Hawaii has a lot to offer, but there are certain activities that won't cost you a dime. If you're planning a trip to the Hawaiian islands, be sure to check out this list of ten things you can do for free – and make the most of your time in paradise.
Here are 10 free things to do in Hawaii:
- Hike Diamond Head State Monument
This is an easy hike with beautiful views at the top.
The walk up to Diamond Head State Monument offers sweeping views of Waikiki and Honolulu, along with an interesting history lesson.
Located at the end of Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head is a volcanic tuff cone that rises 1,207 feet above sea level. The crater's interior is filled with a lush forest and provides a habitat for numerous species of flora and fauna.
The hike is well maintained and has sections of stairs, but it's not difficult terrain. The trailhead begins near the intersection of Kapahulu Avenue and Diamond Head Road and continues upward for about a mile. Near the top there are several viewing areas where you can stop and enjoy spectacular views of Honolulu and Waikiki Beach below.
- Visit Waikiki Beach
The Waikiki Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Hawaii. It's a great place to visit if you want to relax and enjoy the sun, surf and sand.
The beach itself is located in Honolulu, but it's also part of Oahu's famous Diamond Head State Monument. The name Waikiki comes from an old Hawaiian word that means “spouting water.” This refers to the many water spouts (or geysers) that are found along the coast.
The first visitors to Waikiki were fishermen who came here to catch tuna and other fish. They built their homes on the beach and began selling food to passing ships. Soon, more people started coming here to enjoy themselves. Today, there are many hotels, restaurants and shops along Waikiki Beach as well as a number of tourist attractions nearby including Diamond Head Crater and Ala Moana Center Mall.
- Walk along the Honolulu waterfront
The Honolulu waterfront is a great place to walk, and you'll find plenty of other people doing the same thing. The area is a popular spot for joggers and dog walkers, and it's also home to several parks with picnic tables, playground equipment and restrooms.
You can start at Ala Moana Park and head south along the shoreline until you reach Waikiki Beach. If you're feeling adventurous, take Kalakaua Avenue into Waikiki and explore some of the shops or grab a bite to eat at any one of the many restaurants along the famous strip.
If you're looking for something a little different, try walking through Chinatown on S. King Street just east of Fort Street Mall. The neighborhood has been home to Chinese immigrants since the early 20th century and still retains many of its historic buildings and businesses today.
If you'd rather stay close to downtown Honolulu, walk along Punchbowl Street in Makiki Heights between Vineyard Boulevard (near Ala Moana Boulevard) and Pensacola Street (near King Street).
- See a show at the Honolulu Theatre for Youth
The Honolulu Theatre for Youth is a great place to take your family.
There are two locations. One is located on Diamond Head and the other one is on Kapahulu Ave. Both locations have shows that run year round, but only the Diamond Head location has shows during the summer months (June-August).
There are lots of shows available for children ages 3-10 years old. Some shows are appropriate for babies as well as adults who want to see them too (like me!). They also have shows that older kids can enjoy as well. There are three different genres: musicals (which feature singing), comedies and dramas (which feature acting).
You can even make reservations ahead of time so that you know exactly where you will be sitting once you get there!
- Go surfing at Ala Moana Beach Park or Waikiki Beach Park
If you're looking for some fun in the sun, then you should consider going surfing at Ala Moana Beach Park or Waikiki Beach Park.
Ala Moana Beach Park is located near downtown Honolulu, on the south shore of Oahu. This beach park was once an Army Depot and is now open to the public as a park. The beach itself is very wide, so there's plenty of room for everyone to enjoy their time here.
The water at Ala Moana Beach Park can be shallow or deep depending on how close it is to land. This makes it a great place for beginners who are just learning how to surf because they won't have as far to go before they reach the shore if they fall off their board!
- Learn about Hawaiian culture at the Bishop Museum, which is free on Sundays
The Bishop Museum is a wonderful place to visit. The museum offers tours of their collection as well as special events. They also have a great library and archives.
The Bishop Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop and his wife Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, who was descended from the Kamehameha Dynasty. The museum was originally conceived as a repository for Hawaiian culture and history, but has since expanded its focus to include other Pacific cultures and natural sciences.
The museum is located across from Honolulu's Waikiki Beach and is open seven days a week from 9 AM to 5 PM (closed on New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day). Admission is free on Sundays!
- Drive through the Nuuanu Pali Lookout, which offers views of the Windward Coast and West Oahu
Driving through the Nuuanu Pali Lookout, which offers views of the Windward Coast and West Oahu, is a must-do on any Hawaiian vacation. The lookout is located at the top of a steep winding road, so it's best to park your car at the bottom and climb up on foot.
As you climb up the mountain, there are several different trails to choose from. Some go right up to the edge of the cliff; others take you down into the ravine below. You'll definitely want to wear shoes that are sturdy enough for climbing and not flip-flops or sandals.
Once you're at the top of the lookout, there's a small gift shop where you can buy snacks, water bottles, hats and other souvenirs before heading out again. The view from here is breathtaking — especially if you get lucky enough to see a rainbow over Oahu's coast on your way back down!
- Take a surf lesson at Waikiki Beach's Waikiki Aquarium Hotel or Splashes Haleiwa on Oahu's North Shore
This Hawaiian surf school offers lessons for all experience levels and ages. The instructors are friendly, patient and helpful — they'll make sure you get up on the board, even if it takes several tries.
Once you're in the water, you'll be able to enjoy the waves at your own pace. The instructors will help you out with technique as needed.
If you're staying at Splashes Haleiwa, there are plenty of beach activities to do while waiting for your next lesson — including swimming with dolphins!
- Watch sunset at the beach
Sunset at the beach is a free activity.
There's no better way to relax than with a good book and a glass of wine while watching the sun go down over the ocean. And there's no better place to do this than on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. This 4-mile stretch of sand is home to nearly 17 million visitors per year — making it one of the busiest beaches in America — but it still manages to remain uncrowded during sunset hours. The soft sand and gentle waves make it an ideal spot for people-watching, too! Sunset at the beach offers an amazing view of nature's finest creations.
- See the Foodland Pineapple Farm Plantation
The Foodland Pineapple Farm Plantation tour is a great way to learn about the history of pineapple in Hawaii and how this delicious fruit has helped shape the state’s culture.
The tour takes you through a variety of exhibits, including a pineapple garden, a gift shop, an orchid greenhouse and an education center. You’ll learn about how pineapples are grown and harvested, as well as other interesting facts about this popular fruit.
At the end of the tour, visitors can sample a variety of different pineapple products, including juice, jam and candy.
This tour is great for families with young children because it provides an opportunity for them to learn more about Hawaii’s agriculture while enjoying some tasty treats.
Whether you're a first time visitor, or a seasoned traveler, this guide will show you 10 free things to do in Hawaii.
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