Hawaii has the reputation of being a luxury destination and one of those places that will drain your bank account in an instant. This isn’t completely true and you can actually travel to Hawaii on a budget. I have lived on Oahu on a budget the last two years as a student and it can easily be done. These are my favorite 10 free things to do in Waikiki, Hawaii
1. Chill out at Waikiki Beach
All of Hawaii’s beaches are free and open to the public. Waikiki features some of the world’s most famous beaches. Waikiki Beach stretches 2 miles in total. The busiest beaches are in central Waikiki. If you are like me and like to stay away from the crowds head up towards Diamond Head for smaller crowds. Kaimana Beach is one of my favorites in Waikiki.
2. Enjoy a Hula Show at the beach
Near Waikiki’s statue of Duke Kahanamoku and the large Banyan tree, you’ll find a beautiful free hula show. Kuhio Hula Show put on an amazing performance three times a week. Watching the show will give you the perfect combination of ocean, Hawaiian music and culture. This is without a doubt a must-do when visiting Waikiki!
Hours: Tues-Thurs-Sat at 6:30-7:30 p.m. (6:00-7:00 p.m. Nov-Dec-Jan)
3. Hike Diamond Head
Diamond Head is one of Oahu’s most iconic landmarks and you can hike to the top! The hike is a 1.5 Mile Round Trip. From the top, you can enjoy the view of Waikiki’s blue waters and Honolulu’s skyline. Remember to bring water and stay hydrated. The hike isn’t completely free. It costs $1 per pedestrian and $5 per car.
Hours: 7 am to 3:30 pm
4. View the Sunset on Waikiki Beach
Waikiki beach turns every night into a natural amphitheater showing off it’s most impressive sunset show. Watching the sunset with a refreshing tropical drink in hand is a relaxing way to end a day in Waikiki. Go down to the beach, find a spot, and enjoy the view. ALOHA.
Hours: 6.28 Pm.
5. Try out a Lei-Making Class
Take a free Lei-making Class at the Royal Hawaiian Center. Here you’ll learn how to weave your own beautiful flower lei using fresh tropical flowers. Be there in good time as it is a very popular event. The Royal Hawaiian Center also offers free Ukele classes, Hula shows and much more.
Hours: Monday, Friday & Sunday 1-2 PM.
6. Watch the Fireworks at Hilton Hawaiian Village
Fridays are a big celebration here in Hawaii. As we say here: “Happy Aloha Friday”. The week is over and it is time to celebrate the upcoming weekend! Hilton Hawaiian Village put on a 10-minute firework show every Friday! The fireworks can be seen along all of Waikiki Beach. My favorite spots to watch the fireworks are at Queens Beach, Fort DeRussy Beach Park, and Magic Island.
Hours: Every Friday 7.45 pm.
7. Watch Movies Under the Stars
Sunset at the Beach happens roughly around 3-4 times a year. Waikiki Beach turns into a giant outdoor theater showing free, family-friendly movies on a 30-foot screen. Make sure to check out the online schedule so you won’t miss out. You can check the schedule HERE.
Hours: Check Online Schedule
8. Moana Surfrider Tour
Moana Surfrider is Waikiki’s first hotel. The hotel hosts complimentary historical tours in the Historical Room on the 2nd floor. If you don’t want a guided tour you can also choose to just go upstairs and explore it on your own.
Hours: Every Monday and Wednesday at 11 AM
9. Snorkeling in Waikiki
You don’t have to go on an expensive snorkeling tour to find a good place to go snorkel in Waikiki. Queens Beach and Sans Souci Beach are the best options in Waikiki and the reef is easily accessible. Both beaches are located along the Waikiki Marine Life Conservation District. These two places are without a doubt a great place to spot a wide variety of colorful underwater sea creatures, including the green sea turtle.
Hours: All day every day!
10. Royal Hawaiian Hotel Tour
The Royal Hawaiian is like Moana Surf Rider one of the first hotels established in Waikiki. The iconic “Pink Palace of the Pacific” offers free walking tours that showcase the hotel’s history. Tours start in the Royal Hawaiian Bakery. Make sure to take a walk through the garden and watch all the tropical plants.
Hours: Every Tuesday and Thursday at 1 PM