5 Reasons to Plan Your Winter Family Vacation in Hawaii

visit hawaii with family in winter

We’re doing things a little differently this winter. Instead of traveling somewhere cold like Whistler to spend the holidays skiing, we’re staying in Hawaii, soaking up the sunshine, and most importantly, spending time with our ohana (which is Hawaiian for family).

We know just how popular Hawaii is as a Spring Break and summer destination for tourists…traffic is insane, prices are sky-high…but few think to come to Hawaii in the winter. Which in our opinion is one of the best times of year to visit. If you’re looking to get away with the family to Hawaii and thought our island paradise was too expensive for you to visit, think again!

Winter is generally considered off-season on the islands so hotel prices are cheaper, there’ll be less tourists around, so you get a better chance of exploring with the kids (Visiting Oahu, and wondering what to do? Check out our Locals’ Guide to Exploring Oahu with Kids).

Here are 5 reasons why Hawaii should be your next family travel destination.

5 REASONS TO VISIT HAWAII IN THE WINTER

visit hawaii with family in winter

First time visiting Oahu with the family? Check out The Locals’ Guide to Exploring Oahu With Kids

1. PLENTY OF SUNSHINE

The first and most important reason to pack your bags and come visit Hawaii in the winter time is well, because the weather is fantastic! While our winter means we tend to get more rain than other months, we also do get plenty of sunshine.

So lucky we live this close to the beach ☀️🌴💦 #hawaiiansunsets

A post shared by Wendy Awai-Dakroub (@pintsizegourmets) on

The temperature in Hawaii in the winter usually averages around 80F, so if you’re envisioning yourself soaking up the rays and getting your tan on, you’ve got the right mindset.

2. SURF’S UP!

If you love surfing you know winter in Hawaii is the time to come to our islands and visit. Hawaii is generally thought of as the home of surfing, with ancient Hawaiians practicing the sport and introducing it into our culture. One of the most popular places to surf in the world is in the beaches of North Shore on Oahu.

visit hawaii with family in winterAnd, even if you’ve never surfed before (it might be a good time to take lessons), just watching a surf competition is something you must have on your bucket list! Seeing the powerful swells, 10ft waves, and watching the surfers go out and catch them is definitely a once in a lifetime thing to do.

Get Your FREE Checklist of 30 Awesome Things to do on Oahu with Kids!

3. GO CHASING WATERFALLS

One of our favorite things to do in Hawaii is explore the outdoors. We’re lucky we get to call Hawaii our home and have so many opportunities to be one with nature. The kids enjoy going hiking and there’s nothing better than chasing waterfalls in the winter time.

Winter in Hawaii means more rainfall to the islands, and while Oahu doesn’t get as much as the Northern Islands do, the rainfall we do get makes hiking to a waterfall worth it. If you’re visiting and staying downtown or by Waikiki, we highly recommend visiting Manoa Falls with the family – the trail is well-marked and in less than 30 minutes you’ll be transported from the bustling city to deep in the Hawaiian jungle. (Wondering what other waterfalls you need to visit in Hawaii? Check this out)

4. WHALE WATCHING

When it comes to whales, the start of winter means one thing on our islands and that is: we get to see whales come back to our islands! According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority,

Scientists estimate that two-thirds of the entire North Pacific humpback whale population return to Hawaii to breed, calve and nurse their young…frolicking just off our shores and delighting spectators from December through May. 

visit hawaii with family in winter

There’s plenty of boats that take you out into the ocean to see the whales, but we also enjoy watching them breach the water or spout from ashore. One of our favorite spots (that the locals love) is in North Shore off Kamehameha Highway at Laʻie Point. Please note that whales (kohola in Hawaiian) are sacred to Hawaiians, and in our tradition some of them are viewed as family guardians and must be treated with respect. 

5. WINTER SPORTS ON MAUNAKEA

Most people don’t know but it does get cold in Hawaii…to the point where we have a snow-capped mountains. Yup, you read that right…if you’re looking for snow, we do have it on the atop Hawaii’s highest point, Maunakea.

So if you’re looking to spend one day at the beach and the next snowboarding on Maunakea, all you need to do is visit the Big Island.


If you needed any convincing, we hope these 5 reasons to visit Hawaii with your family in winter have made you look up tickets on Google Flights and purchase them! There’s no wrong time to visit our beautiful islands, but if you’re looking to get away from the snow and cold, then Hawaii is the perfect destination for you!

Let us know in the comments below if you’ve visited Hawaii in the winter before. What did you enjoy about it?

Looking for family-friendly things to do on Oahu or Big Island? Check out these articles:

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