Nature and Adventure

101 free things to do on O'ahu (*or under $10 per person)
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Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay (Ben Sumner)

36. Tour the Waikiki Aquarium and discover the marine life of the Hawaiian waters and the South Pacific.*

37. Snorkel among the brightly colored reef fish of Hanauma Bay and look for Hawai'i's state fish, humuhumunukunukuāpua'a.*

38. Meet the komodo dragon and other inhabitants of the Honolulu Zoo.*

39. Race through the "World's Largest Maze" at Dole Plantation and enjoy its signature Dole Whip on the way to the North Shore.*

40. Keep your eyes open for humpback whales off Makapu'u on O'ahu's South Shore or Ka'ena Point on the northwest side of the island from November through April.

41. Boogie board at the local favorite spot in Waikīkī called "The Wall" or at Waimānalo Beach on the windward side of the island.

42. Hike to Mānoa Falls beneath the canopy of the tropical rainforest.

43. Count the waterfalls along Highway 3 (H-3) after a beautiful refreshing rain.

44. In the summer, snorkel at Shark's Cove on the North Shore, a marine conservation zone with a cove filled with fish, coral formations and lava caves.

45. Hike to the top of Mt. Lē'ahi (Diamond Head), Hawai'i's most famous landmark.*

46. Sit under a tree at Kaka'ako Waterfront Park and watch the ships and surfers go by or roll down the hill with childlike abandon.

47. Nap under towering trees at Fosters Botanical Garden.*

48. Hike up to the Makapu'u lighthouse passing Madame Pele's chair and following the dramatic cliff-lined coast.

49. Drive to the windward side of the island to the charming towns of Kailua and Lanikai to discover why the soft, white sand of these beaches makes them two of the world's best beaches over and over again, according to Dr. Beach.

50. Visit the Oceanarium Restaurant at Pacific Beach Hotel, where an incredible three-story, 280,000-gallon saltwater fish tank holds hundreds of Hawai'i's tropical fish.

51. Swim alongside the honu (turtle) in front of the Sheraton Waikiki, at Turtle Bay Resort or at many of O'ahu's 125 beaches.

52. Wear reef shoes and in low tide walk to Goat Island in Lā'ie to explore the tide pools teeming with life.

53. Hike the Maunawili Trail on the Pali Trail or one of many other well-marked trails throughout O'ahu.

54. Pick hibiscus and plumeria along the side of the road and wear them in your hair.

55. Watch the Friday night sailboat races from Magic Island at Ala Moana Beach Park.

56. Feel the awesome power of Waimea Bay in the winter months as you watch the magnificent winter waves, and in the summer as you swim in the calm turquoise waters.

57. Explore the knee-deep tide pools and the wonders of snorkeling in Shark's Cove, named for its shape, not its inhabitants!

58. Build sandcastles for fun family competition or watch student designers compete in the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa School of Architecture's annual sandcastle building contest in February.

59. View world-class surfing competitions at Banzai Pipeline, Sunset Beach or Waimea Bay on the North Shore.

60. Watch the sunset from high atop Tantalus as Honolulu city lights begin to twinkle in the dusk.

61. Watch the windsurfers at Kailua Beach.

62. Enjoy views from Magic Island of boats and outrigger canoes with Diamond Head and Waikīkī as the backdrop.

63. Feel the sea spray from the blast of the Hālona Blowhole, just around the bend from Sandy Beach.

64. Watch the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa's wildlife specialists feed the animals, including the hotel's very own penguins and flamingos.

65. Take a walk along the beach at sunrise and see the ocean come to life with early morning surfers and swimmers.

66. Explore the USS Bowfin, a World War II submarine and imagine what life on board must have been like for her 80-man crew.*

67. See the daredevil hang gliders make their way off Makapu'u Point.

68. Trek up to the summit of Koko Head at sunset for sweeping views of the South Shore.

69. Keep your eyes and ears out for Hawai'i's colorful birds in Kapi'olani Park, Moanalua Gardens and other parks throughout the island of O'ahu.

70. Catch a ride on an outrigger canoe with the Waikīkī Beach Boys.*

71. Hike above the leeward side along the 'Aiea Heights Loop Trail overlooking Pearl Harbor.

72. Learn about the different varieties of pineapple at the Dole Varietal Garden located outside of Wahiawā.

73. Find the four Wizard Stones on Waikīkī Beach and learn about the legend behind them.

Published: 18 Dec 2008 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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