Family friendly Visit to the Big Island

Family friendly Visit to the Big Island

Family friendly Visit to the Big Island

Visiting Hawaii is a fantastic place to visit with family and share so many wonderful family friendly experiences. The entire island is filled with lots of cool places to visit with children, kid’s focused activities to enjoy and exploring adventures with family fun in mind. If you are looking for the best family friendly things to do on the Big Island, check out all these wonderful tips and suggestions on what to do around the island.

Kid friendly activities on the Big Island of Hawaii

Family friendly fun on the west side of Hawaii Island

Family beach day on the Big Island
Family beach day at Hapuna Beach, Big Island

Have a beach day on the West Side

The west side of the Big Island have many of the best beaches in all of the islands with a variety of different types of beaches that are perfect for family fun, surfing and snorkeling fun and other water activities. You have your pick of popular beaches like Hapuna,  Kua Bay and Spencer Beach or find more secluded and lonely stretches of sand that only a few visitors get to check out. Check out all these amazing beaches on the Big Island for more inspiration and planning your perfect beach day.

Fun snorkeling adventure at Kahalu’u Beach Park

Probably one of the best snorkeling beaches just a few miles outside of Kona town is Kahalu’u beach park. A family friendly beach with a lifeguard station and public facilities. Kahalu’u is well loved by locals that also volunteer to share coral and tropical safety, awareness and ocean care for the environment. With a protected cove area, it doesn’t take to far outside of the beach to see some amazing sea life, corals and tropical fish at Kahalu’u which makes it a very popular place to go to snorkel on the west side of the island.

Exploring the historic district in Kona, Big Island
Exploring the historic district in Kona, Big Island

Walk through historic Kona town

The waterfront area of Kona is compact and easy to walk through and see the major attractions in town including the shops, historic monuments and harbor area. You can pass through the main drag, drop into a local farmers market and see some of the historic places to visit in town. Check out this site for more information on visiting Kona town and images around town.

Taste Fresh Portuguese bread, demo and sale at Greenwell farms

Located in the South Kona area at Greenwell Farms, you can check out the weekly oven bake sale of fresh Portuguese breads. Volunteers and members of the Kona Historical Society sponsor these Thursday morning bake demonstrations in an authentic stone oven. There is a free demo and oven display of how the breads are made that you can see and then try some really delicious breads made locally and benefits the community activities. The breads are typically sold that afternoon in a small pop up by the roadside for locals/tourists to try and purchase.

Go to a Luau with children

A fantastic way to really enjoy a traditional meal along with culture and education is to participate in a local Luau. Most luaus are kid friendly and an easy way for the family to try local food and entertainment that is fun, friendly and even participate in a hula or learn a craft at these events. You can check out the various Luaus on the island here to choose and plan your next Luau venue.

If you plan on going to a Luau, check out all these local favorites on the island for your next Luau event here.

Go on a submarine tour on the west side of Big Island

For something unusual and fun to do with children would be to do a submarine tour around the scenic coastlines around Kona. The submarine tours with Atlantic Submarine caters to families with their educational program and tour leaving from Kona harbor and exploring the unique and colorful coral areas and tropical fish along Kona’s beautiful coastlines. You can check out the details to the submarine tour here for more information and booking a tour with your family.

If you plan on going to a submarine, check out all This site for prices and updates on your next submarine tour here.

Visiting the  Place of Refuge in South Kona
Visiting the Place of Refuge in South Kona

Go on a cultural tour of historic monuments on the west side of the Big Island

The west side hosts many important historic sites that are quite impressive and worth visiting. Starting with the massive Heaiu (temple) in Kawaihai called Pu’ukohola, the national historic park, the Place of Refuge or Pu’uhonua O Ohaunau, Kaloko Honokohau National historical park and even an ancient healing and fishing village at Lapakahi Historical state park. If you are into Hawaiian history and culture, take some time to explore these wonderful places on the west side of the island.

Fluming the ditch

Originally set up as a irrigation system to bring water to the fertile agricultural parts of the island, the ditch systems are still used but also fun to flume the ditch. Basically this outfitter sets you off on a guided tour on rubber rafts through the main ditch on a fun and entertaining experience in the Kohala region, an easy drive from Kona town. You can check out more details Fluming the Ditch here for information and booking your next adventure tour with your children.

If you’re planning on doing the fluming the ditch experience, check out all the details ad information for prices and updates on your next fluming the ditch tour here.

Exploring Polulu-Valley with family

Go on a road trip through the scenic and historic western kohala district and coastline

One of the easiest things to do with kids is to take a road trip through different parts of the island. One of the most scenic and easy to do trips on your own time is to drive through the coastal roads on the west side and visiting the old western towns of Hawi and Kapa au all the way to the end at Polulu Valley overlook. You can even hike down the canyon to the stunning black sand beaches at Polulu or just take a picture from the overlook if you don’t have that much time to explore the valley floor and beaches.  For something unique, you can visit the birthplace of Kamehameha (first king of Hawaii) and check out the heiau (temple) and grounds where the king lived.

Go to a paniolo rodeo on the island

Rodeos are big events all around the Big Island of Hawaii with equestrian oriented activities for all of the family to enjoy on the island. The big rodeos happen mostly in Waimea and at Panaewa in the Hilo area with a full roster or rodeo-oriented displays and all day shows that are really unique for island fun. Check out their website for Waimea here and Panaewa here for more details.

Go on a snorkel sail experience

One of the best things to do with children with an easy adventure built in is a snorkel sail experience from Kona. These outfitters provide some fantastic tours that are kid friendly an inclusive experience with whale tour, snorkeling instruction and equipment and a nice buffet lunch after all the water fun. You can pick and choose from any of these local outfitters that can fit your time and budget to book your next adventure experience with your kids in mind.

If you’re planning on doing a snorkel and sail experience, check out all the details ad information for prices and updates on your next snorkel cruise tour here.

Family friendly fun on the south side

Snorkeling Green-sand-beach-with kids

Visit a rare green sand beach in South Point

One of the most unique parts of the island to visit is the green sand beach in the South Point area. The hike is about an hour and a half in one direction and if this is too much to do with children, there are also casual cabs in local pick up trucks that will take you on a round trip to the green sand beach and pick back up on scheduled return. You can spend a few hours or just visit and take pictures if your timeframe is limited, but definitely worth an experience to see this beautiful beach and coastline.

Jumping the cliffs at Green Sand Beach

Jump the cliffs at the tip at South Point

Even though this experience is for older kids or adults, it’s easy enough to just do the drive from Green sand beach area to the southern tip of the island at South Point and enjoy the views and crazy cliff jumpers into the ocean from a 20 foot drop to the ocean. Although this is not recommended for most children, it’s easy to walking along the scenic cliff areas of the South Point area and enjoy the stunning views along the coastline.

Trying some delicious malasadas at Punaluu bakery

Delicious Malasadas in Punalu’u

One of the most popular bakeries to visit on the island is the wonderful Punalu’u bakery in Punalu’u. A local favorite, you have to try all the wonderful malasadas here ( Portuguese style donuts) in original sugar or filled with tropical flavors for a delicious treat. They bake local breads, desserts and other café style foods for a nice eating break to this area of the island. Try some of the free samples before you decide on what you want to order for take away or eat onsite.

