This brief article is meant to introduce you to some of the free attractions, and activities you can partake in on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Below we've covered a few of our favorite free or nearly free activities that won't leave your wallet empty.
Watch Surfers at O'ahu's North Shore
O'ahu's North Shore is home to the top world-class surfers in the world during the winter months when the waves reach their highest.
Take a Walking Tour of Historic Honolulu
Strolling around Historic Honolulu is not only good for your health, you will get a chance to experience the history of the town. Make sure you stop in the Iolani Palace, where the Hawaiian monarchy resided.
Hike to the Top of Diamond Head
This hike is an absolute must during your trip to Oahu.
Once you get to the top, an absolutely wonderful 365-degree view of Oahu is waiting. Bring your cameras to capture it all.
The trail head is the parking lot with a $5.00 per car fee.
Go Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay
If snorkeling is something you'd like to try, we suggest here.
Hanauma Bay is both a Nature Preserve and a Marine Life Conservation District where visitors are required by law to refrain from mistreating marine animals or from touching, walking, or otherwise having contact with the coral.
Entrance Fee - $1.00 per car to park and $5.00 per person to enter.
Relax and Have Lunch at Kapi'olani Park
Kapi'olani Park is the largest and oldest public park in Hawaii. It is located on the east end of Waikiki, and ideal for some relaxing with the ones you love.
The park is home to the Honolulu Zoo, Waikiki, Aquarium, Waikiki Shell, and Waikiki Bandstand. It is host to many annual festivals and numerous sports activities.
Park Admission Fee - Free
Zoo General Admission (13 years and older) $8.
See the Views from the Nu'uanu Pali Lookout
None as one of the windiest spots on Oahu, from the lookout you have beautiful views of Kane'ohe Bay, Kailua, the Ko'olau Mountains and the Mokapu Peninsula which is home to the Kane'ohe Marine Corps Base.
Make sure to read the placards giving the history of the site.
Admission is Free
Feel at Peace at the Byodo-In Temple in the Valley of the Temples
The Byodo-In Temple was built in the 1960's to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrant workers in Hawaii who came to work in the sugar plantation fields. It is a replica of the 950-year-old Byodoin Temple located in Uji, Japan on the southern outskirts of Kyoto. It recently became more popular due to the fact that the hit show, Lost was filmed here.
Entrance Fee - $2.00 per person.
Wander Honolulu's Chinatown
Although still primarily Chinese, you will see many shops and restaurants run by Vietnamese, Japanese, Filipinos, Laotians, and Koreans.
Admission is free, but the great food is something you'll have to pay for.
Learn About Hawaii's Plantation Era at Hawaii's Plantation Village and Museum
Hawaii's Plantation Village is a non-profit, living history museum and ethno-botanical garden located on a 50-acre site in the heart of sugar plantation country in Waipahu.
Established by the Friends of Waipahu Cultural Garden Park, its mission is to ensure that the struggles, sacrifices, innovations and contributions of Hawaii's sugar plantation forebears are preserved and acknowledged as the cornerstone of Hawaii's successful multi-ethnic society.
Hawaii's Plantation Village opened its doors in 1992 and offers docent-led tours through the Village as well as special events and activities.
Admission Fee: Adults - $13, Seniors - $10, Youth (4-11) - $5, Children (3 and under) - free
Stroll Through the International Marketplace
For many visitors to Waikiki the International Market Place is one of the places that they most remember. For repeat visitors, it's one of the few places in Waikiki that always seems to be there and, for the most part, always looks the same.
A bazaar of clothes, jewelry and souvenirs from over 100 of the island's most colorful merchants are all set under the shade of a large banyan tree. The International Food Court offers a variety of local and international cuisine, plus free Hawaiian entertainment five nights a week.
Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. 2330 Kalakaua Ave., next to Waikiki Town Center.
Admission Fee - Free (souvenirs cost money!)
Enjoy a Festival or Annual Event
O'ahu is home to over 100 festivals and events throughout the year that celebrate culture, community, music and art.