Discover the Best Deals on Hawaii's Islands
Hawaii can be a pricey vacation proposition, but once you've arrived at this tropical paradise, there are countless free or low-cost activities, as well as budget-friendly accommodation options. Visit eCouponsHawaii.com before you go on vacation -- it's possible to sniff out some valuable savings. The Hawaii Entertainment Book ($9.98 for the 2008 edition) also has tons of discounts for everything from top-tier luaus to fine dining and entertainment. Additionally, AAA members should always inquire about special rates and benefits.
Here's an island-by-island guide on how to have big thrills in Hawaii without breaking the bank.
Hawaii's Big Island
The largest Hawaiian island and Hawaii's most volcanically active, the Big Island appeals to guests with its more than 80 beaches, scenic drives, colorful shopping bazaars, and world-class water activities. To make the most of their time, many tourists split their time between the Hilo side of the island and the Kona side of the island -- driving times need to be considered due to the island's sprawling geography.
* If you like to hike, $10 per car will buy you access to visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Don't miss Crater Rim Drive, Chain of Craters Road and, if time allows, hike Kilauea Iki, which shows off rainforests and a volcano crater floor.
* Take to the tropical waters and snorkel in Honaunau Bay (adjacent to Pu'uhonau o Honaunau Park). Save money by bringing your own snorkel gear or swing by Wal-Mart in Kailua-Kona for some reasonably priced equipment.
* Visit the pretty black-sand beaches of Punaluu and Kehena. Punaluu Beach is located off Highway 11 on the southern shore in between Kona and Hilo. Kehena Beach can be found off Highway 137 near Puna along the Eastern shore.
* The Shops at Mauna Lanioffer free shows every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings at 7:00 and 8:00 p.m.
* The Queens Marketplace in Waikoloa has several free or low-cost Hawaiian craft-making classes as well as free traditional Hawaiian entertainment.
Outrigger Keauhou Beach Resort
Rates start at $149
Probably the most scenic of the Hawaiian islands, Kauai is stunningly beautiful with its rugged green cliffs of the Na Pali coast, uncrowded beaches and Waimea Canyon. Its laid-back vibe embodies Hawaii's "hang loose" lifestyle.
* Get ready for romance by packing a bottle of wine, some nibblies and watching the sunset from Princeville with the Bali Hai peak in the background. Another favorite spot is Poipu Beach.
* Pack your hiking shoes and explore the Canyon Trail at Kokee State Park. The trail takes you into Waimea Canyon, where you're rewarded with 360-degree views of the canyon.
* Kauai is known for its waterfalls, and Wailua Falls is among the best. Find it on the east side of the island near Lihue.
* Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge offers a taste of history and a stunning view of the Pacific all for just a few bucks. Plus, it's one of best places to watch humpback whales as they migrate from Alaska.
The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas
Rates start at $299
Those seeking a more action-packed island experience flock to Oahu. Since it has the largest airport in Hawaii, it's the perfect starting point for exploring these Pacific gems.
* Pick up a few surfing tips at Waikiki Beach. The Outrigger Hotel Waikiki offers 20-minute surfing lessons. Lessons cost $30 per person.
* It's a bit touristy, but the nightly hula dance at The Halekulani Hotel's outdoor performance space is free. Take in magnificent views of Diamond Head with a house-made mai tai in hand.
* Learn about Waikiki's history with free guided walking tours. Offered by the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, the two-hour Queen's Tour takes you around Kapi'olani Park and Queen's Beach, while the Kalia Tour traces the origins of Waikiki, and the home of Olympian swimmer and surfer Duke Kahanamoku.
* Explore Honolulu's Chinatown. Amid the mishmash of storefronts is Maunakea Street, where elderly women string garlands of colorful leis in the doorways.
JW Marriott Ihilana Resort at Ko'Olina
Rates start at $320
Active travelers and extreme sports enthusiasts love the rugged terrain of Molokai. Breathtaking rural beauty, rainforests and deserted beaches are the draw -- don't expect a lot of luxury or modern amenities. Molokai is often referred to as the "Most Hawaiian Island" because it has the largest percentage of native Hawaiian residents in the state.
* Mountain biking is the best way to explore the forests, pastures and shores of this hilly island. Bike paths cover 120 miles of land, and many are well-suited for beginners. Rent a bike from Molokai Adventures for about $30 a day.
* Learn about Hawaiian music every Friday evening. Island elders gather at Hotel Molokai's Oceanside Restaurant to perform a free guitar and ukulele jam session of traditional songs.
* Expand your cultural awareness by visiting an ancient Hawaiian heiau (temple).
* From December to April, find a quiet shoreline spot and watch for humpback whales.
Hale Malu Guesthouse
Rates for The Lookout Cottage start at $80 per night.
Just eight miles from Maui, pristine and unspoiled Lanai is a pure oasis of calm. It's a bit trickier to reach this island as there are no direct flights from the mainland, but once there, the tropical surroundings are the ideal backdrop for endless water activities in Hulopoe Bay.
* From November through mid-May, the 45-minute ferry from Maui's Lahaina to Lanai's Manele Harbor is the cheapest whale-watching excursion out there. The ride costs $25 per person.
* Try your hand at sporting clays at Lanai Pine Sporting Clays, one of the country's best facilities, where you can also use the 12-station archery range and six-station air-rifle gallery.
* Hunt for treasures or examine historic petroglyphs at Shipwreck Beach.
* Explore the Garden of the Gods, an intriguing rock formation reminiscent of a lunar landscape.
Rates start at $159
Best known for its laid-back luxury, the second largest island in the Hawaiian chain is a popular destination for celebrities as well as discriminating travelers.
* Every Friday night the Maui Prince Hotel in Makena brings in a local astronomer and sets up high-powered telescopes on the beachfront terrace for astronomy night, which costs $20.
* One of Maui's top tourist attractions, The Road to Hana is famous for its zigzagging twists and turns (600 hairpin curves in 52 miles and 54 one-lane bridges) and panoramic vistas. The road offers some of the best photo-ops on the island.
* Kaihalulu, popularly known as Red Sand Beach, is an extremely isolated, stunningly colored beach with crystal clear water that attracts nude sunbathers and snorkelers. Tricky to find, look for a trailhead next to the Community Center on Ua Kea Road in Hana, right before the entrance to the Hotel Hana Maui Plantation Cottages.* Every Saturday morning, shopaholics can get a taste of local culture at The Maui Swap Meet for a fraction of the tourist shop prices. Locals hawk authentic island wares like aloha shirts, fresh fruits, breads and tropical flowers. Located on South Pu'unene Avenue, next to the Kahului Post Office.
Rates start at $199