Finding sea turtles at Punaluu beach
Finding sea turtles at Punaluu beach

Visit the turtles and black sand beach at Punalu’u

One the scenic coastline and black sand beach at Punalu’u, you’ll see the famous sea turtles that hang out on the beach. This wonderful sandy beach is picture perfect even on cloudy days and definitely walk the entire length to the pretty lagoon at the end of the beach. You’ll find the mostly green turtles all along the black sand beach warming along the entire stretch of beach.

Family friendly fun in the Big Island’s east side

Exploring downtown HIlo, Big Island
Exploring downtown HIlo, Big Island

Lots of family friendly beaches in the Hilo area

The smaller beaches and inlets around Hilo are perfect for family with protected lagoons, beach areas and shallow swimming holes. You’ll find plenty of easy and cool kid friendly beach areas to explore and enjoy in the hilo area. Check out this post here to discover which Hilo beach park or swim hole you can visit with kids.

Exploring Kaumana cave with kids

Go into a lava tube just above Hilo area

A unique and fun visit to an actual lava tube just above Hilo at Kaumana Caves which is descends into a dark lava tube created by Moana Loa. From the parking lot, you go down a series of stairs to the opening of the Lava Tube which has no illumination so you need to bring flashlights. There are no trails once you enter, so you will be crawling over lava rocks which is a challenge and fun at the same time. The lava tube is long and very dark so it is up to you do decide how far you want to go into the tube or just take a shorter walk around after checking out the waterfalls and downtown Hilo in a DIY city tour.

Visiting Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park with kids

Visit the famous lava activities at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

The national park at Hawaii Volcanoes national park is reopened with trails and observation areas open for the public to explore. First drop by the visitors center to see the movie or listen to a ranger give a nice history and cultural observations of the park and other Hawaiian legends and “Talk Story” with guests.

Waterfalls in East Hawaii above Hilo
Waterfalls in East Hawaii above Hilo

Check out the waterfalls around Hilo town

There’s a series of waterfalls coming down the main river called Wailuki starting with Rainbow falls closer to downtown and further uphill to the boiling pots with Pe’epe’e falls and even the smaller waterfalls in front of the old bridges crossing the river downtown. You can easily do all three waterfalls in an easy morning exploration and short road trip. Both Rainbow Falls and Boiling pots have easy walks to the observation areas and you can walk up to the top of Rainbow falls to check out the top and areas below. There’s also a cool forest further up with some immense banyan trees that look very magical and story like.

Visiting the Hilo farmers market photo shoot
Visiting the Hilo farmers market photo shoot

Hilo Farmers Market

The main downtown market at Hilo is daily but the big markets are on Wednesday and Saturday and spreads through various market areas in town. One section is fruits, vegetables and prepared foods and anther section is mostly locally made, souvenirs and cheap products right next to the produce market. There’s also a food eating venue with food trucks and other standalone vendors selling delicious local food and take out service.

Visiting Makuu market in East Hawaii Island

Sunday Maku’u Farmers market

On Sundays, the largest farmers market on the East side happens just outside of Pahoa area at the Maku’u farmers market. It’s kid friendly with local foods to try, local produce, entertainment and cool thrift, collectibles and even souvenirs that you can buy from locally made products or cheap imported merchandise. The Sunday Maku’u market is lively towards noon time with all the food venues in full swing and free enterment in the seating area.

The new black sand beach in Opihikao, Big Island

Check out the new black sand beach in Opihikao

After all the recent lava destruction of homes and land in East Hawaii just in 2018, a newly created black sand beach was left in the aftermath. A new gravel road has been constructed to allow the public to enjoy the beach for the first time along with some hot ponds in the area to enjoy.  The expansive black sand beach is beautiful but also dangerous at times, so caution should be taken to see if the surf is too rough for entry.

Enjoy a night market at Uncle Roberts in Kalapana

The popular night market at Uncle Roberts in Kalapana is free (parking is an additional $2) and a fun time at this local style market.  Filled with local vendors that sell crafts, herbal remedies and delicious foods, it’s fun to explore all the unique booths and food offerings along with the lively music in the bar/dining area. A popular local activity, visitors really get a flavor of how a community celebrates hump day Wednesdays in Kalapana.

Free events around the island

There are so many wonderful  events around the Big Island happening every week. Many of these events around the island are free or inexpensive to bring your children. You can check out the calendar of events here for more details on what’s currently happening on the island now.

With so many fantastic choices and activities to do around the Big Island with kids, you’ll keep busy exploring different parts of the island. You definitely can be as active as you want or have a more laid back experience while visiting the island. Hopefully these ideas and tips will help you to plan all the fun things to do with kids  on the Big Island in your own interest and time frames.

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Christmas celebrations in Hawaii

Christmas celebrations in Hawaii

Christmas celebrations in Hawaii

Fun in the sun and Christmas to boot is what makes spending the holidays in Hawaii a fun and joyous experience. But what happens around the islands that are worth checking out for bringing in the holiday cheer? Check out how to spend Christmas in Hawaii and start planning a fantastic holiday experience to the New Year’s Celebrations.

Here’s what to do for Christmas fun in Hawaii

Christmas celebrations in Oahu

Christmas holiday in Oahu

A Pinch of Salt – Dec. 7th

Support local businesses and vendors at the Pinch of SALT, the annual upscale holiday shopping experience at SALT at Our Kakaʻako, Dec. 7th.

This alternative holiday shopping venue with local artists, designers and crafts with popups locations throught out Salt in Kaka’ako


Each year, A Pinch of SALT attracts more than a thousand shoppers throughout the day. Designed to be an alternative to larger shopping venues, visitors can find gifts made by local artisans, crafters and designers at dozens of pop up locations throughout SALT at Our Kakaʻako.



Festival of Lights Boat Parade – Hawaii Kai Center Dec. 7th at 3pm

Get into the holiday spirit, at the 23rd annual Festival of Lights Christmas Boat Parade. Entertainment begins at 3 p.m., at Hawaii Kai Towne Center’s scenic Marina Docks. Going on for over 20 years, the Festival of Lights Christmas Boat Parade, has delighted countless visitors and is sponsored by the Hawaii Kai Marina Community Association. 

The Pancakes & Booze Art Show – Dec 8th

As the nation’s premier pop-up art show, The Pancakes & Booze Art Show provides art lovers an opportunity to explore more than 200 pieces of artwork created by some 50+ artists local to Honolulu’s unparalleled art scene. Alongside an immensely wide variety of pop art, fine art, and photography; show goers can sip on some of the dankest craft beer or signature cocktails while consuming free pancakes over and over again.


Sat Dec 8, 8:00 PM – Sat Dec 8, 11:00 PM

 The ARTS at Marks Garage

1159 Nuuanu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96817

Honolulu City Lights Celebration and Parade Dec 7th – 4pm

Shaka Santa and Tutu Mele will be on the move from the Chinatown area to Honolulu Hale . Check out the Christmas wreath displays at the Lane Gallery

Kanikapila-Christmas-parade in Pahoa HI

A Big Island Christmas

Hawaii Nei Art Exhibit at the Wailoa Center for the Arts – Dec 2 to Dec 12th

The popular Hawaii Nei is a juried art exhibition celebrating the native flora and fauna of Hawaii Island hosted by the Three Mountain Alliance, the Hawaii Island Art Alliance, the Department of Land and Natural Resources Natural Area Reserves System and the Wailoa Center.

