Most people are told that Hawaii is an expensive place, which is true. Everything has to be shipped to the island so it is much more expensive than the mainland. However, this doesn't mean that there are not plenty of things to enjoy for free on Oahu. If you like the outdoors, there is plenty to see and do, such as watching for whales on spectacular overlooks or appreciating the beauty of windward Oahu.
Every year between the months of December to April humpback whales migrate to the warmer waters around the Hawaiian Islands to give birth to their young and breed. One of the best ways to view humpback whales is to simply go to a high overlook which looks out towards the water. Lanai Lookout on the Eastern side of Oahu is a particularly popular spot. Look for the whales' blows which will appear as a white puffy spout of water on the surface. According to National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, adult humpback whales will go up to the surface of the water to breathe every 10 to 15 minutes. If you watch for long enough, you may even get to see some behaviors, such as breaching or tail slapping.
Another popular place for visitors is to see the USS Arizona Memorial. The memorial sits over the site where the USS Arizona sank during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The USS Arizona still has more than 1100 sailors interned there. Tickets for the memorial are free, however, wait times can sometimes be long since visitors are ferried to the memorial. Consider going early to pick up your tickets and seeing one of the other nearby attractions such as the USS Bowfin.
1 Arizona Memorial Place
Honolulu, HI 96818
Nuuanu Pali Lookout
The Nuuanu Pali Lookout offers expansive views of the Koolau Mountains, Kailua Bay and Kaneohe Bay all the way up to Chinaman's Hat. Historically, the lookout was the site of a massive battle in 1795 when King Kamehameha and his army pushed the island's defenders off the sheer cliffs. Just to the right of the lookout you'll see a trail. This trail is the remains of the old Pali road which was how travelers used to get to the windward side before the Pali Highway was built. Along the trail you'll see guava trees and Banyan trees. The top of the lookout is extremely windy so be sure to bring a sweater or jacket just in case.
Nuuanu Pali Lookout
Top of Pali Highway
Honolulu, HI 96817
Article Written By Shiromi Nassreen
Shiromi Nassreen has been writing professionally since 2005. She specializes in travel and outdoor topics, and her articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including "DISfunkshion Magazine" and Matador Travel. Nassreen holds a Bachelor of Arts in theatre studies from Rose Bruford College of Speech & Drama.