Winter in Hawaii

Mauna Kea with Snow

Snow on Mauna Kea in Hilo (Big island)

If you’re visiting from anywhere in the world that isn’t classified as a tropical climate, you would probably laugh at our version of “winter.” It doesn’t get cold – average daytime temperature is still about 78 degrees Fahrenheit – and we don’t get snow except for a few select locations on the Big Island (Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea) and Maui (Haleakala). However, there are still some indicators of a seasonal change here on the islands.

Waterfalls of the Ko'olau Mountains

Ko’olau Mountain Waterfalls During Rainy Season

For one, it gets rainier. Now if you’re planning your vacation during the winter months, don’t be alarmed – rain here tends to be extremely localized and come in short bursts rather than full-on heavy showers for hours on end. It can be pouring rain on one part of the island and be sunny and hot just a couple miles away. Often, even when it’s raining it isn’t even cloudy – somehow you still look up to blue skies! The additional rainfall also makes our waterfalls that much more incredible.

Humpback whale off West Maui

Humpback Whale – West Maui

Winter in Hawaii also brings the humpback whales. The warm, shallow waters around the islands provide the ideal environment for the whales to breed, calve and raise their young. While peak whale season is from December through April, they can be seen as early as October and as late as May. There are any number of ways to see these magnificent mammals. By land, you can often see them from scenic lookout points around the islands or occasionally even from hotel balconies or restaurant lanais. By air, you can typically get amazing glimpses of them from helicopters or small planes and sometimes from inter-island flights as well. And of course by sea, you can see them from the whale watching tour boats, sunset cruises, dinner cruises and snorkel boats. (More to come on whale watching tours soon!)

North Shore big wave

Big Wave on the North Shore

Finally, for all surfers and surf enthusiasts, winter = BIG WAVES! From November through February, Pacific storms create the necessary conditions to form the legendary big waves of the famous North Shore on Oahu. These gigantic waves can reach 30 feet or higher and draw professional surfers from all over the world. The premier surfing competitions, including the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (November/December), set up shop and the beaches fill with locals and visitors alike, all cheering on the incredible athletes as they brave the power of the ocean.

So if you need a break from the cold and snow this year (or any other year for that matter), Hawaii’s got you covered. Warm weather, gorgeous waterfalls, songs of humpback whales and big wave surfing – does winter get any better than this?

Visiting Hawaii in the winter? Contact Elite Concierge at 808-971-1943 or for assistance with all your vacation needs!


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