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Free Hawaii Activities

You're on a budget but want to go and experience Hawaii. Then you notice how most tours or activities in Hawaii cost at least $100 per person (on average). Don't worry! The good news is that there are MANY activities to do in Hawaii for free. Many tour companies charge for things you can do on yourself for free - be a smart tourist and spot these right away. Book budget lodging online with GLAD Travel and you'll be able to save on your Hawaii accommodation and have some left over to splurge on the activities that you will need a guide for.

You'll notice quickly that most of these activities are centered around nature and the water. With such a perfect climate and beautiful setting, Hawaii is the place to enjoy what mother nature created. This is not a complete list, but simply ideas to prove that you can save money by enjoying Hawaii's many free activities.

  Activity Description Island(s)
You Can Do This On
1. Sunbathing
& People Watching on the Beach
For those of you that don't live in tropical regions, this is enough to keep you busy for many of your days in Hawaii. What else is better for mental health & relaxation than lying on the beach, listening to the waves, and people watching? All Hawaiian Islands have many many beaches to choose from - some remote & private, some busy & active. All Hawaii beaches are free & public property so no need to pay for a tour to the beach!

2. Swimming in the Ocean With an average water temperature of 77 degrees and a small yearly range of water temperature between 72-82 degrees, Hawaiian waters are always the perfect temperature for a nice dip. There are protected areas perfect for a calm swim and there are wave areas if you prefer some water movement. All Hawaiian Islands have swimming areas. Make sure to check surf & swell conditions because sometimes certain areas are dangerous for swimming.

3. Body Surfing Boogie Boarding
Hawaii's waters offer endless opportunities to play in the water in whatever style you prefer. *You may need to rent a boogie board or surf board if your Hawaiian budget accommodation doesn't provide one for free or you cannot borrow one. All Hawaiian islands have safe areas for playing in the waves. These areas change both seasonally and daily depending on local surf conditions. Check conditions first and have fun!

4. Walking/Jogging on the Beach This is particularly peaceful and healing in the early morning or at sunset - but great any time of the day. The Hawaiian trade winds usually keep a cool breeze blowing on the beaches so even during the heat of the day, walking on the beach can be enjoyable. Notice a trend? All Hawaiian islands have beautiful beach strolls.

5. Snorkeling Cheaper than scuba diving and there are unlimited possibilities in Hawaii for jumping in with a mask and checking out all the colorful Hawaiian fish, turtles, eels, lobsters, octopus, & much more!
*If you plan to do more than 2 days of snorkeling, we recommend bringing or buying a cheap snorkel set. Local convenient stores sell these for under $20 - cheaper than renting daily. Fins are not needed in most places but are helpful.
All Hawaiian islands have numerous reef & underwater creatures to see. Many areas also have sections of coral reef. No need for a tour guide as long as you carefully check conditions (look for where others are).

6. Watching Sunsets & Sunrises Even locals who have lived here their whole life value that special time during the day when the departing sun creates spectacular colors in the sky. Make sure to head for the east for the sunrise and west for the sunset. Seen those beautiful pictures of Hawaiian sunsets? Don't worry; those picturesque views are on every Hawaiian island, around every corner. You won't miss it!

7. Hiking Hawaii's hiking possibilities range from rainforest walks, to bamboo forest adventures, to breathtaking vista views, to tranquil waterfalls, to coastline cliffs, to empty beaches....the list goes on and on. Many hikes offer the opportunity to trek through many microclimates, so you can truly get a sense of the diversity here. Numerous hiking trails are on every island - from the flat, short beginner trails to trails that are only for the advanced and dare-devils. Specific trail information can be found online or in island-specific books. No need to pay for a tour if you do your research!

8. Waterfalls - Viewing & Swimming Hawaii is blessed with all kinds of wondrous waterfalls throughout its islands. Enjoy the rainbows created as the water spray hits the sunlight, try out cliff diving off a waterfall (be careful please!), or swim around in a float underneath a waterfall. However you choose to enjoy the waterfalls, there are all types for all preferences! There are beautiful waterfalls on every Hawaiian island. Some you can simply pull over on the road to see, others require hiking. No need for a tour if you have a good Hawaii guidebook!

9. Animal Viewing Without getting wet, it is likely that you can see many of Hawaii's sea creatures - from mother whales with their newborns, to spinner dolphins doing acrobatics in the air, to turtles basking on the beach - they are numerous and there for the observant to see. Bird watchers will also be thrilled to know that Hawaii is a prime bird watching location. All Hawaiian islands have opportunities for seeing all these animals. Certain places are more popular (like Maui for whale watching or the Big Island for green sea turtles). No need for a tour if you ask around or simply look around for yourself!

10. Driving Tours Tired of being lazy on the beach? Get in your rental car, get a good guide book (or not), and go explore the islands by road. Driving around Hawaii is all about adventure & exploration, with a new vista around every corner. A good Hawaii guidebook will recommend places to stop and secret areas the inattentive will pass (since most tourist stops are not obviously marked). Somehow finding these places on your own rather than on a tour makes this all the more memorable! All Hawaiian islands have picturesque roads to drive around. The Big Island has simply more land to drive around and the Hana Highway in Maui is probably the most famous driving tour. No need to pay for a tour if you have a road map (and it's pretty hard to get lost anyway).

For a list of the best places to do popular activities (some free and some not), see our Best of Hawaii page. For itinerary suggestions on Oahu, Maui, Big Island, and Kauai, see our suggested itineraries.

Please keep this information free and growing by booking your Hawaii budget accommodation online at GLAD Travel!

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