The show features amateur and professional artists of all ages have been invited to submit works of art highlighting the native plants, animals, and habitats of our beloved island, our Hawaii Nei.

Artwork will be displayed at the Wailoa Center from Nov. 1 through Dec. 12, 2019, Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 4:00 pm and Saturdays from 10:00am to 2:00 pm (closed on holidays). The Wailoa Center is located at 200 Piopio St, Hilo, HI 96720. For more information about Hawaii Nei, visit www.hawaiineiartcontest.org

Christmas-fairs wih art studio tours

Paradise Studio Weekend (13th Annual) Dec 7th to Dec 8th

The annual Paradise Studio Art Weekend: December 7 & 8 – Hawaii Island Arts and fine crafts are held in Hawaiian Paradise park for the 13th Annual Paradise Studio Weekend, Saturday and Sunday, 10am-4pm, December 7 & 8, 2019.

The public is welcomed to visit artists in their home studios in Hawaiian Paradise Park, Keaau. Seven studios with 25 local artists are showing oil painting, watercolors, collage, pastels, acrylic, wood, sculpture, jewelry making, pottery, ceramics, silk painting, fashion art, photography and more. Free featured demos and music. For brochure and map go to: www.paradisestudiotour.com

Waimea Christmas Twilight Parade (59th Annual) Dec 7th 5:30 to 7pm

The 59th annual Twilight parade’s new them is, “Our Community…Our Kuleana At Christmas and Always! With their Grand Marshal: Leningrad Elarionoff

All invited to attend and participate with lighted units! Parade supports The Big Island Giving Tree to ensure no one is left behind during the holiday season. 

Traffic Advisory: The main drive through Waimea town will be closed from 5:30 to 7 p.m. for the parade and only emergency vehicles will be permitted to pass through. The community is encourage to plan ahead to avoid tie-ups.

Church Row Park – Next to W.M. Keck Observatory

65-1120 Mamalahoa Hwy

Waimea, HI 96743

Hawaii-county-band-at-Christmas-parade

West Hawaii County Band in Concert for the Holidays! Dec 13th – 6:30 to 7pm

The West Hawaii County Band, a unit of the Hawaii County Band, performs throughout the year at monthly concerts. The West Hawaii County Band will present an hour of festive music for the season. Come enjoy standards like Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride,” “White Christmas,” and “Mele Kalikimaka”

Hale Halawai County Park

75-5760 Ali’i Dr

Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

West Hawaii Dance Theatre Presents The Nutcracker Ballet

Dec 21st – 2 to 4pm

The West Hawaii Dance Theatre presents a delightful holiday classic is performed at Kahilu Theatre on Saturday, December 21, Sunday, December 22, and Monday, December 23, 2019. This production includes more than 70 dancers and Guest Professional dancers. A Full Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Brian Dollinger with musicians of the West Hawaii Dance Theatre Orchestra 

Kahilu Theatre

Phone: 808-329-8876

67-1186 Lindsey Rd

Kamuela, HI 96743

Jingle Bell Beach Run – 5k Run Dec 22 – 7:30 to 9am

The 15th Annual Jingle Bell Beach Run starts sharp at 7:30am for this 5k event encourages participation from all fitness levels and running backgrounds.  Great fun for everyone, family oriented – a perfect addition to your holiday celebrations! And parents…be sure to get your kids ready for ‘SANTA’S KEIKI DASH” – a popular fun Kona running event for children 6 & under! (100-yd & 200-yd events)

Coconut Grove Marketplace

Coconut Grove Marketplace – Alii Drive

Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

Wailea Village Mochi Pounding (22nd Annual)

Dec 28th – 8am to 2pm

Join Akiko’s for fun MOCHI POUNDING with neighbors, and community in this fun public event. Come and join the fun on Saturday, Dec. 28th, from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. making traditional rice cakes the “old-fashioned” way. Everyone takes their turn at pounding the delicious sticky rice for good luck.

Fire building starts at 7 a.m. to steam the rice. Hearty local style lunch for $5. New years crafts, food vendors, fortune telling, massage, I Ching readings, floral arrangements, plantation stories, Okinawan taiko drumming, Hawaiian entertainment & more. Great cultural mix of everything that makes Hawaii so special.

Akiko’s Buddhist B&B

29-2091 Old Mamalahoa Hwy

Hakalau, HI 96710

Kauai Christmas Celebrations

Hanapepe Friday Night Festival & Art Walk – Every Friday night

Every Friday evening, Old Town Hanapepe is bustling with fun & activity! With a wide variety of shopping, local crafters, several excellent restaurants, a dozen art galleries, stilt walkers, classics cars, live music and entertainment, there is always something for the whole family to enjoy! Every Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Festival of Lights – Every Friday 6 – 8pm Dec. 6th to 28th

Celebrate the holidays on Kauai at Elizabeth Freeman’s annual holiday extravaganza, the award-winning Festival of Lights! Celebrating its 23rd year, local designer Elizabeth Freeman presents a collection of Kauai-style holiday art inspired by her and created with the assistance of local artisans from recycled and reclaimed materials.

Entirely focused on environmental sustainability, Festival of Lights provides a spirited and fun reminder that the true meaning of the holidays comes from the heart, and not the stores. Every year, thousands of locals and visitors crowd the halls to view a holiday wonderland of trees, wreathes, ornaments and other seasonal decorations made from recycled and reclaimed materials such as plastic water bottles, aluminum cans, cardboard and bubble wrap. Several pieces are donated designs from previous visitors inspired from their experience. 

Check out the Festival of Lights website for more details

Holiday craft fairs in Hawaii

Holiday Craft Fair at The National Tropical Botanical Garden South Shore Visitor Center. Dec 7th

Enjoy a day of holiday shopping and entertainment featuring Kauai made in Hawaii products, jewelry, clothing and more! Get gifts for everyone on your list including yourself! The craft fair will be accompanied by a variety of food trucks and live entertainment. Take time to enjoy the gardens with tours happening throughout the day. Admission to craft fair is free. Starting at 9 a.m. 

Joy of Christmas Festival of Lights

Join us for the “Joy of Christmas” festival of lights hosted at St. Raphael Church. FREE ADMISSION.

We have invited the community to create a celebration of the “12 days of Kauai Christmas” for all Kauai residents and visitors. Festivities begin Saturday November 30th and run every Saturday and Sunday after that until December 22nd from 6pm until 8pm. Christmas light display; Food & Drink available for purchase; Activities for the Keiki (Children). Delicious soups, hot plate dinners, hot dogs, popcorn, home-made pastries Hot chocolate, tea, soda, juice, water.

Gift Shop with many Advent and Christmas specialties for sale.

