The best things in life – and in Hawaii – are free. Watching the changing colors as the sun dips below the ocean, swimming in the crystal-clear waters, and having a lazy day on the beach are among my favorite things do here. And they are all free things to do on Oahu.
Unfortunately, getting here, staying here, and eating here comes at a price. But here at Hawaii Aloha Travel, we aim to help you get the best bang for your buck while also offering you the best experience possible.
Sure, some things do cost money, but you can offset these things with a number of free activities to keep your budget in check Because all of us here at Hawaii Aloha Travel live in Hawaii, we know what the best things to do are. And because we also like to save money ourselves, we’re always on the lookout for the best free things to do. That’s why we created our Oahu Super Saver All Inclusive Vacation Pacakage – so that you can experience all of the best things that Oahu has to offer at a reasonable price that can’t be beat.
So, when you want to go beyond the beach and the waves, check out some of these free things to do on Oahu. They truly are the best things in life!
Pay Your Respects at Pearl Harbor
Did you know that The USS Arizona Memorial hands out 1,300 free tickets every day? For your best chances of getting one, come as soon as the park opens at 7:00 am. These tickets are given out on a first come, first serve basis.
Each ticket is assigned a time, and the program runs every 15 minutes. And there are plenty of things to do while you wait – all for free. You can visit the Exhibit Galleries, “Road to War” and “Attack, view the Interpretive Wayside Exhibits around the park, and walk through the Remembrance Circle, which pays tribute to the men, women, and children, both military and civilian, who were killed on December 7, 1941.
And if you prefer to come back later in the day, you can also request the time you want. As long as it is still available, you can get it. The program runs from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., with the exception of 12:15 and 12:30.
In order to get into the park right away, do not bring any bags or purses. You will not be allowed into the park with one, so you will waste time getting to a locker or putting it back into your car.
Picnic at Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden
The Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden in Kaneohe is one of Oahu’s best-kept secrets. From a small art gallery to fishing programs, this garden has it all.
The word Hoʻomaluhia means “to make a place of peace and tranquility,” and Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens truly is a place of peace and tranquility. When you arrive, first go to the visitor’s center to get a map, and talk to the volunteers about all of the different trails.
Because the Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden is a bit off the beaten path, it’s usually quiet. The botanical garden has a variety of plants, including cacao, allspice, lipstick plant, heliconias, and more. A lovely picnic area with a damn and mountains in the background makes for a peaceful afternoon.
Wander Around the Hawaii State Art Museum
The Hawaii State Art Museum is always free for everyone. The mission of the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts is to promote, perpetuate, preserve and encourage culture and the arts as central to the quality of life of the people of Hawaii. The museum itself is pretty small, so you could probably see all of it in an hour or two.But, the Hawaii State Art Museum also has a number of free events that are open to the public. These events include “First Friday,” a downtown gallery walk held on the first Friday of every month. Galleries and museums, including the Hawaii State Art Museum, are open for the event which is free to the public. The Hawaii State Art Museum also hosts a number of Art Lunches, where you get to meet local artists. For a calendar of all of the museum’s events, click here.
Watch Hula Dancing
It’s not often that you find entertainment that’s free in Hawaii, but I found one! There is a free hula show at Waikiki’s Kuhio Beach every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights, weather permitting.
Bring a beach towel and a picnic dinner and watch this free, hour-long show. It includes authentic Hawaiian music and hula performances as well as a torch lighting ceremony. Note that it may not take place on a holiday, and there will be no snows from August 7 – 21, 2017 due to maintenance.
The show takes place at the Kuhio Beach Hula Mound on Waikiki Beach near the intersection of Uluniu and Kalakaua Avenues in Waikiki. Look for the grassy mound near the Duke Kahanomoku statue and the large Banyan trees.
Show times alternate from 6:00 pm and 6:30 pm depending on the season and sunset. Generally, during the winter months of November, December, January the show is held at 6:00 pm. Generally, from February – October, the show starts at 6:30 pm. Call 808-843-8002 for specific information during your stay.
Every Friday at 7:45 pm, the Hilton Hawaiian Village puts on its fireworks show. Although the fireworks is a finale for one of their resort shows, anyone can see the fireworks!
Since all beaches in Hawaii are free and open to the public, you can bring a towel, sit on the beach, and watch for free.
Pro Tip: Walking along Waikiki beach at night is my favorite thing to do in Waikiki. The lights from the city keep the beach illuminated, but it’s quieter, cooler, and less crowded than during the day. Going on a walk on the beach after a nice dinner in Waikiki is my favorite way to end a romantic evening with my husband.
Hike the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail
Some hiking trails on Oahu cost money to park at or enter. But the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail is always free. This trail was recently renovated and it completely paved, with a number of lookout points along the way.
The parking can be tricky because this hike has gotten so popular. I highly recommend going early in the morning to beat the crowds and the sun. The trail is short but steep in parts, so take your time and enjoy the beautiful views!
There is absolutely no shade on this trail, no bathrooms, and no water fountains. Come prepared by wearing sneakers, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Carry water with you during your hike.
Pro Tip: In the winter, the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail is a great – and free – place to look for whales!
Visit the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
Although not as popular at some other historic sights, this is a solemn, breathtaking experience. Burial in a national cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces who have met a minimum active duty service requirement and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
Punchbowl Crater was created between 75,000 and 100,000 years ago when hot lava ejected through cracks in the coral reefs.
Its Hawaiian name, “Puowaina,” translates to “Hill of Sacrifice.” Although it took many years to get the funding for the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, it was important to many to have a place permanent burial site in Hawaii. The cemetery opened to the public on July 19, 1949, with services for four servicemen and war correspondent Ernie Pyle.
The cemetery is open daily. Sept. 30 through March 1, it is open from 8:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. March 2 through Sept. 29, it is open from 8:00 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. On Memorial Day, the cemetery is open from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.
Learn New Skills at the Royal Hawaiian Center
The Royal Hawaiian Center is committed to promoting and sharing Hawaiian performing and visual arts. So, the Royal Hawaiian Center offers complimentary classes Monday–Saturday, and live entertainment Tuesday–Saturday. Expert kumu (teachers) will teach you arts including lei making, lauhala weaving, hula, ‘ukulele playing and more! You can even learn skills that you can bring back with you to the mainland, like Lomilomi Hawaiian Massage. Click here for the schedule.Bonus: The Honolulu Museum of Art also has two free days per month, Admission is free on the third Sunday of the month from 11am-5pm. Admission is also free on the first Wednesday of every month, all day.
Oahu Super Saver All Inclusive
No matter your budget, we want to make your dreams of a Hawaiian vacation a reality. That’s why we’ve worked with thousands of customers over the years to fine tune our affordable All Inclusive Oahu Super Saver package, which combines the best of the excitement of Waikiki with the serenity of the island. Prices start at 799.00 per person not including airfare and hotel.
Included in this package is a Private Jeep Circle Island Tour, one of the island’s best luaus, a tour of Pearl Harbor, and a dinner cruise. During your free day, you can purchase some add-ons or explore some of these free activities on your own.
Call us today to book your Oahu Super Saver All Inclusive vacation package. We will work with you to make your dreams of a Hawaiian vacation a reality!