Visiting Hawaii is no doubt an expensive endeavor! With the cost of food and airfare, you need to do as many free things in Honolulu, Hawaii as you possibly can. There are actually quite a few things to do in this beautiful state. The hard part will be deciding what you do first!
19 Free Things to do in Honolulu Hawaii
Before we jump in, make sure to check out our post on Planning a Trip to Hawaii on a Budget 101 and our First Timers Guide to Oahu HI. There is so much info in them from ways to save and what to see and do.
Also, don't forget to check out Airbnb for a place to stay. You also get a free $40 credit for signing up for free with my link! There are so many places to stay for under $100 a night and many with a great view!
Please note many of these are located in or just outside the city but we have included a few scattered on the island as it's only an hour drive to the furthermost spot from the city and they are worth the trip!
USS Arizona National Memorial in Pearl Harbor – Since you can’t see this memorial anywhere else in the world, it’s best to visit it while you are here. While it’s a sad reason why the memorial is there, it’s a great way to honor the lives that were lost. People say when they visit this memorial, it’s a very solemn place, but they are always glad that they took the time to visit. These tickets are on a first come and first serve basis so get there early.
Halona Blowhole Outlook – It’s not every day you get to see a blowhole or even know what it is. Many people who visit Honolulu, drive past the Halona Blowhole Outlook. Really, it’s blasts of water that shoot into the sky. What makes it really cool is the natural origin and how no one has to do anything to enjoy the beauty of it – it just happens!
Laniakea Beach AKA Turtle Beach – With the time you’ll spend in Hawaii, you need to spend some of it at Laniakea Beach, which is also known as Turtle Beach. This is the perfect beach to have a picnic and just enjoy watching the turtles. It’s not every day you get to admire such beautiful creatures.
Hanauma Bay – Want to see the ocean up close? You need to check out Hanauma Bay! This place is breathtaking. If you’re up for it, there are opportunities to snorkel here. Just imagine being able to see the beauty on the outside and then dive into the ocean and see what’s down there!
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific – Otherwise known as the Punchbowl National Cemetery. This is not just any cemetery. This cemetery is in the center of an extinct volcanic crater.
Watch a Torch Lighting Ceremony and Hula Show – This show is on Kuhio Beach Park in Waikiki and offered a few times a week.
Take a Hike – There are so many hiking trails on the island that lead to some amazing places you can't see unless you are on foot. I listed the tops one below.
Manoa Falls – This is a 1.6-mile hike through the jungle that ends and a beautiful 100-foot waterfall.
Sunset and Sunrise – Almost anywhere you go in Honolulu, Hawaii is going to give you access to the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises in the world, it’s pretty amazing! Plus, watching the sunset and rise is always free!
Pali Lookout – You can’t pass up seeing the Pali Lookout, while in this part of the country! This is one of the most beautiful places in this state! It also has a unique history that you will want to study before you visit. Pali Lookout is located in the Koolau Mountain range at 1200 feet of elevation.
Puu O Mahuka – This is an Ancient Hawaiian Temple and a National Historic Landmark located in Pu'u o Mahuka Heiau State Historic Site.
Makapu'u Point Lighthouse Trail – This is a 2.8-mile hike along the water taking in several views on the way to the lighthouse. Many say it's best enjoyed at sunrise. I won't lie I rarely get out of bed that early!
Ka'ena Point – Located in the Kaena Point State Park state park, you drive 2.6 miles on the dirt road then get out and have a short hike the last part of the way. The views are totally worth the ride!
Koko Crater Railway Trail – This trail runs along an old railroad that was used by the military but has since been abandoned. If you need a bit of an incentive for this over 1000 step hike there is the Koko Crater Botanical Garden at the top. Be warned many labels this the hardest hike on the island but the views far out weight the hike.
Ala Moana Center – This is a large open-air mall Hawaii style. There is a lot to just see even if you just window shop.
Diamond Head – This is a 1.6-mile hike with a bunch of stairs straight to the top of the Diamond Head Crater. But the view of Honolulu and the beach is worth it.
Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden – This is one of several botanical gardens on the island but this is one every suggests if you can only see one.
Hawaii State Art Museum – Admission is free but they do offer guided tours for a fee. The exhibits are always changing so it's worth a stop even if you have been before.
Take Classes at the Royal Hawaiian Center – They offer many different classes any day but Sunday. Classes include lei making, lauhala weaving, hula, ‘ukulele playing and more!
Most people don’t get to visit Hawaii once, let alone more than once. Make sure you take the time to soak it all in when you visit!
Did I miss any of Free Things to do in Honolulu? Let me know in the comments below!