Kaneohe Bay Marine Base
Marine Corps Base Hawaii Relocation Information
Photo by Marine Corps Base Hawaii Official Facebook Page
Welcome to Marine Corps Base Hawaii
Aloha and welcome to paradise! Located on the Mokapu Peninsula on the island of Oahu, Marine Corps Base Hawaii is surrounded by incredible beaches, turquoise water, and lush mountains. The view is incredible anywhere you look!
Hawaii’s first three AH-1Z Vipers arrive aboard Marine Corps Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Dec. 19, 2017. The arrival of the 4th generation attack helicopters enhances the capabilities and power projection of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing and MCBH. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Sgt. Alex Kouns)
MCBH, though relatively small (41 acres), is home to a variety of Marines. Here you’ll find the 3rd Marine Regiment, 1st Battalion, 12th Marines, Marine Aircraft Group 24, Combat Logistics Battalion 3, and 3rd Radio Battalion. While MCBH is unlikely to be the noisiest base you’ve lived near, you’ll likely hear aircraft flying overhead and the soft booms from the range on the northeast side of base behind housing.
An assignment to Oahu is unique not only due to its tropical location, but also because all branches are present on the island. The military’s presence in Hawaii is almost wholly concentrated on the island of Oahu.
Oahu’s location among the main islands of Hawaii. On a clear day, you can see the island of Molokai from the southern and windward sides of the island.
Though considered an overseas move, moving to Hawaii probably won’t be like any other move you’ve made. There will be some cultural differences and rules that you'll have to adjust to. Get ready to experience the melting pot of Hawaii cultures, along with all sorts of food from across the globe. And if you’re an outdoor person, you’ll thrive with the easy access to water sports and gorgeous hiking trails.
Frequently Asked Questions About Marine Corps Base Hawaii
1. What is the name of the Marine Corps base in Hawaii?
The Marine Corps base in Hawaii is officially referred to as Marine Corps Base Hawaii. However, it’s not uncommon to hear it called MCBH, Marine Corps Base Hawaii — Kaneohe Bay, or for short, just K-Bay.
2. Is it better to live on or off base in Hawaii?
Many people would agree that it’s better to live on base in Hawaii. While it’s not for everyone, it offers a tight-knit community (especially for families) and gives you more space and amenities like central A/C for your money—not to mention proximity to the beach.
View from H-3 Highway. Photo Grace Rebekah Photography.
3. Do you get extra pay living in Hawaii?
Yes, military service members and their families are entitled to an Overseas Cost of Living Allowance (COLA). Find out how much you rate with the COLA Calculator.
4. Do you have to quarantine your dog when moving to Hawaii?
Hawaii is a rabies-free state and requires that animals quarantine upon arrival. However, you can avoid it with time-consuming steps and some hurdles. Learn more about bringing your pets to Hawaii with you at the State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture: Hawaii Animal Quarantine Information.
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Base Location and Information
Oahu Military Installations
Nearby military installations:
Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, is located on the Mokapu Peninsula on the northeastern side of the island of Oahu. The base lies between the two largest windward Oahu communities of Kailua and Kaneohe. The base is approximately 12 miles northeast of Honolulu.
90% of Hawaii’s military presence is located on Oahu. On this island alone, there are eight military installations spread across both the leeward and windward sides.
Image by mcbhawaii.marines.mil
Marine Corps Base Hawaii is referred to as MCBH, MCB Hawaii, or just Kaneohe Bay within the military community. However, it’s located in Kailua, and if you live on base, your address will be as well.
MCBH has two gates. The main gate sits at the eastern end of Interstate H-3 that runs through the Koolau Mountains from Honolulu. The back gate (smaller and with limited hours) offers quicker access to Kailua and is the route you’d choose to run errands to Target, Whole Foods, or nearby restaurants.
View from Kualoa Ranch, Oahu- image via Canva
- The Ko’olau mountain range divides the island into leeward and windward sides.
- The leeward (west) side is known to be warmer and drier.
- The windward (east) side is typically comfortably breezy.
Oahu highway map via Travel Guide at Wikivoyage.
There are 3 major highways on Oahu: H-1 traversing the southern end of the island, including Honolulu; H-2 which breaks off H-1 into the central section; and H-3 leading east to Kaneohe (H-3 is one of the most beautiful drives in the world, where you can view the Ko’oalu mountains and numerous waterfalls).
Navigating traffic on Oahu can be challenging, especially in the tourist-heavy areas of Waikiki and around Honolulu. Even if you only have a few miles to drive, it could easily take an hour or more to drive west on H-1 out of Honolulu at certain times. The planned rail project running from Kualaka’i to the Ala Moana Center could help reduce some of the traffic.
