Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Very Laid Back Pepeekeo Sits on the Big Island of Hawaai and Has Safe Neighborhoods, Ocean Views, Volcano Views and Nearby Beaches
Pepeekeo sits on the east coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, about eight miles north of Hilo (population 48,000). It started out as a sugar plantation in the late-1800s but today is a quiet, residential place with views of both the Pacific Ocean and 13,803 foot tall Mauna Kea, a sacred volcano and the highest point in Hawaii.
Surrounded by emerald green, slightly rolling pastureland, Pepekeo has a rural yet suburban feeling. Neighborhoods are tidy and compact with comfortable single story homes. Larger properties, some with orchards, sit on town edges, and livestock grazes here and there. Roads have two lanes, telephone poles and no sidewalks. Locals enjoy a couple of roadside restaurants, a deli food stand and a community center. The nearby Hawaii Tropical Botanic Garden is an amazing tropical rainforest with a spectacular coastline, waterfalls and 1,800 plant species. It is reached via Old Mamalahoa Highway, which runs through the middle of Pepe'ekeo and then twists and turns through lush, overgrown jungle scenery. Shopping venues and services are primarily found in Hilo.
Wai'olena Beach Park, a lava rock beach, Honoli'i Beach Park, a black sand beach, and Reeds Bay Beach Park, a small, quiet waterfront area, are all within about five miles.
Population: 1,700 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 46%
Cost of Living: 14% above the national average
Median Home Price: $485,000
Climate: On average, this area receives 150 inches of rain each year, and it comes fairly evenly throughout the seasons (although summers are a little drier). Temperatures are in the 60s, 70s and 80s year round.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No, but Hilo Medical Center, about 10 miles away, accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but Hilo Medical Center, about 10 miles away, is accredited.
Public Transit: Yes, provided by Hele-On, but it is limited.
Crime Rate: Well below the national average
Public Library: No, but Hilo has one.
Political Leanings: Very liberal
College Educated: 20%
Is Hawaii Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: The earthquake risk is higher than the U.S. average but lower than the Hawaiian average. The poverty rate is above the national average.
Notes: Pepeekeo's population is comprised of Asians, Native Hawaiians, Hispanics and whites. Population growth was negative during the first part of the century but it has steadied during the last three years. Home prices have increased 17% since a year ago.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Pepeekeo is one of the more affordable Hawaiian towns, but its higher than average poverty rate should be weighed if considering retirement here.
The Aloha State is an isolated volcanic archipelago 2,397 miles east of San Francisco. Although it was annexed by the United States in 1900, Hawaii did not become a state until August 21, 1959. It is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands, and it is the northernmost island group in Polynesia.
Hawaii's islands are known for their lush foliage, rugged geography, as well as their gold, red, black, and green sand beaches. Its Kilauea volcano is one of the world's most active. NASA astronauts trained for moon voyages by walking on Mauna Loa's hardened lava fields.
Of the six major islands, Oahu has the only major city - Honolulu. Climate and rainfall can vary depending on altitude and location. Thanks to trade winds, the north and east sides of the islands receive higher amounts of moisture than the south and west sides. Hawaii experiences some tropical storms, but hurricanes are rare. Hilo is the rainiest city in the U.S.
Tourism and defense are a large part of Hawaii's economy. The state is the only one in the union to grow coffee. It also produces most of the nation's pineapple and sugar cane. Nearly eight million tourists come to visit each year.
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