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Why I Loved Our PCS to Hawaii

by PCSgrades Staff - March 22nd, 2022

Why I Loved Our PCS to Hawaii

Ah, Hawaii – the land of perpetual sunshine and rainbows! Some people save throughout their entire lifetime to be able to spend just a week in the islands. As military families, some of us have the opportunity PCS to Hawaii, living here for years at a time and getting paid for doing so!

So much to love in Hawaii

Being stationed in Hawaii is an opportunity like none other. It’s an OCONUS (outside continental United States) duty station, but unlike most other OCONUS duty stations, you’re still living in the United States, which means no need for passports, conversion rates, or having to learn a new language. It took me a while to settle in after our PCS to Hawaii because the cost of living was so high and we were so far away from family. Early on, island fever (getting sick of living on an island) seemed to be a real thing. The lack of craft stores and chain restaurants, like Olive Garden and Sonic, made me long for the mainland. Once I learned to appreciate the beauty around me, however, Hawaii quickly became a favorite duty station. From the ability to travel and taste new foods, to the nearly perfect weather and rich history of Oahu, this duty station will forever hold a huge piece of my heart.

Hawaii's natural beauty

Being stationed in Hawaii is being stationed in paradise. With crystal clear turquoise waters, white powdery beaches, and bright blue skies, Hawaii will likely be like nothing you've ever seen before. The cotton candy sunsets and lush mountain scenery make it easy to fall in love with the land.

After three and a half years on Oahu, I’m still constantly wowed and blown away by the beauty of this island. Even simple drives to a local park or convenience store have opened my eyes to beauty that I had never noticed before.

New tastes

It’s easy to miss the comfort dishes from home, but being the melting pot that it is, Hawaii offers the opportunity to discover new tastes from around the world! Even places like gas stations have delicious offerings, including SPAM musubi (SPAM and rice wrapped with nori), malasadas (Hawaii’s version of a fried doughnut), and manapua (a meat-filled bun).

Ever heard of poke? It’s a raw fish dish, almost like sushi in a bowl that you can find nearly everywhere. The sushi is some of the freshest you’ll ever find, as fish is caught daily. Fishing charters even make it possible to catch your own deep-sea ahi for fresh fish at home!

At a luau, you can find tender kalua pork, pulled straight from the in-ground cooking pit and poi, made from taro root pulled from the ground!

The options for a delicious date night are neverending in Hawaii. With so many beautiful sites and mouth-watering food options, there really is something for everyone.

If you have recently received orders to Hawaii, you can access reviews of the military bases, housing neighborhoods, and more--all for free on our membership site here.

Travel from Hawaii

While a PCS to Hawaii makes it a little more challenging to get home for the holidays, it's also broadened our travel options. Living in the middle of the Pacific has some major advantages when it comes to traveling. Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Japan are a mere skip and a hop away.

One of the biggest perks of traveling from Oahu is the availability of Space-A flights. These free flights from Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam fly to bases all over the world. Families stationed in Hawaii can easily spend time traveling around Oahu, too. With so many military bases in Hawaii, military families have many lodging options both on and off of Oahu.

Island hopping is a fantastic option for travel in Hawaii as well, and 4-day weekends are the perfect opportunity! Each of the Hawaiian Islands has its own unique terrain and claim to fame. The Big Island is my favorite and taking a helicopter tour over a live volcano is near the top of my all-time best experiences list!

Hawaii feels like family

Living in Hawaii is the chance to make close friendships – perhaps even closer than the friendships made at CONUS duty stations. 

Since it can be expensive to fly home, military families stationed in Hawaii often spend holidays with friends. I forged some of the strongest friendships of my life right here on this little island.

I can’t forget the locals that we interact with on a regular basis, either. Gymnastics coaches and preschool teachers have truly become uncles and aunties. Before our PCS to Hawaii, I was worried about not being accepted. Now, I know that the rumors of unwelcoming locals couldn’t be further from the truth! There is so much love and aloha, which is what I think really makes Hawaii feel like home.

Hawaii's perfect weather

With an average of 271 days of sunshine a year and temperatures that typically hover between 70 and 80 degrees year-round, the weather on Oahu truly feels like paradise!

Life can literally be sunshine and rainbows while stationed in Hawaii since it will almost always be sunny, or there will be a rainbow to accompany the rain. Plus, if it happens to be raining on your part of the island, just take a short drive to the other side, where you can usually find sunshine.

Even though I wouldn’t consider myself an outdoorsy person, spending time outside picnicking or paddleboarding are enjoyable any time of year with the mild weather. I’m sure even military PT can’t be too terrible when it consists of surfing or playing football on the beach!

Hawaii history and culture

On top of it all, Hawaii has a rich and beautiful history. Oahu is home to the Iolani Palace, the only royal palace on U.S. soil. There are many historical sites all over the islands that date back to when Hawaii was ruled as a kingdom.

Being able to have my children learn to hula dance is an experience that we get only in Hawaii. Living here has afforded our family the opportunity to learn so much about a culture different from our own. A PCS to Hawaii also means learning and embracing Hawaiian customs, which you can learn more about here.

Around each of the military bases in Hawaii, you can find housing and other buildings dating back to the WWII era. Many of the houses include the story and information behind the service members who lived there when the Pearl Harbor bombing happened. Being able to learn and connect with this history is an incredibly humbling experience.

Make the most of your PCS to Hawaii

Just like any other duty station, Hawaii is what you make of it. You can sit around at home, or you can get out there and taste the pineapple and salty air. For me, I’m forever grateful that I did the latter.

Are you preparing for a PCS to Hawaii? Read reviews today from military families just like yours for base housing, neighborhoods, moving companies, and more… all for free at

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PCSgrades Staff