25 Awesome Things to Do on Oahu That Won’t Cost You a Dime🌺

Best Free Things to Do on Oahu Hawaii

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Yes, a visit to Hawaii can be pricey. But these fun, fabulous, and free things to do on Oahu showcase the budget-friendly best of the island.

Let’s face it, a trip to the Hawaiian Islands can be an expensive vacation. Especially when you’re traveling as a family and paying for everything x 4 (or more!).

But I have good news…

Some of Oahu’s best things to see and do are absolutely free!

And while it’s likely that you’ll splurge on a few pricey experiences during your stay (like perhaps a beachfront luau or an island tour), it’s nice to give your wallet a break every now and then. 

Tip: A terrific budget-friendly boutique hotel can be a great money-saving strategy, too – These 7 Waikiki Boutique Hotels Are So Chic You’ll Forget You Saved a Fortune

Since moving to Oahu, I’ve made it my mission to discover all of Oahu’s best free things to do. 

And today, I’m sharing my list with you! 

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to book through these links, I receive a small commission, which I will likely blow on mai tais, poke, and shave ice.  All of this internet voodoo takes place at no additional cost to you. 

But first…you’ll need a car for a lot of these. And for the best deal on rental cars on Oahu, it’s tough to beat Discount Hawaii Car Rental

MY Pick
Driving on Molokai Hawaii

Discount Hawaii Car Rental

For rental cars in Hawaii, go to the local experts. They’ll find you the best rate among all the major companies with no booking fees. And their customer support is top-notch.

Now let’s dive in…

Here are my Top 25 Free Things to Do on Oahu 🌺

1. Pearl Harbor National Memorial

That’s right, Oahu’s #1 place to visit is absolutely free. Of course, that’s the easy part, getting the required reservation involves a bit more work. 

Arizona Memorial Pearl Harbor Oahu Hawaii
Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor

A must-visit for history buffs, you can visit the historic site of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, including the USS Arizona Memorial. Explore the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and view exhibits that tell the story of the 1941 attack. The serene setting and informative displays make it a reflective and educational experience.

Admission is free, but timed-entry tickets are required and must be reserved online. Reservations can (and should) be made up to 8 weeks in advance, this one fills up fast. After your visit, grab lunch at nearby Restaurant 604 for good food and water views.

Note: There’s a $1 reservation fee for the online booking system and, if you drive, parking is $7.

Location: 1 Arizona Memorial Place, Honolulu, HI 96818

More Info: Pearl Harbor National Memorial

2. Waikiki Beach

Spend a day at the world-famous Waikiki Beach! 

Relax on the golden sands, swim in the turquoise waters, or just enjoy the iconic views of Diamond Head. It’s perfect for sunbathing, turtle-spotting, or simply people-watching. With shopping and dining options galore, you’ll never be bored in Waikiki. 

Sheraton Waikiki Diamond Head Room Views Oahu Hawaii
Sheraton Waikiki Diamond Head Room Views

Don’t miss the engineering marvel that is the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon at the Hilton, the gorgeous giant banyan tree, the Duke Kahanamoku Statue, or the Edge Infinity Pool at the Sheraton Waikiki (swimming is for guests only, but you can have a drink or snack at the bar). 

My favorite beachfront dining options are Duke’s Waikiki, Monkeypod Kitchen, and Steak Shack (one of the best cheap eats in Waikiki!).

3. Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

This lush 4,000-acre park is an oasis in the heart of busy Oahu and I still can’t believe it’s free.

Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden Visitors Feeding the Fish Oahu
Beautiful views from the lake

Stroll through lush landscapes, view diverse plant species, and soak in stunning views of the Ko’olau Mountains. Made famous by enthusiastic Instagrammers, it’s a nature lover’s paradise. Don’t miss a walk down to the lake to see the fish and appreciate truly extraordinary mountain views. 

