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This is a list of fun free things to do in Oahu.
Going to Hawaii is on everyone’s bucket list, but it can get expensive. Between the plane tickets, the car rental, and the resort fees, it seems like nothing is left in the travel budget for fun. However, there are plenty of fun, free things to do in Oahu that will still make for a great vacation.
Here are some of the best free things to do on Oahu that everyone will love!
Free Things To Do In Oahu
Go to the Beach
Every beach in Hawaii is free to enjoy. This is one of the best free things to do in Oahu overall because all the beaches are so beautiful and relaxing. You will probably want to spend most of your time enjoying all the beach has to offer.
You can swim, snorkel, paddleboard, kayak, surf, have a picnic, take a walk, work out, and soak up all the sun.
Waikiki Beach is a very popular one that is perfect for the entire family and is right next to most of the resorts on the island.
Along the North Shore, you will love watching the sunset on Sunset Beach each night around 7:00 pm. It is one of the best places to catch the perfect Hawaiian sunset.
The Ko Olina Lagoons are also quite a sight to see and are incredibly relaxing. You might want to go there early because parking is very limited and fills up pretty fast.
Take a Scenic Drive Around the Island of Oahu
Scenic drives around Oahu are one of the top free things to do in Oahu. Not only does it give you a better understanding of the island but it’s a fantastic adventure. From coastal cliffs to volcanic peaks, a road trip around Oahu is a great free way to spend a day.
Enjoy Free Hula Shows
Did you know that you don’t have to pay for a full luau to get a taste of the Hawaiian experience? There are places all around Oahu that offer hula shows as one of the many free things to do in Oahu! These are always fun to watch – and did we mention, free?
Ala Moana Center puts on a daily hula show at 1:00 pm. This one is indoors and even has seating as well. It’s great during those hot summer days when you just need some AC!
Every Saturday at 5:30 pm, the Royal Hawaiian Center also has a free hula show to watch. This one takes place outside.
For another outdoor free hula show, head to Kuhio Beach Hula Mount every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 6:00 pm. This one is located in Waikiki by the Duke Kahanamoku Statue.
Visit the Dole Plantation
If you’re looking for free things to do in Oahu, then Dole Plantation is a gem! That’s because it actually offers several things to do in Oahu for free! Walk around and take a look at the pineapple plants, see the koi pond, take pictures at fun photo spots, and simply enjoy the pineapple farm.
If you go inside the gift shop, they also have pineapple presentations where you can taste a fresh pineapple right off the farm!
Visit a Botanical Garden
Oahu is known for its beautiful botanical gardens. Most require a fee but luckily there are some that don’t so you can enjoy the gardens as one of the things to do in Oahu for free! Here are some botanical gardens in Oahu that offer free admission:
- Koko Crater Botanical Garden in Honolulu
- Liliʻuokalani Botanical Garden in Honolulu
- Wahiawa Botanical Garden in Wahiawa
- Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Garden in Kaneohe
Each of these gardens is unique and so beautiful. Go visit one of them and enjoy the calm, peaceful serenity the island’s beauty brings. There are some great spots for photos in any of the gardens too!
Go on Hikes
Hiking is another free activity in Oahu that everyone loves to enjoy during their vacation. Depending on your strength and ability, you can determine which hike you’ll want to do.
For a shorter, easier hike, go to Manoa Falls. It is only 1.7 miles in total and has a stunning waterfall at the top!
The Lanikai Pillbox hike is in Kailua, which is more challenging but offers incredible views you won’t find anywhere else. It takes around an hour to complete and is 1.7 miles.
See the Street Art Kakaako
The street art you’ll find in Kakaako is simply amazing; it is worth a drive around to stop and take some awesome pictures. Lots of the murals will change from time to time, but they will always involve local artists and include the rich culture you will find here.
Go Manoa Chocolate Tasting
Want to taste some delicious Hawaiian chocolate? Head to any of the Manoa Chocolate Factory & Tasting Room locations and they will give you a quick 10-minute tour and give you a sample to try.
