79.8 F
Honolulu

Hawaii Travel & Things To Do In Hawaii

Amy Fujimotohttps://alohawithlove.com
I grew up in Hawaii and love trying out new things to do in Hawaii. When I'm not writing about Hawaii travel, I document my Mom's recipes, hike with Daisy the waddling rescue, work on my 200-gallon aquaponics system, and dream about my future van conversion so I can do some more traveling.

Comment below so we can discuss!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links to buy something I may earn a commission with no additional cost to you. This helps keep Aloha With Love running, thank you! Learn More.

It’s that time of year again when homemade treats fill bellies, ugly sweaters are taken out from closets, and families return home for reunions and get-togethers.

I may have spent many Christmases abroad, but a winter in Hawaii is most special to my heart. The morning air is crisp and you’ll need a light sweater on most days, which is so much better than burning up under a hot sun, high humidity or even worse – vog.

Our lack of snow means getting creative in our decorations. Colorful lights and lanterns line downtown Honolulu and Iolani Palace, while museums, palaces and royal summer homes are lit up for special night events. I particular enjoy seeing neighborhood monkeypod, banyan and palm trees wrapped in Christmas lights from root to branch.

For those planning a winter in Hawaii vacation – this one’s for you!

Aloha with love,
Amy

Just How Cold Is Winter In Hawaii?

The weather usually begins to noticeably cool down in October. Instead of just a t-shirt and shorts, I’ll start wearing thin, long-sleeved shirts on the occasional cool night. By the time November arrives, I’m closing my bedroom window because nights will dip down to the mid and upper 60s (F) on Oahu.

December sees more rainy days, but don’t scratch December in Hawaii off your list yet. Going to the beach in a skimpy bikini and not freezing to the bone is possible because the sun is still hot and burning during the day!

Our “cold” weather continues thru January and by March, we’re beginning to warm back up and see signs of spring.

Local Tip: Typically, I use a 15-degree rule for most of Hawaii. If the high is 80 degrees during the day, you can usually expect the night to be around 15 degrees less than that. Of course, this doesn’t work for those planning a trip to the top of Haleakala or the Mauna Kea observatory.

Island Temperatures In December

  • Oahu: Low 80s/High 60s (F). Expect about 5 – 10 days of heavy rain interspersed throughout the month. It’s cool enough to wear jeans all day. A t-shirt is fine for the afternoon, but you may need a light jacket for those colder nights and rainy days.
  • Maui: Low 70s/Mid 50s (F). Maui tends to be a few degrees cooler than Oahu. There are no concrete jungles to collect heat or block tradewinds. If you’re headed to Haleakala, be aware that these temperatures will not apply as you’ll be high up.

Read More: Maui Must Do: Haleakala

  • Big Island, Kona: Low 80s/High 60s (F). The Kona side of the Big Island is where you’ll find volcanic activity, geothermal energy sites and desert-like environments. It’s hot and dry and will probably rain only once or twice during the month.
  • Big Island, Hilo: Low 80s/Mid 60s (F). If Kona is known for being hot, Hilo is known for being green, lush and wet. It rains more than half the month (as it does for most of the year), but it’s easy to see why visitors continue to come: the evergreen jungles, gushing waterfalls, black sand beaches and Kona’s volcanic activity are delightful.

Read More: Kaumana Caves And Other Great Big Island Lava Tubes

  • Kauai: Low 70s/Mid 50s (F). Like Hilo, Kauai is another island that draws so much rain that it makes the list for the world’s top ten wettest places on Earth. Dress for warmth and rain since most of Kauai’s attractions are outdoor activities.
  • Lanai: Mid 70s/Low 60s (F). Lanai is pretty stable wherever you are as the island is relatively small and further exploration requires off-roading. The island is marketed to those interested in resort life though so you might find yourself enjoying the view from inside the Four Seasons.
  • Molokai: High 70s/Mid 60s (F). Most visitors exploring Molokai will stay on the main roads and beaches so there won’t be too much fluctuation as you drive around.
Santa giving out candy at Pearlridge Center - a mall popular with locals.
Santa giving out candy at Pearlridge Center – a mall popular with locals.

Things To Do When Winter Comes To Hawaii

With the weather demanding toasty toes and the holiday season quickly approaching, there is plenty to do and see on the islands. Some of my favorite events to look forward to are:

  • Big winter swells and surfing competitions hitting our shores. Oahu’s North Shore and Maui’s Peahi (AKA Jaws) are the most well-known areas for monster waves and attract professional surfers from around the globe. Find a cliff or viewpoint and see these gigantic waves as you drive past.
  • Humpback whales visit our warm waters from November thru April and you can see these magnificent creatures beaches, cruises, snorkel outings and even on hikes near the ocean.

Read More: A Short And Basic Guide For Whale Watching In Hawaii

  • The Sheraton Waikiki is worth a visit because of their annual Sandsational Sand Sculpting event. By mid-November, there’s usually 1 or 2 sculptures that are finished and these amazing (and big!) creations will line the entrance to the hotel.
  • Christmas lights galore! From fully decked out neighborhoods to the Honolulu City Lights tours, you can visit and stroll among trees, santas, elves, colorful lights and fabulous decorations.

Book A Ride: Seasonal Honolulu City Lights From Waikiki

  • Watch Santa arrive in Hawaii by outrigger canoe. Check with your hotel (usually oceanside hotels on Oahu or Maui) to see if they’ve got something similar planned. Along with Santa and his paddlers, there is often a small celebration of hula and activities for kids as it is the children who scream with delight when they see Santa riding in on a wave.
  • Cross off snowboarding in Hawaii from your bucketlist if you plan on visiting the Big Island in December. Local snowboarders keep an eye out for snowfall on Mauna Kea and when conditions are right, they hit the slopes.
  • You’ll be surprised to know that 4 islands have Christmas tree farms – OahuMauiBig Island and Kauai (808-332-6300). Have a visit, smell that wonderful pine and enjoy the mountain and farm views. Go early!
  • Malls are a popular place to find month-long holiday events. Ala Moana Center is a short walk or bus ride away from Waikiki and popular among Oahu visitors. The decorations are lovely!

