A sunset watch is a great first-date idea to consider when you’re broke … on Oʻahu. (Photo courtesy of Kaleo Quiroga)

By Juri Dagio | Staff Writer

You don’t need to spend money to make your date feel special. Even though dating, in general, can be costly, a wise and well-thought-out date will help you have the best date ever – as a broke college student.

1. Picnic at the beach

Living in Hawai’i is your advantage to romantic and cheap picturesque dates at the beach. With your borrowed outdoor picnic blanket, throw in sodas, chips, ice pops, and voila! A very romantic date that is thoughtful and inexpensive.

Koko Head is a sweaty hike but rewards with incredible views. (Photo by Cameron Enomoto)

2. A hike

Another advantage of living in the Aloha State is having access to numerous hiking trails. Finals? Piled-up assignments? Have a stress-free date that promotes good physical and mental health.

Here are the best hiking trails to take your date to:

Diamond Head

Get your date outdoors with a beginner-friendly and scenic hike to Diamond Head! Although the hike may be a little rough, there are handrails to help you along the way. You can also stop for a breather at various lookout points on the hike. Due to its popularity, it is best to go as early as possible.

Hours of Operation: Monday to Sunday from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Mānoa Falls

Mānoa Falls trail is surrounded by century-old trees, which gives it a very enchanting feel! It is an easy 1.6 mi hike that’s remarkable for its non-swimmable but beautiful falls.

Hours of Operation: Monday to Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden Trail

Ho’omaluhia, meaning “peaceful refuge,” is located in Kaneohe and is a great place to discover wildlife. On average, the trail takes 1 hour and 10 minutes to complete. It is also famous for birding and fishing that made it a little “touristy.”

Hours of Operation: Monday to Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For a more difficult hike: Koko Head

Koko Head trail is one of the most popular hikes in O‘ahu as it leads on top of the Koko Head Crater. Though this hike may test your stamina, you will enjoy a breath-taking view of Sandys Beach and the south shore. Koko Head hike is highly recommended if you and your date loves hiking!

Hours of Operation: Monday to Sunday (sunrise to sunset)

 3. Watch the sunset

In Hawai’i, skies are bluer because the clouds are higher in the sky. This also explains why Hawaiian sunsets are beautiful. From the South to West, there are places people go for a romantic view of the sunset. Some of these locations are Waikīkī Beach, Ala Moana Beach Park, Sunset Beach Park, and Ko Olina Lagoons.

The Hawai‘i State Art Museum’s free admission makes it a great first-date option. (Photo by Shawna Takaki)

4. Free admission to museums

Yes, some museums offer free days (or discounts to students). No matter whether he/she is an aspiring artist or not, a walk that leads to a meaningful conversation in a museum gallery is a great way to get to know someone.

Museums to visit for free and quick facts to know!

Hawai’i State Art Museum
  • Admission is FREE
  • Location: 250 S. Hotel St.
  • Open from Monday to Saturday (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.)
  • Closed on State and Federal holidays
Honolulu Museum of Art
  • GOOD NEWS! Admission is free for college students that are currently enrolled at any Hawai’i State University/College. Valid student ID is required.
  • Location: 900 S. Beretania St.
  • Open from Thursday to Sunday (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.)
John Young Museum of Art
  • Admission is FREE
  • Location: UHM campus – 2500 Dole St.
  • Open from Wednesday to Sunday (Noon – 4 p.m.)
The Pearl Harbor National Memorial (USS Arizona Memorial)
  • This is one of the most visited places in O’ahu with about 4,000 visitors each day! Reservation is recommended.
  • $1 non-refundable reservation fee per person. General admission is FREE.
  • Location: 1 Arizona Memorial Place, Honolulu
  • Open 7 days a week from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Visit their website for reservations and more information: Pearl Harbor National Memorial (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

5. Visit local tourist attractions, aka “be a tourist in your city”

Waikīkī Beach, Diamond Head State Monument, Magic Island/Beach Park in Ala Moana – you name it. There are lists of places to see in O‘ahu alone. They may have visited some of these tourist attractions with their family and friends, so why not give them comfort by taking them to places that they are already familiar with?

The Tantalus Lookout provides a romantic nighttime destination. (Photo courtesy of Joe Cutcliffe)

6. For Date Night: Tantalus Lookout

If you think the island of O‘ahu is beautiful up-close, wait until you see it from above! You’ll see the Diamond Head to your left and Honolulu right in front of you. Tantalus Lookout is the most famous city lights view spot in O‘ahu – the perfect setting for a deep conversation with your date.