Hawaii in December: Is This a Good Time to Visit?

Are you dreaming of sandy beaches, warm sunsets, and the sweet sound of ukulele music to help you escape the cold winter months? Look no further than Hawaii in December!

While most people are bundled up in scarves, gloves, and heavy coats, a Hawaiian vacation will have you trading those mittens for mai tais as you bask in the tropical paradise that awaits. There was nothing I liked better when I lived on Oahu than calling my family back home in the Midwest this time of year!

In this article, I’ll explore everything you need to know about visiting Hawaii during December – from weather conditions and holiday festivities to tourist crowds and accommodation costs.

I’ll also share some packing tips and recommendations for incredible activities to make your island getaway an unforgettable experience.

View of the Napali Coast on Kauai Hawaii in December

Whether it’s early or late December, embrace that feeling of freedom as we dive into why this magical destination should be at the top of your winter travel list.

December in Hawaii Snapshot

  • ???? December weather in Hawaii is cooler than in previous months, with average temperatures ranging from 73°-77° F (22°-25° C) and intermittent rain showers.
  • ???? Hawaii in December offers a unique take on holiday festivities, with events like Honolulu City Lights, Waikiki Holiday Parade, and the Lahaina Banyan Tree Lighting.
  • ???? Tourist crowds are at their peak in December, but earlier in the month isn’t as crowded as it will get around the holidays.
  • ???? Accommodation rates and airfare prices tend to be higher during the festive season, but by researching early on and being flexible in travel dates, you can still find great deals.
  • ???? When packing for Hawaii in December, remember to include lightweight and moisture-wicking clothing, an umbrella or light rain jacket, festive clothing items, swimwear, and typical summer clothes.
  • ???? Each Hawaiian island offers unique activities in December, such as whale watching, surfing, snorkeling, exploring botanical gardens, and attending luaus.

What is the Weather Like in Hawaii in December

Visiting Hawaii in December is a perfect blend of sunny days and refreshing rain showers – the perfect time to get out and explore the lush waterfalls or catch some waves!

With temperatures averaging 73°-77°F (23°-25°C), December weather in Hawaii offers a pleasant temperature that’s cooler than the other months, so you won’t overheat.

However, December is one of the year’s wettest months, with up to 19 days of rain and an average total rainfall of 5 inches.

But don’t let this deter you; the occasional showers usually make way for a burst of sunshine, so you’ll still get plenty of beach time!

December brings big waves to the North Shore of Oahu

Winter in Hawaii is ideal for water activities such as surfing and swimming, thanks to the consistent trade winds and warmer ocean temperatures (around 76°-77°F or 24°-25°C).

Whether you want to hit the waves at Waimea Bay Beach or take a dip at Maui’s picturesque beaches, December is the ideal time for aquatic fun.

If you’re looking for a unique mix of adventure and relaxation, a December trip to Hawaii should be at the top of your list. Just remember to bring your rain gear and sunscreen!

Holiday Festivities in Hawaii

You’ll find the holiday season in Hawaii to be a tropical winter wonderland, where palm trees are adorned with twinkling lights and the spirit of aloha fills the air. The Hawaiian Islands offer a unique take on traditional holiday festivities, making December a good time for your Hawaii travel plans.

Although it can be a busy holiday season, plenty of fun and exciting events are happening throughout the various islands. Embrace the warm weather as you enjoy these unique Hawaiian celebrations.

Here are some that you won’t want to miss:

  • Honolulu City Lights: Enjoy dazzling light displays in downtown Honolulu, with festive decorations and an impressive Christmas tree.
  • Waikiki Holiday Parade: A colorful late November or early December parade featuring local marching bands, performers, and floats.
  • Lahaina Banyan Tree Lighting: Witness the lighting of one of Maui’s most famous landmarks as it gets decked out with thousands of twinkling lights.
  • First Light Film Festival: Held throughout December at Maui Arts & Cultural Center, this festival showcases independent films from around the world.

As you can see, there are countless reasons why holiday festivities in Hawaii make December an ideal time to visit these vibrant islands.

Is Hawaii Crowded in December

The holiday season in Hawaii is a wonderful time of year, where you can soak up the sun and enjoy festive celebrations.

December is the ideal time to visit for a much-needed break from the cold winter days on the mainland.

However, be aware that this is when tourist crowds are at their peak.

To make the most out of your trip, plan ahead and be flexible. Seek out less popular beaches or hiking trails that not many people know about, and book your accommodation early to save money and get a great place to stay.

You can also consider staying slightly away from the main tourist attractions, which will usually offer more reasonable prices.

Oahu's Waikiki Beach is usually crowded all year long

Take advantage of the freedom of traveling during this special season and make your Hawaiian holiday truly magical.

Immerse yourself in the warmth of the aloha spirit and don’t let the hustle and bustle of the crowds dampen your experience.

