Hiking, performances and some attractions and services are free or almost free. These activities are available all year around that can make an otherwise budget-busting vacation affordable without feeling destitute.
Fresh Flower leis!
They are quite inexpensive – ranging from $3.00 upward – and can come in a range of colors and fragrances that will amaze you. You can buy them in Chinatown on Oahu or at any florist in the islands. Buy one for your new bride or simply to make your wife's Hawaii vacation more special. Take one home for that special someone or show a client your appreciation. Most people will opt for the airport lei greeting. This is a long-standing Hawaii tradition that provides for an official lei greeter to meet you as you step off your flight in Hawaii.
The lei greeter drapes you with a fresh floral lei and then you are escorted to the baggage claim area and left to claim your bags. This is a great way to get through the airport and have an opportunity to have someone to assist you with your questions as you arrive. Costing about $10 per person, it's a perfectly unique and inexpensive way in which to be welcomed to the islands.
are available on all islands and most are free. There are many types of trails, from flat coastal area trails to inland waterfall and strenuous mountain ridge trails. By far the most popular and widely used trail on Oahu is the Diamond Head Crater Summit trail. This hike begins on the crater floor and continues up along the inside of the crater rim toward the summit. Once at the top you are rewarded with a sweeping view of the entire south shore of Oahu from the remnants of an old World War II bunker. Near Hilo on the Big Island is Akaka Falls. What used to be a muddy hike is now a short, safe paved loop from the parking lot through a canopy of tropical trees and flowers which culminates in spectacular views of one of Hawaii's largest waterfalls.
The Honolulu Zoo
is a very popular spot that is enjoyed by many. Situated across Kuhio Beach in Waikiki, it is Hawaii's largest and most comprehensive zoo. During the summer, concerts are held on the zoo's grounds in the late afternoons. Zoo admission is $6.00 for those 13 years and older, $1.00 for ages six to 12 and free for those five and under. Admission for the 1999 concert series is only $1.00.
The Waikiki Aquarium
is located in Kapiolani Park – just steps from Waikiki Beach. It showcases over 240 species of Hawaiian Islands and South Pacific marine life. You can also get a closer look at Hawaii's state fish (the Humuhumunukunukua'pua'a). Admission for adults is $7.00 and free for those six-12 years of age. The Arizona Memorial also is a free attraction; however, tickets are not given in advance so it is recommended that you arrive early and secure a ticket before browsing through the visitor's center. Ticket distribution begins daily at 7:30 a.m. The most efficient method of getting to or from the Memorial is via the Arizona Memorial shuttle. Round-trip transportation is available for under $10 per person.
The Royal Hawaiian Band
has weekly scheduled performances at the Kapiolani Park Bandstand in Waikiki every Sunday between 2 and 3:15 p.m., and on the grounds of the Iolani Palace in Downtown Honolulu every Friday between 12:15 and 1:15 p.m. Also on Fridays in Downtown Honolulu is the Mayor's Aloha Friday Lunch Time Music Break at Tamarind Park on the corner of Bishop and South King Streets between noon and 1 p.m. Bring a sandwich along and make it a picnic!
On Friday nights
Take the time to enjoy the “Strolling Hula Dancers” on Kaläkaua Avenue. This is a unique strolling hula show held between 8 and 10 p.m. Join Clyde Lono, Auntie Pudgie Young and their hula dancers as they stroll along Kalakaua Avenue performing at various points along the way in Waikiki (including the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center and King Kalakaua Plaza).
Molehu in Waikiki
(Twilight in Waikiki), where you'll find a torch lighting pageant, Hawaiian music and hula dancing, is held every Saturday and Sunday night at 6:30 p.m. at Kuhio Beach Banyan near the Duke Kahanamoku statue.
Most of all, remember that the best of Hawaii's sunsets, sunrises, rainbows, beaches, sand, marine life, scenic vistas, ocean views and waterfalls are ALL free