15 of Hawaii's Best Winter Activities! By
Winter blues have you feeling like you need some sun? Planning on taking a winter vacation to Hawaii? Look no further, and check out these 15 excellent winter activities in Hawaii. Whether you’re hoping for a traditional or uniquely Hawaiian event, we have you covered. You may even get the chance to see some snow!
Winter in Hawaii means big surf on the North Shore. Surfers from around the world gather together to compete in surf competitions such as the Van’s Triple Crown of Surfing, which is held annually on Oahu’s North Shore. Don’t expect to jump in the water unless you are a pro-surfer, but feel free to grab a bite in Haleiwa before joining the crowds lining the beach and watching Hawaii’s most popular sport.
Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s tallest mountain located on the Big Island of Hawaii, is the perfect place to go star gazing this winter. If you’re lucky, you may even see snow on the mountain’s peak. Pack a warm winter jacket for your visit, and take advantage of this free and exciting activity.
Who doesn’t love a Hawaiian Christmas concert? The Amy & Willie Holiday Show is an annual winter concert of Christmas and holiday tunes done Hawaiian-style by famous artists Amy Hanaiali’i and Willie K. Enjoy the combination of these beloved artists with family and friends!
Just because you’re in Hawaii, doesn’t mean you can’t experience the great winter tradition of ice skating. Check out the Ward Village Ice Skating Rink located next to the shops at Ward and Ala Moana Beach Park. Perhaps take a dip in the ocean and try surfing before then heading across the street to the ice rink. There are various events held at the rink including some trivia nights, DJs, and the chance to skate with Santa!
Probably the most noticeable winter event in Hawaii is the Christmas display put on by Honolulu City Lights located at the Honolulu Hale downtown. The enormous statues of Shaka Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus sit outside the mayor’s offices next to an equally-festive and giant pine tree marking the start of the holidays in our otherwise tropical state. Take your kids down for a photo op or go for a stroll at night to see the twinkling lights and Hawaiian Christmas decorations.
Looking for that one holiday event that will satisfy all your holiday needs? Then head on down to the Mele Kalikimaka Marketplace held in the Neil Blaisdell Expo Hall. Here you can find a variety of holiday pop-up shops, baked goods and treats, kid-friendly activities, and more. Entry costs $4 or $5, but children 12 & under enter free!
Perhaps you’ve just moved to the islands and miss picking your own Christmas trees. If so, a simple drive towards Haleiwa will take you by Helemano Farms. Helemano grows their own Christmas tree varieties such as Norfolk pines, Leyland cypress, Japanese Yoshino cedar, and Blue Ice and Carolina Sapphire trees. Support local and stop by Helemano Farms today!
What do you do when there’s no Christmas tree to light? You light up a spectacular banyan tree. The banyan tree, which originates in India, is common among the islands in public parks or at schools. Its huge canopy of leaves and branches provide a cozy cover from the sun and rain, and its long, sturdy vines often act as swings for many children. Check out this banyan tree lighting on Maui and relax to music, hula and more under the sparkling lights.
Hosted in Waikiki at the Hawaii Prince Hotel, Na Leo Pilimehana, a famous female trio of beautiful Hawaiian music singers, and other local musical artists and hula dancers, will be performing their annual Christmas concert. Celebrate the island way with great music and hula!
If you’re vacationing in Hawaii, but don’t want to spend Christmas in your hotel, consider taking a Christmas brunch or dinner cruise. Cruises offered by Ohana Fun! Hawaii, include drinks, entertainment, and Christmas meals incorporating a taste of fresh Hawaiian produce into traditional holiday dishes.
While Hawaii is known more for local music and dance than ballet or classical music, families around the state can still enjoy a high-quality performance of “The Nutcracker” by Ballet Hawaii, The Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, and visiting members of the New York City Ballet. The Nutcracker is a must for every child, so why not fulfill this fun holiday tradition, while also supporting the arts?
Another world-famous surfing competition, The Pe’ahi Challenge, which is held at Maui’s Jaws on the north shore of the island, is perhaps one of the scariest surfing competitions you’ll ever see. Winter surf brings in waves up to 60 feet high, and surfers are constantly under supervision by a water patrol team. Drive up to the north shore of Maui to catch these pros in action.
For those wanting a healthy winter activity to balance out holiday feasting, check out the Jingle Rock Fun Run. Stay active and give back by participating in this annual run that benefits Make-A-Wish Hawaii.
Does Santa arrive by sleigh? Does he arrive by canoe? Hawaiian Santa definitely arrives by canoe during the day. Take your kids to this event to see Santa paddle in to take pictures with friends and family. This event is hosted by the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort.
And if so far, none of these winter activities appeal to you, and you’re craving a truly unique winter experience, head over to Lanikai for a serene day at one of Oahu’s most gorgeous beaches. This beach stays calm and sunny all year, and it’s clear, warm waters will have you thinking summer has already arrived!