Join us this year to bring the Joy of Christmas to Keiki, Kapuna and all ages in between. Learn more at:

HTTPS://WWW.ST-RAPHAEL-KAUAI.ORG/

The Kauai Chorale presents: A Great English Christmas Dec 14th

The annual Kauai Chorale concert is one of Kauai’s favorite holiday traditions and this season promises a wassailing good time for all ages! The thoroughly entertaining performance of choral Christmas music from across the pond will feature works ranging from simple and engaging a cappella carols to audacious knock-your-socks-off favorites, all written by British composers from the 16th to the 21st centuries and by one beloved honorary British subject, George F. Handel. Don’t miss A Great English Christmas performed by The Kauai Chorale! Tickets are $15 in advance for adults and $18 at the door. Student tickets are $6. https://kauaichorale.brownpapertickets.com

Santa in da House ~ Princeville – Dec 14

Santa is in da House at the Princeville Community Center Saturday, December 14th 10.00-11.00am

Bring the family and your keiki to meet Santa and Light Refreshments will be served

Princeville Community Center 4334 Emmalani Drive, Princeville (across from the Library) BRING YOUR CAMERA for Photos with Santa. website~

Princeville Community com

New Year’s Eve Celebration @ Poipu Beach Park – Dec 31

Poipu style celebrations bring your picnic and blankets to celebrate the New Years! Enjoy a family-themed movie at sunset on the large outdoor screen with a fantastic aerial fireworks display starting at approximately 8:15pm, all in the gorgeous, ocean-side setting that Poipu Beach Park provides.

Check out the best food trucks will be on hand to keep bellies happy by 5:00pm.

The Annual New Year’s Eve Celebration is FREE of charge and open to the public. Festivities will take place Tuesday, December 31st from 5:00-8:30pm on the grounds of Poipu Beach Park. The New Year’s Eve Celebration is a long-standing tradition in Poipu, hosted by the Poipu Beach Foundation in partnership with the Hawaii Tourism Authority and County of Kauai and made possible through the support and generosity of Kauai’s South Shore community.

For more information, visit www.poipubeach.org, www.kauaifestivals.com

Lahaina-Christmas in Maui

Christmas celebrations in Maui Island


Hui Holidays Dec 2 – 24th 9am – 6pm

Hui Holidays showcases Made on Maui artwork by local artists in a festive historical setting at Hui Noeau Visual Arts Center. By shopping local, you’ll be making a creative investment in our community, in your neighbors, and in yourselves! Hui Holidays is made possible with support from the County of Maui Office of Economic Development.

Hui Noeau Visual Arts Center https://www.huinoeau.com/

2841 Baldwin Ave

Makawao, HI 96768

Santa Photos and Entertainment at Maui Mall – Dec 6th to 21st

Santa’s Elves can hardly wait! Christmas is near, so let’s celebrate! Enjoy FREE Photos with Santa when you make a canned good donation for the Maui Food Bank. Located near Center Court at Maui Mall in unit A-6 next to YNVU Clothing and Regal Cinemas.

Free photos with Santa and live local performances on Fridays and Saturdays

Hawaiian-christmas-wreath

Living Wreath Making with Native Hawaiian Plants at the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens

Dec 7th 9am to 12pm

Native plants provide more than just food and habitat for wildlife: they also provide great beauty all year long!  Learn to make a living wreath from Native Hawaiian Plants in time for the Holidays with MNBG Executive Director, Tamara Sherrill and ohana.  Cost: $50, or $25 for current garden members. Call 249-2798 or email info@mnbg.org for reservations.

Maui Nui Botanical Gardens

150 Kanaloa Avenue

Kahului, HI 96732

Festival of Harps Maui

Festival of Harps at The Shops at Wailea Dec 8th – 14th – 5:30-7pm

Special Holiday events for a night of music with the Festival of Harps. The Shops at Wailea is Maui’s premier shopping and dining destination with more than 70 distinct boutiques, shops, restaurants and galleries.

Visit their website at

https://www.theshopsatwailea.com/event/Holiday-Calendar/2145524920/

A Very Merry Holiday Pops Dec 10th – 7:30 to 9:30pm

Celebrate the music of the holiday season as Maestro Ann Krinitsky leads the HSO and the Sounds of Aloha Chorus. This festive concert will warm your heart, make spirits bright and put you in a Very Merry Holiday mood! Click below to purchase tickets directly from Hawaii Theatre.

Santa will be available for photos.

Hawaii Theatre

1130 Bethel Street

Honolulu, HI 96713

Maui Pops Orchestra’s Holiday Pops Concert Dec 15th – 3 to 5pm

The Maui Pops Orchestra invites you to celebrate the holiday season in style. Half of the concert will be purely orchestral renderings of familiar holiday music, while the other will feature three-time Grammy Award nominated pianist David Benoit, who we are delighted to bring back to the Castle Theater stage. For over three decades, Benoit has reigned supreme as one the founding fathers of contemporary jazz. Music from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” will be a delightful part of this program, which will also feature vocalist Sara Gazarek – hailed as an artist that “may well turn out to be the next important jazz singer” by the LA Times. Allow the joy of it all to draw you into the spirit of the season!

To purchaseTickets visit www.mauiarts.org

MAPA’s The Nutcracker Dec 20 to 21st – 7:30 to 10pm

MAPA’s The Nutcracker Friday, December 20, 2019; 7:30 pm & Saturday, December 21, 2019, 3:00 pm Castle Theater Right before Christmas and all thru the isle, MAPA presents The Nutcracker in holiday style. With sets & costumes, some new & some old, it’s the classical story in ballet that’s retold. You may have seen it before in Chicago, New York, or L.A. but it’s now reimagined in a fresh and exciting new way. The Sugar Plum Fairy will dance on her toes. Don’t wait to get tickets, there are only two shows. In the blink of an eye the show will be done, so make sure you come and be part of the fun. You’ll be amazed by this company’s feat at bringing to Maui this holiday treat!

Purchase Tickets at:

Maui Arts & Cultural Center – 808-242-7469

.Happy Holidays with Henry Dec 21st – 7:30 to 10pm

Celebrate the Holidays with Henry Saturday, December 21, 2019; McCoy Studio Theater; 7:30 pm Henry Kapono invites you to celebrate the holidays with an evening full of Henry’s classic music! From Henry’s timeless Merry Christmas to You album to your favorite C&K classics like “Sailin’,” “Friends,” “Highway in the Sun,” and so many more. 

Maui Arts & Cultural Center

Phone: 808-242-7469

One Cameron Way

Kahului, HI 96732

Bill Maher’s 9th Annual New Year’s Comedy Extravaganza Dec 3o – 8 to 10pm

Castle Theater The tradition continues with Bill Maher’s 9th Annual New Year’s Comedy Extravaganza Monday, December 30, 2019; 8:00 pm. Bringing in the New Year for the ninth year in a row Bill will be joined by special guest comedians, Sarah Silverman and Larry Miller. Adding to this New Year’s extravaganza are Sarah Silverman and Larry Miller.

Maui Arts & Cultural Center Castle Theater

Phone: 808-242-7469

One Cameron Way

Kahului, HI 96732

Thanks for visiting today and checking out this post on Christmas celebrations in Hawaii. I hope you are inspired to plan a visit and enjoy these wonderful attractions. If you enjoyed the images and post, could you please share it with any of the social media buttons located around the post.


