7 FREE must sees on Oahu

  • Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens in Kaneohe. The drive up is stunning and once you get to the actual path to walk around you will see so many plants and trees you’ve never seen before. 
  • Hiking:There are so many incredible hikes and they won’t cost you a dime. One of my favorites is the Lanikai Pillbox Hike.
  • Lanikai Beach: This spot is tucked away in a neighborhood. Parking is not easy to find but it’s worth it. The beach is beautiful and far quieter than the beaches on Waikiki. 
  • Ali’iolani Hale: This building is stunning. It’s the home of the Hawai’i State Supreme Court. In front of the building is a statue of Kamehameha the Great. There are displays that help to tell the history of Hawai’i. This is free but donations are welcome to help maintain the building. 
  • Bayer Estate: This is the house that is featured in the new Hawai’i Five O. The owners are very welcoming and love meeting fans of the show. 
  • The Byodo-In Temple: This temple is gorgeous! It’s a replica of a 950-year-old one in Japan. You need to pay attention to the etiquette though. You can’t wear shoes in the temple at all, and you will be told if you try to wear shoes.

Hawai’i has a reputation of being expensive and don’t get me wrong because it can be. But there are so many ways to travel these beautiful islands on a tight budget too.


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What does hiking at 10,000 feet feel like?

The summit at Haleakalā on Maui in Hawaii takes you 10,023 feet up in the sky.

There are crowds of people lined up waiting for the sunset at the summit

You are above the clouds! It’s peaceful and exhilarating all at the same time. 

The summit at Haleakala just prior to sunset

{How to get here} 

Option 1: Tour group 

This option can be great for those who aren’t a fan of driving alongside cliffs and through clouds.

It’s a challenging drive. But a tour will cost you quite a lot more. It’s also going to likely take much longer.

The most popular times to visit the summit are sunrise and sunset. But keep in mind what time you will need to be awake if you choose to do sunrise with a tour group. 

Option 2: Rent a car 

This is what we did, and I’m thankful. We were on our own time. We could stop when we wanted to at the lookouts on the way to the summit.

The drive to the summit

We also decided to leave the summit right as the sun went down {but before everyone else packed up} so we beat a lot of that traffic coming down.

It gets busy though. So keep in mind if you’re not at the top in time you won’t find a place to park at the summit {park rangers block its entrance} and you will need to hike 1 mile to get to the summit. But that second lot also fills up. Aim to arrive at the summit at least 1.5 hours before sunset or sunrise in order to guarantee a parking spot. 

Hikes at the summit

There are so many hikes to do on your way to the summit. You can opt to go for longer hikes if you have the time but there are plenty of shorter options that still give you incredible views.

There is a short hike up a lava rock path that you will find near the visitor’s center, half a mile from the summit. A bonus is there are bathrooms at this stop.
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