Location: 45-680 Luluku Rd, Kaneohe, HI 96744

More Info: A Guide to Oahu’s Insta-Famous Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

4. Halona Blowhole Lookout

Witness the power of nature at the Halona Blowhole. This natural rock formation shoots seawater high into the air, creating a spectacular show. This one is a quick and easy stop on a drive around Oahu’s gorgeous southern coast. 

Halona Blowhole Oahu Hawaii
The Halona Blowhole in the summer

Off to the right of the viewpoint, don’t miss Halona Beach Cove, also known as Eternity Beach, made famous in the movie “From Here to Eternity.”

Location: Kalanianaole Highway, Honolulu, HI 96825

More Info: Why the Halona Blowhole is a Must-See on Oahu’s Loveliest Coast

5. Friday Night Waikiki Fireworks

End your week with a bang at the Friday Night Waikiki Fireworks. A community event put on by the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort since 1988, this dazzling display lights up the sky above Waikiki Beach for 4 minutes every Friday night.

Friday Night Fireworks Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Hawaii
The Friday night fireworks at the Hilton Hawaiian Village

It’s a magical experience for all ages and a must if you’re visiting Waikiki on a Friday.

Location: Launched from the Hilton’s beach, the show is visible along most of Waikiki Beach.

More Info: The Friday Night Waikiki Fireworks (by land, sea, or air!)

6. Drive the H-3 Highway

Experience one of the most scenic drives in Hawaii with a cruise along Oahu’s H-3 Highway. Winding through lush valleys and tunnels on the way toward the sea, it’s a breathtaking way to explore Oahu’s natural beauty.

Depending on your destination, you’ll likely have to force your navigation app to route you this way since it’s rarely the shortest route. But it’s well worth the detour!

Tip: Take the H-3 on the way to or from Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden or Kualoa Ranch.

7. Waikiki Historic Surfboard Walking Tour

You’ll spot these life-size informational bronze surfboards all over Waikiki. Take this self-guided tour around Waikiki to discover the island’s fascinating cultural legacy.

Waikiki Historic Walking Tour Oahu Hawaii
Look for these bronze surfboards around Waikiki!

The Waikiki Historic Walking Tour features informative plaques and it’s a fun way to learn about Hawaiian history and the island’s most famous district. 

I always stop to read them every time I spot one and I often learn something new and interesting about the area. The two-mile trail meanders from Kapiolani Beach to the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort.

8. Catch a Free Hula Show

A luau is a terrific cultural experience when you visit Oahu, but they can be pricey and are not within everyone’s budget. The good news is that you can still experience Hawaiian culture by catching a free hula show around town. Even better, there are plenty to choose from!

The most popular show is the Royal Hawaiian Center’s Hula Kahiko Show held every Saturday night from 5:30pm – 6:30pm. Tip: Grab a bite to eat and an outdoor table overlooking the show at the 2nd floor food court.

Here are 3 More Terrific Free Hula Shows:

Kuhio Beach Hula Show – Held right on the beach at the Kūhiō Beach Hula Mound every Tuesday and Saturday from 6:30 to 7:30pm (weather permitting).

Kilohana Hula Show – This new free hula show takes place every Sunday through Wednesday, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the Waikīkī Shell Amphitheater.

Pau Hana Place Fresh Breeze Band Hawaiian Night Waikiki
The Fresh Breeze Band at Pau Hana Place

Pau Hana Place – If you like food with your free hula show, Sunday evenings at this waterfront food truck park feature live Hawaiian music and hula performances. This is one of our favorite Sunday night hangouts and a terrific luau alternative if you’re on a tight budget.

More Info: This Affordable Waikiki Spot has Luau Vibes & Million Dollar Views

9. Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail Hike

This fully paved trail is my favorite easy hike on the island. The scenic trail to the historic Makapu’u Lighthouse features jaw-dropping panoramic ocean views. During the winter months, you might even spot a whale if you’re lucky. 

Makapuu Point Lighthouse Amazing Trail Views
Amazing views from the trail

While the gradual incline of this hike will give you a pretty good workout, the trail is suitable for all skill levels and kids of all ages.