If you like what you see, come and check out my other social media channels for more updates, including Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter
Some links in this article on best places to spend Christmas in the USA are affiliates which provide a small commission to support this site at no extra cost to you. Thank you for reading, and happy travels

Top 20 things to do in Lahaina Maui

Top 20 things to do in Lahaina Maui

Lahaina, Maui is a must visit on the island and there are some fantastic things that you can do absolutely free, DIY activity or even have a wonderful tour experience in West Maui. With so much to see and do in Lahaina and the surrounding areas, you can check out these top 20 things to do in Lahaina, Maui to plan your visit or stay in the area.

Check out these fun and cool things to do in Lahaina

Top things to do in Lahaina

1. Do a self-tour of Historic Lahaina

Once the first capital of the Kingdom Hawaii, Lahaina has 62 historic landmarks in this trail that you can visit on a self-tour of the important and historic sites around the city. You can check out the web tour here for more details on the places that you can follow directly on this trail and at your own pace.




2. Art Galleries of Lahaina

For Art lovers, it’s easy to visit all the art galleries centered in Lahaina for this pleasant art discovery tour. Covering a spectrum of art from glass, ceramics, jewelry, painted mediums to sculpture, you’ll enjoying seeing all the local artists promoted at all these fantastic galleries in town and maybe take home a lovely piece of art from Maui. Check out the top galleries to visit here for locations and what you’ll see in town.

3.Take a glass blowing class in Lahaina

If you want to do something artistic and unique in Lahaina, consider taking a fun glass blowing class with an instructor from Moana Glass and you even get to go home with a sample glass that you help to create. These private lessons on glass blowing will be one of the most fun and creative thing you can do visiting Maui and you even get to choose what type of art glass you can work on.




4. Visit the Banyan tree of Lahaina

Planted in 1873, this famous banyan tree is huge at over 60 feet tall and has 12 major trunks that make it look like several trees but is actually just one tree. Covering an area of over 200 feet, it provides shade for over 2/3 of an acre and has many benches set so you can sit in the shade.

Exploring Iao valley state park in Maui

5. Check out Iao Valley State park and botanical gardens

You can tour the beautiful botanical gardens, display ethnic villages and easy hikes through this scenic valley self-tour and all for free. It’s a nice place to enjoy lush tropical plantings and show gardens and natural settings in this gorgeous botanical garden. Check out their website here for more details to visiting the park.

6. Free Music performances and community Festivals

There are so many free festivals happening every week in Maui offered through the visitor’s bureau and other organizations. You can check the local papers, the tourist magazines or even the tourism website here for an updated list of free events and festivals happening in Maui when you visit.

deep sea fishing off Maui's coastline

7. Go Deep Sea Fishing off Lahaina

Want to catch some really big fish in Maui, then sign up for a fishing charter experience and do something really cool on the water. There are so many big fish you can try to get and these fishing outfitters provide all the equipment, lessons, and lunch and all you have to do is show up and enjoy your day out on the Maui coastal waters and sunshine and hopefully catch some really big fish. You have your choice of these fishing charters here and at different price points that can fit your individual needs and time frame.




Enjoying a maui sunset

8. Enjoy sunset on the beach

Can anything be better and simpler than enjoying sunset on the beach at Maui? Well maybe a nice cool drink and some pupu’s (appetizers) but it definitely is a nice was to end a spectacular day on the beach then to watch the sun go down with those striking warm and golden colors and just witnessing another beautiful day in Maui.

9. Free Hula Lessons, Hula shows and Ukulele classes

If you’re musically inclined, head out to the Lahaina Cannery Mall which offers free hula lessons every Thursdays at 5:00 pm to learn some basic moves and free hula shows are performed every Saturday and Sunday at 1pm to popular Hawaiian songs.

If you want to try an ukulele class for free, head out the to stage area on Tuesdays at 5:30. Even if you just want to brush up on some new chords, put this on your calendar.





10. Maui Fridays

Every Friday at a different location in Maui is part of Maui town Fridays with food truck vendors, art and crafts booths, food from local vendors and live entertainment programs sponsored by the County of Maui. You can check out this website here for more information and details to Maui Fridays

Check out the Friday events below

• 1st Friday of the Month, Wailuku (Central Maui) on Market Street
• 2nd Friday, Lahaina (West Maui) on Front Street

• 4th Friday, Kihei (South Maui) at Azeka Shopping Center Mauka

5th Friday, Lanai

11. Go on a Submarine or glass bottom tour around Lahaina’s coast

Want to do something really unique and fun under the sea without getting wet? How about a submarine cruise around different parts of Maui to explore the marine life, corals and tropical fish at some hidden destinations that your crew will take you to. Check out this submarine or glass bottom tours here for more details and information to booking a trip on an Atlantis submarine.

shave ice experience in Maui

12. Go for a local shave ice treat

For a cheap and delicious treat try some local shaved Ice and the local favorite shop to try some of the exotic flavors. There’s so many fantastic places to try shave ice on the island, but check out the local favorites here for more inspiration on where to go for the best of the best in Maui.




13. Go take a surfing class in Maui

What could be a more classic adventure than going surfing in Maui. If you’re a beginner or just want to brush up on some water skills, think about a surfing class with these outfitters that head off from the Lahaina area. You can choose a variety of surfing classes here with group lessons, private classes and even Sup touring classes for you to enjoy. Once your hooked, you’ll enjoy spending a lot more time in the water on a surf board riding the waves in Maui.

14. Go to a local farmers market in Maui

You can go to a variety of farmers markets around Maui to get fresh produce and finished goods, take-out meals, arts and crafts and locally made products that you can take home. It’s fun to see where the locals shop, hang out and support local vendors on the island and try some delicious made foods yourself. Check out the following farmers markets available to visitors in these farmers markets on the island for where to find the local markets, timeframe and hours. You might also want to check out the regular Maui swap meet that sells produce, finished foods, flea market finds and arts and crafts that happens every Saturday in Kahului starting at 7am.

Sunset sailing and things to do in Maui

15. Sunset sail off Lahaina

Want a perfect way to end the day in Maui? How about a nice sunset cruise, with cocktails and maybe a nice dinner with gorgeous coastal views of Maui and an amazing sunset to boot? You’ll enjoy your choice of these sunset sailing adventures here to explore and enjoy a trip on the water and seeing Maui in a different perspective on a sunset sail.




16.  Visit the Baldwin House Museum in Lahaina

Considered the oldest historic home in Maui, the Baldwin House was the home of Reverend Ephraim Spaulding who had this home built in 1834 to 1835 on Maui. After he became sick, Reverend Dwight Baldwin and his wife moved in and eventually raised 8 children in this home which he remodeled into a second story to fit the needs of this large family. The home was converted eventually into a living museum where you can see early settlement and the lifestyle of the missionaries on Maui.



Hula shows in Maui

17.  Enjoy a fabulous Luau in Maui

Want to enjoy a classic cultural experience with delicious food to eat. You can definitely can do both with any of the fantastic Luaus available in Maui to choose from with fabulous drinks, entertainment, food prep showcasing and of course all the delicious traditional and local style foods to sample at this luau. You can choose from any of these wonderful luau events here for more details and schedules that you can book directly from their site. (Make sure you book early, since shows are always full and a popular attraction to do in Maui.