While Hawaii is a U.S. state, it has some unique cultural differences. Hawaiians are very proud of their heritage, and you’ll see many statues and monuments honoring their early leaders, kings, and queens. Aloha means both hello and goodbye, but also a way of life. To live aloha means to live with compassion, love, and respect. Another word you’ll want to learn and use often is mahalo, for thank you. If you're a history buff, you'll find sites to explore such as the WWII Pearl Harbor or the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. You can still view shrapnel and bullet holes visible from the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941 on the PACAF HQ building on the Hickam side of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
You may have heard of “island fever,” but it’s easy enough to fix if you catch a quick flight to a neighboring island or the West Coast of the U.S. And you'll likely never lack for visiting family and friends from the mainland!
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The Inns of the Corps handles arrival lodging for military coming to MCBH. It’s located right inside the main gate and offers a variety of rooms including pet-friendly ones. Across the street is the Marine Mart and Kahunas; however, all base amenities are located nearby.
If the Inns cannot accommodate your arrival, you can look into another temporary lodging option like The Klipper Villas, The Fairway Inn, The Beach Cottages, and the Cabanas. The Cottages are located on the beach and double as a great getaway or an oasis for friends and family flying out to visit.
Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii 96863
Building Number 6534
Contact: (808) 254-2806
Marine Corps Base Hawaii - Kaneohe Bay Housing
Photo by Ohana Military Communities
‘Ohana Military Communities (by Hunt) handles on-base housing for MCBH as well as Camp Smith and the Manana neighborhood located in the heart of Oahu. Many choose to live on base to make the most of their BAH and take advantage of the tight-knit community and amenities.
Because ‘Ohana manages properties on both sides of the island, you may be hoping for a home on MCBH and get offered one on the leeward side of Oahu. You’re allowed to pass on two homes, but if you pass a third time, then you’re recycled to the back of the waiting list (which is often long as housing is competitive). The best thing that you can do is ensure that you know which neighborhood the property is located so that you don’t commit to something that you don’t want. Check with ‘Ohana Military Communities for a list of neighborhoods on MCBH.
Photo by Ohana Military Communities
‘Ohana Military Housing Office:
1571 Lawrence Road, 2nd Floor
Kailua, HI 96734
Office: (844) 227-4841
Leasing Phone: (877) 410-5708
Maintenance Requests: (808) 839-HELP (4357)
After Hours Maintenance: (808) 839-4357
For more information, contact the Marine Corps Base Hawaii Military Housing Office: 808-257-2676
Marine Corps Base Hawaii - Kaneohe Bay Off-Base Housing
Image by Canva
With the higher cost of living on Oahu, many military families choose to live in military housing, while others embrace off-base living. Renting allows military families the opportunity to experience the island like a local without the challenge of buying or selling an expensive home. Whether you choose a high rise in Honolulu or a single home farther out from the touristy areas and nearer to base, be sure to confirm your BAH before you start your house hunt. You’ll want to set realistic expectations before you look at rental properties.
If you’re coming from the mainland, you might assume that anywhere on the island offers a short commute to MCBH, and while the island is relatively small in size, you’ll find 953,207 residents here. So if you’re hoping for a quick commute to K-Bay, then Kailua and Kaneohe are your best options!
Oahu aerial view, image by Canva
What you can expect when househunting in Oahu:
Homes in Kailua and Kaneohe are often without central AC. You’ll likely find window units; however, use them sparingly as electricity is not cheap here! You can expect to find an apartment, condo, and some single-family homes with a small yard within your BAH. See the BAH Calculator.
Consider downsizing your household goods before you head to Hawaii. Many homes will be smaller than the average on the mainland with less storage space.
View homes for sale and houses for rent near Marine Corps Base Hawaii: Marine Corps Base Hawaii Homes
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Area Weather & Climate
Photo by Amanda Phung on Unsplash
With year-round sunshine, balmy breezes, and gorgeous beaches, get ready to enjoy the duty station of a lifetime. Leave your heavy jackets, sweaters, and snow boots behind because you won’t be needing them on Oahu unless you travel.
Aside from the “winter” rainy season, you’ll experience year-round perfect weather. Though you’ll likely find the 78 degree winter days a bit chilly, believe it or not!
The largest concern is hurricane season which runs from June 1 through November 30. However, tropical cyclones can occur year-round. Though a hurricane hasn’t made direct contact with Oahu since 1992, there are frequent threats. Though it usually doesn’t amount to more than a little wind and rain, the island takes it seriously, and supplies become a little scarce.
Learn more about it from the State of Hawaii Office of Public Health Preparedness.
Marine Corps Base Hawaii Area Schools
Oahu School Districts via Google Maps
Oahu has four districts--Honolulu, Windward, Central and Leeward--and nine “Complex” Areas. Each district contains two or three Complexes. A Complex is a high school plus the regional elementary and middle schools that feed into it. View more Oahu school district maps here.
