The term ‘Leeward and Windward’ is indicative of which direction the wind blows on the island of Oahu. The Windward side is along the Ko’olau mountain range and the Leeward side is along the Wai’anae mountain range.
The Leeward Coast is found at the base of the Wai’anae Mountains and is dryer than the Windward Coast. This area is home to rural towns, off the beaten path beaches and luxurious resort. About 30 miles from Waikiki and Honolulu, this coast faces the south or west side of the island and gets very little rain. The landscape is much drier and not as green. There’s also not much wildlife on this side of the island due to the lack of rain. People that live on the side typically resort to air-conditioners or fans for a more comfortable living environment.
There’s also a difference with the intensity of the sun’s rays on the skin. The Leeward Coast, because it’s much drier, the sun will feel much hotter. This coast stretches from Kalaeloa Airport to the Ka’ena Point State Park. There are several golf courses, resorts, and smaller residential neighborhoods on this side of the island. These homes range from about $350,000-$900,000 depending on size and condition.
The Windward Coast is much wetter and is located on the east or north side of the island. This site gets much of the rain thanks to trade winds which blow from the Northeast through the Hawaiian island chain to the southwest. This moist air hits the mountain, cools and forms clouds which drops of rain on the Windward Coast. This side is very green because of these frequent showers so you’re likely to find waterfalls and lush Hawaiian tropical forests.
This side of the island is much larger stretching from the Bellows Air Force station all the way north to Kawela Bay. Higher-priced homes are found along this coast line and the Kamehameha Hwy. There are also beautiful golf courses from the Kulima Golf Course in Kahuku to the Hawaii Kai Golf Course down by the Koko Head Park. The majority of residents live within the Kane’ohe Bay around the Bellows Air Force Station, Kailua and the MCBH. Kaneohe is one of the largest towns on the island behind Waikiki and Honolulu. Homes in this area range from about $500,000 to over $2 million. Higher-priced homes may also have beautiful views of the bay. Images by Alakea1100 and GoHawaii.com
Which side works for you? It all depends on how much sun or how much rain you’re looking for. Call me for more information on the Leeward or Windward Coast of Oahu. Check out all the golf courses on both sides and homes around these courses or just browse all the listings in your price range right here for free.