23 Exciting Things to Do in Oahu for Absolutely Free!

Ready to plan an adventure to Oahu but worried about emptying your wallet?

Oahu is a magical island full of captivating beaches, lush rainforests, and vibrant culture. Whether you’re visiting for a day or a week, there are plenty of exciting activities to explore at no cost.

Whether you’re looking for a day of sightseeing or an afternoon of outdoor adventures, these 23 free activities in Oahu are sure to leave you with lasting memories.

So grab your sunscreen and your sense of adventure, and start exploring all that the island has to offer!

1. Offshore Snorkeling

Oahu sure does know how to show a traveler a good time, and one of the best things to do for free on the island is to pack your own gear and go snorkeling.

With so much aquatic wildlife, you can easily lose yourself gazing in awe at all the natural beauty around you. Plus, it helps work those arm muscles too!

Lanikai Beach with Mokulua Islands in view oahu
Lanikai Beach with Mokulua Islands in view oahu

2. Watch the Sunset at Lanikai Beach

One of Oahu’s most beautiful beaches, Lanikai Beach, offers one of the best sunset views you can find — and it’s free!

Pack a picnic, grab a blanket, and get ready to watch the sky turn golden as you enjoy the ultimate laid-back Hawaiian evening.

Just don’t forget your camera; you’ll want to capture this special moment. After all, it doesn’t cost a thing!

3. Visit the USS Arizona Memorial

The USS Arizona Memorial is one of the most poignant memorials in the United States, paying tribute to those who perished during the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

Take a tour of the memorial and get an up-close look at this powerful symbol of American history. And don’t forget to take a moment to reflect as you pay your respects to those whose lives were lost.

It may be hard to believe, but admission to the USS Arizona Memorial is free – you just need to make reservations in advance!

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4. Stroll Along the Stunning North Shore

Oahu’s North Shore is a world away from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki. It’s the perfect spot for those wanting to kick back and relax, free of charge!

There are countless activities to try out, such as cozying up with a good book on the picturesque sandy beach or dippin’ your toes in the crisp waves.

For the more adventurous types, snorkeling is a must – who knows what you may stumble upon?

Plus, if you want to shell out a few bucks, don’t forget about all those delicious cheap food trucks – changing your diet to exotic Hawaiian flavors has never been easier.

A day on Oahu’s North Shore really is an unbeatable experience that doesn’t have to cost you a dime – and better yet, it’ll leave you much richer in spirit!

people at waikiki beach oahu sp
people at waikiki beach oahu

5. Soak Up the Sun at Waikiki Beach

Nothing says paradise like soaking up the sun at Waikiki Beach! Stretching along the south shore of Oahu, this iconic beach is a must-see.

From surfing and snorkeling with your own gear to admiring the never-ending ocean views, there’s plenty to do here without spending a cent.

Plus, if you’re lucky, you may spot some famous Hawaiian wildlife – like sea turtles or wild dolphins! Why pay for an expensive tour when all that natural beauty is free?

6. Hike the Koko Head Stairway

Take your experience with nature to new heights – literally! This popular hiking trail features 1,048 steps leading up to breathtaking panoramic views.

Enjoy the beautiful coastline, lush greenery and a one-of-a-kind sunrise or sunset. Pack some snacks, water bottle and sturdy shoes for this free activity that’s sure to leave you breathless!

7. Witness Epic Waves at Banzai Pipeline

A surfer’s paradise that is open to the public, Banzai Pipeline is a great place to catch some of Oahu’s most majestic waves.

From here, you can watch nature at work, with some of the world’s biggest waves rolling in, and marvel at how those pros manage to stay on top.

Plus, it won’t cost you a penny – just remember to keep your distance from those brave enough to attempt the massive currents.

surfing in north shore oahu hawaii sp
surfing in north shore oahu hawaii

8. Tour the Dole Plantation

The Dole Plantation has got you covered with its free admission, so go on in and sweeten up your day.

Start your afternoon by taking part in their famous pineapple-cutting demonstration – and don’t forget to learn how to make heavenly chocolate in the process!

End your tour at the fish-feeding pond, where you’ll get to marvel at the impressive swimmers that live there.

All of this without taking out your wallet – talk about vacationing like a champ!

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9. Koko Crater Botanical Garden

Koko Crater Botanical Garden is a great spot for nature lovers looking to explore Oahu without spending a dime. With free parking and entry, this activity is truly a steal.

Take a leisurely stroll through the lush gardens and admire Hawaii’s flowers, plants and trees.

And don’t forget to check out the stunning views of Koko Crater from the garden’s lookout point – it’s an Instagram-worthy moment you won’t want to miss!

10. Look for Sea Turtles at Laniakea Beach

Turn up your beach day with a free show at Laniakea Beach. Here, you can spot some of the island’s friendliest locals lounging on the sand; no, not the usual surfers, but rather emerald-green sea turtles!

It’s one of the best spots on the island to see turtles; lay down a towel and watch them bask in the sun for a refreshing change of pace that won’t cost you anything.

Halona Blowhole Honolulu Hawaii
Halona Blowhole Honolulu Hawaii

11. Take Photos at Halona Blowhole

Halona Blowhole is a sight to behold! It’s easy to find, located along the eastern shore of Oahu, and offers an awe-inspiring show as waves crash into the rocks below and is forced back up with geyser-like intensity.

