Hawai’i seems to have a reputation for two things: It’s incredibly beautiful and expensive. While it’s still on the top of most avid traveler’s lists, and for good reason, there are a few ways to enjoy an affordable day in paradise with the family.
A few savvy tips and tricks to avoid falling for the tourist traps and overspending during your trip can help your family enjoy all the free activities Honolulu, Oahu, has to offer. Stretch your dollars a bit further, filling up with affordable family fun, free destinations wherever possible and some local eats.
Luckily, Hawai’i is a treasure trove for incredible natural beauty. Honolulu, specifically, boasts some of the most sought-after sites, including Diamond Head volcano, Hanauma Bay, Koko Head along Maunalua Bay, Nu‘uanu Pali and Manoa Falls hiking trails and waterfalls — just to name a few. While active families head to the islands partially to head out on hikes, scenic overlooks and take in the view after a challenging trek, there are easy trails and scenic walks for the less athletically inclined members on the trip. Either way, the view is breathtaking.
Each state park and hiking trail ranges $5–7.50 per guest and carload, adding an additional $1–3 for parking. These self-guided hikes offer an affordable workout and destination immersion you can’t get just anywhere.
Speak with your hotel or resort about tour options or rent a Jeep before your arrival and make your own way, enjoying the rugged beauty. Head off-roading on thrilling trails or stick to the incredible vistas of the coastline.
For those renting a 4×4 vehicle and taking in the scenery from the road, make a point to head to North Oahu and visit the world-famous Dole Plantation. Take a guided tour of the gardens and fresh pineapples before getting lost with the kids in the Pineapple Garden Maze. Kids and adults ride the vintage Pineapple Express Train, touring the plantation for $9–11, while kids 4 years old and younger ride free with an adult. Don’t leave before trying the frozen pineapple Dole Whip, $5.75.
Get back out sightseeing and enjoying the local culture by walking along the streets in town, window shopping and taking in the vibrant, but surfer-style décor, or opt for some history at the Pearl Harbor Historic sites; some entrance fees are as low as $1.50 if you book online.