The Frugal Guide to Hawaii
Believe it or not, just because you’re traveling to a tropical paradise doesn’t mean you have to drop bushels of bucks to have a good time here. Once you’ve identified the tours and activities you want to embark on—like a ziplining experience at Kualoa Ranch or a night swim with manta rays—you can actually enjoy your time in Hawaii on a budget without sacrificing the thrill of being in such a beautiful place.
Whether you’re traveling to Oahu, Maui, Kauai, or the Big Island, there are more than enough activities to keep the enjoyment of your vacation flowing without breaking the bank – and you may be surprised how many of them can be all-day excursions.
The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, which encompasses the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and the USS Arizona Memorial, is an in-depth experience that takes you back to December 7th, 1941, when a Japanese fleet flew into Pearl Harbor and mounted a surprise assault on the naval base.
Within the Visitor Center, guests explore the “Road to War” and “Attack!” exhibits, which detail the events leading up to Japan’s decision to attack and the attack itself through artifacts, relics, and newspaper clippings from the time.
A visit to the Valor in the Pacific National Monument is a trip through time accented by one of America’s most poignant memorials, to the USS Arizona and the 1,177 men who died when she sank.
The Diamond Head Hike
Every trip to Oahu should include an excursion through the natural beauty of the island. One of its most striking features is the Diamond Head Crater, a 700’-tall towering natural wonder formed by explosive volcanic activity over 200,000 years ago.
Diamond Head is one of the island’s most sought-after hikes, a trail that scales the side of the mountainous formation and finishes at its summit. Panoramic views and a sense of accomplishment await at the very top, and thanks to a nominal fee for entry, can be conquered at a very reasonable cost.
Home to some of the world’s most stunning plant life, it’s no wonder there’s a multitude of botanical gardens spread across the four main islands. Oahu alone has five incredible natural displays that are either free or have a very low cost of admission. Beyond Oahu, Maui has the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens, the Big Island is home to the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, and Kauai presents guests with Smith’s Tropical Paradise.
All of these are affordable options that open up the wondrous natural beauty of our islands. If you’re looking to explore the deepest reaches of the islands, there’s no better place to start than at one of these gardens.