There are no facilities here so be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen. Both the trail and the parking lot are free. Be sure not to leave anything visible in your car, like many parking lots at Oahu’s free attractions, car break-ins are not uncommon. 

Location: Kalanianaole Highway, Waimanalo, HI 96795

More Info: The Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail: Oahu’s Best Hike for Epic Views

10. Nu’uanu Pali Lookout

Visit the Pali Lookout for breathtaking views of Oahu’s windward coast. This historic site offers sweeping vistas and a peek into Hawaii’s past. The dramatic scenery makes it a perfect photo spot and it’s an easy stop if you’re headed to the windward side via the Pali Highway.

Pali Lookout Oahu Hawaii
Pali Lookout

Access to the lookout is free, but there is a small parking fee.

Location: Nu’uanu Pali Dr, Honolulu, HI 96744

More Info: Nu’uanu Pali Lookout

11. Drive the North Shore

Oahu’s best road trip is a scenic drive along the North Shore and it’s totally free! 

Haleiwa North Shore Oahu Hawaii
Hale’iwa – North Shore, Oahu

Well, until you stop for garlic shrimp or shave ice, at least. From historic Hale’iwa Town to the famous shrimp trucks of Kahuku, there’s plenty to see along the North Shore.

Stop for a cream pie at Ted’s Bakery and end your day with sunset at Sunset Beach.

Garlic Shrimp Jenny's Shrimp Truck North Shore Oahu Hawaii
Garlic Shrimp from Jenny’s Shrimp Truck Hale’iwa (my fav!)

This iconic route is dotted with famous surf spots and stunning beaches. It’s the perfect way to escape the crowds of Waikiki and experience Oahu’s laid-back surfer vibe.

I love the Shaka Guide app for exploring the North Shore. Yes, it costs a few bucks but it’s way cheaper than a tour guide! The app not only tells you where to stop but also where to park (immensely helpful on the North Shore).

Shaka Guide App Hawaii

The Shaka Guide App

If you’re a DIY kind of traveler like I am, this is the perfect app to download for your Hawaii vacation. These GPS-guided audio tours are fun, easy to follow, and a super affordable way to explore the islands. I bought the whole Hawaii package when we moved here but you can also purchase individual tours.

12. Hit the Beach! 

The best thing about beaches in Hawaii is that they are ALL free and open to the public. Even those lovely beaches in front of 5-star resorts. 

And Oahu boasts some of Hawaii’s most beautiful sandy shores. Whether it’s the basking turtles at Laniakea, the turquoise waters of Kailua, or the serene shores of Waimanalo, there’s a beach to suit every sun worshipper.

Lanikai Beach Oahu Hawaii
Pack a picnic for Lanikai Beach

Brilliant Lanikai Beach is considered one of the world’s best but parking in this residential neighborhood can be difficult. 

For a great family-friendly beach, try West Oahu’s Ko Olina Lagoons. While all 4 of these calm, clear lagoons are open to the public, Lagoon 4 is the easiest to visit if you’re not staying at one of the Ko Olina resorts.

Ko Olina Lagoon 4 Best Free Things to Do Oahu Hawaii
Ko Olina Lagoon 4

Free parking is available at an electronically managed lot and it’s often full on weekends or holidays. But the “one car in, one car out” system works pretty well if you wait in line at the entrance to the lot.

Or, there’s a marina lot right next door where you can pay to park if you can’t score a free spot.

13. The Dole Pineapple Plantation

This iconic Oahu attraction is free to visit but popular activities like the Pineapple Express Train Ride and the Pineapple Maze have their own ticket prices. Don’t miss the rainbow eucalyptus trees in the parking lot (those are free!). 

Dole Plantation Gift Shop
The gift shop

I love the gift shop here more than I should. It’s fabulous. Browse unique souvenirs and enjoy delicious pineapple treats. It’s a fun, kitschy stop to learn about Hawaii’s pineapple heritage. Bonus: The Dole Whip is creamier than anywhere else on the island. 

