Diamond Head Summit Trail
While youre relaxing on Waikiki Beach, youll probably notice a lush, green mountain in the distance. Thats Diamond Headan extremely popular hiking trail on Oahu. And spoiler alert, its not a mountainits actually a volcanic cone.
Diamond Head State Monument is located in Honolulu, and its just a short 2.2-mile drive from Waikiki Beach. I would highly recommend biking or driving to Diamond Head. Even though its on this list for the best things to do in Waikiki, its a long walk. We walked to and from the hiking trail and clocked more steps than we usually do during a day at Disneyland . However, the hike was worth it, and its undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Waikiki!
Admission to Diamond Head is $10 per car or $5 per person. The hike itself is shortonly 1.8 miles out and back, but offers panoramic views of Honolulu from the top! If youre staying in Waikiki, its fun to look for your hotel at the end of the hike.
Tip: Diamond Head State Monument is closed on Wednesdays. However, its opened every other day of the week from 6 AM 4 PM!
Tour The Uss Missouri Battleship
The USS Missouri, affectionately known as “Mighty Mo,” gained its fame as the official site of Japanese surrender, which marked the end of World War II.
Docked at Pearl Harbor, visitors can choose from one of two tours: The shorter tour includes a look at the captain’s quarters and the bridge and provides an overview of the ship’s history as tourists are led along the upper decks.
The longer, more in-depth tour includes exploration of the battleship’s inner workings. This extensive guided tour not only allows visitors to see below deck into the engine room and other important posts, but also provides hands-on experiences, like the opportunity to light one of the ship’s massive boilers or program the old analog computers in the aft plotting room. Tourists also get to see what daily life was like for the crew members while at sea, from the galley and sleeping cabins to recreation.
Hike To Kaena Point Meet Monk Seal And Watch Newborn Albatross Trying To Take Off
Located on the beautiful Western tip of Oahu, the Kaena Point hike will provide you with one of the best ways to experience Hawaii.
Inaccessible to vehicles, you can walk to the point and get to enjoy the magnificent views and stunning scenery.
While here, youll get the chance to see the Hawaiian monk seals, the wedged-tailed Shearwaters, the Laysan albatrosses and the native strand vegetation. Watching the little albatrosses attempting to take off will make you appreciate the unique gift of being human. Just remember not to touch any vegetation or animal.
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Eat As Much As You Can At An Authentic Hawaiian Luau
The Hawaiian word luau means feast and so you should feast on a mix of Hawaiian ancient dishes. Most of them are quite heavy on proteins and tend to be salty-savory. Some of the dishes to sample include pipikaula, poke, laulau, kalua pig and many more.
Go for the amazing zip line tours on Oahus North Shores and zip 200 feet high above Oahus jungle and canopy! Consider booking early because theyre highly popular.
Relax In The Sun At Sunset Beach
Sunset Beach, located about an hours drive from Honolulu, stretches for two miles and features soft beige sand. Its a great spot to relax, sunbathe, and watch the surfers catch waves. In fact, Sunset Beach is particularly famous as a big wave surfing destination especially during the winter months. However, you can also go swimming here during the summer if the conditions are right. As you might have guessed from its name, one of the best free activities at Sunset Beach is to watch the sunset!
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Heres 22 Fun Or Cheap Activities And Things You Can Do In Oahu Now
You can do a lot of cool and fun activities in Oahu for free or cheap if you are open to planning and doing some of the legwork to getting to the sites and doing all these fantastic activities. Most of these free things to do are relatively easy get to and do on your own all for free and are fun activities to do around Honolulu or the tourist district of Waikiki.
** Please note during COVID 19 on Oahu, some of these free performances and activities may be on hold or cancelled until further notice.
Free Things To Do In Oahu Hawaii
In general, youd be right to assume that vacationing in Hawaii can be pricey. Nonetheless, one of the easiest ways to make your trip more affordable is to look for attractions that wont cost you anything! Therefore, well be listing the 20 best free activities on Oahu, Hawaii, in this article. To further help you with your planning, weve even divided these attractions into groups by location on the island. You can find awesome free things to do in Honolulu, on the North Shore, and Oahus Windward Coast! Whether you prefer beach hopping, hiking, or photo opportunities, keep reading to find exciting things to do in Oahu for free.
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Best Things To Do In Oahu Hi Top Activities & Places To Go
- Emily Appelbaum
Oahu, a lovely island in Hawaii, is home to many iconic beaches and breathtaking landscapes.
This major tourist destination draws in guests from all over the continent with its delicious food, grand museums, beautiful parks, bustling shopping malls, pristine beaches, and plenty more.
The possibilities when traveling to Oahu are limitless, and youll surely find attractions that are perfect for all ages.
Below is a list of some of the best things to do in Oahu, HI, so that you can better plan the ideal getaway.
Visit The National Memorial Cemetery Of The Pacific
A sobering experience that really opens up your eyes, this Honolulu-based public cemetery hosts over 34,000 graves.