After all, it’s a small price to pay for getting to witness paradise during the holiday season!

Hawaii December Accommodation Costs

December is a popular time to visit Hawaii, often meaning higher accommodation prices. But don’t let that stop you from experiencing the beauty of the islands!

With some planning, you can still make the most of your vacation and stay within your budget.

Do some research and compare prices using hotel comparison websites to find the best deals.

Booking your stay in advance is a great way to save money, as hotel space in Hawaii is in high demand during the festive season.

If you’re feeling spontaneous, you might also get a good deal by booking last minute.

No matter what you choose, don’t let a pricey hotel ruin your Hawaiian experience. With a bit of strategic planning and savvy searching, you can have a memorable and cost-effective holiday in paradise.


Airfare Prices to Hawaii in December

Soaring to Hawaii’s stunning beaches in December can be pricey. As you know, December is peak season for travel to the islands, so airfares can be higher than other months.

However, with a little planning and flexibility, you can still find some great deals on economy class roundtrip tickets.

To save money on flights, book early and keep an eye out for discounts and promotional fares.

For example, Southwest Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, and Alaska Airlines had a shockingly low fare offer in mid-June (2023) – a roundtrip ticket from St. Louis, MO to Maui was only $283!

Mid-week flights are usually cheaper than weekend ones, so consider flying on Tuesday or Wednesday if possible. You can also save money by being open to layovers or connecting flights instead of direct ones.

The weeks before and after Christmas can be a great time to get lower airfare prices. The low demand during these periods often results in cheaper tickets.

So, don’t be afraid to book those flights and experience the joy of a Hawaiian vacation!

What to Pack for Hawaii in December

As you embark on your sun-soaked Hawaiian adventure in December, it’s essential to pack smartly and bring all the right things to make your tropical getaway picture-perfect.

Here is a list of items to help you get started:


  • Lightweight and moisture-wicking clothing
  • Umbrella or light rain jacket for occasional showers (this is Ashley’s, here’s mine).
  • Festive clothing items such as Christmas-themed shirts or accessories
  • Swimwear and summer clothes


View of a Maui Beach and ocean waves in December

Personal Necessities:

  • Reef-safe sunscreen (this is our favorite)
  • Toiletries (shampoo & conditioner)
  • Vitamins/medicine
  • Bug spray
  • Reusable water bottles

Important Travel Items:

  • Passports (if you are not a US citizen)
  • Tickets
  • Travel insurance for peace of mind
  • Credit cards
  • Cash
  • Vaccine records (if applicable)
  • Emergency contacts

Benefits of Visiting Hawaii in Early December

You’ll find that visiting Hawaii in early December offers numerous benefits, making it an ideal choice for your tropical getaway. With its warm climate and beautiful scenery, Hawaii in December is truly one of the best times to escape the winter blues and indulge in your desire for freedom.

Some of the benefits of visiting Hawaii in early December include:

  • Reduced airfare prices
  • Discounts on accommodations
  • Fewer tourists at popular attractions
  • Cooler temperatures than in summer months
  • Unique holiday events and festivals

Another aspect that sets early December apart from other times of the year is the unique holiday events and festivals taking place throughout Hawaii. Experience local culture as you attend celebrations like Honolulu City Lights or Waimea Christmas Twilight Parade.

These festivities will bring a new level of excitement as they provide unforgettable memories for you and your loved ones during your Hawaiian vacation.

So go ahead – book that trip now and embrace your desire for freedom as you explore all that awaits you in the breathtaking paradise known as Hawaii!

Best Things to Do in Hawaii in December

What to Do in Oahu in December

In December, Oahu offers a plethora of exciting activities and events, with around 10,000 Humpback Whales gracing the island’s waters throughout the winter months for an unforgettable whale-watching experience.

If you’re a surfing enthusiast or simply love to watch the pros ride massive waves, head over to North Shore Oahu – the mecca of surfing in Hawaii.

Partake in snorkeling adventures at spots like Hanauma Bay State Park where you can witness exotic marine life up close.

And if you’re visiting during Christmas time, there’s no better place than Hawaii to soak up festive cheer with unique events such as Honolulu City Lights and Shaka Santa.

Embrace your inner explorer by taking scenic rail rides with the Hawaiian Railway Society or hiking up Nu’uanu Pali for breathtaking panoramic views of the Northeast Coast – these are fantastic things to do in Oahu with kids too!

For some retail therapy, visit Ala Moana Center’s open-air shopping haven boasting over 350 shops and restaurants.

And as you wind down your day on Waikiki Beach, marvel at stunning Diamond Head views while getting immersed in local culture at a traditional Hawaiian Luau.

With so many activities in December there’s never been a better time to take in Oahu’s natural beauty and rich heritage.

