The Best Things to Do in Hawaii During the Holidays

By Joshua Rivero

Planning a trip to Hawaii for the holiday season, but don’t know what to do there? We get it — with endless possibilities, it can be overwhelming to figure out exactly what to do. Keep reading for the best things to do in Hawaii during the holidays!

Visit a Lights Show

What’s better than feeling the crispy cool air grazing your skin as you sip hot beverages and bask in the glow of millions of lights? Not much. Light shows are great for people from all walks of life because they're relatively inexpensive and don't require big time investments. Watch them at local venues or experience fully interactive ones that immerse you deep into the holiday cheer!

While in Hawaii, make sure to visit the Honolulu City Lights Show. It starts on December 1st and is a great way to experience a fusion of western traditions with native Hawaiian culture. There are parades, spectacular lights, astounding food, and more!

Welcome Santa on His Canoe

Maneuvering a sleigh around an island can be tricky. Santa had some trouble visiting Hawaii because of this, but luckily, his elves hatched a brilliant idea.

Instead of a sleigh, Santa now visits Hawaii by canoe! You can see Santa every December on Waikiki beach in Honolulu. Take your kids to the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort to take a complementary photo with Santa, and don’t forget the milk and cookies!

See Snowfall

Naturally, Hawaii doesn’t get that much snow, but there are still a few places you can go to experience a winter wonderland!

You can catch regular snowfall in Hawaii at Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, both on the Big Island. November through April they average a nightly temperature of 28 degrees, allowing for snowfall and winter activities. Have some holiday fun in the Hawaiian sun (and snow)!

Build a Festive Sandman

Like we just mentioned, you can only really see snow atop cloud-piercing mountains in the winter. If you’re able to visit at the perfect time, then a festive snowman is always fun — but if not, you can get creative.

While it might not be tradition to build a festive person out of sand, it gets the job done well enough. Take this opportunity to explore your creative side while bathing in the radiant sun and the cool Hawaiian breeze by making a festive sandman!

Holiday Surfing

Surfing is one of Hawaii's most popular activities and should be on your bucket list everytime you visit — especially during the winter. Lower temperatures mean not having to worry about heat exhaustion, since the winter breeze will keep you cool.

There are even some surfing competitions held between December and February — grab your board and sign up!

Spend Time Outdoors

You can’t take a trip to Hawaii without spending ample time outdoors! The climate doesn’t change too drastically during the winter months of November - April, meaning the sun is still shining all throughout the winter!

But don’t worry — it’s not a holiday heat fest. The cool breezes of the ocean will keep you nice and chilled. Climb up Diamond Head volcano or visit Kualoa Ranch Nature Reserve where famous blockbuster movies were filmed, including Jurassic Park!

Experience a Unique Holiday Hula Show

Hula's are the perfect way to experience Hawaii’s traditional dance and music while enjoying native cuisine, and they're best during the holidays!

Many locations offer festive hula shows that combine the holiday spirit with traditional hula performances. Enjoy playing traditional Hawaiian games, watch fire-dancers, and feast on fresh Kalua Pig at your holiday hula show!

New Year’s Eve Fireworks

Marveling at glittering fireworks is one of the best activities to do during the holiday season, and it’s even more spectacular in Hawaii. Each island offers their own unique celebration for New Year’s, with various places to get the best views.

There are shows on almost every major beach, some of the best being Waikiki Beach in Honolulu and the Kailua-Kona area on Big Island. Put on your best New Year’s outfit and watch the lights dance in the sky as you count down to midnight!

Learn About Hawaiian Culture

Take time during your trip to learn more about the land's native culture. Many locals have dedicated their lives to teaching visitors about their traditions, such as lei making, hiking responsibility, and the Hawaiian tradition Malama ka ‘aina i ke kai (to take care of the land and ocean).

You can learn about local wildlife through PacWhale Eco-Adventure, where you can swim next to animals while supporting the preservation of marine life and the environment!


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