With its gold sand beaches, year round great weather, proximity to Los Angeles, much less frequent paparazzi and overall laid back attitude, Hawaii is the perfect spot for many celebrities to call home.
While many celebrities make regular visits to Maui, including Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Cameron Diaz, Mike Meyers, and Elton John, many more have chosen to buy or build property on the island. (source)
Oprah, who has purchased over 60 acres of land near Hana as well as the Thompson Ranch on Haleakala, has frequently been spotted around the island, most recently with First Lady Michelle Obama in her upcountry home. Kris Kristofferson has also surprised visitors with shows around Hana, where he owns a home. (source)
Calling Maui his “adopted second home,” Clint Eastwood is yet another celebrity that has built property in Maui on a cozy spot near the beach in Wailea. He even used Maui as a filming location for his 2010 film “Hereafter”. Another South Maui celebrity homeowner includes Steven Tyler, who has been known to lead a drum circle or two on Little Beach in Makena. (source)
Up on Maui’s North Shore, Owen Wilson has been spotted several times riding his bike and visiting the beach in charming Paia Town, where he bought a home in 2009. Another Paia homeowner includes Willie Nelson, who also happens to frequent a very popular bar in town, Charley’s Restaurant & Saloon, where he stops and plays surprise sets on occasion. Woody Harrelson, who enjoys practicing yoga and owns a home in a town called Huelo, has been spotted several times on the island with his family and says “When I’m in New York, I bike everywhere. But in Hawaii, I drive. I have a little Volkswagen Bug from the ‘Drive it, Hug it’ phase.” (source) And last but not least, Don Nelson, former NBA player and all-time winningest NBA coach, owns five pieces of property in Hawaii’s beloved Valley Isle and says “I’m going to go to Maui. There is life after basketball… Come out and have a cup of coffee with me. I’m in a little town called Paia. I have a coffee shop there and some shaved ice. Come on down, we’ll enjoy it.” All four North shore Maui celebrities even get together to enjoy the occasional poker game, which Don commissioned a painting of. (source) (source)
Originally from Maui, professional baseball player Shane Victorino grew up and attended St. Anthony High School in Wailuku. (source)
And while they may not be here all year long, other celebrities have chosen Maui as a place to start business ventures, including Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, who owns Fleetwood’s restaurant on Lahaina’s Front Street, Gene Simmons of Kiss, who is opening a restaurant in Paia called Rock & Brews, and Sammy Hagar, who owns Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill in the Kahului Airport. (source)
Kauai holds a special draw for celebrities due to its small population (only 7% of the population of Oahu), and unassuming vibe that makes it easy for well known celebrities to blend in, practically unnoticed, among locals and visitors alike.
Bethany Hamilton, who was born in Kauai and lucky enough to survive the shark attack that took her left arm in 2003, has been a great role model to young and upcoming surfers all over the world. (source)
Homeowners include Ben Stiller, who fell in love with the Garden Island while filming “Tropic Thunder”, former 007 Pierce Brosnan, actress Julia Roberts and husband Danny Moder, Drew Barrymore, singer Natalie Merchant, and Bette Midler, who was born and raised on the neighbor island of Oahu and now owns a home in Kauai. (source)
Author Michael Crichton, who used parts of the island for the set of “Jurassic Park”, also owns a home on the island. As he says in his novel entitled Travels, “Often I feel I go to some distant region of the world to be reminded of who I really am. There is no mystery about why this should be so.” (source)
The filming location for over 120 films, most recently “The Descendants” starring George Clooney, Kauai is sure to attract more celebrities as they discover the beauty and seclusion this island has to offer. (source)
Oahu, by far the most visited and popular of the Hawaiian Islands, boasts an impressive number of Hawaiian-born celebrities, including singers Bette Midler and Nicole Scherzinger, as well as actresses Nicole Kidman, Lauren Graham, Maggie Q, Kelly Preston, Tia Carrere and actor Timothy Olyphant. (source)
Originally from North Shore Oahu and still a homeowner here today, musician Jack Johnson is one of the island’s favorite local celebrities. (source) Bruno Mars, famous musician, was also born in Oahu and has said “Hawaii is paradise. It sounds cheesy to say it, but there’s music in the air there.” (source)
Also born on Oahu’s North Shore is Manti Te’o, linebacker for the San Diego Chargers. (source)
Perhaps most notably, Oahu is the birthplace of President Barack Obama, who was born in Honolulu and has been spotted many times enjoying the waves with his family for the holidays. Responding to the recent passing of marriage equality legislation in Hawaii, Obama says “I’ve always been proud to have been born in Hawaii, and today’s vote makes me even prouder.” (source)
Another Oahu native includes AOL CEO and chairman Steve Case, who was born and raised on the island and attended Punahou School in Honolulu. In 2011, Steve was named to the President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness as well as the Chairman of the Startup America Partnership. (source)
While not Hawaiian-born, many cast members of the TV series “Lost”, which was shot primarily on Oahu, fell in love with the island. This includes current Oahu homeowner Josh Holloway, who visits the island often. (source)
Actor Jim Nabors of “Gomer Pyle” owns a home in Honolulu, where he enjoys the quiet life and runs a macadamia nut plantation. (source) Meanwhile, Duane “Dog” Chapman of Dog the Bounty Hunter still lives and works on Oahu, where he owns a home in a small suburb of Honolulu and says “In Hawaii, we have something called ho’oponopono, where people come together to resolve crises and restore peace and balance.” (source)
The Big Island, while not as highly traveled as some of the other islands, still holds a lot of draw for celebrities and vacationers due to its diversity, beauty and dramatic terrain.
Roseanne Barr purchased a macadamia farm on the Big Island, where her former reality show, “Roseanne’s Nuts”, was shot on her 46 acres of land. (source)
Also among the Big Island celebrity clientele is Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell, Inc., who owns a $61.8 million dollar oceanfront estate on the Kona Coast, a very popular place for investment bankers and successful entrepreneurs to call home, including Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and owner of the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers, and Charles Schwab, businessman and founder of the Charles Schwab Foundation. (source) (source)
Lance Armstrong also has a second home here, where he loves to challenge himself by riding around the island’s natural terrain and tough switchbacks. (source)
Even though they may not own a home in Hawaii, many other celebrities have weighed in on the idea of island paradise. Actor Jeff Goldblum has said that “Hawaii can be heaven and it can be hell” while Richard Pryor was quoted as saying “Hawaii is the best form of comfort for me. When I die, I want to be cremated, and I want half my ashes spread in the Pacific around the island, the rest on the property.” Buzz Aldrin is a noted fan of the Big Island, saying “The Beauty of Hawaii probably surpasses other places. I like the two mountains, Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, where you can look out at the stars.” (source)
So whether you’re doing a bit of stargazing atop Maui’s Haleakala Volcano or watching Willie Nelson shop for groceries in Paia, Hawaii is the best place to do it all.