With exceptionally manicured gardens, beautiful wall mosaics, and a calm atmosphere, its a unique change of pace from the busy beaches and shopping strips.
Hot tip: follow the road to the top where fantastic views of Honolulu await
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Attending An Evening Luau
And the #1 Oahu attractionthat visitors look forward to is attending an evening Hawaiianluau!
With mai tais in hand, live entertainment onstage, and a grand buffet of food lined up, its easy to see whyeveryone gets excited for these ongoing parties that take place inmultiple locations each night!
The Hawaiian Luau is a grandproduction in the making with so many components. You can feelthe magic begin as the tiki torches are lit and the conch shells areblown. Reserve your seat
Here’s some of our party picks including Hawaiian Leis, Tiki Torches and Tiki Mugs
Take A Tour Of Circle Island
For a chance to hit the water and get off the main island, a Circle Island tour is a proven crowd favorite and for good reason!
With the chance to swim and snorkel alongside ocean wildlife, as well as visit the famous Amelia Earhart Lookout Point and the Halona Blowhole, its a wonderful day out in Mother Natures pristine waters.
With hassle-free pickup and drop-off arrangeable from your hotel, its a no-brainer for outdoor enthusiasts.
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See Famous Artists Work At The Honolulu Museum Of Art
Originally founded way back in 1922, the crowd-favorite Honolulu Museum of Art houses the largest art collection in the state, with a vast collection that highlights the spectacular works of renowned artists from near and far with a few names you might just recognize: Hokusai, van Gogh, Gauguin, Monet, Picasso, and Warhol, to name a few.
Visit The Makapuu Point Lighthouse
The Makapuâu Point lighthouse trail on Oahu is another Hawaiian gem. Its not quite as popular as Diamond Head, so the crowds are likely to be smaller. This one is only 2 miles round trip and has less of an incline, too.
There are also some tide pools a bit lower on the waters edge, which are worth checking out.
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Watch The Free Friday Fireworks Show At The Hilton
Each Friday the Hilton puts on a FREE blockbuster fireworks display. The fireworks usually begin at 7:45 and hundreds of people fill the beach to watch the fireworks launch from along the shore.
Walk the Makapuu lighthouse trail
On Oahus, most eastern point sits the Makapuu Lighthouse. The paved trail that takes you there is one of the most popular hikes on Oahu because of how accessible it is and the amazing views it presents. Because the trail is so clearly marked it is completely foolproof and great for beginners. It is family and dog friendly and a great way to see some fantastic views of the east side. This trail is one of the top five most popular things to do on Oahu.
Full blog post: The 5 Most Popular Hikes on Oahu
Visit and/or jump at Spitting Cave
One of my favorite things to do on Oahu was to head to spitting cave on the east coast cliffs and watch the divers jumping off. I had done some cliff jumping in the past but this spot was always a little bit sketchy for me at the time. Water rushes in with waves, filling the cave before being spat out with great force. Its one of the top things to do in Oahu for adrenaline junkies. This is also a great place to watch the sunset in the summer or spot whales in the winter.
Full blog post:Spitting Cave Cliff Jump
Spot Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles At Laniakea Beach
Animal lovers looking for an encounter with Hawaiis famous green turtles should head to Laniakea Beach. Located on Oahus North Shore, its nickname is actually Turtle Beach after the turtles that can frequently be seen basking in the sunshine along its shoreline.
A stroll along this sun-kissed shoreline will have you mesmerized by its giant sea turtle residents who call this place home. Its one of the must-do things on Oahu for families who want their fill of turtle photos.
For decades, these Hawaiian green sea turtles have frequented this beach more than any other spot on Oahu. Its said they love the rocky cove because it provides a feeding ground with all of the kelp and green moss seagrass that grows on the rocks above and below the waterline.
However, be aware that it is against the law to touch, provoke, or get too close to the turtles. After admiring the turtle scene, you can walk down the beach about 300 feet to discover a beautiful stretch of sand for sunbathing, swimming, and surfing at nearby Chuns Reef.
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Check Out The View From Nuuanu Pali Lookout
Nuuanu Pali Lookout is a historical landmark with amazing views of Oahus windward side.
Nuuanu Pali Lookout offers one of the prettiest views of Oahus Windward Coast. You can spot Kaneohe, Kaneohe Bay, and Kailua from all the way up here! This lookout is located a short five-mile drive from Honolulu, making it a convenient spot to visit. Additionally, entry to the lookout is free however, you do have to pay $7 for parking. Pro tip: make sure youre prepared for strong winds! Bring a jacket and keep a tight hold on your hat if youre wearing one. Due to the trade winds that blow through this area, Nuuanu Pali is situated within a natural wind tunnel.
Hike Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail
Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail is one of the best things to do in Oahu for free with the whole family . This easy 2.5-mile hike is only a 30-minute drive from downtown Honolulu and provides an awesome view of the ocean and landscape. On clear days, you can even catch a glimpse of Molokai in the distance. Moreover, if you happen to be visiting from December to April, theres a chance youll even be able to spot a humpback whale! If youre traveling with kids, you may also want to check out Sea Life Park Hawaii while youre in the area.
