Insider tips to visiting Oahu
Oahu is a very expensive place to visit but there are some quick and easy inside tips to saving when you visit and travel just like a local would here in Oahu. We share local ways of eating, shopping, getting around cheap and what to see and do on the island without breaking the bank.
Check out these insider tips to visiting Oahu and you’ll want to book your trip out to the island soon!
Picnic on the beach
All the beaches are public land so access is free to enjoy the beach scene and what a better way of doing this than to have an actual picnic on the beach with your favorite local Hawaiian snacks or foods.
You can do a take out bento box or plate lunch, a poke bowl from Food land (one of the best poke places to shop on the island) and some local beers and your set for a fun and inexpensive experience on the beach.
Here’s a few of our favorite spots around the island to enjoy the beach or views
Ala Moana Beach Park – a more local beach next to Waikiki with easy parking and not so crowded with tourists
Kaena Point on the far western part of the island with some nice hiking trails, tidepools and gorgeous rugged scenery to enjoy without all the crowds
Waimanalo Beach – on week nights the beach area here is lovely and uncrowded with magical mountains on one side and gorgeous sandy beach with aqua colored ocean on the other side.
Sunset Beach – on the North Shore visitors opt for some of the more popular spots, but sunset beach is long and lots of space to spread out and you’ll also get a fabulous sunset if you hang out later in the afternoon to night time.
Hotels are expensive book an Air bnb or condo stay
With hotel room rates at all time highs with local taxes and resort fees added, housing is very expensive. You can offset that by staying at Air Bnb’s, condos or even hostels if you are more in a budget mindset and can find decent accommodations even in Waikiki area.
Hiking is fun and free
There are so many amazing hiking opportunities in Oahu to explore from some of the most well known like Diamond Head and Makapu’u light house trail to more local style places to enjoy with views, water falls and stunning landscape to enjoy.
Some of our favorites includes:
Koko Head trail – climb up railroad tracks all the way to the summit of Koko Head a cinder cone on the east side of the island with stunning views all around the east side.
Lanikai Pill box – also on the east side with fabulous view above where these old bunkers with graffiti are located and gorgeous views below to Lanikai and East Hawaii
Ehukai Pill box – Located on the Northshore area above Ehukai beach, the trail leading up to Ehukai is mostly forested and a steady incline
Eat off the side streets in Waikiki
If you are looking for good and affordable meals in the Waikiki area then head out to Kuhio Avenue which is parallel to expensive Kalakaua Blvd, but a world apart in prices with more affordable places eat like a local. The area off Kapahulu and Monsarrat have also some affordable dining venues in town to get local bento style, plate lunches and a variety of mom-and-pop eateries at good prices.
Find a BYOB eateries
Alcohol licenses in Oahu are expensive so a few local restaurants opt for no license and let you bring your own and save on drinking. Find a local grocery store and get your favorite wine or beer and check out these local style BYOB restos in the area and you’ll have a great meal and drinks for a more affordable price in town or around the island.
Go swim or surf late in the day to night
If you want to avoid the crowds and busy beaches from Waikiki to Ala Moana and around the island, go late afternoon to night when most of the crowds are gone. The average water temperature is still quite nice and if you need to rent a surf board or water craft, you might cut a better deal with any of the Beach Boy outfitters later in the day.
Take Public transportation
The Bus goes everywhere around the island and only costs $5 for a whole day pass and travels frequently downtown and areas outside so it’s easy and cheap to get around. If you are more flexible with your time then take The Bus and travel like a local
Happy Hour on Oahu
Many popular bars and restaurants offer Happy Hour meals, appetizers and drinks for better prices so you definitely can still party at fun places for a cheaper or affordable price in Waikiki and around the island.
Check out these happy hour venues here for going out and enjoying a fun happy hour time in Oahu.
Go Camping around the island
Yes, there are actual camp sites you can enjoy on the North Shore and save costs on accommodations. Plus, many are beach side locations which is another perk to staying up here on the North Shore or anywhere around the island.
A weird glitch doesn’t technically allow camping at the beaches but you can fish overnight and still have a tent set up for a quick snooze. Surprisingly, many locals and visitors in the know have done this so get that fishing pole ready just to make it look legit and you might even catch dinner for free.
If you want to do it legit, then check out Bellows Field Beach Park here for reserving a camping spot on the east side of the island.
Skip the Luau and do a catamaran cruise
Not only are luau in Oahu expensive and over rated, you can find a cheaper alternature with the catamaran cruises offered in Waikiki
Get off Oahu and do an interisland trip
Go out and explore the outer islands. There’s a lot of interisland deals with round trip flights, so there’s no excuse not to check out the other islands and local attractions to explore these islands.