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10 free things to do on Oahu
When it comes to Hawaii vacations, they can be expensive! Getting to Hawaii, from anywhere, is going to be costly. The average hotel room in Hawaii is $264 per night, and we haven’t even talked about renting a car. (Hint, the Jeep is worth the extra money!)
Fortunately, some of the best things to do in Hawaii are free. I’ve written a series about free things to do in Hawaii, and we’re moving on to the most popular island for tourism, Oahu. Once you’re finished, don’t forget to check out the rest of the series here:
1. Visit Pearl Harbor
Visiting Pearl Harbor is almost always on the list of things to do on Oahu. It’s a solemn place, but it’s somewhere that you need to see if you are visiting Oahu. If you or your family has any military background, it is an absolute must-do.
One of the things that I always tell my clients is that I will not tell you to buy a ticket for something you can do for free. Sure, you can do a guided tour if you want to, but you can also visit Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial for free. The best way to get a free ticket to the USS Arizona Memorial is to show up when the park opens at 7 AM. Here is a hint, plan to go earlier on your trip. You’ll be awake, I promise!
2. Check out the famous Waikiki Beach
Let me tell you a secret: Waikiki Beach isn’t my favorite beach on Oahu, not even close. That said, I know it’s on your bucket list! The good news? Hawaii’s beaches are completely free and open to the public. If you’re staying in a Waikiki Hotel, you can walk right down to the beach. Even if you are staying outside of Waikiki, it’s easy enough to get to the beach.
3. Check out the Hawaii State Art Museum
The Hawaii State Art Museum is small, but it’s also free. The museum also holds regular events for the public, including “First Friday,” a gallery walk held on the first Friday of every month. Check out the calendar of events to see what is happening during your Oahu visit.
4. See Fireworks at the Hilton Hawaiian Village
The Hilton Hawaiian Village hosts a firework show every Friday at 7:45 PM. It’s part of a resort show, but anyone can watch the fireworks. All Hawaii beaches are open to the public, so you can bring chairs or a towel and sit on the beach to watch the show.
The Hilton Hawaiian Village is one of my favorite resorts on Oahu. If you’re looking for a place to stay, it’s a great option. You can check the current pricing here.
5. Learn the Hula, lei Making, ‘ukulele and more
The Royal Hawaiian Center offers complimentary classes from Monday-Saturday. You can learn arts like ‘ukulele playing, lei making, hula dancing, and lauhala making. Check out the Royan Hawaiian Center Cultural Programming Schedule to learn more.
6. Hike the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail
If you’ve read any of my other free things to do in Hawaii posts, you’ll know that I love hiking. You do have to pay to park to enter some hiking trails, but fortunately not at the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail. The path is completely paved, making it ideal for most ages and ability levels.
7. Check out sea turtles at Laniakea Beach
Also known as “turtle beach,” Laniakea Beach is one of the best places to see sea turtles on Oahu. You’ll find the beach on the North Shore between Haleiwa and Waimea Bay off of Highway 83. Please remember that the law protects sea turtles, and you should never try to touch or approach them. You are in their home, so make sure to show them respect.
8. Go snorkeling
My favorite place to snorkel on Oahu is Hanauma Bay. You can save money by bringing your own snorkel equipment.
If you’re lucky enough to visit Oahu in the winter, you’ll likely be able to see some incredible waves on the North Shore. The best spots for watching winter waves are Sunset Beach, Ehukai Beach, and Waimea Beach. You might even spot some humpback whales!
10. Lanikai Beach
Lanikai Beach is one of the best beaches on Oahu, which is why it’s making the list of the best free things to do on Oahu. This beach is a popular spot for snorkeling, swimming, and kayaking. Pillbox Hike (Kaiwa Ridge Trail) is also nearby and a fantastic moderate level hike.
Free Oahu Activities
There you have it – 10 free things to do on Oahu. If you’re looking for more things to do during your vacation, make sure to check out 100 things to do in Hawaii. If you have anything to add to the list, please email me or share in the comments below. Planning an Oahu vacation and looking for more information? Check out some of my other Oahu blog posts:
- 10 best things to do on Oahu
- 10 best things to do in Waikiki
- The 7 Best Luxury Resorts on Oahu
- What is the best luau in Hawaii?
- My best Hawaii travel tips
- The questions you’re afraid to ask about Hawaii
Book your Oahu vacation with a Hawaii Travel Specialist
If you’re looking for an Oahu honeymoon vacation personalized just for you, give me a call! I specialize in working with clients to create the perfect vacation for you. That means no packages; everything is personalized. Make sure to contact me or go ahead and fill out a custom travel request, and I’ll get back to you to start planning ASAP!
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