Planning a trip to Oahu on a budget and want to know some cheap things to do on Oahu HI? Keep scrolling to find out how to have a cheap vacation on Oahu that will blow your mind!
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Are you looking for a way to visit Hawaii on a budget?
You’re in luck! We have some great tips and tricks that will help you save money while still having an amazing time. If your dream is to visit Oahu, but it seems too expensive, we can help!
Here is a guide that will teach you how to visit Oahu on a budget. It includes tips and tricks for free things to do in Hawaii, along with ways to save money while still having a memorable time!
It doesn’t matter if this is your first trip or tenth trip – there are always new things to see and do here. And don’t forget about all of the delicious food options available at every price point!
When you follow this guide, you won’t need to worry about breaking the bank or feeling like your trip was too expensive. You will be able to enjoy yourself without worrying about spending all of your hard-earned cash.
Traveling to Hawaii on a budget is very doable and will save you a lot of money. Here is your guide on how to do a Hawaii vacation on a budget!
Keep scrolling to learn all the best things to do on Oahu for free, along with tips to visit Oahu on a budget.
Don’t have time to read a bunch of Hawaii blog posts and reviews? Here are some of our top picks for visiting Oahu on a budget.
Best Budget-Friendly Oahu Tours/Activities
- Mele Luau (you can skip dinner and just pay to watch the show at a fraction of the price)
- Glass Bottom Boat (this is cheaper than the submarine ride and still really cool)
- 2-Hour Whale Watching Tour (this is a short and affordable boat tour during winter months)
- Waikiki Snorkel with Turtles Cruise (this is one of the cheapest snorkeling tours on Oahu)
- Shaka Driving App (it’s like going on an island tour at a fraction of the price)
Best Budget-Friendly Oahu Hotels
- Aloha Suites Waikiki (this is on the quieter end of Waikiki near the Honolulu Zoo and Diamond Head)
- Waikiki Marina Resort (it’s right next to the Hilton Hawaiian Village and walkable to Ala Moana Center)
- Kailua Vacation Rental (this is perfect for those wanting to escape Waikiki for a quieter part of Oahu)
Want to skip all the planning and just access my detailed Oahu Itinerary complete with daily schedules, kid-friendly activities, and travel hacks? Click the button below.
Things to do on Oahu on a Budget FAQs
Usually, September is one of the cheapest months to visit Oahu or the early winter months. The island will be less crowded, and fares are generally cheaper too.
Oahu is usually the cheapest island to visit. Because it is a tourist place, you will find many places to stay, eat, and visit, so prices are lower than on other islands. There are also plenty of cheap and free things to do in Oahu as well.
If you’re planning on cooking your own food in Hawaii, you can save a lot of money by staying at a condo or vacation rental home with a full kitchen. However, some affordable condos have a kitchenette or grill by the pool where you can cook some items.
Tips to Visit Oahu on a Budget
Besides just doing the free Oahu activities, here are some other tips to help you budget for your Hawaii vacation. Read on to learn all the free and cheap things to do in Oahu down below!
1. Don’t Buy Anything
Obviously, you will need to buy food during your trip; but, try to limit yourself to just that. You don’t have to buy souvenirs, beach essentials, or anything else you think you might need. Souvenirs can be replaced with tons of pictures.
Be sure to grab a Hawaii packing checklist, so you know exactly what to bring. Plan on not buying anything during your vacation, and you’ll be amazed at how much you save!
2. Go to the Farmers Markets
Instead of eating out, cook your own food! Cooking your own food during your vacation is a great way to save a lot of money.
But, don’t go to the grocery store; check out the local farmer’s markets all over the island. These are a lot cheaper, and all the produce is grown on Hawaiian farms, so they will be super fresh and delicious!
3. Travel Light
Try to only bring a carry-on with you during your vacation for each family member. This might not be possible if you are staying for a month or longer, but a week or two is doable. Because you won’t be wearing any heavy clothes, a carry-on should fit everything!
Be sure to check where you are staying to see all the amenities there, so you don’t have to bring them.
4. Airbnb Vs. Hotel
Staying in an Airbnb is another way to stay on a strict budget. Hotels are more expensive and can have fewer amenities too. Airbnbs often have all the beach equipment you need and want, for free! You will also find that Airbnbs will also offer a discount if you stay a certain amount of days.
5. Off-Seasons Vacations
Try not to go to Hawaii during the summer or around any holiday. When you visit during the off-seasons, everything will be cheaper! October or May are generally good months to visit.
Do your research and watch for price trends for airplane tickets and places to stay. You can save hundreds by doing this!
