Free Things to Do in Oahu on Vacation

Planning a vacation to Oahu? Our insiders put together a list of our top free things to do in Oahu.

While it can be easy to rack up the costs enjoying this tropical paradise, there’s so much to do and see that comes with a nonexistent price tag that you can absolutely have a blast without breaking the bank.

From pristine beaches and beautiful vistas to famous landmarks and historic institutions, there are always great free things to do in Oahu.

Looking for more things to do, check out the Go Oahu® Card, which includes admission tickets to top Oahu attractions for one low price.

Waikiki Beach is a popular spot to go surfing

Credit:Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

USS Arizona Memorial

Part of the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites, the USS Arizona Memorial is actually the most visited site in all of Oahu. The Arizona is a memorial to all of those who lost their lives in the original attack on Pearl Harbor and in subsequent engagements in Hawaii and the Pacific.

Visitors are able to board and explore the Memorial free of charge, although an informative audio tour comes with a small cost.

Puu o Mahuka

Oahu’s oldest indigenous temple, it is estimated to have been built in the early 17th century. It was probably in use until the early 19th century, when Christianized Hawaiian rulers forbade the practice of traditional faiths.

It’s located on a hill overlooking the beautiful Waimea Bay, so a visit here is also a great chance to snap a few gorgeous photos of the landscape below.

This site is operated by the Hawaii Parks system and is free to visit.

Kuhio Beach Park

Located in Waikiki (and therefore likely close to your hotel), this lovely beach is a beautiful place to soak up the sun and enjoy the waves.

More importantly, it’s also where you can find a free hula show several times a week, year ‘round! You’ll enjoy authentic Hawaiian music, hula performances, and a special torch lighting ceremony.

Turtle Beach

There are few other places in the world that attract quite this number of sea turtles. Formally known as Laniakea Beach, this North Shore paradise is the perfect place to meet these amazing sea creatures.

It’s also a great place for a picnic! So enjoy bask in the sun and work on your tan while the kids splash in the waves, and don’t forget to take a few photos of those super cool sea turtles!

Snorkeling

There are so many locations for you to choose from, from the lush Hanauma Bay to Shark’s Cove and beyond, you can snorkel practically anywhere in the waters of Oahu. The best part about snorkeling is that it requires minimal costs – or, if you’re brought a snorkel mask yourself, zero cost!

The whole family will enjoy the chance to marvel at the beautiful variety of sea life without the need for expensive training or equipment.

Depending on where you decide to snorkel, you may need to pay for parking or minimal park admission fees.

Hiking

Another activity with tons of options. From hiking up to the Makapuu Point Light to the iconic Diamond Head trail, a variety of scenic hikes are available for the whole family.

You can make your decision based on difficulty or length, or just on your expectation of the photo ops at the top. In some cases, the hikes are located in park land that charges a minimal admission fee, but for the most part you can hike the trails without a guide without paying for anything but parking.

Remember to bring water and sunscreen!

Historic Honolulu

While there are many parts of the state capitol that are fully modernized and geared towards tourists, there’s also plenty of historic structure remaining to explore.

Some of the most iconic buildings you’ll see on your strolls include the Hawaii State Capitol building, the Iolani Palace, the Kamehameha I statue, Kawaiaha’o Chuch, and more.

While a few places like Iolani Palace and the Mission Houses Museum charge minimal fees for interior tours, most are free things to do.

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