It’s well worth a visit when you’re driving by on your way to the North Shore.

Location: 64-1550 Kamehameha Hwy, Wahiawa, HI 96786 

More Info: 5 Pineapple-Perfect Things to Do at Oahu’s Dole Plantation

14. Green World Coffee Farm

Like the Dole Plantation, this is a quick and easy stop on a drive to the North Shore. 

Green World Coffee Farm Shore Oahu Hawaii
Green World Coffee Farm

Green World Coffee Farm is one of the best places to discover Oahu’s coffee culture. Take a self-guided tour through the coffee garden, learn about the roasting process, and sample fresh coffee.

It’s a delightful spot for coffee lovers and the perfect place to stop and stretch your legs on the drive north.

Location: 71-101 Kamehameha Hwy, Wahiawa, HI 96786

More Info: Green World Coffee Farm 

15. Manoa Falls Trail Hike

Another of my favorite easy hikes on Oahu, Manoa Falls is the best free waterfall hike on Oahu. This lush jungle trail leads to a stunning 150-foot waterfall, making it a popular spot for nature enthusiasts. 

Manoa Falls Easy Waterfall Hike Oahu
The payoff of the Manoa Falls hike

You’ll want good shoes for this one (no flip-flops) since the jungle trail can get muddy. The hike itself is free, however they do charge for parking.

Location: End of Manoa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822

More Info: Guide to Manoa Falls: Oahu’s Jungle Waterfall Hike

16. Snorkel at Shark’s Cove

The two most popular snorkeling spots on Oahu are Hanauma Bay and Shark’s Cove. Hanauma Bay is fantastic, but getting a reservation can be tough. And if you do snag one, a day of snorkeling will cost you $25 per person + gear rental.

Read More: The Foolproof Guide to Hanauma Bay for Snorkeling

By contrast, Shark’s Cove is totally free! During low tide, the tide pools here are perfect for exploring. And during high tide, it’s the ideal place for snorkeling. 

Shark's Cove Snorkeling North Shore Oahu Hawaii
Snorkeling at Shark’s Cove

During the Winter months, it can be much rougher and is not a good choice for kids. But if you’re visiting in the summer months, Shark’s Cove is a great place for an affordable day of snorkeling. 

Parking is free but this is another one of the island’s most popular spots for car break-ins so be sure not to leave anything visible inside your car (not even a phone charger).

Location: North Shore along Kamehameha Hwy (across from the small food truck park)

More Info: Shark’s Cove

17. Lanikai Pillbox Hike (Ka’iwa Ridge Trail)

The Lanikai Pillbox Hike offers panoramic views over Lanikai Beach and Oahu’s windward coast. This moderate hike leads to old military bunkers and provides stunning vistas of the Mokulua Islands and Lanikai Beach. It’s a favorite among local hikers and photographers. 

Lanikai Pillboxes Best Oahu Hikes
One of the pillboxes at the top

Warning…this one is a bit more challenging than Oahu’s other easy hikes and I went into much more detail about what to expect here: 5 Easy Oahu Hikes for Those Who Love Nature But Hate Hiking.

And like the popular beach here, neighborhood parking is extremely limited. It’s often best to park at Kailua Beach Park and walk.

Location: 265 Kaelepulu Dr, Kailua, HI 96734

18. Punchbowl Cemetery

Also known as the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, this serene and solemn site honors those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Punchbowl Cemetery Oahu Hawaii
Punchbowl Cemetery

The scenic views over Honolulu and the Pacific Ocean are nothing short of spectacular and it’s a beautiful and historic place to pause and reflect on the bravery and sacrifice of our nation’s fallen heroes.

Location: 2177 Puowaina Drive, Honolulu, HI 96813

More Info: National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

19. KCC Saturday Farmer’s Market

Every Saturday morning from 7:30am – 11:00am, the island’s best weekly farmer’s market takes place in the parking lot of Kapiolani Community College.

