Hilo : Hawaii

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What Hilo is like for active adults

Hilo, the second largest city in Hawaii, is one of the most interesting retirement communities in the U.S. Located on the eastern coast of Hawaii (the “Big Island”),  and near Mauna Loa, one of the active volcanoes in Hawaii.   Volcanoes National Park, the climate, the scenery, and the lifestyle are superb. The Hilo area offers unparalleled recreational and scenic opportunities for active adults 55+ in an ideal year round climate. It is the largest city on the Big Island with over 43,000 people.

Hilo is an old city formed because of its beautiful harbor on the slopes of Mauna Kea. Early missionaries from Connecticut were instrumental in its creation, and then sugar took over. The downtown is charming with unique architecture dating from the early 1900’s. An enormous park runs along the water’s edge. Interesting shops and restaurants reveal both its colonial and Japanese heritage. As almost everywhere in Hawaii, as soon as one moves away from the waterfront the terrain goes up – to rivers, waterfalls, and stunning tropical forests. Hilo is the rainiest city in the U.S., which tends to come at night. Winding roads follow the coast and reveal beautiful homes and beaches.

A popular tourist destination, Hilo remains an enchanting colonial town with real neighborhoods. It is very different from the rest of Hawaii – some say it is Honolulu before the jets arrived. People come for the beauty of its terrain, quiet lifestyle, and outdoor sports. Many people use it as a retirement community for one season out of the year. Photo of the Japanese Immigrants Assembly courtesy of Wikipedia and Mr Wabu.  Photo of the Harbor with Mauna Kea in background courtesy of Wikipedia and AlaskaDave.

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Where to Live & Real Estate Values

Retirees can live in town or in developments nearby. Most development is near the water on flat land. Hilo real estate can be surprisingly affordable for Hawaii. Zillow.com showed the median sale price to be $250,000 in mid 2013, although homes go over $1 million. The farther one gets from the center of town or a beach, the more reasonable the price. We are not aware of any 55+ developments in the area.

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What is special about this retirement community
• The Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center • Annual Merrie Monarch festival • Tsunami Museum Center •University of Hawaii at Hilo
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What is not special about this retirement community

Hilo is way off the beaten track and far from the lower 48.  Outside of town towards the National Park there are some areas where drug growers make the area a scary place. Hilo is the rainiest place in the U.S.

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What kinds of people like retiring here
Hilo attracts a community of retirees who want to live in a unique environment by the sea, and who like the small town, international feel.

Use this link to find a list of retirement communities by state
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Local economy is driven by
Tourism, agriculture, retail, services, government, education, and real estate are important to the economy.
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Climate and Physical Environment
Hilo is on the coast of Hawaii, the biggest island in the 50th state. The town goes from the graceful harbor up the slopes of Mona Kea, following a river and waterfalls that are in the city limits. There have been several tsunamis in the 20th century that killed hundreds of people.
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Restaurants & Cultural Scene

The downtown found a new role in the 1980s as the city's cultural center with several galleries and museums being opened; the Palace Theatre was reopened in 1998 as an art house; The University of Hawaii has a campus here; The East Hawaii Cultural Center focuses on preserving traditional island art; There is also the interesting Tsunami Museum, as where as a very large and active farmers market.  Hilo is home to the Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai?i, as well as the Merrie Monarch Festival, a week-long celebration of ancient and modern hula which takes place annually after Easter.

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Crime
Crime is below average in Hilo.
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Medical facilities
Hilo Medical Center
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Transportation
Hilo International Airport is 4 miles from town
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Valuable Links

Wikipedia page on Hilo

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What people are saying about Hilo

Too much rain, too far
After reading the review here Hilo sounds pretty good to me. But i always heard it rained too much and the culture was so unusual (multi-cultural plus a dose of aging 70's counterculturalism) that i get a little nervous about commiting to spend the time exploring this retirement community option.
Posted by ctyankee on December 03, 2006

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Facts about HILO
  • State: HI
  • Environment: College Town,Mountain,Coastal,Small-mid Sized City,Outdoor Oriented,
  • City Population: 25,001-50,000
  • Median age of Population: 25-44
  • Avg Jan Temperature: 61 +
  • Avg July Temperature: 60-80
  • Median HH Income: 41,001-60,000
  • Average Home Price (MLS): $200,001-$300,000
  • Annual Property Tax on a $200,000 house: Less than 2000
  • Total Crime Index: <80 (Very low)
  • Cost of Living Index: 101-110 (slightly above average)
  • Culture Index: 111-120 (high)
  • State Sales Tax: Yes
  • State Income Tax: Yes
  • Name of the Guide: jb

Can you add to or correct these Facts? Or do you have a photo of this community we could use? If so, please click on Edit these facts

Hilo retirement communities
Vote on the Ratings for Hilo
Update Your Ratings
1. Overall Retirement Ratings Discuss

1. Rating: 3.7/5 ( 3 votes cast)

2. Expense:
Inexpensive to Luxury Discuss

2. Rating: 2.3/5 ( 8 votes cast)

3. Taxes:
Inexpensive to Expensive Discuss

3. Rating: 2.5/5 ( 4 votes cast)

4. Culture:
None to Cosmopolitan Discuss

4. Rating: 2.5/5 ( 4 votes cast)

5.Recreation:
None to Summer camp Discuss

5. Rating: 4.5/5 ( 4 votes cast)

6. Transportation:
Boondocks to World Hub Discuss

6. Rating: 3.0/5 ( 3 votes cast)

7. Security:
Dangerous to Ft. Knox Discuss

7. Rating: 2.8/5 ( 6 votes cast)

8. Medical Facilities:
None to Excellent Discuss

8. Rating: 3.0/5 ( 3 votes cast)

9. Political Situation:
Conservative to Liberal Discuss

9. Rating: 3.5/5 ( 6 votes cast)

10. Environmental:
Oblivious to Ultra-Green Discuss

10. Rating: 4.0/5 ( 3 votes cast)