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Biggest Winter Events For A Hawaii Vacation

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Aloha winter travelers,

Did you know it snows in Hawaii? Yes, only on the very top on the Big Island; but nevertheless, it’s snow!

While winter may mean cold toes and hot cocoa for many of you (or sweltering heat for you Aussies out there), here in Hawaii “winter” has a different meaning altogether. The temperature drops a few degrees to pleasantly comfortable and we begin to look forward to cultural events, local festivities and of course, food.

Here are my favorite BIG HAWAII EVENTS that come with a Hawaii winter. Enjoy!

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Whale watching in Hawaii
Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority

Humpback Whale Watching Season!

That’s right, every year from November thru May is whale watching season in Hawaii. But my absolutely favorite times are during the cool months of January and February. The number of whales are at its peak and you’ll see the whales breaching and bobbing their way around island shores.

Click here to learn more about whale watching in Hawaii. I also have a post about humpback whale hot spots in Hawaii that you can check out here.

Local Tip: Maui is my favorite island for whale watching!

Snowboarding in Hawaii

Mauna Kea may not be a ski resort, but the lack of luxury doesn’t take away from what really appeals to Mauna Kea fans during the winter.

Only a few people can say they’ve skied or snowboarded on the Mauna Kea caps and I only recommend it to those who are experienced and are up for the challenge. There are pockets of lava rock that are dangerous and you’ll need to come with at least one other person to drive yourselves up and down the course – there are no lifts here. Plus, you’ll need to be in good shape to handle the thin air pressure up here.

 Is it worth it? Despite the rocks, shuttling yourself back and forth and the short runs, that gorgeous view at 14,000 feet and being able to hit the beach on the very same day seem to have made several die-hard fans worldwide.

Local Tip: Make sure you’re ok with adding a few scratches to your board/skis. Those lava rocks are sharp!

Big waves in Hawaii
Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority

Monster Winter Waves in Hawaii

Planning on being on Oahu during the winter? Definitely check out the surfing competitions during the winter swells – especially at the North Shore. The waves during this time of year can reach 40 feet and you’ll catch glimpses of pro surfers going for that perfect ride.

Be on the lookout for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing in November and December. The other big surfing competition that even locals will play hooky to see is “The Eddie” – this surfing contest only happens when the waves have been hitting 30 feet consecutively for 3 months. In other words, only when the waves are really big!

Winter in Hawaii
Photo Courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority

Bonus Winter Events

Did you know that Santa arrives in Hawaii by outrigger canoe into Waikiki Beach, Oahu? Read all about the 2016 event!

Love walking around to see gorgeous Christmas lights and decorations? Check out the annual Honolulu City Lights event.

The Kona Surf Film Festival is a must if you love surfing, movies and will be on the Big Island in January!

December 7 is a day of remembrance – the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Join thousands of families, friends and veterans on this important day of history.

 Local Tip: Head to the Honolulu Magazine Calendar to see what events are coming soon.

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Winter events in Hawaii
Photo Courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority

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