18. Explore Lahaina’s front street

Lahaina’s front street is filled with fantastic shopping fun with tourist shops, boutique stores, art galleries, bars and a variety of food venues to enjoy. Front street is the major thoroughfare in Lahaina and fun to explore along with checking out the bayfront scene and all the historic sites of downtown Lahaina.




Whale watching season in Maui

19. Go on a whale watching tour

When its whale watching season in winter time, you definitely will see a lot of whales and the best way to do this up close is to take a cruising tour to some of the typical spots around the island that these outfitters typically know. You can sign up directly with any of these whale watching outfitters here to book this wonderful cruise experience today.

20. A helicopter experience above Maui

If you’re looking for that once in a lifetime Maui experience, consider going on a helicopter ride through lush rainforests and waterfalls, gorgeous coastlines to explore or even fly all the way up to Haleakala and the stunning landscape from above. You have your choice of different helicopter outfitters and tours here to review and consider which one fits your needs and budget. But definitely book early since helicopter tours are a popular adventure experience to do in Maui.

Where to stay in Maui

Where to stay in Lahaina

Lahaina Shores Beach Resort – a very popular and great base to stay in Maui and well rated, this resorts located close to front street, has great views, fantastic service and walking distance to restaurants and shops.

Ka’anapali Beach Hotel – Oceanfront in Ka’anapali area with ample buffet breakfast, free entertainment shows and comfortable rooms with garden or ocean views.

Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa – A gorgeous 40 acre oceanfront property with beautiful pools, gardens, cultural programs and luau, rooftop venues, friendly service and excellent restaurants.

Check out these highly rated hotels reviewed from Trip Advisor here for images and details.

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North Shore Oahu

North Shore Oahu

North Shore Oahu

The north shore of Oahu is a popular gathering place for locals and tourists that want to get away from busy Honolulu to check out the local spots and fun attractions in the area.  There’s a full gamut of cool little towns, amazing snorkeling spots, surfing beaches and lush tropical forests and waterfalls to explore in the North Shore of Oahu. If you’re looking for what to do, check out these top things to do on Oahu’s north shore area below for more inspiration and planning your visit to the area.

Top things to do on Oahu’s north shore area

Gorgeous north shore beaches in Oahu

Explore the old town of Haleiwa

Haleiwa town in the north shore beaches in Oahu

The old cowboy town of Haleiwa has become more popular and upscale with indie shops, shopping centers and fun bar/restaurants to hang out in including all those surf/beach shops that cater to the surfing crowd here. Favorite places to hang out in include the local surf shops, Matsumoto shave ice, The Red Dirt store and other cool art galleries on the main road.

Waimea valley and falls in Oahu

Hike through lush forests & waterfall at Waimea Valley

Waimea Valley is a lush and tropical oasis in the North Shore filled with lush tropical forests, beautiful gardens, various reconstructed temples and villages and at the end, gorgeous Waimea waterfalls that you can swim up to. It is a spectacular visit and hike through different parts of the valley and up to the main waterfalls. If you have more than a few hours to enjoy nature, this is the place to go visit just across from Waimea Beach park.

Address – 59-864 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, Oahu, HI 96712-8411

Dole plantation in Oahu

Dole plantation gardens and tours

The Dole plantation is a fun tourist destination to visit and learn about the pineapple industry on Oahu and tour the gardens and smaller pineapple fields on the plantation.  There is a fun maze and tropical gardens to explore along with large visitor center and souvenir shop on site.

Check out this tour of the Dole Plantation and a North Shore island tour here for more details and prices.

Address of the Dole plantation – 64-1550 Kamehameha Hwy, Wahiawa, HI 96786

La'ie Hawaii Temple

La’ie Hawaiian Temple

Located on the northeastern section of oahu is a beautiful Mormon temple and grounds open for the public to explore. You can visit the the La’ie Temple tourist center and ask for some guides to show you around the grounds and other areas of interest in these beautiful grounds and sharing the history of the local Laie community close by.

Address of the temple 55-600 Naniloa Loop, Laie, Oahu, HI 96762-2202

Bonzai Pipeline in the North Shore

Check out Big surf at Banzai Pipeline

The famous Banzai Pipeline is active and a fun place to be in winter time. When the surf is up the surfing competition is at its peak, it’s time to head out to Pupuke’a and Sunset Beach park to see the big wave action. Even during the non-peak time frame, it is fun to just go out and see the locals enjoying the ocean surf at this well-known attraction in the North Shore area.

 Location – Sunset Beach Park, Pupuke a, Oahu, HI

Sharks cove in Oahu

Enjoy some family friendly snorkeling at Sharks Cove

A popular and kid friendly snorkeling spot located right next to the Pupuke a beach park. With diverse sea life, corals and tropical fish, it is a perfect place for beginners or younger children to wade, swim or snorkel in a protected cove area of the North Shore

Located at 59-711 Kamehameha Hwy, between Waimea Bay and the Banzai Pipeline, Pupuke a, Oahu, HI 96712-9404

Pupuke'a beach park

Pupuke a Beach Park

The main beach park that has Sharks Cove on the far side of the beach, Pupuke’a has a sandy golden beach is a great place for swimming, snorkeling, tide pool exploring and sunsets. There’s even food trucks and super market across the street so you have easy take out food to bring with you to the beach.

Located at 59-727 Kamehameha Highway, North Shore, Haleiwa, Oahu, HI 96712

The rocks at Waimea beach park

Jump off the big rocks at Waimea beach park

One of the most popular and beautiful beaches on the North Shore, Waimea bay has one huge rock outcrop on the far side of the beach that local kids love to climb and jump off and do some crazy dives. It’s relatively safe if you start lower and do just simple jumps if you are looking for a fun and free adventure experience at Waimea Bay

Address – Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, Oahu, HI 96712-1304

Mukuleia Beach Park in the north shore

 Exploring Mukuleia Beach Park

The popular series lost was filmed here and during the week, you’ll have the beach area mostly to yourself along with a slew of Honu (green sea turtles) to share the beach area with. On a windy day, you’ll spot quite a few wind surfers or sky divers doing some initial training close by.  There are picnic tables but no lifeguards or public facilities at the beach park area.

Address – Farrington Highway, Waialua, Oahu, HI 96791

Have your pick of the food trucks & shopping at Hukilau Marketplace

Located next to the Polynesian Cultural Center with lots of great food trucks, eating venues and shopping/galleries to explore and find some cool souvenirs. if you’re in the area or exploring the Polynesian Cultural Center. Or just passing through and hungry, this is a perfect place to take a break and find some good grindz (food)

Address – 55-370 Kamehameha Hwy, Polynesian Cultural Center, Laie, Oahu, HI 96762-2113

Kahuku-Farms in Oahu

Check out Kahuku organic farms

A great place to visit for those interested in local farming and crops grown in the area, there is also tour that you can sign up for their grand tour by wagon on their farm to learn about the history of the farm and local community and serving the various markets around. There is also a nice café where you can order some wonderful smoothies or take out food or other farm goodies.