KCC Farmer's Market Free Things to Do Oahu Hawaii
Saturday morning at the KCC Farmer’s Market

Located just across the street from the entrance to Diamond Head, this is the perfect thing to do afterward if you hike Diamond Head on a Saturday morning.

Enjoy fresh produce, live music, artisanal goods, and delicious food from local vendors. It’s a great way to start the weekend!

Location: Parking Lot C, 4303 Diamond Head Rd, Honolulu, HI 96816

More Info: KCC Farmer’s Market

20. Koko Crater Railway Trail Hike & Botanical Gardens

Challenge yourself on this steep hike straight up an old railway track to the top of Koko Crater for panoramic ocean views over Hawaii Kai and Hanauma Bay. The scenery from this trail is incredible but the hike itself is grueling. 

Koko Head Hike Best Hikes Oahu Hawaii
Koko Head Hike Oahu Hawaii

Trust me, this one is not for kids. Wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water. Both the trail and the parking lot are free. 

Bonus: There’s also a free botanical garden nearby with unique desert plants and an incredible plumeria garden (go for the smells!).

Location: Koko Head Park Rd, Honolulu, HI 96825

More Info: Koko Head Hike: Oahu’s Grueling Stairmaster to Heaven

21. Tantalus Lookout at Pu’u Ualaka’a State Park

Enjoy stunning views of Honolulu, Diamond Head, and the Pacific Ocean from this scenic lookout point. The winding drive up from downtown Honolulu is a bit nerve-wracking but it’s worth it. 

Tantalus Lookout Oahu Hawaii
Views over Honolulu from the Tantalus Lookout

It’s a perfect spot for a scenic picnic or a peaceful moment above the hustle and bustle. Access to both the park and the lookout is free.

Location: Round Top Dr, Honolulu, HI 96822

More Info: Pu’u Ualaka’a State Park 

22. Attend a Free Cultural Class at the Royal Hawaiian Center

In addition to the weekly free hula show I mentioned above, the Royal Hawaiian Center also offers a variety of free cultural classes. Learn hula, lei-making, or ukulele playing in a hands-on setting and experience Hawaii’s rich traditions. 

Location: 2201 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

More Info: Royal Hawaiian Center Cultural Classes

23. Moana Surfrider Hotel Historical Tour

Take a historical tour of the iconic Moana Surfrider Hotel. Discover the stories and architecture of Waikiki’s first hotel. The tour offers a fascinating glimpse into the island’s past and its evolution as a tourist destination.

Westin Moana Surfrider Hotel Waikiki Hawaii
Westin Moana Surfrider Hotel – Waikiki, Hawaii

I love a grand old hotel, and Waikiki is blessed with two spectacular historic properties. Built in 1901, the Moana Surfrider Hotel, is Waikiki’s original grand dame and oldest hotel. And the famous “pink palace” known as The Royal Hawaiian is perhaps the most iconic hotel in Hawaii. 

You can explore either one for dinner, drinks, or shopping. But they also both offer free historical tours a few times a week. The Royal Hawaiian’s tour is for registered guests but the Moana Surfrider’s tour is open to anyone. 

Tip: The Royal Hawaiian’s Mai Tai Bar is home to Waikiki’s original Mai Tai (and one of my favorites!).

This complimentary walking tour covers the history of the hotel and is offered on Mondays and Wednesdays at 1:00pm.

Location: 2365 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

More Info: Westin Moana Surfrider Historic Tour

24. Kaka’ako Saturday Farmer’s Market

Like the KCC Farmer’s Market, this one also takes place on Saturday mornings (from 8:00am – 12:00pm) so you’ll have to choose between them. Located on the waterfront in Honolulu’s artsy Kaka’ako district, there’s plenty to love about this weekly neighborhood market.

Kakaako Farmer's Market Free Things to Do Oahu Hawaii
The Kaka’ako Farmer’s Market

A bustling hub of local produce, crafts, food trucks, and artisanal products, it’s a great way to support local vendors and savor the flavors of Oahu.

