1) Spend an afternoon at Hanauma Bay.
With an entry fee of just $7.50, this beautiful Oahu nature preserve is an ideal snorkeling spot – for locals and visitors alike. In fact, entry is free for kama’aina, active duty military, and children under 12 years of age. Just make sure to bring your own snorkel – it will cost you another $20 if you don’t bring your own gear. If you’re not on Oahu, you can rent snorkels at many amazing Hawaii beaches.
2) Explore Haleakala National Park.
Entry to the park will cost you $10 per car, which is valid for three days. Consider getting a head start on your morning to watch the sunrise over the summit and then spend the rest of your day hitting the trails.
3) Tour a Kona Coffee Farm.
With more than 4,000 acres of prime kona coffee farmland, and approximately 750 different farmers, you can easily find a tour that’s right for you. Many offer free tours and even a few samples – but I can guarantee that you’ll spend that $10 – or more – on a cup of Joe, or some beans to take home.
4) Hike Diamond Head.
If you are lucky enough to make it to the parking lot when it isn’t completely full, you’ll only pay $5 for your car – or if park closer to the street, it’s $1 per pedestrian. It’s a crowded hike on weekends, but definitely a must-do while on Oahu.
5) Get Inspired.
Lahaina, on Maui, has some amazing fine art galleries, and tons of relatively cheap or free museums. Wander through the city, and whenever you start to get tired, stop into a café for a cup of coffee, or a drink from a local bar. Sometimes not having a real plan is the best option. Oahu’s Haleiwa, Kauai’s Hanalei, and the Big Island’s Hilo are also great options.
6) Get lost at the Dole Plantation Maze.
The Dole Plantation’s giant pineapple garden maze was declared the worlds largest in 2008 by the Guinness Book of World Records. The maze is housed on more than three acres, and includes nearly 2.5 miles of paths – and admission is only $6.
7) Grab some shave ice.
Whether you opt for Haleiwa’s famous Matsumoto’s, or the dinky shave ice stand near your favorite Maui beach, you really can’t go wrong with a delicious serving of the Hawaiian treat after a (free) afternoon in the ocean.
8) Wander through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
A must-explore on Hawaii’s Big Island, this national park is absolutely surreal – visit Thurston Lava Tube, drive down Chain of Craters Road, and if you’re up to it, do some hiking. $10 will get your car into the park for a total of seven days. Now that’s some cheap entertainment!
9) Rent boogie boards.
Whether you want to actually ride the waves or simply float on the water, most boogie board rentals are relatively inexpensive – or, if you plan on spending a ton of time at the beach, purchase your own (a little more than $10 each, but still on the cheap side for island fun).
10) Get cultured at the Byodo-In Temple.
The Byodo-In Temple, located at the base of the Ko’olau Mountains, is a small-scale replica of a temple in Japan that is more than 950 years old. It is a solemn and religious area, so please be respectful. Admission is only $3 for adults, $2 for senior citizens, and $1 for children.