming members must check in with the housing office to ensure they are released from mandatory assignment to these housing units before they pursue other housing arrangements. This housing is managed by Island Palm Communities. The closest Island Palm Communities are found in the southern region near Aliamanu Military Reservation, Fort Shafter, Red Hill, and Tripler Army Medical Center. There is a barracks on Coast Guard Base Honolulu for unaccompanied enlisted personnel, ranks E-4 and below. Coast Guard families may also choose to pursue placements on local Air Force and Navy military family housing waitlists. Navy family housing is provided by Ohana Military Communities and Air Force family housing is provided by Hickam Communities.
There are no DoD schools in Hawaii. Public schools are part of the Hawaii Department of Education. School assignments are based on your housing, so your child may have to attend one school while you live in temporary housing or hotels, then change to another school once you get permanent housing. You can apply for a geographic exception (GE) to attend a school outside your designated district.
If you have school-age children, a great place to start in finding a school is to contact the School Liaison Officer (located in the 14th District offices on Sand Island). The SLO can assist in getting your child registered. There are many public, private, and charter schools to choose from, as well as a large homeschooling community on the island. Just a heads up: most schools and childcare centers require a negative Tuberculosis test to enroll.
Cost of Living and BAH
The BAH for Hawaii tends to be on the high side, similar to the Washington D.C. area. Island living, in general, tends to be pricey because everything has to be shipped in. Hawaii is considered an OCONUS assignment. Military families will receive a Cost of Living Allowance (COLA).
Coast Guard Station Honolulu BAH varies depending on rank and whether or not you have dependents. To determine your BAH at Honolulu, use our BAH calculator.
The average cost of a single-family home on the island is now $1,050,000. This is a new record high! The state of Hawaii has the lowest property tax rate in the nation at 0.28%. Despite this, the median annual tax payment in the state is $1,871, which is much higher. This is because Hawaii has the highest median home value in the U.S.
There are only two seasons in O'ahu but there is no temperature change. It's a constant 85 degrees year around. Between the months of November and March, we do experience more rain than usual, which is considered Rainy Season.
The landscape across the island varies significantly depending on location. On the Leeward (West) side of O’ahu, you will find a drier, more desert-like environment, while the Windward (East) side is home to the lush Ko’olau Mountains. Much of central O’ahu is farmland, and the North Shore consists of a rocky shoreline with higher surf. Many popular surfing competitions are held there.
Military servicemembers stationed on the base have access to the gym, restaurants, and library. If you have base access via a base pass, you can eat at the food court and other restaurants. MWR manages the fitness center, pool, and Club 14 restaurant. You can purchase an annual pass to use the Wailupe pool, tennis courts, and rec center.
Coastie families stationed in Honolulu can also use the commissary, exchange, and other amenities of the numerous military bases on the island.
O'ahu is known for epic beaches and amazing hikes with incredible views. Island hopping is considered quite easy as you can do it easily by purchasing Southwest flights for as low as $37 for a 30 minute flight to any island. The other islands are all unique. Volcanoes Park on the Big Island is a place to behold, and military members can rent cabins at the park. Also, don’t forget to register for your free National Park military pass so your $25 vehicle admission will be waived.
Hawaii boasts AMAZING hiking. Trails range from paved and stroller-friendly (but steep!) Makapu’u trail on the eastern end of the island, to lush and tropical trails in Manoa Valley, to the dormant Koko Head and Diamond Head volcano crater trails.
Kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling, spearfishing, and diving are just a few ways to enjoy the warm water and 271 days of sunshine per year.
Kailua’s beaches are almost as crowded than the more touristy Waikiki. Traffic and parking can be difficult. Be aware, the deep ocean currents can be extremely strong even near shore. Many beaches also experience shore break. Search “Sandy’s Beach” on Youtube to get a glimpse of the power of the ocean here. Parents with little children may want to check out the lagoons at Ko’olina for gentler waters.
Surfing is the signature sport of Hawaii. Duke Kahanamoku and Eddie Aikau are local legends and surf icons. Surf lessons are available around the island. If you want to get into surfing, there is no shame in purchasing a $100 eight-foot foam board from Costco. Pros on the North Shore, water patrol, and surf school students all surf them with joy. Surf competitions are community events for surfers of all ages and skill levels.
The Macadamia Nut Farm does a tour called the Ali'i tour which is a small tour of the farm along with teaching about the Samoan Culture and a lot is centered around the Coconut Tree. Kualoa Ranch offers a tour that is more befitting a crash course for “Survivor” contestants than a farm tour. It is both educational and entertaining. Your host will highlight various film locations on the property as you ride on crew buses used in the original “Jurassic Park.” They also have ATV tours, zip lining and horse back riding.
Grand luaus are available on the leeward side of the island, the Polynesian Cultural Center on the North Shore, and also Sea Life Park on the east end. The Hale Koa luau in Waikiki is a less costly, shorter luau option open to service members, retirees, and their guests.
The North Shore is the most rural part of the island. There are lots of food trucks including shrimp trucks up on the north shore with Kahuku shrimp. Ted’s Bakery near Pipeline is worth the stop on your drive along the Seven Mile Miracle. Waves can reach 40 feet during the winter months. Helemano Farms in Wahiawa grows sustainable Norfolk pines for cutting at Christmas.
And if there's a particular time of year to come, you don't want to miss the Waikiki Spam Jam, King Kamehameha Day on June 11th and the Lantern Floating Festival.
Food and Drink
There is no shortage of incredible cuisine from 5 star restaurants to side of the beach food trucks. Food is also essential to Hawaiian culture. School cafeterias serve local favorites like kalua pork, haupia (coconut) pudding, and poi (pureed taro root). Poke (raw, marinated tuna), shave ice (don’t call it “shaved” ice), and Spam musubi (Spam and rice wrapped in seaweed) can be found in every corner store. Loco Moco is a popular Hawaiian dish made of rice, burger patty, gravy and fried eggs.
Research Your Area Before Your Move
Discover area guides and trusted reviews by and for the military and veteran community for local neighborhoods, base housing, moving companies, lenders, schools, and more.Access Review