Thu. Jul 18th, 2024
Waianapanapa, Hana, Maui, Hawaii
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Dreaming of a Hawaiian getaway? The Aloha State might be synonymous with luxury, but there are plenty of budget-friendly gems that offer an unforgettable summer vacation. From tranquil towns to charming resorts, Hawaii has options that won’t break the bank. Whether you’re seeking relaxation on pristine beaches or exploring the unique culture and landscapes, these affordable summer vacation spots in Hawaii are waiting to welcome you with open arms.

Waimea, Big Island

Looking out over Waimea's green pastures, Big Island, Hawaii.
Waimea’s green pastures, Big Island, Hawaii.

Escape the touristy crowds by retreating to Waimea, a calm town on the Big Island. With rolling green hills reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands, Waimea offers a unique experience away from the typical beach destinations. Visitors can stay at budget-friendly lodges such as Castle Waimea Country Lodge or nearby Waipi’o Lodge for a little under $150 for a two-person night stay during peak seasons, surrounded by luscious nature. The island is a great place to enjoy Hawaiian cowboy culture, known as paniolo, by attending local events and rodeos. On Saturdays, you can head down to Waimea Town Market for a cheap and fresh breakfast made with local produce that you can pick from over 50 vendors.

Hilo, Big Island

Recreation area with green lawn and tall palm trees in Hilo, Big Island, Hawaii
Recreation area with green lawn and tall palm trees in Hilo, Big Island, Hawaii.

Hilo, on the eastern coast of the Big Island, welcomes travelers with its lush surroundings and laid-back atmosphere. Affordable bed-and-breakfasts and hotels are abundant, such as Wild Ginger Hotel or nearby Pele’s Hana ‘Ana Hostel, for $100 per night for two, allowing you to experience Hilo’s farmers’ markets, botanical gardens, and local eateries. Don’t miss the stunning Rainbow Falls, with no access fees, and the nearby Akaka Falls State Park, where you can hike to impressive waterfalls for a mere $5 per person. Hilo’s cultural richness shines through attractions like the Pacific Tsunami Museum and the Lyman Museum.

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Lahaina, Maui

Drone images over Lahaina, Hawaii with lush mountains and a boat dock and pier in 2017
Lahaina, Hawaii in 2017. Image credit Rich Lonardo via Shutterstock

Lahaina, a historic town on Maui’s western coast, offers a blend of history and relaxation. The devastating wildfire of the summer of 2023 destroyed much of the town’s infrastructure, and it is unknown whether some of these locations were affected or will be re-opened.

Banana Bungalow Maui Hostel is a popular location. At $150 a night for two, not only is it convenient, but comes with more fun features like free pancakes and coffee, keg on the patio evenings, and open picnic spaces to make the most out of your stay. During the day, you can take leisurely strolls down Front Street, lined with art galleries, shops, and waterfront dining options. Enjoy Lahaina’s historic charm while soaking up the sun on nearby beaches or taking a scenic drive along the Honoapiilani Highway. Among the free activities that you can do is the sunset ceremony at Fleetwoods on Front Street, every evening at 5:45 pm on a rooftop featuring storytelling and a small show, or you can sample cookies at the Honolulu Cookie Company for a flavorful adventure.

Kihei, Maui

Aerial view of waterfront homes in Kihei, Maui, Hawaii.
Beach in Kihei, Maui, Hawaii.

Kihei, located on Maui’s southwestern coast, is known for its stunning beaches and budget-friendly accommodations. Condominium rentals provide affordable options, namely listings by Maui Owner Condos starting at $136 per night for a 3-person stay, making it an ideal spot for families and budget-conscious travelers. Kihei’s laid-back atmosphere invites you to relax on the shores of Kalama Beach Park or take advantage of local surf lessons. While in Kihei, explore the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center for free to learn about these majestic creatures. The town’s numerous dining options range from casual eateries to food trucks, perfect for enjoying Hawaiian cuisine without straining your wallet. At the end of the day, make sure to stop by the Maui Brew Company for a local drink and free live music.

Kapaa, Kauai

Overlooking the picturesque town of Kapaa, Hawaii.
The picturesque town of Kapaa, Hawaii.

