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The Aloha State promises so many wonderful things, but just getting your feet on the ground can cost a lot! The good news is that there are countless things to do across the islands that won’t cost you anything. Because of the mild temperatures year-round and the gorgeous natural beauty of the geography, Hawaii has so many free things to do that I had a hard time narrowing down this list to only 25. This barely scratches the surface, but this list of free things to do in Hawaii will get you started as you explore this beautiful part of the world.
25 Free Things to Do in Hawaii
Climb the Aloha Tower
Located at Honolulu Harbor, you can go up to the 10th floor of the tower to the Observation Deck to see views of Honolulu Harbor and the city of Honolulu.
Dance to the music at the Kuhio Beach Hula Show
Hawaii’s best dancers perform three times a week throughout the year at this free show. Cameras are allowed and you can bring a big blanket or beach chairs to sit and watch.
Window shop at Hilo Hattie
Hawaii’s largest retailer of Hawaiian clothing and gifts, you don’t have to buy anything at Hilo Hattie to enjoy the experience. Free leis and complimentary food and drink tastings will make window shopping here a fun afternoon option!
Walk around Oahu’s International Marketplace
Even if you don’t spend any money, you can enjoy the traditional Hawaiian architecture and the beautiful landscaping that centers around a 100-year-old banyan tree.
Look down at the Halona Blow Hole
A famous scene from the movie From Here to Eternity was shot in the blow hole, and while I haven’t seen the movie, this still seems like a cool natural phenomenon that I’d like to show my kids.
Listen to the Royal Hawaiian Band at Iolani Palace
This local band seeks to preserve Hawaiian culture and performs free concerts weekly at the Iolani Palace.
Watch the sunset at Ala Moana Beach Park
You can watch the sunset on any beach, of course, but it seems like this particular spot is a popular location. A tip from our family: we love to bring along ice cream when we watch the sunset at the beach!
Drive along Oahu’s Leeward Coast
If you want a break for your legs, drive along the coast of Oahu and look for some lesser known natural sights that are beautiful and inspiring. The link here will give you a guide to what you can expect to see along the way.
Quietly stroll through the Valley of the Temples
Although you might not think visiting a large graveyard and mortuary is how you’d like to spend your vacation, the Valley of the Temples is beautiful place to explore. It contains peacocks, gardens, and a reflecting pool filled with Japanese koi. You’ll want to be quiet and respectful, of course, but thousands of visitors come here every year to enjoy the beauty of the landscape.
Cruise the Pali highway and stop off at the Nuuan’u Pali Lookout
Another driving option is the Pali highway, which has several photo opportunities where you can stop off along the way.
Watch a pineapple-cutting demonstration at Dole Plantation
Admission to the plantation grounds is free, and they also offer many free activities. There are some tours and activities that you can pay to do.
Journey to the waterfall at the end of the Manoa Falls Trail
Perfect for kids because it’s short and pretty flat, you’ll trek through what will feel like a rainforest to Manoa Falls, a 100-ft waterfall.
Appreciate art at the Hawaii State Art Museum
Located in downtown Honolulu, the art museum is free every day. The exhibits are constantly changing, so be sure to check the website before you go to see what will be showing.
Spot dolphins on the way to Ka’Ena Point
Located on the western tip of Oahu, you’ll want to hike from the southern side if you have kids with you (the other option is much longer and more strenuous). There is a bird sanctuary and wonderful views from the point, and you might even spot dolphins while you’re hiking.
Remember the past at Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial
Some of the attractions at Pearl Harbor are not free, but you can get into the Visitors Center at no cost. You can also tour the USS Arizona Memorial for free, but you’ll have to reserve tickets ahead of time.
Explore old military bunkers on the Ehukai Pillbox Hike
This is a hike plus a historical experience. Along the hike, you’ll find periodic old military bunkers (“pillboxes”) that give you a view of the ocean and the surround island.
Learn history at the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii
This museum is always free and features various exhibits showing the history of the U.S. military in Hawaii, which is much more than just the famous attack on Pearl Harbor.
Hike to the summit of the Diamond Head State Monument
One of Hawaii’s most recognized landmarks, Diamond Head is a unique geographical site that is basically a huge crater. You can hike about 1 mile to the top, and the hike includes going through a tunnel. At the top, you’ll have a wonderful view and be able to see military bunkers and a lighthouse. It does cost $5 to park or $1 per person if you’re walking in. They recommend giving yourself about 2 hours to do the full hike, and make sure to pack plenty of water and apply sunscreen!
Watch surfers and divers at Kakaako Waterfront Park
The water here might be too rough for swimming, but you can watch experienced surfers and divers enjoy the water while you enjoy the grassy areas and have a picnic.
Whale-watch in the Auau Channel
There are several different places where you may be able to spot humpback whales around the Hawaiian islands, but the Auau Channel is an area between three of the islands where humpback whale mothers birth and care for their calves.
Walk the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail to the Makapu’u Lighthouse
While the lighthouse isn’t open to the public, you’ll be able to see the lighthouse from the outside after a 2 mile trek. You’ll also have an amazing view of the ocean and may even see some whales!
Take yourself on the Waikkiki Historic Trail walking tour
There are many tours produced by various lovers of history that you can take along with you as you walk along the trail.
Swim to Goat Island
The only way to get to Goat Island is by walking during low tide or by swimming. So while this option would not be good for young children, it could be an amazing experience for older kids who are confident swimmers! Once you get to the island, you can look for wildlife in the protected seabird sanctuary.
Experience nature at the Mokupapapa Discovery Center
Meant to help visitors experience the northwestern Hawaiian islands, which are unreachable for most, the discovery center includes a huge saltwater aquarium, hands-on activities, and life-size models of wildlife.
Watch Fireworks on Waikiki Beach ()
Every Friday night, the Hilton Hawaiian Village puts on a free fireworks show. Bring a big blanket and enjoy the show!
Headed somewhere else this summer? Check out all the posts in our 25 Free Things to Do series!
What are your favorite free things to do in Hawaii? Let us know in the comments!