Things to Do in Maui in December

Maui during the holiday season is magical as it offers an array of unforgettable experiences like whale watching, attending traditional luaus, and exploring lush botanical gardens.

If you’re looking for unique things to do in Maui in December, start your Hawaii vacation with a visit to Lahaina for the official start of whale watching season or dive into Hawaiian culture by attending a traditional luau such as the Feast at Lele.

December migrating humpback whales in Hawaii

Don’t miss out on visiting Kula Botanical Garden, where you can marvel at native plants and species while enjoying a peaceful picnic.

Maui is not just about natural beauty; there are plenty of activities in December that cater to all types of interests. If you seek adventure, embark on a Molokini snorkel tour or sail to Lanai from Lahaina for some swimming and snorkeling among exotic underwater wildlife.

For those who appreciate art and history, participate in various ongoing events like Maui Friday Town Parties or explore Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center’s Hui Holidays exhibition.

Kauai Activities in December

After exploring the wonders of Maui in December, consider extending your Hawaiian adventure to the beautiful island of Kauai. Known as the Garden Isle, Kauai is the greenest island in Hawaii. It has plenty of activities that make it an excellent time to go to Hawaii, even during its coldest months – cold being a relevant term in the Hawaiian Islands.

While December is the wettest month for Kauai, don’t let that deter you from experiencing all this enchanting island has to offer.

Related: Best Kauia Tours and Activities

There are numerous things to do in Kauai during December that will help cure your winter blues and keep you entertained throughout your vacation.

The Island Breeze Concert with slack key guitar, Taiko drum, and Shakuhachi music took place on December 3rd and 4th, 2022 – check out the Kauai Festivals calendar for up to date December 2023 events. Or enjoy unique local products at Wailua Bay Creator Fair at Hilton Garden Inn on December 11th and 23rd.

Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy exploring Limahuli Garden’s historical botanical beauty or hiking Hanakapi’ai Trail at Haena State Park for breathtaking views of Hanakapi’ai Beach or Hanakapi’ai Falls. If beach relaxation is more your style, head to Hanalei Bay for swimming, surfing, and picturesque Bali Hai views.

Hanalei Bay on the North Shore of Kauai

Visit the Waipa Farmers Market for a true taste of local Kauai goods and culture before ending your trip with New Year’s Eve celebration at Poipu Beach Park featuring fireworks, food trucks, and an outdoor family movie screening.

With so many things to do on Kauai in December, there’s no doubt that it’s a great time to visit!

Things to Do on the Big Island in December

In December, you’ll find many festive events and activities to immerse yourself in on the Big Island. If you are a runner like us, check out outdoor activities like the Jingle Bell Beach Run – the largest 5K run of the year on the Big Island, held in Kailua-Kona.

You can also take advantage of numerous farmers’ markets, such as Keauhou Farmers Market and Hilo Farmers Market, offering fresh produce and unique gift ideas. Take advantage of Christmas parades featuring floats adorned with twinkling lights or extravagant light displays illuminating the island’s evenings.

As you continue your adventure through Hawaii’s Big Island in December, indulge in various performing arts options to get you into the holiday spirit. From concerts with live musical performances by talented vocalists accompanied by bands to ballets like The Nutcracker performed by local dance companies and guest artists from across the country!

A beach on the Big Island of Hawaii

Make sure to catch plays such as Patty Bigelow’s original musical ‘Christmas Makes Me Crazy’ or classics like ‘The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe’ at historic theaters throughout the island.

Off-Peak Alternatives to Visiting Hawaii

Visiting Hawaii in the off-peak season has its advantages, and December is no exception.

Hotel prices, activities, and even airfare will be significantly lower than in the peak season, and you’ll have the opportunity to explore the islands with fewer crowds.

This makes it easier to experience the best of Hawaii’s beauty, culture, and nature without having to compete with large groups of tourists.

From late January to early March, or from September to November, you’ll find the best rates on accommodations and travel.

Plus, many local businesses offer discounts on services and tours during this time.

You’ll save money and enjoy a more tranquil escape, with plenty of opportunities to wander through botanical gardens or take leisurely strolls along the beaches.

The peaceful atmosphere of the shoulder season allows for an even deeper connection with Hawaii’s nature and culture and may a better time to plan your Hawaiian vacation.

Wrapping It Up…

Needless to say, you’ll love visiting Hawaii in December! Its festive atmosphere and pleasant weather make it the perfect destination for a winter break from the grind of everyday life.

Just remember to book your flights and accommodations early for better deals and pack smartly for unpredictable weather. You’re sure to have an unforgettable Hawaiian vacation in December!

Maybe December isn’t the best month for you. So check out our other monthly guides…
Hawaii in September
November in Hawaii
Visiting Hawaii in October

Check out our Google Web Story – Visiting Hawaii in December

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