Kaneohe Bay may be a Marine Corps base, but it’s home to 25,000 service and family members from all branches. Each branch has their own base on the island of Oahu. Kaneohe Bay is rich in history, natural beauty,  and of course, Aloha! It is also the home of the newly minted 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment.

While Hawaii is part of the United States, its remote nature can make researching difficult. You will eventually have to hop on a plane, sight unseen, and embrace your adventurous side. However, there are plenty of resources available to help prepare you for this once in a lifetime opportunity. There are hotels on each base that prioritize PCSing families. Another option is the Hale Koa military hotel in Waikiki.  

Neighboring Bases

Since Hawaii has multiple bases, there are a significant amount of on base housing options. While you might have to do a bit of commuting for a few months while waiting for a home on your base, there are a lot more options, even temp long-term housing. Here are the bases with family housing and their distance from MCBH Kaneohe Bay:

  • Camp Smith (16 miles)
  • Ford Island (17 miles)
  • Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickham (18 miles)
  • Wheeler Army Airfield (28 miles)
  • NCTAMS (32 miles)
  • Schoefield Barracks (36 miles)

Housing

Housing in Hawaii can be tricky, and expensive. For off-base homes, it is extremely common to find “Ohana Units” for rent. These are homes that utilize shared spaces, most commonly a driveway or laundry room. Most have completely separate entrances and main living areas. If this is a deal-breaker for you, make sure to ask for clarification so you’re not surprised. It’s a little easier to find short-term rentals here than other locations, while waiting for base housing. If you are interested in renting or buying, remember, you are also given COLA (cost of living allowance) which can be helpful in a pricier market.  

Schools

Kaneohe Bay offers two CDCs, and you’ll often see children being strolled through the neighborhood. If you are lucky enough to be stationed on and live on KBay, you can likely walk or bike your child to daycare and work – the commissary too! There is an ASYMCA Preschool and Mokapu is the K-6 elementary school on the base. The base is zoned for Kailua Intermediate School (KIS) and Kaleheo High School. Both are off-base in Kailua with bus service available. Additionally there are two elementary schools, Aikahi and Kainalu right outside of the base gates. Several private schools and preschools are located right off-base as well.

Life on KBay

Youth sports programs and additional youth activities are available. There are also two base gyms and a track. Kaneohe Bay offers two CDCs, and you’ll often see children being strolled through the neighborhood. If you are lucky enough to be stationed on and live on KBay, you can likely walk or bike your child to daycare and work – the commissary too! The is a small health clinic aboard MCBH, and Tripler Army hospital about 25 minutes away for any specialty needs. About 25 minutes away from Kaneohe Bay is the Honolulu Airport – convenient for your travel and for visitors.

Outdoor Activities

If you enjoy the water, hiking, or just being outdoors, you will never run out of things to do on Oahu. Many of the bases have beach and marina access. You can rent kayaks, surfboards, and pontoon boats to explore beautiful Kaneohe Bay. Bellows Air Force Base just down the road boasts amazing boogie boarding waves and beachfront campsite. There’s a great family-friendly hike, Kolekole, aboard Schoefield Barracks. Don’t forget all of the history on the Pearl Harbor side of JBPHH, but maybe lesser known is the unique walking and biking path along Ford Island. It will give you amazing views of the USS Arizona and Utah.

Dining

After a day exploring the island or for a celebratory night out here are some great restaurants to try:

  • Sunshine Shack (Waikiki and Kailua locations – delicious smoothies
  • Halewa Joe’s Haiku Garden – the wait is long but the atmosphere is worth it, as it overlooks the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens
  • Duke’s Waikiki – Go for sunset and enjoy the live music and people watching
  • Leonard’s Malasadas (multiple locations) Portuguese style donuts
  • Monkey Pod (Kapolei) Treehouse style restaurant with beautiful views
  • North Shore Food Trucks- Spend a day sampling the fresh-made fair from shrimp to tacos, and everything in between
  • Shave Ice – Island Snow, Matsumoto’s, and Aoki’s

There’s More to Hawaii that Beaches and Hiking

The beaches, surf spots, and hikes are too numerous to list but easy to seek out, but that’s not all the island has to offer. You may find yourself with more visitors while you’re living here, and here are some unique places to check out:

  • The Iolani Palace
  • The Bishop Museum
  • The Polynesian Cultural Center
  • Sea Life Park 
  • National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific Punchbowl Hawaii
  • Queen Emma Summer Palace
  • The Blaisdell Center

The military community is huge in Hawaii, as most people are far from their families. You are sure to make amazing friendships and memories!

Looking for a military-friendly real estate agent in your area to buy or sell a home? Click here to fill out our Military Real Estate Questionnaire and we will help find you an agent that is a great fit or send a us a message.

Looking for a military-friendly real estate agent in your area to buy or sell a home? Click here to fill out our Military Real Estate Questionnaire and we will help find you an agent that is a great fit or send a us a message.

Looking for a military-friendly real estate agent in your area to buy or sell a home? Click here to fill out our Military Real Estate Questionnaire and we will help find you an agent that is a great fit or send a us a message.

What to do at MCBH Kaneohe Bay The PCS Homegirls