Location: 919 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814

More Info: Kaka’ako Farmer’s Market

25. Visit Kualoa Ranch & Kualoa Regional Park

Explore the natural beauty and cinematic history of Kualoa Ranch and Kualoa Regional Park. It’s a fantastic spot for outdoor enthusiasts and film buffs alike.

I know, I know, the tours at Kualoa Ranch are certainly not free! But anyone can visit to enjoy the gorgeous surroundings and the fun, movie-themed gift shop. 

Kualoa Ranch UTV Movie Tour
Kualoa Ranch UTV Tour

At Kualoa Regional Park you can relax on the beach or enjoy a picnic with breathtaking views of the mountains and Chinaman’s Hat. 

Note: We’ve done many of the tours at Kualoa Ranch and, without exception, they have all been fantastic. So if a tour is in your budget, I highly recommend it. The UTV Raptor Tour is tons of fun, just be prepared to get really dirty! 

Location: Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744

More Info: Kualoa Ranch

But wait, there’s more…

That wraps up my list of my favorite free things to do on Oahu.

But I’d also like to mention a few more super cheap things to do that are practically free and well worth your time!

Bonus: 5 More Fun Things That Aren’t Free (but are really cheap!)

1. Hike Diamond Head State Monument

The panoramic views of Honolulu, the coastline, and the Pacific Ocean from the summit make the small entrance fee worthwhile. Hike to the summit of Diamond Head, an iconic volcanic crater with stunning panoramic views.

Hiking Diamond Head Crater Waikiki Hikes Oahu Hawaii
Diamond Head Crater, Waikiki

The entrance fee is $5 per walk-in visitor and $10 for parking. Reservations are required and can be made up to 30 days in advance.

Location: Diamond Head Road, Honolulu, HI 96815

More Info: Why Hiking Diamond Head Crater is an Oahu Must-Do

2. Visit the Byodo-In Temple

I absolutely adore this temple and we bring everyone here when they come to visit. A replica of a 900-year-old Japanese temple nestled at the foot of the Ko’olau Mountains, it’s a serene oasis just 30 minutes from the traffic of Waikiki. Kids will love feeding the birds and koi with approved fish food that can be purchased in the gift shop.

Oahu Things to Do Byodo In Temple
One of Oahu’s Best Free Things to Do – Byodo-In Temple

Admission is $5 for adults (credit card only).

Location: 47-200 Kahekili Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744

More Info: https://www.byodo-in.com/

3. Foster Botanical Garden

Stroll through 14 acres of lush gardens, featuring a diverse collection of plants and trees. Admission is $5 for adults.

Location: 180 N Vineyard Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96817

More Info: Foster Botanical Garden

4. Aloha Stadium Swap Meet & Marketplace

Shop for souvenirs, clothing, and local produce at this bustling marketplace in the parking lot of Aloha Stadium.

Aloha Stadium Swap Meet Oahu Hawaii
Aloha Stadium Swap Meet

Admission is $2 per person. Get here before it’s gone, there are plans to tear down Aloha Stadium soon. 

Location: 99-500 Salt Lake Blvd, Aiea, HI 96701

More Info: Aloha Stadium Swap Meet

5. Waimanalo Country Farms

In the spring and summer, this family-owned 70-year-old farm is home to one of Oahu’s most gorgeous attractions…blooming sunflower fields! 

In the fall, they’re known for their pumpkin patch and hayrides. But year-round their lemonade is worth the trip alone. If you can’t make it to the farm, they often sell their delicious lemonade at the KCC Farmer’s Market. Admission for the sunflower fields is $8 for adults.

Location: 41-225 Lupe Street, Waimanalo, HI 96795

More Info: Waimanalo Country Farms

Oahu offers a treasure trove of free activities that showcase the natural beauty and rich culture of the island. From stunning hikes and scenic drives to local markets and historical sites, there’s something for everyone. 

Be sure to check out some of these budget-friendly experiences to make the most of your island adventure. 

Oahu Hawaii Free Things to Do
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