While the display of nature’s force can be mesmerizing, safety must be a priority while visiting; stay back and enjoy the show from afar.

12. Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden is the perfect place to take a peaceful stroll and explore Hawaii’s native botanical life.

The garden is teeming with acres of lush tropical plants and flowers, scenic walking trails, and even an on-site koi pond – all for free!

Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a day of nature in this 400-acre paradise.

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13. Go on a Waterfall Hike

When it comes to waterfall hikes in Oahu, they range from easy-breezy to booty-kicking so you can choose an adventure depending on your skills.

For a chilled-out hike, we’d suggest Waimea Falls or the classic Manoa Falls.

If you are feeling up for some exercise, then Maunawili Falls and Lulumahu Falls are definitely worth checking out – just don’t be surprised if you come back a bit on the sweaty side!

Waimea Falls tropical waterfall in Waimea Valley park on Oahu
Waimea Falls tropical waterfall in Waimea Valley park on Oahu

14. Indulge in a Chocolate Tasting

This chocolate-lovers paradise offers a free 10-minute tasting and, who knows, even persuade you to purchase some goodies!

If you’re feeling extra fancy, a $25 tour is available, which allows you to dig deeper into the world of chocolate and learn all about their farming process.

But be warned; your sweet tooth may just get the better of you!

15. Lyon Arboretum

The next stop is the Lyon Arboretum, an expansive tropical rainforest perfect for exploration.

Get lost in nature while viewing 5,000 exotic plants, listening to beautiful birdsong, and winding through nature trails.

Admission is free but donations are appreciated at the Lyon Arboretum.

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16. Go Cliff Jumping

Wanna get the blood pumping and your heart racing? Cliff jumping may just be what you’re looking for. Some of the hottest spots include Waimano Falls, Waimea Bay, and China Walls.

But remember, while these jumps offer thrills – they also come with risks so proceed with caution!

17. Wahiawa Botanical Garden

Wahiawa Botanical Garden is a 27-acre haven of natural beauty. One of the most underrated spots on the island, this garden offers plenty of walking trails, gorgeous views, and incredible flora for nature lovers of all ages.

Step away from the sand and surf and take in some nature instead. With admission being totally cost-free, you’ve got nothing to lose—except maybe track of time!

18. Visit Kailua Beach Park

For a memorable, wallet-friendly experience in Oahu, check out Kailua Beach Park.

It’s the perfect spot to dip your toes in the sand, get that golden tan, or grab a picnic basket and dig into some yummy treats.

And if you’re feeling adventurous, take a kayak ride – there’s no better view than seeing the Mokulua Islands up close.

19. Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail

Oahu definitely isn’t lacking when it comes to bucket list activities, and one of the best things to do that won’t cost you a cent? A hike along Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail.

Get your daily dose of Vitamin C before taking in the amazing views, with a bonus if you’re lucky – you might just stumble across some migrating whales!

With stunning scenery and easy-going terrain, this family-friendly hike is sure to leave you feeling incredibly refreshed.

20. Go for a Sunrise Hike

For a real wake-up call, nothing beats some fresh air and an incredible sunrise. Watching the sun rise over the lush cliffs and waterfalls of an island paradise – what could be more thrilling?

Forget costly expeditions and get your daily dose of adventure with a sunrise hike in beautiful Oahu!

Road sign for the town of Haleiwa oahu
Road sign for the town of Haleiwa oahu

21. Enjoy a Scenic Drive to Haleiwa

Even if your wallet is light, you can still get the best of Oahu. Start by taking a scenic drive to Haleiwa — the cultural gem on the North Shore of this tropical paradise.

The town overflows with vibrant surf and art scenes, making it easy to find plenty of Instagram opportunities.

If you’re feeling daring, try learning to ride some waves amidst pros! Or if that’s too much excitement, stroll around leisurely and take in the relaxed beachy vibes.

Whatever the moment calls for, Haleiwa’s gotcha covered – even if you’re rolling on a zero-dollar budget!

22. Lanikai Pillbox Hike

The Lanikai Pillbox Hike is a wallet-friendly way to get your fill of adventure and stunning panoramas – all in a 1.7-mile trek. Be warned, however: it’s not for the faint of heart.

This gem of an excursion requires you to bravely tackle the steep incline that leads to two abandoned World War II bunkers.

But with proper preparation (and we mean good shoes for grip), you’ll be rewarded with unparalleled views of both Lanikai Beach and the Mokulua Islands.

Hiking along the lanikai Pill Box trail in Honolulu Hawaii
Hiking along the lanikai Pill Box trail in Honolulu Hawaii

23. Go Stargazing

If you’re looking for an absolutely free activity that will take your breath away, a night of stargazing in Oahu should be right up your alley.

As you venture out of Honolulu and away from the light pollution, there’s no better place to whip out your telescope and marvel at the constellations above.

Even if you don’t have one, lay down on a beach towel and admire the blanket of stars that’ll soon cover the sky!

Oh, and while you’re at it – why not make a wish on a shooting star? Couldn’t hurt, right?