Even though visiting Hawaii can be expensive, you can have a great time in Honolulu without spending a dime. Below are five free attractions where you can relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery, watch world class surfers or learn more about the Hawaii’s colorful history.
- US Army Museum of Hawaii, 2131 Kalia Road – Next to the Ft DeRussy Recreation Center in Waikiki, this former bunker has been converted into a museum that showcases decades of military presence in Hawaii. With a real AH-1 Cobra helicopter, WWII tanks and anti-aircraft guns, the museum strives for a “you were there” atmosphere, especially if you take the self-guided audio tour.
- Lyon Arboretum, 3860 Manoa Road – Stroll through a tropical paradise featuring plants like Malay Rose Ginger, Bromeliads and huge native ferns that tower above the paths. Parking is limited so they offer a free shuttle service to and from the Arboretum from the intersection of Nipo Street and Manoa Road. Covering 200 acres, this University of Hawaii facility is the largest rain forest environment accessible to the public on Oahu.
- Pu’u Ualakaa State Park, Round Top Drive off Makiki Street – The 1,048 foot volcanic cinder cone in downtown Honolulu overlooking the ‘Iolani Palace is a favorite place for an evening picnic either at one of the shelters or on the lawn. Get an excellent view of Diamond Head and Pearl Harbor with a hike along the ‘Ualaka’a Loop, a paved one mile walkway around the park.
- Battleship Missouri Memorial, 63 Cowpens Street – After 60 years at sea, the 60,000 ton Missouri Battleship was retried and converted into an interactive education monument to the battles fought in WWII by the US Navy. One favorite photo opportunity is the sculpture titled “Unconditional Surrender” that replicates the famous picture of the sailor kissing the girl on Armistice Day in New York City.
- Kuhio Beach, Waikiki – Get your picture in front of the bronze statue of Duke Kahanamoku that welcomes visitors to Oahu with open arms while beautiful Hawaiian music fills the air. Kuhio Beach is where the Duke learned his skills to become an Olympic champion in 1924. A favorite spot for boogie-boarding, families let their kids romp on the long beach and couples enjoy romantic moonlight strolls.
- Dolphin Show, Kahala Hotel, 5000 Kahala Avenue – You don’t have to be a guest at this fine hotel to walk around their lush grounds laced with waterfalls and lagoons that are home to live dolphins. Show up for their feeding at 11 AM, 2 PM and 4 PM to see them in action.