10 Small Budget Activities to do on Oahu

Are you planning a trip to Oahu but you are afraid of getting bored ? Don't worry, I'm here to show you 10 activities that you can do on the island. 100% fun guaranteed


7/21/20237 min read

As we all know, traveling is expensive and it can get pretty hard for some of us to find activities to do while respecting our budget, but with careful planning and a bit of flexibility, you can have a memorable travel experience without breaking your bank account. So let's get into it right away and let me show you how I enjoyed my time on Oahu while taking care of my precious piggy bank.

1.Going on a hike

I know, you are on vacation, why would you want to hike instead of drinking a cocktail by the beach ? Well, if you are looking for adventure or incredible landscapes, there it is: the perfect solution. You can see so much of the island by simply walking and bonus: it's free ! The island is full of trails, they are all different and can suit anyone. You can find hard trails, just like you can find easy ones. Not only will you find incredible landscapes but you will be mesmerized by Hawaii's greenery and flora. The ultimate trail to do ? It's the Moanalua Valley Trail. But be careful, that one is quite hard, make sure you are fully prepared ! Not a big fan of walking too much ? No worries, you can visit Honolulu's coast by walking on the beach, or you can scroll down to Number 2 for an easy and fast hike that is a must do on Oahu.

aerial view of mountains and cloudy sky
aerial view of mountains and cloudy sky

2. Diamond Head Crater

This is an easy hike that will take your breath away ! It is a one-hour roundtrip trek where you can follow a paved path inside a volcano crater and once you reach the top, the view is incredible: you can see the ocean and sometimes spot whales but you can also see Honolulu from a different angle and it's totally worth it ! Be careful, when it's raining, the path can be slippery.

In order to reach the trail you need to pay a 10 dollars fee and book a reservation ahead. I hadn't booked a reservation and had to do it while I was there, I don't recommend doing this as it was a bit stressful.

I recommend you to go watch the sunset or the sunrise there. Now, when I went there it was very cloudy and we didn't see much of a sunrise but seeing Honolulu's night-life from above was worth it.

3.HO'OMALUHA Botanical Garden

Now it's time to talk about my favorite place on Oahu: HO'OMALUHA botanical garden. The most magical place I have ever been to. It is an enchanting oasis of nature's beauty. Nestled amidst the lush greenery of the island, this garden is a paradise for plant enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. With its diverse collection of tropical plants and flowers, the garden offers a feast for the senses. You can stroll along the winding paths, admiring the vibrant colors and fragrant aromas that fill the air. The tranquil atmosphere is enhanced by the soothing sounds of babbling brooks and chirping birds. HO'OMALUHA botanical garden also serves as a conservation site, dedicated to preserving the unique flora of Hawaii. It is a place where you can connect with the natural world and experience the wonder and serenity of Oahu's botanical treasures. You can also camp in this paradise. Can you imagine waking up to this beautiful view ? This place is a must-see of Oahu and it's free !

On Oahu, you will find many different statues like these ones. Each of them represent something special and they help you learn and understand the Hawaiian culture and history better.

4.Go Sculpture Chasing

There are mostly in Honolulu which makes a nice little stroll in the city much more interesting. For instance, you can find the bronze statue of Duke Kahanamoku (left) on Kūhiō Beach in Waikiki. Duke was a true Hawaiian hero and one of the world's greatest watermen, a master of swimming, surfing and outrigger canoe paddling.

5.Pearl Harbor

If you are a true fan of history then this museum is a must-do ! This museum and memorial not only covers the attack that happened on December 7 1941, but it also includes a display of aircrafts and many exhibits.

The general admission costs 25.99$ but you can also find other types of tickets with more options for a little bit more. It all depends on your preferences. It could also be interesting to look into tours that include the USS Arizona and/or a visit of Honolulu.

a large white building sitting on top of a body of water
a large white building sitting on top of a body of water

6.Iolani Palace

If you've seen Hawaii 5-0 then you should know this place !

Iolani Palace, located in Honolulu, is a remarkable historical landmark in Hawaii. It was the official residence of the Hawaiian monarchs from 1882 until 1893 when the monarchy was overthrown. With its grand architecture and opulent interiors, the palace reflects the rich cultural heritage of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Visitors can explore the various rooms, including the royal bedrooms, the grand hall, and the throne room, and learn about the fascinating history of Hawaii's monarchy.

The audio tour is 26.95$ but again, you can find a variety of tours for different prices. It depends on your preferences.


Snorkeling in Hawaii is an incredible experience. The crystal-clear waters of the Pacific Ocean provide a stunning backdrop for exploring the underwater world. As you dip beneath the surface, you are greeted by a vibrant and colorful ecosystem. Schools of tropical fish swim gracefully around the coral reefs, while sea turtles leisurely glide through the water. The visibility is exceptional and the marine life is fascinating. Snorkeling in Hawaii is not only a chance to connect with nature, but also an opportunity to create lasting memories in this tropical paradise.

The amazing thing about snorkeling in Hawaii is that you can do it anywhere: you can book a tour to go swim in Turtle Canyon or you can simply choose the beach and make it your own adventure. It's always gonna be fun, just make sure to follow safety guidelines.

8.Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa Ranch is a breathtaking destination that offers a diverse array of activities and stunning natural landscapes. Located on the east side of Oahu, this ranch is renowned for its scenic beauty and historical significance. Visitors can embark on thrilling ATV tours, horseback rides, or zip line adventures, allowing them to explore the ranch's lush valleys and majestic mountains. The ranch is also home to iconic film locations, making it a popular spot for movie enthusiasts. From Jurassic Park to Lost, many famous movies and TV shows have been filmed in this picturesque setting. Whether you're seeking adventure or simply want to immerse yourself in the beauty of Hawaii, Kualoa Ranch is a must-visit destination.

The Hollywood Movie Site Tour is the cheapest tour you can book on the ranch and it takes you to different movie sets on a bus. The guide who is also the driver explains everything and even gives some amusing anecdotes. It's a very fun experience, especially if you are a fan of certain movies such as Jurassic Park, King Kong, or even certain TV shows like Lost or Hawaii 5-0 where you can see many accessories that were used.

aerial photo of green mountain
aerial photo of green mountain

9.Watching sunsets

After a long day of exploring the island, what could be better than watching a nice sunset on the beach and having a picnic to celebrate the journey you just embarked on and the everlasting memories that will follow you for the rest of your life.

As the golden sun slowly sets behind the horizon, the sky transforms into a canvas of vibrant colors. Shades of orange, pink, and purple paint the heavens, creating a breathtaking backdrop. Get your camera ready as you will take the most incredible souvenirs home with you. The gentle breeze carries the scent of the ocean, enhancing the tranquil atmosphere. Waves crash against the shore, providing a soothing soundtrack to the mesmerizing spectacle. The warm glow of the sun's last rays reflects on the crystal-clear waters, adding a touch of magic to the scenery. Close your eyes and you will see that time seems to stand still as you immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. It is a moment of pure serenity and gratitude, reminding you of the wonders that exist in this world.


This activity is probably the most expensive one on the list but I couldn't talk about activities in Hawaii without mentioning surfing the Pacific Ocean's big waves.

We've all seen movies with surfers and secretly wished we could be them. So now is the time, take a surfing lesson and go have fun in the water. Become the hero of your own movie.

This would also be a great activity to do as a family, all the laughs and memories you'll make are priceless. But I am sure, it would be more profitable to take a group lesson with your loved ones.