Top 10 things to do in Oahu Hawaii on a budget for free or cheap. Hawaii vacation tips for what to do on Oahu today.

 

ALOHA!

So you’ve booked your flight to Hawaii and you’ve started thinking about what to pack for Hawaii too.

Maybe you’ve even been looking at some amazing Oahu tours.

 

But you also want to know what are some of the top things to do on Oahu when you’re in Hawaii on a budget!

 

So, you may find yourself on Oahu with that all-important question…

What to do on Oahu today for free?!

Or cheap!

 

If you do all of the things on the list below, chances are that when you are on your flight back home from Hawaii, you will feel like you had a PERFECT Hawaii vacation on Oahu!

So, have a look to these activities when planning your first trip to Hawaii.

 

 

10 best things to do on Oahu during a one week Hawaii vacation

 

You can totally fit in ALL 10 of these things with one week in Hawaii!

 

 

1. Laze on the beach

Cost: FREE!

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Okay, let’s start off with the most obvious.

When you think about Hawaii vacation, you probably imagine those pictures of white-sand beaches.

Well, they really do exist!

And the vast majority of beaches on Oahu are FREE!

 

Head to one of these picture-perfects beaches on Oahu

 

Lanikai Beach

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Kailua Beach

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Waimanalo Beach

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Or stay closer to where you’ll probably be staying…

Waikiki Beach

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Waikiki is the main tourist hot spot, and there’s a good chance you’ll be looking for a cheap Waikiki hotel or top Waikiki resort when you’re planning your first trip to Hawaii.

 

 

2. Oahu circle island road trip

Cost: $50 for one-day car rental

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Now $50 may not sound like a cheap Oahu activity up front.

But if you’re a family of 4 or more, this will work out to around $10 per person, which beats paying per person for an island tour.

You might even be able to find a better deal on a car rental.

So renting a car for one day can be a GREAT way to spend your day on Oahu.

 

 

3. See a Hawaiian culture show

Cost: FREE!

Top 10 things to do in Oahu Hawaii on a budget. Free hula show Waikiki Beach. Hawaii vacation tips for what to do on Oahu today.

 

There’s a cultural show that features Hawaiian music and entertainment.

And, not only is this show free, it’s an outdoor event, AND it takes place in the heart of Waikiki which makes it very convenient to attend.

This takes place a few times a week right near Kuhio Beach.

This also means that as you’re waiting for the show to begin, you can take in the sunset on the beach!

 

Top 10 things to do in Oahu Hawaii on a budget. Free hula show Waikiki Beach sunset. Hawaii vacation tips for what to do on Oahu today.

 

Another free outdoor event that takes place every week is the Friday night fireworks hosted by the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki Beach.

 

There are also other free activities to see Hawaiian culture, including a visit to a heiau (an ancient Hawaiian temple) or ancient birthstones.

You can make these pretty quick visits when you’re nearby.

 

Puu O Mahuka Heiau (on the North Shore)

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Kukaniloko Birthstones (near the Dole Plantation)

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4. Go snorkeling with tropical fish

Cost: $8

Top 10 things to do in Oahu Hawaii on a budget. Free and cheap best snorkeling spots on Oahu. Hawaii vacation tips for what to do on Oahu today.

 

Another thing that may come to mind when you think about a trip to Hawaii is snorkeling!

 

The most popular snorkeling spot on Oahu costs around $8 per person.

That is…

Hanauma Bay

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No matter which snorkel spot you choose, there are some important things to know about snorkeling in Hawaii for the first time so you don’t make mistakes on a trip to Hawaii.

Most importantly, there’s a good reason to wear reef-safe sunscreen.

Also be sure to put the right snorkeling clothes on your Hawaii packing list!

 

There are also a few FREE snorkeling spots on Oahu that you have a chance to swim with colorful tropical fish.

You can try places like Waikiki (Queen’s Beach) and the North Shore (Shark’s Cove, Kuilima Cove, Waimea Bay).

 

And, if you want to splurge, you can go on a tour of swimming with dolphins in the wild.

 

 

5. Pearl Harbor

Cost: FREE!

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The famous Pearl Harbor Memorial is actually closed right now. The current planned opening is for March 2019.

But there is still reason to visit Pearl Harbor.

It’s totally reasonable to go to Pearl Harbor on your own, but there are also tours that can give you a deeper understanding of the tragedy that occurred and the event that propelled the United States into World War 2.

