Family Fun in Hawaii Doesn’t Have to Cost an Air Jordan 2s Arm and a Leg!

Oahu, Hawaii (photo credit: NASA)

Hawaii is one of my all time favorite vacation spots that I’ve ever visited. It is everything you imagine it to be! But the cost of a trip that far away can be intimidating. How can you create the memories of a lifetime, but still have money when you get back home?

The good news is that, if you do your homework ahead of time, you can select fun, educational, and inexpensive activities that will fill your day, and still allow you to spend high quality time in the sun and the surf (the reason you chose Hawaii as your destination in the first place!).

Here is my list of my top ten favorite, inexpensive things to do with your family (not necessarily in any particular order) on the Island of Oahu I loved them, and I know you will, too!

1 Go to the Beach(Duh)

Flip Flops in Repose (photo credit: Kim M. Bennett / One Big Happy Family, 2010)

It seems like a no brainer, right? Except that Oahu has so many beautiful beaches, you could almost make an entire vacation out of just beach hopping.

Oahu is famous for its white sand beaches, but you Air Jordan 3s will notice, as you make your way around the island, that there are smaller beaches that boast pink, black and more, well, sandy colored sand. The pink sand, if you examine it closely, is actually coral that has been pulverized by thousands of years of surf. And the black sand? Powdered lava.

Being a beach lover, I have always wanted to start collecting beach sand little samples of the beaches I’ve visited. Here are some folks who have shared their beach sand collections and collecting tips with the rest of us .

Learn about collecting and displaying your sand collection in Beach Sand Collections in Bottles and Jars, at Completely Coastal;

The International Sand Collectors Society (really!) discusses arenophilia (the hobby of collecting sand) in The Hobby of Sand Collecting;

Chica and Jo show how they built a lighted display box for their collection at Beach Sand Collecting.

If you don’t want to collect sand, you can do a little beach combing. However, be aware that pieces of sunbleached coral and seashells look like lumps of something unidentifiable on airport x rays, and you will end up emptying your (well packed) suitcase when you try to fly home. Trust me. I learned the hard way. on Oahu, so you can spend a few hours on the (empty) beach, before the sun’s rays are so bright, and still get to your other excursions. We found the beach to be just serene at that hour, and a spectacular way to start a day. The nice thing about Hanauma Bay is that you don’t have to be an experienced snorkeler to enjoy exploring the reefs and waters of the bay. The water is shallow, and you could stand up easily, in an emergency (but don’t do it unless it’s an emergency you’ll damage the fragile coral that lines the bay). The downside to the shallow water is that you DO have to be careful that you don’t scrape your knees on the coral it’s sharp.

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Oahu (photo credit: The Wondrous Pics)

The bay is part of a national park, so you pay a small fee ($7.50 per car, at this writing), but you can stay as long as you want. The Air Jordan 9s fish are so accustomed to people that you shouldn’t be surprised if you’re swimming along and a school of bicycle sized fish swim alongside you. I found this so exciting it made me giggle underwater. People sneak frozen peas Air Jordan 18s in the water to feed the fish, but, for many reasons, the park rangers prefer that you don’t. One reason is that the fish are healthiest when they eat what they’re supposed to eat: although the things you might bring are tastier, they’re not necessarily good for them, or the water.

Another reason is that the local bird populations are downright pesky if they see that you have food. Here’s a little story: I was lounging on my bamboo mat with my husband, as I watched the cutest little diamond doves forage around the beach for food. I had some crackers, and announced that I was going to give one to a nearby dove. My husband voiced his disapproval, but I went ahead and did it anyway.

Approximately two hundred (no lie) diamond doves descended on our little resting place. My husband moved away from me. Oops. So don’t feed the critters. Your family and the other beach goers will thank you.

Zebra Doves Waiting for Handouts at Hanauma Bay (photo credit: Kristen Topp, Honolulu, HI)

Because the shallower water is so heavily visited, the coral is a little worn there, but, for the more adventurous, the deeper water near the mouth of the bay has more variety of fish life and brighter coral reefs. Beware the “toilet bowl” at the mouth: a narrow passage where the water whooshes in, then whooshes out as quickly taking swimmers with it if you are too close.

You can take a bus directly to the park from most of the bigger hotels on the island. Bring flippers, mask and snorkel, and buy yourself a single use camera that’s meant for underwater they take good pictures, and you don’t have to worry about buying an underwater case for your digital camera.

Under the Sea. The Local Residents of Hanauma Bay (by snowboarderrx)

Don’t Forget to Pack Your Beach Stuff!It is not uncommon to see people strolling Honolulu in their bathing suits all day. Luckily, all that space in your suitcase formerly occupied by clothes can now be filled with beach toys! The sun is much stronger in Hawaii, since it’s closer to the equator, so don’t forget to pack items to keep you from getting a sunburn!

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3 Stop by the Dole PlantationIt smells heavenly.

Botanical drawing of pineapple (Vintage Printables public domain)

Nothing says “Hawaii” like a fresh pineapple, and you should definitely stop by the Dole Plantation as you tour around the island. Admission is free, and there are many activities for all ages. We enjoyed just strolling the display gardens to see just how many kinds of pineapples there really were (I had no idea). You can smell the plantation way before you come upon it.

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