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Free Things to Do in Hawaii

Hawaii has always been one of the top vacations spots for many families. Due to recent changes in the global economy many families have either had to cancel their vacations or go somewhere a little less expensive. Your family’s Hawaiian vacations doesn’t have to be ruined because your strapped for cash. There are plenty of fun and exciting things to do in Hawaii that wont cost you a penny. Below is a list of free things to do while in Hawaii.

Hike at Akaka Falls State Park

Put your hiking boots on and go for a nature walk through Akaka Falls State Park. This self guided tour will take you on a half hour walk through a path of tropical flowers and fragrant vines. You will end up at a breath taking view of Akaka Falls, a 442 feet waterfalls with a legendary story attached to it. There’s parking and restroom facilities located right at the park.

(Update as of July 2011: While a visit to Akaka Falls remains ALMOST free, there is now a fee of $5 per car or $1 per pedestrian to enter the park. Details here.)

Be sure to check out other waterfalls in Hawaii.

Go to Dole Plantation

Dole Plantation is one of the most visited attractions in Hawaii. The business started out as a fresh fruit stand and originally opened to the public as the Pineapple experience in 1989. There you will learn all about the history and farming methods of pineapples. You will be able to view a pineapple cutting demonstration and feed the giant Koi in the fish pond. Dole Plantation is a great place to visit if you are traveling with children.

Visit Pearl Harbor

Visit the historical place where America was attacked by Japanese fighter planes in December of 1941. The memorial is built over the remains of as many as 1,177 fallen American heroes. The tour includes a half hour documentary on the Pearl Harbor Attack and a boat trip to the actual memorial. You have to arrive early because the free tickets are given out on a first come, first served basis.

More information on Pearl Harbor.

Tour Kalaupapa

Kalaupapa was originally a place where nearly 8,000 people were sent in isolation because of the dreaded disease of leprosy. It now is a historical place of education and reflection. This history of of Kalaupapa can be revealed through its structures. Some of their most unique landmarks are the rock walls that surround the settlement.

Watch a free movie on the Beach

Sunset on the Beach takes place every Saturday and Sunday on the Kapahulu Pier at Waikiki Beach. There is live music that usually starts 2 hours before sunset. Then after sunset a movie is shown on a large 30 foot screen. There are tables and chairs located on the mountain side of the beach and they are provided free for your viewing enjoyment.

As an unrelated side note, you might also enjoy these movie and tv filming locations.

Take a Hula lesson

Learn to dance like a native Hawaiian by taking hula lessons. The Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center offers free hula lessons. If you’re not much of a dancer the shopping center also offer free lesson on lei-making and ukulele lessons. Your Hawaiian tour will not be complete without one of these lessons.

Watch the Royal Hawaiian Band live in concert

The Royal Hawaiian Band is one of the last living links to Hawaii’s monarchy. The band remains a vital part of the Hawaiian culture. The band plays every Friday at Iolani Palace bandstand and every Sunday in Kapi’olani Park. You can enjoy the band or show off your new hula skills.

Visit the Museum

The Whaler’s Village Museum allows visitors to relive the sea-faring life of a 19th century whaler. You can view an authentic whale boat fully equipped with gear. There’s an exhibit of the skeletal remains of a 40 foot Sperm Whale. The museum also has over seventy different species of whales on display for you to glimpse and read about.

Have A Picnic in Launiupoko State Wayside Park

Just off highway 30 you’ll find Lauinupoko State Wayside Park. This is a beautiful park where you can enjoy a variety of activities, such as swimming, surfing and sandcastle building. The parks has a man-made wading pool for the kids. There is also a picnic area along with grills for you to enjoy a nice family cookout.

Take A Dip In Seven Sacred Pools

If you are headed out on the Road to Hana, bring your backpack for an adventurous hike up Pipiwai trail, which is just above the seven sacred pools. This area has numerous pools and waterfalls. Many people enjoy cliff jumping and swimming in the pools. There are no life guards so you should use extreme caution and search for hidden rocks before jumping off one of these cliffs.

Tour A Winery

Bring your lunch and enjoy an afternoon at Maui’s Winery only commercial winery. The winery is located off Hana Highway between the 14 and 15 mile makers. You can enjoy a free guided tour of the winery. Then stop by their taste testing room located in a little cottage originally built for Hawaii’s King Kalakaua, and sample some wine. The winery has picnic tables for you to have a relaxing picnic before making your way back to town.

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens

Hoomaluhia in the Hawaiian language means “to make a place of peace and tranquility”. Peace and tranquility is exactly what you will find on this 400 acre plot of botanic gardens. It was built by the US Army Corp for protection against flood, but has proven to be a lovely place for rest and relaxation. Among the activities are guided nature hikes, crafts and cloud watching. Visitors are allowed to camp in the park with a permit and a small fee.

Enjoy A Live Performance at Ala Moana Center

Ala Moana Centerstage features over 500 live performances each year. Included in the performances is a weekly KeiKi Hula Show on Sunday. The center displays a lot of local talent, but it also offers international entertainers. The show times vary so you need to contact the center directly.

Spend A Day At The Beach

What is a Hawaiian vacation without spending time on the beach? The majority of the beaches are free in Hawaii, and Spencer Beach is a great choice. On the beach you will find basketball and Volleyball courts along with restroom and shower facilities. There is also a picnic area and campsites, but you will need a permit to camp.

Visit One of Oahu’s Historic Heiau (places of worship)

There are many sacred temples that can be found on the Hawaiian islands. The house of Lono is an example of one, built in the 1400’s to the God Lono. Lono was a principle God in Hawaii, he was said to rule agriculture, harvest, weather and medicine. Although the Heiau was not originally made for human sacrifices, humans were offered to ensure a good harvest. These heiau’s have a very sacred value to the Hawaiian people, many of the sites have legends attached to them, so be careful how you treat the sites.

Watch A Fish Auction

Get up early in the morning and meet Hawaii’s local fishermen. The auction starts at 5:30 am sharp, so get there on time. It is held Monday through Saturday and there’s a variety of fish being auctioned off. The proceeding are conducted in an internal language which only the buyers and sellers understand but its still full to watch.

Take a walk on Waikiki’s Historic trail

You can take a self guide tour on the Historic Waikiki trail. A map of the trail can be downloaded for free on their website. There are also surfboard markers along the trail with interesting stories and pictures of Waikiki’s Hawaiian History. Be sure to bring a water bottle because the trail is a 2 hour walk.