The Working Definition of the Leeward Coast

There is some argument as to where the leeward coast of Oahu begins and ends. Some say the leeward coast is the west side of the island from Barbers Point to Kaena Point.  Others state it technically covers Pearl Harbor, Honolulu and up to Koko Head. Others specifically state that the Leeward Coast area is from Kahuku Point to Makapuu Point, with the Koolau Mountains on the east and the Pacific Ocean on the west as its boundaries. 

People should not really worry too much about the exact definition of the leeward coast or about its specific boundaries.  Most people think of the island of Oahu as divided into five general areas. There is the Leeward side on the west coast, which includes places such as Waianae. There is the Windward side on the east coast of Oahu, with communities such as Kailua and Lanikai. There is the North Shore, home to Haleiwa. There is the South shore where Honolulu is. Finally, there is Central Oahu, encompassing the interior highlands of Oahu and including placed such as Mililani.

Once You Figure Out You Actually are on the Leeward Coast…

You will likely notice that the Leeward Coast area seems to have a very “local” feel to it. Furthermore, many of the communities have some pretty evocative names. The Leeward Coast real estate communities of Oahu include:

  • Waipahu (“Gushing Water”)
  • Ewa (“crooked”)
  • Nanakuli (nana kuli means literally "look at knee")
  • Maili (named for the many small rocks (ili'ili) found there)
  • Waianae (“Wai” means fresh water, “anae” are mullet fish or ama‘ama )
  • Makaha (“fierce”, probably due to its multiple surf breaks
  • Waipio (“curved water”)
  • Waikele (“muddy water”)
  • Kalihi (“the edge”)

Obviously, one thing the Leeward Coast has over the other areas of Oahu is some spectacular sunsets.  Moreover, in the winter, large waves at Makaha Beach and Yokohama Beach draw many world-class surfers to the Leeward Coast. Yokohama Bay is a sandy beach on the Leeward Coast that is refreshingly undeveloped.  Furthermore, for those looking to live on the Leeward Coast, in general, housing prices are lower than elsewhere on Oahu.  For instance, while the 2010 median price for all Oahu single-family detached homes was $592,000, in Makaha, it was $287,000, in Ewa Plain, it was $440,000, and in Waipahu, it was $520,000.