While Hawaii may be a top travel destination, it’s also among the most expensive places in the U.S. And for the budget-conscious tourist, that can be an intimidating thought. Don’t get discouraged, though; there are still lots of affordable (and free) things to do. It just takes a little bit of research and flexibility.

Here’s a list to start with; how you can experience Oahu with under $10.

1- Hike Diamond Head/$1 admission

The 300,000-year-old crater is among the most iconic sites on the island. You can see it from almost anywhere on Oahu’s south shore. The trail itself was used by the military, but today, hundreds of hikers from all over the world enjoy climbing to the top every day of the year. Lets be honest, though, pretty much any other hike you come across will be free, so consider those as well.

2- Slurp Up Shave Ice• $4 to $6

You can bet that this flavored ice treat won’t cost more than $10. If it does, then you’re probably getting ripped off, or it’s one huge cone of shave ice. Sample some on the North Shore or even closer to Waikiki. Waiola Shave Ice has some of the softest and tastiest shave ice there is.

3- Explore Dole Plantation• $5 adults, $4.25 children

Whether you go here for the pineapple ice cream or the world’s largest maze, you definitely won’t spend more than $10 at Dole. The plantation is a huge tourist attraction that honors a favorite tropical fruit, the pineapple, and lets visitors enjoy it for cheap.

4- Treasure Hunt at the Swap Meet• $1 parking fee

For trinkets and treasures of the island, go to Aloha Stadium’s swap meet. It happens every weekend and on Wednesdays; just be sure to get there in the morning for the best parking and best stuff. Most of the local snacks and coconut drinks will be less than $10, so make sure to get some before they run out.

5- Dive into the Waikiki Aquarium• $9 general admission; $6 military/students/seniors/Kamaaina; $2 junior admission (5-12); FREE children under 4

There’s always something fun (and usually free) going on at the aquarium. They seem to have public events every other weekend. Located just minutes from Waikiki, the aquarium is home to unique underwater species. Kids can also get hands on with some ocean critters or get up close to the turtles.

Photo Credit: Bruce Fisher


  1. That is a great list of things to do. My buddy Tommy and his wife Heather just left for Hawaii… today if I am not mistaken. They are moving to Oahu. You two should meet. He's a riot. When we were there last we did the hike, did the Dole plantation and the swap meet. We are headed to Maui next. Got a list of 10 things to do there for under $10?

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