A Short Guide To Backpacking Around Oahu


Oahu. Photo courtesy of paul bica.

Backpacking is like a rite of passage for travelers, regardless of age or budgetary concerns. Although many backpackers enjoy taking themselves off to the wilds of Asia, there’s something to say for the balmy, soothing peace of Oahu, with its laid back atmosphere, beautiful beaches and gorgeous greenery. Maybe you’re a novice or perhaps you’re an experienced backpacker, but if you’ve never been to Oahu, you need a guide to set you on the right path

for enjoying this stunning island.

Find a Place to Come Back To

Backpacking across Oahu is no different from anywhere else, in that you need to have a place to go back to between hikes. The specifics are up to you, but you do need a home away from home. The fun of backpacking is doing it up like the locals, so you may want to save some money when choosing your home base by opting to stay in a hostel or comfy tent on the beach instead of a resort. However, this is nothing wrong with indulging in luxury between hikes if a spa hotel is calling your name.

Choose Inexpensive Activities

Although Hawaii is often viewed as an expensive holiday spot, there are loads of inexpensive or outright free things to do, especially for backpackers. For instance, there are plenty of hiking opportunities that will let you see the beauty of the island without busting your budget. Make sure you take advantage of all those volcanoes, which lend themselves well to hiking. Diamond Head is a particularly excellent choice, and it only costs a dollar.


Honolulu. Photo courtesy of John Fowler.

Head to Honolulu

Honolulu has more than its fair share of cheap activities, many of which are ideal for backpackers. You can head to the Royal Hawaiian, which is a sprawling shopping center. During the week, you can take free lessons for playing the ukulele, dancing the hula and making leis. You can explore the Iolani Palace, go whale watching or experience Honolulu’s First Fridays, where you can head into Chinatown and enjoy special deals in restaurants, free entertainment and amazing art exhibits.

Get Lost in the Mountains

You shouldn’t really get lost, of course, but Oahu is famous for its mountain ranges. The Waianae and Koolau Mountains are extremely well-known, and they offer hiking opportunities for every level. The views are breathtaking, and there are also plenty of off-shoots for more explorations. The best part is that since Oahu is small, you can spend time getting to know the entire area and its mountain ranges.

Pack Well

Where you go and what you do are both important considerations, but what you bring with you is just as essential. Especially when you’re out in nature, make sure you pack wisely. You need lots of water, protein and hydrating foods. Don’t forget the sunscreen, make sure your footwear is proper for the terrain you’re hiking and think about the clothes you wear and pack. The weather can get a little chilly when you’re at high elevations.

Oahu is gorgeous, exciting and perfect for backpackers. What’s on your itinerary?

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