Honolulu on A Budget? 5 Activities That Won’t Break the Bank


Honolulu. The vacation spot of dreams. For many, the money spent will take some time to accumulate, but that’s all a part of the excitement.

The build-up. The anticipation of a well-earned break whether that’s solo or with a group or family is something that makes it all worthwhile.

When thoughts turn to affordability and how to save money on vacation, Honolulu has many great options.

From Mother Nature’s offerings to all-inclusive offers, it is all at your fingertips from the moment you arrive, and even before.

This is all about creating memories and having the best experience possible.

Let’s look at some activities when visiting Honolulu that will have your budget smiling, and your wallet along with it.

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Aerial shot of mountains on the coast with Honolulu in the background.

Become an Explorer

All the Islands of Hawaii are begging to be explored and in and around the city of Honolulu there are plenty of low-cost and free activities that will help scratch that itch.

Where do you start?

Right outside your accommodation door.

Let’s Take a Walk

Walking the streets of this magnificent city is one way to get to know your surroundings a little better. You will soon locate the interesting restaurants, the local stores you can visit for those known-to-happen late-night snack binges, and the specialty souvenir stores you’ll want to spend all day in. Locals will invite you in, and you will feel more at home by the simple act of walking.

For a bit more structure to your walk maybe a guided one is for you. Downloadable Walking Maps are available for those who want a bit more purpose than simply a stroll. The Royal Hawaiian offers complimentary walking tours for just this visitor.

Learn about the area and the locals. Tales of Hawaiian Royalty, historical stories and legends and end up back where you began with a head full of facts and interesting titbits to convey to others when you return home.

Hike to Heaven

If adventure is more your style, then get those hiking boots on and let’s go.

Hawaii is known for its stunning landscapes and budget-friendly hiking trails to show it all off.

Try the Diamond Head crater of Kapahulu. The views alone will stay with you forever, and the history of this volcanic crater will humble you. This is especially a good trail if you have kids in tow as it is not too strenuous nor is it a very long distance at only approximately 1 mile.

The reward for your trip will be the vista. The natural landscape of your surroundings and then the Honolulu skyline and Pacific Ocean majesty will win you over.

Don’t forget the camera.

What a great experience.

Large group of hula dancers dancing at night in Honolulu Hawaii for a cheap activity to do.

Watch the Dance

Visit Kuhio Beach Park for a treat of Hula dances waiting to show everyone their moves.

Located at the far eastern corner of Waikiki Beach, hear authentic music, and see the cultural dance of the ancient Hawaiians rich in Polynesian history.

The free shows start at 6:30 PM and run Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Check for times as the dance moves with the sunset.

Be warned. You may catch the hula dance bug and want to take the first available lessons.

Why not. It's all a part of the experience.

A person cutting fish meat on a cutting board in a kitchen after going on a fishing activity.

Visit the Honolulu Fish Auction

Now, this is not something visitors see every day.

Spend some time out of the ordinary at the Honolulu Fish Auctions. Here you will witness tuna auctions that command the attention of all seafood wholesalers and suppliers on the islands.

Guided tours are available for around $25, but the facility is open to the public for free.

For fresh seafood lovers, you can now be educated on how it all happens from fishing dock to restaurant.

Clean and efficient, the grounds are a fascination for those who want to see something a bit different.

Well worth it.

Aerial shot of Pearl Harbor attraction in Honolulu Hawaii with water and trees surrounding it.

Take In Some Culture at Historical Landmarks

Museums, art galleries, and places of historical interest are excellent ways to learn more about the other side of Hawaii. Culture plays such an important role and visitors can get to taste a large portion of how natives once lived, what was important to them and their communities, and how it still has significance in today’s world.

King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center

This museum and educational center are in downtown Honolulu and was initially opened by Hawaii’s State Judiciary.

It helps visitors understand the judicial processes and legal history of Hawaii by providing tours, workshops, exhibits, and artifacts from years past. Admission is free and there are also guided tours available if that is your preferred method of securing more knowledge of these beautiful islands. 

Visit the Pearl Harbor Naval Base

This tumultuous time in American history is showcased with images and depictions of that time in history along with the contrasting beauty of the harbor.

This attraction is a first-in-first-served activity and is free from around 7:00 AM. There are also paid tours if you want to see and experience more.

Take a Ride to the Top of the Aloha Tower

Located halfway between Honolulu Airport and Waikiki, this is one of Honolulu’s most distinctive and memorable landmarks boasting views you will speak of with awe and the 10th-floor observation deck experience which should not be missed.

Built-in 1926 to celebrate Honolulu’s entrance as a major port, the surrounds of the tower include markets, shops, and regular events to keep you entertained.

This venue is free of charge and is a must-see for those wanting a destination of Aloha and historical significance.

A rack of surfboards on the left with the beach, a palm tree and ocean on the right in the background.

Breathe in That Salt Air

Halona Cove

Fancy a few hours at a famous beach? Many of us would recall the famous beach location of the film From Here to Eternity with Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr rolling around embracing, well the beach is called Halona Cove. Located around 15 minutes from Waikiki, it is a spectacular site with its lava rocks and specialness alone, without its ties to Hollywood.

One to visit.

For those too young to recall the movie, do yourself a favor.

Waikiki Beach

For many travelers, their accommodation won’t be far from this popular beach. It will soon become apparent why this beach draws people in. The color of the water, the atmosphere of holidaymakers, and the simpleness of life are quite tangible here.

A definite must-do without it costing more than a couple of drinks to quench your thirst.

It’s All in The Planning

So, how else do you save money on your Honolulu vacation?

Check for all-inclusive hotel deals when booking your stay. Many hotels offer complimentary breakfast and some even have free activities for kids.

When the tummies start to rumble, food trucks offer excellent local fare at reasonable prices, and buffets offer great value for money.

A bit of research is your best friend while traveling with a budget in mind. 

They say some of the best things in life are free. This puts that to the test. Your budget needn’t take a hit when traveling to Honolulu. There is plenty to see and do here with many being low-cost.

Take the opportunity when you can, to visit this stunning part of the world.

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