Read More: Shopping At Pearlridge Shopping Center

As the waves get bigger, the tricks get better.
As the waves get bigger, the tricks get better.
  • Fireworks oceanside of Ala Moana Center and the Waikiki area to celebrate the New Year’s. Tune into the radio since the music syncs up with the explosions.
  • The Sony Open in Hawaii happens in January for all you golf fans!
  • Take a stroll and enjoy Kauai’s Festival Lights. It’s free, fun for the kids and plenty to see.
  • A lot of famous local Hawaiian singers put on winter concerts during this time. In addition to their regular lineup, they’ll also sing their Christmas songs so it’s a good time to see a show.
  • February is my favorite month to go whale watching and a lot of locals agree with me. You’ll find plenty of whale events and festivals during January and February, particularly on Maui and the Big Island.
  • Chinese New Year festivals are always happening in Chinese communities. The dates change based on the lunar calendar.
  • A few of you will be interested to know about Molokai’s week-long festival: Ka Molokai Makahiki. The festival brings traditional Hawaiian culture to the forefront with games, sports, dancing and music.
Fireworks show blasting off from Waikiki.
Fireworks show blasting off from Waikiki.

Traveling Tips During Winters In Hawaii

  • Officially, Hawaii’s peak season is from December thru August. Kids have off for Christmas, spring and summer break so there are plenty of children around especially in hotels.
  • To avoid the mad rush of tourists headed to Hawaii for Christmas break, come in the beginning of December – just before the peak season begins. Hotel and flight prices will also be more affordable since they’ll shoot up once demand starts to go up.
  • If you haven’t heard by now, traffic in Oahu can be horrendous if you’re not planning around it. But it’s awesome when school is out. To find out if traffic will be a part of your plans, check the University of Hawaii at Manoa school schedule. If there’s no school, no worries!

Have I Convinced You Into A Winter Wonderland In Hawaii?

There are so many good reasons to come to Hawaii (and so many awesome reasons to visit during the winter!). Personally, I always tell my friends to visit me during the holidays. There are a ton of events and festivals to enjoy and the best part are the cooler days. There’s just no way to describe the relief I feel whenever our hot, humid summer starts cooling off.

If you enjoyed this post about traveling to Hawaii in the winter and plan to visit Hawaii someday, sign up below to get my local Hawaii tips. It’s free and I can’t wait to help you plan the perfect Hawaii vacation.

Support Aloha With Love:

Do you like what I’m doing and looking for ways to support this blog and my work? Here’s how you can help:

  • Hawaii app: Download the Oahu, Maui, Big Island, and Kauai GPS audio tours straight to your phone for a budget-friendly storytelling guide to Hawaii’s history, culture, and sights.
  • Book activities: Use these links to book your tours at Aloha With Tours (my personal favorites) or Hawaii Activities (all tours).
  • Life in Hawaii: If you have a business, group, or activity that you think matches the theme of Aloha With Love, let me know! I’d love to hear about what you do and find ways to collaborate. Email me at amy@alohawithlove.com.
  • Do more: Like many things in Hawaii, this blog relies on word-of-mouth. Please share, comment, and subscribe to stay in touch. Thank you!

Hawaii Travel & Things To Do In Hawaii

The Complete Guide To Visiting The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

A visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is not just a popular activity on the Big Island of Hawaii. It's one of the best things to do in Hawaii and you'll be so glad to spend a day or...

The Best Things To Do In Kauai: 20+ Bucketlist Locations

Many of the best things to do in Kauai are outdoor activities. Kauai has a smaller population, which means there's a lot more nature, hikes, valleys, mountains, and crystal-clear ocean to explore. As Hawaii's oldest island, geologically, Kauai is...

The Very Best Beaches In Hawaii To Visit As A Local

As a frequent traveler myself, I wanted to create a list of the best beaches in Hawaii to help you figure out which beaches you should be visiting during your trip to the islands. This list is of course...

Weather In Hawaii In March: Travel, Events And The Best Time To Go

March in Hawaii is a transition period where winter morphs into summer. Since we're so close to the equator, Hawaii doesn't really have a true spring or summer. Instead, March is the month where there tends to be a...

Weather In Hawaii In April: Travel, Events And The Best Time To Go

Despite what you may think, Hawaii in April is not the rainiest month to visit Hawaii. By the time April hits, the rainy season is at the end of its run and the warmer days of May are already...

Weather In Hawaii In May: Travel, Events And The Best Time To Visit

Hawaii in May is one of the best times to visit the islands. The weather in Hawaii in May is fantastic, ticket prices and hotel prices are down, and there are typically less tourists this time of year since...

Real. Local. Non-touristy. Hawaii Travel & Things To Do In Hawaii.

My emails will make you smile!

I'm all about living life in Hawaii with passion, honesty, and respect. So if you like Hawaii travel, legal hikes, authentic experiences, and a kind and humble personality, I'm your local girl!

You'll love reading my fun and down-to-earth emails from a local perspective. I'll send you my personal tips, travel suggestions, and DIY project ideas that are perfect for Hawaii living.

Sign up below and you'll be added to my email list!

Aloha with love, Amy

A Winter In Hawaii Vacation Guide For All The Things To Do In Paradise