Each of the Hawaiian Islands offers its own unique climate and geography, although, as a whole, the islands are considered to have a two-season year. Each individual island also has its own lifestyle. Even though the islands are considered a part of the United States, there are two major differences in the economy. One is that the cost of living is much higher, and the other being that salaries and wages are much lower.

If you’re trying to find the right Hawaiian island to call home, here is a brief overview of each to help get you started.

Hawaii, “The Big Island,” is the largest of all the Hawaiian Islands. The main types of employment opportunities are tourism, government, cattle ranching and astronomy. Hawaii has the largest selection of single-family homes available for purchase.

Maui, “The Valley Isle,” is the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands. Tourism and agriculture are the two main industries. Other businesses that are growing on Maui include research groups for the government, and high-technology companies. One of the most popular forms of relaxation is snorkeling. You have numerous bays and beaches to explore and snorkel in surrounding the island. Maui can offer you a nice, quiet environment.

Oahu, “The Gathering Place,” has the largest population of all of the Hawaiian Islands. The majority of employment opportunities here are found in agriculture, government, military and healthcare. The Hawaii State Capital of Honolulu is located here, along with the Honolulu International Airport. This island also boasts the main deep-water marine port of the state. Of all of the islands, Oahu is a shopper’s heaven, and tourism is a large industry here. Snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing and most other forms of entertainment are very popular on Oahu.

Kauai, “The Garden Isle,” is the fourth largest island, and is known mainly for being featured most often in television shows and Hollywood movies. The largest industry on Kauai is tourism. It’s interesting to note that the island is the home of thousands of feral chickens.

Molokai, “The Friendly Island,” the fifth largest island, has a large industry of seed production for Monsanto, and also Myogenic Seeds. Molokai has the highest unemployment rate of Hawaii.

Lanai, “The Pineapple Isle,” is primarily a tourist location. Public transportation is arranged and supplied by a hotel contractor. There are two golf courses located on the island. The majority of attractions that aren’t directly in town can only be accessed by an off-road vehicle. Both off-road vehicles and bicycles are for rent on the island. Employment is sparse at best.

Niihau is known as “The Forbidden Isle.” There are approximately 130 permanent residents. Groceries are delivered by barge. It has only been since the late 1980s that supervised hunting safaris and tours have been opened to public tourists. If hunters should choose not to keep the meat from their hunts, it is then given to the residents of the island.

Kahoolawe is the last of the eight main islands. There are no permanent residents on this island. State law dictates that the island and its surrounding waters be used only for native Hawaiian historic preservation, fishing, spiritual and cultural purposes.

The types of property on the islands range from single-family homes, multi-family homes and regular condos to time-share condos. An “ohana dwelling” is a cottage dwelling on another individual’s land. The landowner usually has a home of his or her own on the property also. There are vacant lots available for those wanting to build, and commercial properties for those looking to start a business. It is important to note that there are two types of property ownership available in Hawaii: Fee Simple (FS) and Leasehold (LH).

One of the best parts of finding the right island for you and your family is visiting Hawaii. With limited housing available, it’s wise to begin your search well in advance of your move if possible. Our experts can answer your questions about moving to and living in Hawaii. When the big day comes, your move will go smoothly and you’ll feel right at home.