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Take The Lanikai Pillbox Hike
The Lanikai Pillbox hike offers an incredible view of Lanikai Beach and the Mokulua Islands.
The Lanikai Pillbox hike is one of Oahus most picturesque free trails, overlooking Lanikai Beach and the Mokulua Islands. The hike is approximately 1.8 miles and is considered to be moderate to hard difficulty. Depending on how much of the trail you complete, it should take anywhere between 60-90 minutes roundtrip. Before beginning this hike, remember to check trail conditions online. Additionally, make sure to wear hiking shoes since this area can be slippery. We also recommend packing an insulated water bottle so you can stay cool and hydrated in the heat!
Scuba Dive Through Shipwrecks
Besides the chance to scuba with turtles, sharks, and schools of vibrant fish, the archipelago also offers a range of famous shipwrecks to explore for those already holding PADI certification.
On professionally-led expeditions, divers will get to see infamous sunken vessels like the YO-257, San Pedro, and the Korean Sea Tiger fishing vessel all in warm, life-filled waters.
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What You Should Know About Waikiki Hawaii
Waikiki is a large neighborhood located in Honoluluthe capital of Hawaii. Honolulu is located on the island of Oahu, known as the Main Island, since its the most populated and visited by tourists.
Other popular islands to visit in Hawaii include Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii .
Since Waikiki is only 3.4 square miles, the area is extremely walkable. However, a few of the best things to do in Waikiki on this list are actually located slightly outside Waikiki, in Honolulu. That said, you may need to Uber, Lyft, or rent a car to drive there.
But without further ado, here are twelve of the best things to do in Waikiki during your trip to Oahu, Hawaii!
P.S. If youre planning a trip to Oahu, check out this detailed 5-Day Oahu Itinerary packed with the best things to do, places to eat, and things to see!
Enjoy The Best Things To Do In Waikiki
No matter if you love lounging on the beach, shopping, hiking, or sightseeingyoull be sure to find something you love in Waikiki, Hawaii! Which of these awesome things to do in Waikiki sounds most fun to you?
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. This helps me keep the content on my website free, like this post about the 10 Best Things to Do in Waikiki!
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Spend The Day At Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay on Oahu is one of the best places to snorkel and even has a where you can learn about the marine life before taking the plunge to see it in real life.
Even though the beaches there tend to be a bit crowded, it is still a wonderful place to get in for a swim due to its shallower waters. Not only that, its a gorgeous place to hang out and relax!
Try Your Hand At Stand
An activity that promises to be both relaxing and a great workout, stand-up paddleboarding is one of the most popular ways to explore the historic Anahulu stream in Haleiwa, where, as the home of the Green Hawaiian Sea Turtles, sightings are almost always guaranteed.
For something a little more left-field, why not try SUP yoga at night!
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Pearl Harbor National Memorial
You cant visit Waikiki without taking a short 13-mile drive to Pearl Harbor National Memorial. Its truly a cant miss experience on Oahu, especially if youre a history lover, like me.
Visiting Pearl Harbor is one of the best things to do in Honolulu. Its a sobering experience that remembers the attack of the U.S. Pacific Fleet by the Japanese Navy on December 7th, 1941. The attack on Pearl Harbor sunk or damaged 18 U.S. warships, killed 2,403 American citizens and launched the United States into World War II.
When you visit Pearl Harbor, you have to visit the USS Arizona Memorial. I highly recommend reserving your ticket in advance for $1 to ensure youll have a seat on the boat to visit the memorial. Tickets become available at 3 PM the day before the tour. You can also buy tickets to tour the USS Missouri and Bowfin Submarine separately or book an all-inclusive tour with transportation from Waikiki.
You can spend at least a day exploring all Pearl Harbor has to offer, but Id allow at least two hours to explore the grounds and visit the USS Arizona Memorial. Its definitely one of the most memorable things to do in Waikiki.
Try Windsurfing Or Kitesurfing At Kailua Beach
One of the most beautiful beaches in Oahu, Kailua Beach features turquoise blue waters and white powder sand. Stretching for 2.5 miles, it sits conveniently next to another one of Oahus famous beaches, Lanikai Beach.
With its strong winds, this is the top spot in Oahu to try thrilling water sports activities such as kitesurfing and windsurfing. Strong and steady breezes are frequent at the beach due to its location on the islands windward side. If you want to add this activity to your itinerary, Hawaiian Watersports rents out equipment and offers lessons for beginners.
Unlike Lanikai Beach, this Oahu destination has bathroom facilities, beach showers, and picnic tables, making it a popular getaway for families. Kids can swim in the calm waters, make a splash in the waves with their boogie boards, or try body surfing.
The long, gentle bay is also ideal for beach strolling. The sun also rises offshore, making it a popular spot to admire one of Hawaiis beautiful sunrises. Afterward, you can explore downtown Kailua, which is just a five-minute walk from here.
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