On Kauai’s eastern shore, Kapaa offers an affordable chance to experience the island’s natural beauty. The Kauai Coastal Path, stretching along the coastline, is perfect for leisurely strolls or bike rides. Explore oceanfront parks, local eateries, and shops along the way. Kapaa’s location also provides easy access to Wailua Falls and the Opaekaa Falls Lookout, both showcasing the island’s stunning waterfalls and lush landscapes. Every first Saturday of the month, Kapaa hosts an art walk where you can explore local galleries, enjoy live music, and experience the town’s vibrant art scene for free. You can also visit the Kauai Aadheenam free of charge, a beautiful Hindu monastery that’s open to the public, to learn about Hindu culture and spirituality.

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Hana, Maui

Hammock and Palm Trees Near Kaihalulu Bay, Hana, Maui, Hawaii.
Kaihalulu Bay, Hana, Maui, Hawaii.

For a unique Hawaiian experience, venture to Hana on Maui’s eastern coast. While accommodations might be limited, Wai’anapanapa State Park offers budget-friendly cabins for 100$ per night for non-residents and a $30 fee for a one-night campsite spot accommodating up to six people. Explore this beautiful park with its black sand beach, lava tube caves, and stunning coastal views, free of charge. The legendary Road to Hana leads you through breathtaking landscapes, where waterfalls, pools, and black sand beaches await exploration. Hana’s natural beauty can be explored through many free activities like hiking, swimming, or simply relaxing by the sea. Don’t miss a visit to the Hana Cultural Center and Museum to learn about the town’s history and culture.

Waikiki, Oahu

Lagoon and Beach at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki, Oahu.
Lagoon and Beach at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki, Oahu. Image credit Pamela Au via Shutterstock

Waikiki offers budget-friendly options amid its renowned luxury. From cozy boutique hotels to affordable hostels, accommodations cater to a range of budgets, from as low as $100 a night at Polynesian Hostel Beach Club or at the striking Waikiki Beach Hostel. Embrace Waikiki’s iconic beach, where you can swim, surf, or simply bask in the sun. Explore the lively atmosphere of Kalakaua Avenue, known for its shopping and dining opportunities. Take a break from the beach to hike up Diamond Head for $5 per visitor on foot, and enjoy the volcanic crater offering panoramic views of the area. Waikiki also boasts free shows and cultural events throughout the summer. Don’t miss the free hula performances and live music at Kuhio Beach Hula Mound.

Volcano Village, Big Island

Volcano Hawaii, with gallery and center.
Volcano Hawaii, with gallery and center. Image credit Phillip B. Espinasse via Shutterstock

Nestled near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village is a budget-friendly base for exploring volcanic wonders. Accommodations such as the Lokahi Lodge or Chalet Kilauea Rainforest Hotel for around $200 per night for two, offer cozy retreats of luxury and comfort for an affordable price, after exploring the park’s unique landscapes, including the Kilauea Caldera and the Thurston Lava Tube. Discover the geological marvels of the park without straining your budget. Volcano Village has a thriving arts community, with galleries and studios showcasing local art. The Volcano Garden Arts is a gallery and garden offering a peaceful place to walk around and enjoy art installations free of charge.

Kapalua, Maui

Palm trees and sandy shore at Kapalua beach on the west coast of Maui, Hawaii
Kapalua beach on the west coast of Maui, Hawaii.

While Maui can be known for its luxury, Kapalua offers an upscale experience on a budget. The Kapalua Coastal Trail provides panoramic views of the coastline and surrounding nature for no charge. The free Napili Bay Beach in the area is perfect for a relaxing tan or an evening swim. Explore the charming Kapalua Village Center, home to restaurants, galleries, and boutiques. Other stunning and free stops include the beautiful historical Cliff House and the Dragon’s Teeth.

Princeville, Kauai

Lounging chairs overlooking Hanalei Bay and the Na Pali coast Princeville Kauai Hawaii
Lounging chairs overlooking Hanalei Bay and the Na Pali coast Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii.

On Kauai’s North Shore, Princeville provides budget-conscious travelers with easy-to-book condo rentals starting at $100 a night for two with Princeville Kauai Vacation Group, offering ocean views and a peaceful escape. Explore the stunning landscapes of the surrounding area, including the iconic Na Pali Coast. The nearby Hanalei Bay offers beautiful beaches and water activities. Visitors can hike to Queen’s Bath for a unique natural pool experience, or explore the picturesque Hanalei Pier without spending a penny.

Hawaii’s affordable summer vacation spots prove that experiencing the beauty and culture of the islands doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. From tranquil Big Island towns to vibrant Maui and Kauai locales, these spots allow you to experience the Aloha spirit without breaking the bank.

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By Snowy