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10 houses for sale in the happiest American beach towns

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4. Hilo, Hawaii
Hilo, Hawaii |

4. Hilo, Hawaii

List price: $1.99 million

Film sets can only aspire to the old Hawaiian ambiance of this 81-year-old jewel, situated with its own waterfall on 9 oceanfront acres at the mouth of Honoli'i Stream, just a short drive north from Hilo.

The 3,005-square-foot home features 4 bedrooms, 4 1/2 baths, copious picture windows with sweeping water views, an oversized master suite with spacious walk-in shower, and a concrete boat ramp to the stream.

Listing agent Rebecca Hirsch-Keliihoomalu, of MacArthur Sotheby's International Realty, says having one of the island's most popular surfing spots on the home's front porch is "completely unique to the island, if not the state."

What makes Hilo special?

Hilo's bayfront comes alive with sights, sounds and especially the tastes of its popular Suisan fish market, farmer's market and okazuya, an old-school, walk-up deli district that serves traditional Hawaiian, Thai, Indian and Japanese specialties.

Inland from the Big Island's scenic, expensive coastlines, homes are remarkably affordable, with the average price running $259,000 in Hilo, according to

"The word on the street is, we're supposed to be poised for major growth, and it's a blessing and a curse," Hirsch-Keliihoomalu says. "But we've got a long way to go; we're 4,000 square miles of land and a population of 200,000."

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