Located at 56-800 Kamehameha Hwy, Kahuku, Oahu, HI 96731-2302

Waialua Estate Coffee and Chocolate at Haleiwa

Experience Waialua Estate Coffee and Chocolate

There’s a cool old factory vibe at the Waialua estate and you can also sign up for a free tour that shares the coffee making and production process. They sell some delicious types of coffees and also try some local produced chocolate and other goodies that they sell on site.

Located at 67 Kupahu St, Waialua, Oahu, HI 96791

Matsumoto shave ice

Have a shave ice at famous Matsumoto Shave Ice

Located in Haleiwa town, the shave ice here is famous and really good! There’s always a line out the door so allocate some time to wait and then explore some of the cool galleries and main road shops at Haleiwa

Address – 66-087 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712

Polynesian-Cultural-center in Oahu

Enjoy the Polynesian Cultural Center

One of the most popular attractions in the North Shore of Hawaii, the Polynesian Cultural Center is 42 acres of 6 authentic Polynesian villages of Tahitian, Samoan, Hawaiian, Tongan, Fiji and New Zealand, cultural programs, an expansive luau and a dynamic evening show. A great experience for families or first-time visitors to the island and enjoy a totally Polynesian experience.

Check out the admission to the Polynesian Cultural Center and luau here for more details and current prices.

Address – 55-370 Kamehameah Hwy., Laie, Oahu, HI 96762-2113

Giovanni's food truck in Haleiwa

Eat at any of the delicious shrimp trucks

The North Shore is famous for the shrimp trucks that feature the local shrimp farmed in the area and create a delicious garlicky shrimp and rice plate lunch dish. The most famous called Giovanni’s is the signature truck to visit, even though there are a lot of cookie cutter versions located all around the North Shore area. Stop here for some yummy grindz (food) and you’re looking for something delicious to eat that is local. There are quite a few other food trucks congregated around a food truck zone in Haleiwa where Giovanni’s is also located.

Address for Giovanni’s truck – 66-472 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712

exploring the north shore of Oahu

Other fun North Shore Tour Experiences

If you are looking for more thrills and adventure experiences to the North Shore, check out all these fantastic group tours below.

North Shore tour with a snorkel swim in Hanauma Bay

North Shore Zip Line adventure and farm tour

A two hour shark dive in the North Shore

Where to stay in the North Shore area

There are nice hotels, Bnb’s and air BnB’s, hostels and camping available to cover different needs to stay in the area. Here are some of the recommended hotels and boutiques in the area with great ratings and reviews.

Courtyard Marriott Northshore – located adjacent to the Polynesian Cultural Center – check the reviews and photos on Trip Advisor and latest prices here.

Turtle Bay Resort – 4 star accommodations on the North Shore. Check the reviews and photos on Trip Advisor and latest prices here.

Kalani Private Lodging – boutique lodging located in the Haleiwa area. Check the reviews and photos on Trip Advisor and latest prices here.

Check out these other Oahu experiences

Fun or cheap things to do in Oahu

Best family friendly beaches in Oahu

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Horseback riding in Hawaii

Horseback riding in Hawaii

If you’re like me you grew up reading the Black Stallion series. If you’re like me you simply drooled over the film when it premiered. As an adult I now realize that this Francis Ford Coppola classic was a stunning work of filmmaking and was even nominated for an Oscar in film editing and won a special achievement award for sound editing. 

And of course, the great Mickey Rooney was nominated for his role as well. 

While my Black Stallion was a chestnut Appaloosa, and my deserted island was a ranch in Oklahoma, I always dreamed of galloping a horse down a wide stretch of open beach, bareback with my arms thrown wide, just as Kelly Reno did in the film. 

Horseback riding in Hawaii

History of Horseback riding in Hawaii

While the US state of Hawaii is a top tourist destination for many obvious reasons, it’s also a fantastic place to experience the thrill of riding. Hawaiian cowboys called paniolos have been riding the ranges of the islands for over 150 years, and Parker Ranch on the Big Island is the oldest working cattle ranch in the United States, and one of the largest. Parker Ranch no longer offers horseback riding in Hawaii but they celebrate many equestrian events throughout the year.

If a visit to Hawaii is on your travel list, and you’d like to include horseback riding in Hawaii on that trip, these are a few of the places to make your dreams a reality, set against the backdrop of one of the most beautiful places in the world. 

Horseback riding on the Big Island

Horseback riding in the Big Island 

I live in Hilo and I think it’s one of the most special places on earth. Volcanos, rainforests, vast lava fields, and more combine to make this youngest member of the island chain a traveler’s dream. While it’s not quite as well known for its beaches as the neighbor islands, there are still plenty of places to go horseback riding on the Big Island. 


Ponoholo Ranch located in the highlands of Kohala is a rider’s dream. This working cattle ranch offers several rides designed to cater to various ability levels and desired experiences. Experienced riders will have the chance to canter through Kohala’s green valleys, and those who have never ridden can choose a ride on calm and gentle horses. All riders will have the ability to view the sweeping coastline of the Pacific Ocean, see both Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea volcanoes, and catch a glimpse of the island of Maui on a clear day. This is horseback riding in Hawaii at its finest.

Horseback riding on the  Kohala region of the Big Island


One of the most stunning areas of the Big Island is Waipio Valley. Located at the northern tip of the island, this area is famous for its black sand beach and towering waterfalls. It’s also home to a small herd of feral horses. While you can’t ride any of those horses, you can take a tour with Na’alapa Stables on one of their trusty steeds. If you’re lucky you may even catch a glimpse of the feral herd frolicking on the beach.

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The authentic cowboy experience👌

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Horse back riding in Maui 

As one of the most visited islands in the state, Maui is home to a wealth of things to do, both in and out of the water. Horseback riding in Maui is an incredible way to catch sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, some of the neighbor islands, and ride through misty forests and vast pineapple fields. 

Mendes Ranch, owned and operated by the Mendes family, has been a working ranch since the 1940’s. They offer morning and afternoon rides along the coastline and finish with a stop on the beach. Experienced riders who are eager for something other than the nose to tail experience can book private rides and those who feel confident are able to gallop at a few points along the ride. They also offer a combination horseback and helicopter tour, which sounds like an adventurer’s dream come true. 


Makena Stables on the island’s southern shore has been in operation since 1983, and the owners are active in Maui’s rodeo community. The horses they use for their rides are fit and healthy, and the trails offer some of the best views of the southern coast of Maui. Take their sunset ride in the winter months where you’ll not only see one of Hawaii’s dazzling sunsets but you may see humpback whales breaching offshore. 

Horseback riding in Oahu 

The island of Oahu is much more than Waikiki Beach and the high rises of Honolulu. Its lush and varied terrain is dreamy and exquisite, and if I weren’t already so attached to the Big Island I might call it my favorite. Let’s just say it’s close. 

With a larger population than any of the other islands there are more opportunities for horseback riding on Oahu than on the other islands, and there is even a thriving polo club and competition scene that includes dressage, jumping, and western riding


However, the best stable with the best trails, in my opinion, is Kualoa Ranch. They offer a variety of rides to choose from but what makes them stand out from the rest is the fact that the trails you’ll be riding on take you through portions of the filming location for Lost. You’ll also see some old bunkers from World War II and the sheer beauty that is the Ka’a’awa Valley. Book early as their rides often sell

Hawaii is a beautiful and unique part of the world, and there is little question as to why it’s one of the most visited places in the United States, or the world. If you find yourself in the Aloha State and horseback riding in Hawaii is on your bucket list, consider one of these outfitters. 