Free Things To Do on Oahu
One of the best ways to go to Oahu for cheap is to explore all the free things! There are so many free things to do in Oahu; you can easily fill up your vacation with only free activities. These free activities are also some of the coolest things to do in Oahu anyway.
There are so many amazing hikes in Hawaii that will show you stunning views of the ocean and mountains. Hikes range in difficulty, and there are many kid-friendly hikes to explore.
2. Valley of Temples
This is a great place to enjoy nature and take some awesome photos. Most people love to get pictures at the temple; it is one of the best Instagrammable spots on the island!
3. Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor is a free tourist attraction. While there are paid events, most of the stuff is free. Enjoy walking around and seeing this wonderful memorial place. This should be on your itinerary for sure!
This is by far one of the top things to do in Oahu. Check out our guide to Pearl Harbor with kids HERE.
Of course, you can visit all the beaches you want without paying anything. This is one of the biggest reasons people visit Hawaii, so you’ll want to spend most of your time enjoying the peace of these beautiful beaches!
Relaxing on the beach and swimming in the ocean is already on your bucket list, but there are so many more cool things to do in Oahu at the beach too.
Visit the sea turtles at Laniakea Beach! Don’t touch them, but you can get pictures of them and see them up close if they are out. You can also have fun surfing on the North Shore. Many places offer surfing lessons, or you can just watch and learn independently.
If surfing is not for you, but you want to watch, another great free thing to do along the North Shore, Oahu, is watch surfing competitions! Depending on when you visit, you might see some at the Banzai Pipeline.
Snorkeling at sharks cove is also another one of the top things to do! You don’t have to go to a fancy place and pay a lot of money to see marine life and go snorkeling. You can easily snorkel at many beaches all over the island. If you are staying in an Airbnb, they might even have snorkeling gear for you to use!
5. Botanical Gardens
One of the free things to do in Honolulu is to visit the Botanical Gardens! A few of them are all over the island, including Haleiwa, Kaneohe, Honolulu, and a few more locations. Enjoy the beautiful green trees in Hawaii during your visit!
6. Fireworks at Waikiki Beach
If you are looking for some free things to do in Waikiki, stop by at night and watch the firework shows! Every Friday, on Aloha Day, the Hilton Hawaiian Village puts on a fireworks show around 8:00 pm.
You don’t have to wait until the Fourth of July for fireworks; watch them every week in Waikiki!
7. Art Museums
There are plenty of art shops where you can see all the amazing local artists and their artwork. You will feel like you are in an actual art museum! But, if you want to see a real art museum, check out the Hawaii State Art Museum. Admission is always free here!
8. Royal Hawaiian Center
At the Royal Hawaiian Center, you can enjoy many free live events and get some lessons as well. From hula lessons to lei making, these are unique things to do in Oahu that are absolutely free! Check out their events to see what is happening during your vacation.
Cheap Places to Eat and Visit on Oahu
After going through the free things to do, here are other inexpensive things to do in Oahu that will help you visit Hawaii on a budget. There are also cheap places to eat all around the island too!
Chinatown is one of the cheap places to eat in Honolulu. You can find all types of food at very affordable prices. Even if you want to cook your own food, you will find cheap grocery stores in Chinatown.
Foodland has some of the best poke on the island, and it is inexpensive. You can grab poke bowls with rice or salad and can enjoy a variety of other delicious seafood and cooked products! This is a great way to stay in Oahu on a budget.
3. Shave Ice or Acai Bowls
Hawaii is famous for shaved ice, so be sure to get some while there. Shave ice or acai bowls are delicious local food that doesn’t cost that much.
You can find plenty of shave ice shops all over the island.
4. Dole Plantation
One of the top things to do on Oahu is visiting Dole Plantation. You can go to the Dole Plantation for free. But if you want to do some activities, like the maze or train ride, you’ll have to pay.
However, nothing is over $20, which is very affordable compared to other tourist attractions! This is one of the cheap things to do in Hawaii that is so much fun!
5. Honolulu Zoo
Visiting the Honolulu Zoo costs less than $20 per person. This is another fun and cheap thing to do in Honolulu that will save your budget. Your kids will enjoy looking at all the animals and enjoying what this zoo has to offer. It is definitely a unique experience for sure!
Best Things to do in Oahu for Cheap Wrap Up
So many cheap Oahu activities will make visiting Oahu on a budget a breeze! Hawaii doesn’t have to be out of your reach. You can enjoy visiting Oahu on a budget.
Use these tips for traveling Hawaii on a budget, and be sure to visit all the free places to get the most out of your Hawaiian vacation and save everything you can.