We know there is a price to paradise. From the airfare to hotel to rental cars, it's not always cheap to soak in the beauty that the Hawaiian Islands have to offer. But because a trip to paradise is worth every penny there are a number of things you can do that won't cost a dime, and which still allow you to enjoy the magic and splendor that is Hawaii.
The trick is to work in the freebie fun -- like a hike one day and a trek to the North Shore the next -- in between the activities you absolutely want to do. Those savings allow you to splurge on a luau or even a day trip to a neighbor island.
Photo credit Neal Kido
Here are four free Hawaii activities that won't break the bank. And maybe you'll even save enough for another trip back to the islands (*wink*)?
• Take a Hike. Work off those extra vacation calories (because who could say no to that second helping of lau lau) while taking in the breathtaking splendor that the islands are known for. There are a handful of hikes to choose from but one of our favorites is the Lanikai Pillbox hike in Kailua, which takes outdoor enthusiasts on a one to three hour trek up and around the pillboxes that dot Lanikai's cliffs.
Brave the passing Windward showers this side of the island is known for and you'll likely be rewarded with the odd rainbow or two. This free Oahu activity is great for families who want to get back to the aina (land in Hawaiian) and away from the hustle and bustle. All you'll need to shell out for here is the cost to frame your amazing photos.
• Peer over the Pali. If you find yourself venturing into Nuuanu Valley plan a visit to the Pali Lookout. This popular state park off the Pali Highway will whisk you off your feet (quite literally) with sweeping views of the Koolau mountain ranges and Oahu's windward coast. In Hawaiian "pali" translates to "cliff" and this island ridge offers more than just a pretty view. The Pali Lookout also has a dark side, playing a role as the site of the historical 1795 Battle of Nuuanu.
Make sure to pack an extra jacket and leave loose accessories back at the hotel, as the gusty outpost has been known to pack winds up to 50 miles per hour. The lookout is open daily during daylight hours and is free to all visitors though there is a minimal $3 fee for parking. But if you bring along a friendly kamaaina (Hawaii resident) parking is free! Read more about the Pali Lookout in our previous blog post here.
• Talk Story with the Turtles. Network with the natives -- the gentle giants of Hawaii's waters, the Hawaiian green sea turtle (known as honu in Hawaiian) -- an aquatic celebrity amongst visitors and locals alike. One of the best beaches to spot these shelled souls is Laniakea Beach, off Kamehameha Highway.
Because the green sea turtle is an endangered species it is against the law to get too close to -- or touch -- the turtles. But don't let that get you down. A few hours on a beautiful North Shore beach and some unforgettable snaps of sunning turtles are nothing to sneeze at.
Read more about honu and Lanikea Beach in our previous blog post here.
• Have a Swell Time. You don't have to drop any cash to drop in to the Haleiwa Surf Museum. Before heading out to catch winter's big waves make a shave ice stop at Matsumoto's and swing by this vintage museum for a ride back in time.
Located at the North Shore Marketplace this museum makes waves amongst visitors with a collection of surf memorabilia dating back to the 1960s as well as surfboards, photographs and videos that depict the history of the sport. Easily distinguished by the 1950s Ford Woody parked outside, here you'll find giant redwood surfboards from the 1930s alongside historical photos taken by LeRoy Grannnis, otherwise known as the godfather of surf photography.
For more free Oahu activities visit www.gorabbitgo.com.