You’ll be saying mahalo nui loa to your horses and your guides before you know it. 

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Guest writer bio

Cate Brubaker is a writer who has traveled to more than 40 countries, many of those in a camper when she and her husband drove from the United States to Argentina over a three year period. She loves horseback riding, SCUBA diving, and eating all the food. She and her husband currently live in Hilo, Hawaii.

Check out her blog at The Life Nomadic

Free or cheap things to do in Oahu

Free or cheap things to do in Oahu

Free or cheap things to do in Oahu

For such an expensive place to visit, you can actually do a lot of things for free or on the cheap in Oahu. From seeing attractions, doing an adventure experience, or just enjoying the beach in Oahu, there’s quite a lot you can do for free or cheap if you plan ahead and take advantage of all the free things you can do below. Check out the best free or cheap adventure experience in Oahu below to inspire to discover what you can do here on a dime.

Top 15 fun or cheap things to do in Oahu

Free HIkiing trails in Oahu trails

1.Go on a hike

There are so many amazing hikes that you can do around the island and most of them are free and a great way to see the fascinating and beautiful landscape of the area. Check out these fabulous hikes here for more details and inspiration.

2. Go snorkeling for free in Oahu

Snorkeling fun in Sharks Cove Oahu
Snorkeling fun in Sharks Cove Oahu

Snorkeling can be done around the island at various places where the tropical fish and coral still thrive and you have some snorkel equipment available to use. Among the most popular places include the protected snorkeling beach at Haunama Bay, Sharks Cove and Kahe Point Beach park. To find out the best spots for snorkeling check out all these fantastic snorkel sites here for you to visit for more information and additional web sites.

3. Rent a bike

You can do a cheap bike rental in Oahu at Waikiki through Biki which has over 130 Biki stops around Honolulu and rates as cheap as $4.00 in a one way route to longer use passes. Check out the Biki system and fares here for more details on these cheap rent a bikes here in Honolulu area.

4. Climb Diamond Head

Climbing up Diamond Head in Oahu
Climbing up Diamond Head in Oahu

One of the most popular attractions to do in Waikiki is to climb Diamond Head and enjoy the spectacular views of the city and coastline below. The visit and hike up through Diamond Head is only $1 for admission or $5 per car to the park and the hike up is about 1.4 mile roundtrip walk or about a 45 – 60 minute round trip walk depending on how many stops you make along the way. You can do this easily and better in the early morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the heat but also get spectacular light for views and photography. Check out the parks website here for more details and hours.

5. Ride The Bus around the island

A different take on riding around the island on the cheap instead of renting a car or doing a tour, you can go on The Bus on a one way trip around the island for only $2.50 and this includes one free transfer/stop you want to do along the way. Check out more details on the circle island bus tour cheap or multi day passes on The Bus here for more information.

6. Visit a botanical garden

Visit a Botanical Garden in Oahu Hawaii
Exploring a Botanical Garden in Oahu

You can go to a many of Oahu’s botanical garden for free and explore the many tropical plants and lush landscapes on your own instead of booking a tour. Check out the Parks and Rec botanical garden site here of all these spectacular gardens for doing your own DIY tour or follow along with a docent on a guided tour.

7. Explore Pearl Harbor for free

Free visit to Pearl Harbor national monument

If you catch da bus to Pearl Harbor or an inexpensive Uber ride, the rest of the visit and boat trip to the monument to the USS Arizona is all free. You can visit the grounds, video show and docent tour all for free as part of the national monument at Pearl Harbor. and the Arizona Memorial You do have to book reservations in advanced at this site to secure a timed entry admission, so book early. Although there are cancellations and availability different times during the day.

8. DIY historic walking tour of Honolulu

Visit historic Honolulu in Oahu
Visit historic Honolulu and the Iolani Palace in Oahu

You can actually join a free walking tour of Honolulu’s historic attractions here and enjoy the highlight attractions and key monuments in the area. This walking tour will give you a peek to the history, settlement and architecture of this historic district in Honolulu. The DIY tour is free and just follow the direction on the web site.

9. Go body surfing

Body surfing adventure in Oahu Hawaii
Body surfing at Lanikai in Oahu

There are so many wonderful body surfing beaches on Oahu and Waikiki beach being the most popular beach to do that in with a fantastic sandy bottom to enjoy this sport. Check out these other fun body surfing spots around the island you can go and have a real water adventure

10. Go surfing for cheap

Learn how to surf in Oahu Hawaii

If you know how to surf, all you need is to rent a board for a few hours and there are many beach areas that have hourly renting of surf boards available for you to enjoy. Check out this site for more information on rentals available in the area. If your new to surfing, you can go on the cheap by watching some free You Tube tutorials to get the basics and then rent a board and hang out with the newbies on the beach.

11. Kayaking on the cheap in Oahu

Kayaking in Oahu Hawaii
Kayaking in Lanikai, Oahu Hawaii

Same as surfing above you can rent a kayak for a nominal amount by the hour or half day to save on some costs of the equipment versus doing a kayak tour which is pretty pricey with the various operators. Check out this site for places you can actually rent kayaks by the hour.

12. SUP boarding on Oahu

Learning how to SUP board in Oahu

Want to do some SUP or try a SUP (Stand up Paddle) experience? You can do like the other water sports above by renting a SUP board by the hour from various locations. If your new to SUP, check out some easy beginning You Tube videos for basic instructions on how to get started on this easy sport.

13. Challenge yourself to climb up Koko Head

Excercise climb up Koko Head, Oahu
Molokini climb up Koko Head, Oahu

Climbing the steep Koko crater trail is a big challenge but you will be rewarded with sweeping views of the Eastern side of Oahu on your 1050 steps up to the top of the crater. Parking is free and easy and the trail head is easy to spot and before you know, you’ll be doing a major stair master challenge. Check out more details of the Koko Crater trail here for more information and images.

14. Go running at these iconic Oahu routes

Running along Waikiki beach
Running along Waikiki beach

Picture a perfect beach and jogging through the soft sands back and forth a few times to get a workout in and enjoy the scenery at the same time. Or you can run through various historic districts or fantastic landscapes that are beautiful to pass through and enjoy these popular local running routes. Check out these top runs in Honolulu here for more inspiration and images.

15. Enjoy a waterfall at Manoa Falls

hike for free at  Manua, Oahu

A relatively easy hike to get to at Manoa falls, this short .8 mile roundtrip hike is easy and passes through green and scenic landscapes meandering through bamboo forests, rainforest and the base of the Exercise mountains. You’ll walk parallel to the Manoa stream until you hit the base of the waterfall which is 150 feet in height. Check out the details of visiting the Manoa falls and surrounding areas here for more details.

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There you have it, What to do in Oahu for free or cheap with 15 tips that won’t break the bank. Bookmark this post for future reference when you are looking for some F ree or cheap things to do in Oahu from the typical sightseeing experience.

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