Hey there travel enthusiasts and welcome to my post where we will check out my 9 best things to do on Oahu for free. As we know, travel can be expensive, especially if moving around with your family in tow. Luckily, if you find yourself on Oahu, you will find that the island is full of free activities that are perfect for families, couples and solo travelers alike.

Best Things To Do On Oahu For Free - Header

From hiking trails with stunning views to beaches with crystal-clear waters, there’s something for everyone. So, grab your sunscreen and get ready to explore the best things to do on Oahu for free.

  1. Hiking Trails
  2. Beaches
  3. Waterfalls
  4. Snorkeling
  5. Pearl Harbor
  1. Historic Honolulu
  2. Attractions and Tours
  3. Local Entertainment
  4. Dole Plantation

Best Things To Do On Oahu For Free

As above and before we begin, it is important to remember that even though Oahu is a relatively small island, moving around is not always as easy as you would think. So even though the activities and attractions listed below are free, you are usually always going to have to pay for transport of some sort to get there. Just something to keep in mind.

Ok, now let’s check out my top 10 things to do for nix below:

1. Hiking Trails

Oahu is home to some of the most beautiful hiking trails in Hawaii. The Manoa Falls hike is a popular choice for those looking to explore lush greenery and a stunning waterfall and the Lanikai Pillbox hike is another great option, offering panoramic views of the ocean and the Mokulua Islands.

If you’re up for a challenge, Diamond Head located a short distance form Honolulu is a must-visit, the hike to the top is steep, but the views from the summit are worth it. Keep in mind that some of these hikes require a permit, however in most cases these are free as well. Parking fees however can apply in some areas.

Check out these: Best Hiking Trails on Oahu

2. Beaches

Oahu is known for its stunning beaches and the best part is that most of them are free to access. If you have a car (I know fuel is a cost but we won’t worry about that here), why not head up to the North Shore and check out some of the most famous surfing beaches on the planet. Check out Sunset Beach, Waimea Bay and of course, the Banzai Pipeline. There is plenty to look at there away from the be3ach as well.

Alternatively, Lanikai Beach is a great place to relax and soak up the sun or if you are staying in Honolulu, then Waikiki Beach is another must-visit, with its golden sand and iconic view of Diamond Head.

Best Things To Do On Oahu For Free - Waikiki Beach

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3. Waterfalls

We have already discussed the hiking options above, and in addition that this, many of these hikes will have you end up at a waterfalls. Oahu is home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Hawaii such as the Manoa Falls hike that we mentioned earlier.

Another popular option is the Waimea Falls hike, which takes you through a botanical garden before ending at a waterfall that you can swim in.

Check out these: Best Waterfalls in Hawaii

4. Snorkeling

Nestled within a volcanic crater on the south eastern coast of Oahu, Hanauma Bay is a nature preserve that is known for its crystal-clear waters and diverse marine life.

The bay’s crystal-clear waters and thriving coral reefs make it a snorkeler’s paradise. Home to over 400 species of marine life including colorful tropical fish, octopuses and green sea turtles, Hanauma Bay offers visitors an unparalleled opportunity to observe and interact with a diverse array of underwater inhabitants in their natural habitat.

For non-snorkelers, the bay’s sandy shores are framed by lush green cliffs, providing a picturesque backdrop for sunbathers and beachgoers. The surrounding area also offers hiking trails that lead to vantage points with breathtaking panoramic views of the bay and the vast Pacific Ocean.

Best of all, access to the beach and snorkeling is free – however there is a small cost should you need to hire snorkeling gear and some parking fees may apply too.

Best Places to Snorkel in Hawaii - Hanauma Bay

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5. Pearl Harbor

No visit to Oahu would be complete without a trip to Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor is a U.S. naval base that became the focal point of a pivotal moment in world history where on December 7, 1941, it was the target of a surprise military attack by the Japanese Empire, an event that led to the United States’ direct involvement in World War II.

This historic site is home to the USS Arizona Memorial, which honors the sailors and Marines who lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. You can also visit the Battleship Missouri Memorial where the Japanese surrender was signed and the Pacific Aviation Museum, which showcases the role of aviation in World War II.

Access to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and museums is free. The USS Arizona Memorial is however accessed by reservation on a first come first served basis.

Book your trip to Oahu here!

6. Historic Honolulu

Honolulu is full of history and you can explore it for free by visiting sites like Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in the United States, and the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, which honors the men and women who served in the armed forces. You can also take a walking tour of Chinatown, which is home to many historic buildings and landmarks.

