Honolulu: Make Your Dollar Go Further

With a little planning, and the help of this handy guide, the whole family can have a blast in Honolulu without breaking the bank.

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Hawaii isn’t exactly known as an affordable place to spend a vacation, but it’s certainly a dream destination for a huge chunk of travelers. Well, don’t give up on the dream just yet! With a little smart planning, you and your kids can have a lot of fun without breaking the bank. Get ready to uncover some of Honolulu’s hidden gems, including affordable spots for a bite to eat, and perfect places to spend the afternoon when your skin needs a break from the sun.

A golden sunset peeks through clouds behind palm trees in Honolulu, Hawaii on a summer evening.

Sunsets Are Free

Of course, the place to start any Honolulu family vacation is at one of the island’s picture-perfect beaches. Start with Ala Moana Beach Park, widely considered one of the most popular beaches on Oahu – and for good reason! You’ve got white sand, shady spots, concession stands, and everything else you need for a water day. When the sun starts to go down, however, Waikiki Beach is the place to be. The island’s south shore is where most of the resorts are – as well as the best sunsets.

Two fresh, colorful fish tacos topped with coleslaw and avocado sit on a serving platter.

Fish Tacos, Please

OK, restaurants can get pricey in Hawaii if you’re not careful, but there are plenty of great spots to fuel up for those on a budget. Start with Liliha Bakery, home of the delicious Coco Puff, to get sugared up, and then keep the food buzz going with lunch at Steak Shack. What was once a hot dog cart has grown into a hot spot for burgers and shakes in the middle of the day. And did someone say fish tacos? The South Shore Grill is the can’t-miss spot for the best fish tacos, plus a pretty killer kids’ menu.

Discover the Rainforest

Keep kids active and playful with a trip to the Children’s Discovery Center in Honolulu. The hands-on exhibits at this place are all designed to provide hours of interactive fun for parents and kids in all kinds of environments – think the jungle and beyond! The newest one is Rainforest Adventures, which teaches all about the balance of nature that exists right there in Hawaii.

Two zebras stand next to each other as they eat grass at the Honolulu Zoo on a bright afternoon.

Wave at Hawaii’s Animals

When you’re at the beach, it might not be so easy to spot a seahorse or a pipefish, but you won’t have to look too hard to see these little guys at the Waikiki Aquarium. You can buy tickets online and even download a mobile audio guide on your smartphone to help you learn as you go. If zebras and monkeys are more your speed, the Honolulu Zoo is for you. This popular family spot is open every day with animals just waiting to say aloha.

Beat the Heat Indoors

For rainy days or when the sun is blasting, escape into the air conditioning with a day at one of Honolulu’s top-notch museums. The Honolulu Museum of Art features a really neat Japanese wood block exhibit, while the Bishop Museum is the state’s center of culture that can teach your family all about the natives of the islands.

Looking for even more ideas to plan your family getaway in Honolulu? Check out our other Honolulu budget-friendly guides.

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