One of the beautiful things about Hawaii is its natural beauty, which for the most park can be enjoyed for free. Although Oahu is the most populated and busiest of the Hawaiian Islands, it has a large array of natural beauty to experience. From hikes to beaches to whale watching and surf contest viewing, the Gathering Island is has a lot to offer for free.
If your on the island during the winter months from around September to February, make sure to watch some North Shore surfing. In the earlier and later months contest with professional surfers most likely won’t be happening but the North Shore will be hopping with surfers on waves from the beginning at Haleiwa’s Ali`i Beach Park to the end at V-Land. From the months of about late October to January, contests happen on a regular basis – professional, amateur, men’s, women’s, juniors, all of it is happening out there. The professional contests, which most are, feature all the big names in women’s and men’s surfing, Kelly Slater, Jordy Smith, Rochelle Ballard, the list goes on. There really isn’t much more amazing than sitting on a beautiful white sand beach at Pipeline and watching the world’s best surfers catch huge waves and compete for the world title.
An effort by a former mayor to increase community activities, Sunset on the Beach in Waikiki provides free movies on the beach in Waikiki. Friday and Saturday nights movies play on a thirty foot screen right smack in the center of Waikiki on the beach where before dark you can watch surfers for a while. A beautiful and vibrant sunset usually serves as a preview to the films where local families, visitors, and couples gather to take in a film under the stars. Food vendors are on the beach and many restaurants are located along the Waikiki strip. The movie takes place at Queen’s beach down near the Honolulu Zoo on the south end of Waikiki. Check out www.sunsetonthebeach.com for showtimes and movie listings.
The hike to beautiful roughly 150 foot Manoa Falls is about one and a half miles long and is a pretty easy hike. It’s a pretty well worn path through an exotic bamboo forest and the fools cascade down into a pool. Don’t swim in the pool though, it’s filled with very large rocks and is very dangerous. To get here take McCully Street towards the mountains heading out of Waikiki. Turn right on Kapiolani Boulevard and then onto University Avenue until you can take another right heading towards the center of the island on Manoa Road. It will lead you to the end of the road where the trail head lies.
Lastly, for a combination of enjoying a sunset and wildlife viewing, head out to Ali`i Beach Park in Haleiwa. Nearly every evening around ten turtles crawl up on the sand and relax on land. Signs at the back of the beach alert visitors to stay at least ten feet away, so please respect the turtles (honu in Hawaiian). Bring a camera and watch the sunset over the Waianae Mountain Range. You can also watch surfers here too.