Further afield, Oahu is home to a variety of cultural sites that offer a glimpse into the island’s rich history and heritage. The Byodo-In Temple, located in the Valley of the Temples, is a replica of a 900-year-old temple in Japan and is a beautiful place to visit. The Royal Hawaiian Center is another must-see cultural site, with its stunning architecture and traditional Hawaiian performances.

Finally, the Hawaii State Art Museum is a great place to explore the island’s art and culture, with exhibits featuring local artists and works from around the world – entry here is of course free.

Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or both, Oahu has plenty of landmarks to explore. From Pearl Harbor to Historic Honolulu to the island’s many cultural sites, there’s something for everyone to discover.

Best Things To Do On Oahu For Free - Iolani Palace

7. Attractions and Tours

Here are some ideas for some other free and budget-friendly tours and activities to choose from in Oahu.

Free Tours

There are several free tours available on Oahu that provide a great way to learn about the island’s history and culture. Here are a few options:

  • Hawaii State Capitol Tour: Take a free guided tour of the Hawaii State Capitol building and learn about the state’s government and history.
  • USS Arizona Memorial Tour: Visit the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor and take a free tour to learn about the attack on Pearl Harbor and the events that led up to World War II.
  • Kahuku Unit Tour: Take a free guided tour of the Kahuku Unit of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and learn about the area’s unique geology and ecology.

Free Beach Activities

Oahu is known for its beautiful beaches and there are plenty of free activities to enjoy at the beach. Here are a few ideas:

  • Beach Volleyball: Join a pickup game of beach volleyball at one of the many public beaches on Oahu.
  • Surfing: Rent a surfboard or take a lesson and catch some waves at one of the many surf spots on Oahu (some small costs apply here).
  • Beach Yoga: Join a free beach yoga class and enjoy the beautiful scenery while getting some exercise.

Check out these: Best Tours in Hawaii

8. Local Entertainment

When it comes to local entertainment, there are some great free options available here as well. Here are a few to consider:

Hula Shows

Hula is an important part of Hawaiian culture and there are several places on the island where you can catch a free hula show. One popular option is the Kuhio Beach Hula Show, which takes place every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evening at the Kuhio Beach Hula Mound in Waikiki. Another option is the Hula Show at the Royal Hawaiian Center, which takes place every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening.

Live Music

If you’re a fan of live music, you’re in luck. There are several venues on Oahu where you can catch free performances. One popular option is the Waikiki Beach Walk which hosts live music every night of the week. Another option is the Waikiki Shell, which hosts free concerts throughout the year.

In addition to these options, many bars and restaurants on the island also offer free live music. Check out places like the Mai Tai Bar or Duke’s Waikiki for some great tunes.

Best Things To Do On Oahu For Free - hula dancers

9. Dole Plantation

The Dole Plantation is a popular tourist destination that offers a glimpse into the island’s pineapple-growing heritage, which dates back to the early 20th century. Today, visitors can explore the plantation’s stunning landscapes and learn about the cultivation of pineapples and other tropical fruits.

One of the main attractions at the Dole Plantation is the world’s largest maze, as recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2007. This pineapple-shaped maze provides a fun and free activity for families and individuals alike. Additionally, guests can enjoy free educational exhibits that delve into the history of pineapple farming in Hawaii and the life of James Dole.

While some activities at the Dole Plantation may require a fee, such as the Pineapple Express Train Tour or the Plantation Garden Tour, there are still plenty of free experiences to be had. These include strolling through the plantation grounds, taking photos with the iconic “I Love Pineapple” sign, and visiting the koi fish pond.

Book your trip to Oahu here!


What are some free activities to do on Oahu?

There are plenty of free activities to do on Oahu. You can visit the Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head State Monument, and Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. You can also explore the Koko Crater Botanical Garden and the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout. If you’re interested in hiking, you can try the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail or the Pillbox Hike (Kaiwa Ridge Trail).

What are some free things to do in Oahu for families?

If you’re traveling with your family, you can visit the Ala Moana Beach Park, Waikiki Beach or for the more adventurous, the Diamon Head Trail. You can also explore the Dole Plantation which offers a great experience for families and kids alike.


There you have it; 9 best things to do on Oahu for free. As usual, let me know of your experiences here or if there is anything you think I need to add.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, or corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time.

Have fun


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