Great hikes from Reasons Why You Should Visit Hawaii in the Winter
Reasons Why You Should Visit Hawaii in the Winter
No time is the wrong time to visit Hawaii, but the winter offers several excellent reasons. The islands’ intoxicating charm this time of the year is irresistible, even for people who have never been there before. A trip there between December and March can be a beach vacation, surfing journey, hiking adventure and action sports quest all at the same time.
Winter is the only time in Hawaii you can see migrating humpback whales. Thousands of them come to the islands’ protected waters to mate. January, February and March are the peak months for humpback whale watching. The best places are Maui, Lanai, and the Big Island, according to GoVisitHawaii.com.
Winter is the month for advanced surfers. If you can ride 20-foot waves or similar giant breaks, come between December and March. Oahu is one of the coolest places to surf in the world. Banzai Pipeline and Haleiwa are known for their big waves. They are located on the North Shore, also known as the Seven Mile Miracle, and are two of the most famous surfing spots on the island. Another good spot is the so called Himalayas, the embodiment of big wave and heavy surfing.
The sunset cruises in Hawaii vary but they are all spectacular. The winter is a special time to go on such a trip because you get to experience the whale watching kind in Maui. Kauai’s ships leave from Poipu in the winter months. Go on a sunset snorkel cruise this time of the year for a more adventurous experience (they are also cheaper in the winter).
The weather is just right
Sure, the Caribbean has the perfect weather to escape the cold winters, but you need a passport to go to many of its islands. The most frigid months in Hawaii are January and February, but the sun is out and the temperatures don’t usually drop under 70F. The average is the very comfortable 80F.
The skies are clearer in the winter. Watch the stars come out at night from the stunning Haleakala Crater, standing atop the 10,023-foot peak. Go camping under the stars at Mauna Kea. The 13,803-foot dormant volcano on the Big Island is home to the world's largest astronomical observatory which has the largest optical telescope. You can find the 2017 stargazing calendar for Hawaii here.
Most people don’t want to go hiking when it’s scorching hot or frost-bite freezing. The winter weather in Hawaii provides the best opportunities to see everything the islands have to offer – so much more than just its beaches. The Kalalau Trail in Kauai is the definition of rugged beauty in a tropical setting; the Waihee Ridge Trail in Maui is stunning with its bright greenery, lush forest and winding ridge. Hiking the Kīlauea, an active volcano, is a must-do. Along the Kīlauea Iki Trail you will descend to the floor of the solidified but still steaming lava lake.
Molokini Crater is a diving and snorkeling experience like no other. More than 200 species of fish reside there. Winter is the time to go because this is when the water is the clearest – more than any other place on any of the islands – and not as choppy. You will probably hear the spooky sound of the whales making noises if you go very early in the morning.
Road trip to Hana
This is a road trip worthy of a bucket list. The Hana Highway is by far Hawaii’s most famous, and treasured, road. It is almost 65 miles of pure beauty and thrill. You’ll drive by steep sea-cliffs, see flourishing mango trees, and stop to soak in views that look like they are from the Jurassic Park movies, with breathtaking waterfalls and swim holes along the way.
One of the best festivals in Oahu is the Sony Open held in each January. It attracts 144 of the world’s greatest golfers, according to Top Events USA. This is the largest charity event in Hawaii and has raised over $8 million. Other popular events are the Ka Molokai Makahiki Festival, also held in in January, the Ocean Arts Festival, and, of course, the Amazing Aloha Festivals, which is a two-month-long festival starting in September where over 300 events take place.
Skydiving, windsurfing, horseback riding, zip-lining, stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) – Hawaii is an ideal location for any of these adventurous sports. Lessons and tours are readily available. You can always find calm bays and shallow water to practice. A lot of people enjoy the “combo tours” where they finish a zip line by swimming near Akaka Falls, according to Pride of Maui.
Golf fans are always looking for a place to practice their favorite sport. If you’ve tried all of the courses in Florida already, head to Hawaii where you will find many public courses. The sunshine, comfortable temperatures, pristine green grass and stunning surrounding views will make you want to come back soon. Go in January to see three championship events on the PGA Tour and Champions Tour, according to Golf Hawaii.
Winter is the high season in Hawaii and a lot of people escape the cold weather at home by flocking to the islands’ beaches. The most famous ones, such as Waikiki Beach in Oahu and Lahaina Beach in Maui, can get crowded but you can still find tranquil, family shores that even come in different colors. Some of the beaches for calmer swimming include Kailua Beach and Haunama Bay in Oahu, according to Pride of Maui.
Eating the way locals do is one of the best ways to save money and try the best food Hawaii has to offer. Shop at farmer’s markets. (Besides, where else are you going to find them in the winter?) You’ll try authentic food that you have never tasted before. Try every fruit you possibly can – the islands are very fertile and abundant with tropical produce.
Can you believe that back in the 1980’s windsurfing was more popular than surfing? Kona winds, which are basically stormy, rain-bearing winds, are common in the winter. The north shore in Maui is the windward coastline, and gets the brunt of the trade winds, and the large winter waves, according to Action Sports Maui. Another popular place for windsurfing is the Kailua on Oahu’s windward side.
Celebrate New Year
New Year’s Eve is the party of the year in Hawaii. Waikiki Beach will host a spectacular fireworks show; the big show this year will be held at the Aloha Tower Marketplace. Dance the year away at SKY Waikki which hosts a New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball or go on a special dinner cruise, offered by The Star of Honolulu, which includes fireworks, of course.