There’s a free museum here, and there are informational signs located throughout the outdoor grounds so you can learn more.

There are a couple of paid attractions here as well.

 

 

6. Day trip to the North Shore

Cost: Depends on what you do!

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You can make this a part of your circle island tour, or even better, dedicate a whole day just to the North Shore!

The North Shore of Oahu is famous as being one of the best surfing spots in the world.

With a day trip to the North Shore from Waikiki, you can visit a nature park with botanical gardens and waterfalls (Waimea Valley – $15+ entry per person), visit an ancient Hawaiian temple with amazing view of the North Shore (Puu o Mahuka Heiau – FREE), go snorkeling (Shark’s Cove – FREE)…

 

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…or hit up some of those famous North Shore food trucks!

And oh yes, have your very first beginners surf lesson too. (Although that probably wouldn’t go in the cheap Oahu tour category.)

 

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Or you can go for a week-long surf camp if you want to go all in!

Or if you want to go even further with a wellness vacation, you can find yoga retreats in Hawaii too.

For free beaches on the North Shore (all the beaches all free), look to Waimea Bay, Shark’s Cove (for snorkeling), and Sunset Beach.

 

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7. Hiking

Cost: FREE!

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If you are in Hawaii, you kind of MUST go for one of the best Oahu hikes with stunning views.

Most hikes on Oahu are free, although the most famous one of the Diamond Head hike is $1-5 depending on how you arrive. (By foot vs by car.)

The Diamond Head crater is worth a hike for the views of Waikiki Beach and Honolulu.

 

And then…

More of the best hikes on Oahu

 

Lanikai Pillbox Hike

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Makapuu Lighthouse Trail

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Kuliouou Ridge Trail

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8. See turtles

Cost: FREE!

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Well, spotting turtles on Oahu has a little to do with luck.

But there are a couple of places that you might be able to test that luck a little better for some exciting turtle sightings!

 

Where to see turtles on Oahu

 

Waikiki

You might be able to see some in Waikiki in front of the Sheraton, along the pier in front of the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, or around Queen’s Beach.

 

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North Shore

You can also increase your chances of spotting a turtle by visiting Laniakea Beach aka Turtle Beach at sunset on the North Shore.

 

Top 10 things to do in Oahu Hawaii on a budget. Free turtle sightings on North shore at Lanikakea Beach aka Turtle Beach. Hawaii vacation tips for what to do on Oahu today.

 

Snorkeling tours that include swimming with turtles can also increase your luck!

 

 

9. Bike along the coast

Cost: $10 – $30

 

Biking with ocean views?!

Yes please!

 

Where to find bike rentals on Oahu

 

Waikiki or downtown Honolulu

Relatively new to Hawaii is bike sharing.

This means that you can rent a bike in one spot of Waikiki or downtown Honolulu, ride the bike, then return it at a different spot.

There are these bike sharing stations all around Waikiki and Honolulu.

The cost starts at around $4 for 30 minutes.

 

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Kailua

There are also a number of places to rent bikes in Kailua.

This might be around $20-30 for a half day or a full day.

 

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10. FEEL THE ALOHA!

Cost: FREE!

Top 10 things to do in Oahu Hawaii on a budget for free or cheap. FEEL THE ALOHA! Hawaii vacation tips for what to do on Oahu today.

 

 

So there’s your top 10 in Hawaii!

Now…

 

What else to do in Hawaii?!

So now you know that there are lots of FREE and cheap things to do in Hawaii.

But there are also lots of worthy paid tours too!

Have a look to:

 

And then…

What to pack for Hawaii?!

There are affiliate links below. You should totally check out these things for your trip to Hawaii.

Quick packing list for snorkeling in Hawaii:

And for hiking in Hawaii…

And don’t forget the absolute BEST guide to making the most out of your Hawaii vacation – available for every Hawaiian island

 

Top 10 things to do in Oahu Hawaii on a budget for free or cheap. Hawaii vacation tips for what to do on Oahu today.

 

HAPPY OAHU VACATION PLANNING!

 


If you're headed to Hawaii soon, see some ideas for top essentials to pack for Hawaii. And for Oahu travel tips, see this 3 day itinerary, this 2 week itinerary, and then some more things to do on Oahu. And if you're headed to the Big Island, be sure to see things to do on the Big Island along with this 7 day itinerary that includes black sand beaches, waterfalls, a lava cave hike, turtles, and tons of scenic drives!

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