Photo by Mokapu Elementary School Facebook Page
There is one DoDEA school on base, Mokapu Elementary. It’s within walking distance of most neighborhoods, and you’ll notice the sidewalk flooded with scooters, bikes, and children walking to and from school every morning and afternoon. However, there is a newer bus routine that provides an alternate commute option. Click here for registration information.
1193 Mokapu Rd.
Kailua, HI 96734
Contact: (808) 254-7964
The public schools on Oahu are administered by the Hawaii State Dept. of Education. Use their School Site Locator to find the nearest public school, from elementary through high school.
Image by Hawaii DOE— Oahu Map
Private school tuition is in line with national averages, with 71% of private schools in Hawaii having a religious affiliation. Find private school ratings at Hawaii’s Private School Review.
Homeschoolers in Hawaii must submit a letter of intent to the DOE and comply with testing requirements. See the Hawaii State Department of Education homeschool regulations. Find local homeschool support groups through the Hawaii Homeschool Association, Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii, and Military Homeschoolers of Oahu.
For those with kids of preschool age, the Armed Services YMCA located on MCBH offers half-day classes for kids ages two through five. However, you’ll find more options off base at Trinity Christian School, Kailua Baptist Preschool, Kailua Methodist Preschool, and more.
For any questions or concerns, contact the MCBH School Liaison Program.
Bldg 216, Room 14
Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii
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Support for Military & Families
Photo by Drew Farwell on Unsplash
The military spouse community in Oahu may be one of the closest you’ll find, with numerous spouse groups and events to attend, such as the island wide Joint Spouses’ Conference. And even better news, the unemployment rate in Honolulu is much lower than the nation’s average! There are unique military spouse employment opportunities. In addition to the huge tourism industry on the island, you'll find careers available in accommodations, healthcare, airlines, and teaching.
When it comes to the MCBH, if there’s ever a place to take advantage of base amenities, this is it. Often viewed as one of the nicest Marine Corps bases, you’ll find much of what you need right here on base— to include the fun stuff! If you’ve ever wanted to try scuba diving, there is a dive shop located near the bowling alley that offers certification courses. And for lower-key (but not less exciting) adventures, the MCCS Marine offers kayak, paddleboard, boat, and snorkel gear rentals to help you see all sides of Oahu both above and below the water.
Photo by Dan Visan on Unsplash
Families with younger kids will enjoy outings to Secret Beach, where the water is calm, and snorkeling guarantees a honu sighting (sea turtle). The Hale Koa beach is perfect for shelling, and North Beach (located in the Mololani neighborhood) attracts surfers and exposes exciting tidepools at low tide. Fort Hase is also an excellent spot to explore tide pools! And those are a few of the beaches just on base.
Off base, you’ll find Kailua and Lanikai Beaches. And further to the east (and completely worth the trip) is Bellows AF Station, with the beach of your dreams waiting for you.
Beyond the gates, you’ll have access to endless hikes offering incredible views of this incredible island in addition to huge tourist spots and historical landmarks like the USS Missouri, USS Arizona, Pearl Harbor, and more.
Photo by Wade Lambert on Unsplash
Some helpful links:
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Things to Do Near Marine Corps Base Hawaii
Photo by Curtis Reese on Unsplash
You’ll never be bored during your time in Hawaii! The island is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts who love to hike, surf, and golf, and also has great shopping, historical monuments, and festivals. Major local events include the Honolulu Marathon, King Kamehameha Floral Parade, North Shore surfing championships, and numerous UH sporting events. The area has also hosted the NFL Pro Bowl.
Some Oahu hikes to try:
- Diamond Head
- Chinaman’s Hat
- Kuliouou Ridge Trail
- Lanikai Pillbox
- Maunawili Falls Trail
- Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail
Makapu'u Lighthouse- Image via hawaii.gov
Oahu historical sites to explore:
- Iolani Palace
- Diamond Head State Monument
- National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
- Polynesian Cultural Arts Center
- Pearl Harbor
- USS Arizona
- USS Missouri
- USS Bowfin
Attractions where you can shop and eat:
- Ala Moana Center
- Waikiki Beach
- Dole Plantation
- Paradise Cove Luau
- Kualoa Ranch
Lanikai Pillbox Hike: This 1.8-mile, moderate hike offers an incredible view of the twin islands in Kailua.
Makapu’u Lighthouse: This paved 2-mile trail to the lighthouse is steep, but worth it. With views of Koko Head, Koko Crater, and miles of ocean (on a clear day you can see the islands of Molokai and Lanai), the view might become your favorite on the island. You may even see humpback whales during the migration season.
Pearl Harbor: See the effects of the attack on Pearl Harbor yourself with a trip to the USS Arizona, USS Missouri, USS Bowfin, and Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum at Pearl Harbor. The experience is incredibly sobering, emotional, and educational.
More Area Info
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P.O. Box 63073
MCBH Kaneohe Bay