Hawaii has great freebies to spare
I worry about you readers sometimes. Seriously. I mean, all I asked was that you send me your nominations for the best free attractions in Hawaii, and I get replies like:
"Merchant Street after 10 p.m. ... lovely evening dresses and Adam's apples, Free to see, pay to play."
And: "The rude traffic cops at the Kona Airport who snarl and bark at sleepy tourists who make the mistake of following a sidewalk marked 'To Rental Cars' after a five-hour flight."
Can't you handle one little assignment without getting snippy about Kona cops or Honolulu transvestites?
The issue of best free attractions in Hawaii came up because an online travel site listed the Arizona Memorial and Waimea Canyon on Kauai as two of the Top 10 free attractions in the entire United States. I wondered in a column last week what we would consider to be the Top 10 free attractions in all of Hawaii.
Instead, I was lectured by a reader who said I was encouraging people to jump off the Haleiwa Bridge, "contributing to delinquency" because it's against the law to jump off that bridge. Let's be perfectly clear here: I was not contributing to delinquency, I was encouraging delinquency.
But despite the transvestite jokes, cranky tourist complaints and misguided lectures, enough readers did submit their picks so that I was able to compile the (drumroll, please):
Honolulu Lite Top 10 Free Attractions In Hawaii!
1. Arizona Memorial
2. Sharks Cove snorkeling
3. Punchbowl Cemetery
4. Pali Lookout
5. Kailua Beach sunrise
6. Waipio Valley Lookout
7. Big waves on North Shore
8. Mormon temple in Kaaawa
9. Akaka Falls
10. Tours of Mauna Kea telescope facilities
I said in the previous column that I was surprised Waimea Canyon had been named one of the Top 10 when I didn't think it was one of the Top 10 in Hawaii. Looks like most of you agreed with me.
There were some great runners-up that are hard to argue with, like the rocking chairs on the lanai of the Sheraton Moana Hotel, Royal Hawaiian Band concerts, Honolulu City Lights display during the Christmas holidays, the road to Hana, Nuuanu hiking and the Black Point rocks.
As I think about it, I'm not sure sitting in the rocking chairs at the Sheraton is a free attraction as much as, well, trespassing.
But it's clear that as expensive as Hawaii is, plenty of great free attractions are around. I was kind of nervous about compiling this list because once a place becomes known as a great freebie, someone will figure out a way to make people pay to enjoy it. Hanauma Bay comes to mind. I hope we don't see the state or city suddenly charging a fee to gaze off the Pali or snorkel at Sharks Cove. Or if they do, that at least I get a cut of the action.
Buy Charles Memminger's hilarious new book, "Hey, Waiter, There's An Umbrella In My Drink!" at island book stores or online
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