It is not anything fancy, but free chocolate is always fun, especially in Oahu! Who knows, you might just find your new favorite chocolate bar.
Visit Pearl Harbor
Another one of the best free things to do in Oahu is to visit Pearl Harbor. There are many things you can do here, and only some are free.
You can visit the USS Arizona Memorial for free, but it does require a free ticket. You can either reserve them online or try to get the ones they give out in the morning. You’ll get to visit the memorial for 45 minutes before heading back.
There are also a few museums and exhibits, including the circle of remembrance, that is also free to the public. These don’t require a ticket; you can visit anytime they are open.
You can snorkel at a lot of the public beaches for free! It is a great alternative to paying for a guided snorkeling tour.
Shark’s Cove is a great place for snorkeling along the North Shore. Here you will find a huge area filled with tide pools that are perfect for snorkeling.
Right next to the Turtle Bay Resort, Kuilima Cove is another snorkeling spot that is best for beginners.
Kahe Point Beach Park on the west side of the island also has super clear water and would make for a great time snorkeling too.
Go to a Royal Hawaiian Center Event
The Royal Hawaiian Center does not just put on free hula shows; they have tons of free events that are definitely worth going to!
Take a ukulele class on Mondays at 11:00 am, or learn how to hula on Tuesdays at 11:00 am. There is a kids-only hula class on Thursdays at 12:00 pm as well.
If you want to learn how to weave, their classes are on Wednesdays at 11:00. For learning how to make a lei, head over to the Royal Hawaiian Center on Fridays at 12:00 pm.
These are great events to help you immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture, all the while having fun!
Take Instagram Photos
There are so many incredible Instagram-worthy photo spots all over the island. If you are visiting Oahu on a strict budget, spend half the day driving around the island and stopping at various places to capture stunning pictures.
See the mermaid caves, head to the Byodo-In Temple, or the Makapu’u Lookout. You can also take some perfect pictures right from the beach too. Not only will this be fun, but it will also save you money and help you capture memories from your trip.
Go to the Hawaii State Art Museum
The Hawaii State Art Museum is another free thing to do on Oahu! There are exhibits inside as well as a sculpture garden outside. This museum is located in Honolulu at the No. 1 Capitol District Building.
If you love looking at art, head to the museum to take a look at some incredible Hawaiian artists’ pieces.
Visit the Halona Blowhole
The Halona Blowhole is a natural blowhole that was created a long time ago with the lava from a volcanic eruption. When there are strong waves, the water will blow out of the lava holes. It is something you definitely want to see at least once!
You can find this blowhole close to Hanauma Bay. There is limited parking, so you might have to wait a bit to try to squeeze in, but it is worth the wait.
Go See Hawaiian Sea Turtles
Head over to Laniakea Beach, otherwise known as Turtle Beach, to see the beautiful Hawaiian sea turtles. You cannot touch the turtles, and you will need to keep your distance, but they are incredibly beautiful to see and take pictures of.
Volunteers will usually be there to answer questions about sea turtles and to help protect them. Each of the turtles on this beach has names and everything!
Chinatown is always fun to walk through and explore for a little bit. Chinatown is right in Honolulu. This area is rich in culture and is so fun to visit. There are traditional restaurants, incredible artwork, and other Asian antiques.
You’ll find plenty of fun shows and events in Chinatown, especially around Chinese New Year and other holidays.
Watch People Surf the Banzai Pipeline
There are plenty of great surfing competitions on the Banzai Pipeline along the North Shore that are completely free to watch. The competitions usually take place during the winter months, but you will see people surfing all year round.
Watch a few locals surf for some fun entertainment, or you can always grab a surfboard and try it out for yourself too!
These are some of the best free things to do in Oahu that are fun, exciting, and relaxing. You will have a great family vacation while saving tons of money! Be sure to include these in your Oahu itinerary and enjoy spending time on this beautiful island.