While other places in the U.S. may have temperate winter weather, only Hawaii offers a balmy climate, warm ocean temperatures and snowy mountaintops all throughout winter on a yearly basis. Winter, or Hooilo in Hawaiian, lasts from November to April with an average daytime temperature of a pleasant 78 degrees, compared to the summer average of 85 degrees. Rain is mostly limited to localized inland showers, and although it only snows at the tops of the highest mountains, you could take an ocean swim and a chilly hike on the same day.
Hawaii’s proximity to the equator provides winter days with almost as many hours of daylight as summer – just three hours difference between the seasons. By comparison, Chicago’s days are six hours shorter in winter.
If you’re used to a winter climate with freezing temperatures and snow, Hawaii’s mild winters will be a welcome change. You may be surprised at all of the warm-weather activities – including surfing, snorkeling, and whale watching – that you can do even in the dead of winter. In fact, winter’s yearly mild temperatures and lighter crowds than in summer can make it a better time for adventures on land as well, including hiking and zip-lining.
Several yearly Hawaiian festivals are also held during winter, like the Annual Honolulu Festival, a cultural weekend of traditional dance and art demonstrations, now celebrating its 23rd year. College baseball in Hawaii draws crowds during the winter season, too.
One of the best things about winter in Hawaii is that the water stays warm, with an average year-round water temperature of 74 degrees. Warm weather, warm water – it’s an ideal time for surfing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, swimming with dolphins, shark encounters, scuba diving, boating, and stand-up paddle boarding.
Catch big-wave surfing events
Winter is big wave surfing season in Hawaii. From November through February, the north shores of the islands, most famously Oahu’s Waimea Bay on the North Shore, experience extremely high waves. Hawaii hosts professional surfing competitions during the winter season, like this year’s 32rd Quicksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau. Its “holding period” is December 1st through Feb 28th, because the competition will only take place if waves are over 40 feet. The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, which will hold its 35th competition in 2017, is another yearly surf event, only in Hawaii.
Go whale watching
Winter is the best time to see kohola, humpback whales, off the coast of Hawaii. Hawaii is the only place in the U.S. where humpback whales mate, calve, and nurse. Drawn by the temperate waters around the islands, they migrate from Alaska for the winter season and stay in the area from December to May. You can see them with binoculars from the shore, or take a whale-watching tour to see them up close while spending some time out on the water.
Keep up with sports
Baseball is big in Hawaii for both players and spectators. While summer is the time for major league baseball on the mainland, Hawaiian fans support their college baseball teams that play during the winter and spring seasons. On Oahu, the University of Hawai’i at Manoa Rainbow Warriors play at Les Murakami Stadium in Honolulu. On the Big Island, locals root for the University of Hawai’i at Hilo Vulcans. You won’t need to worry about freezing in the stands – all you’ll need is a light jacket.
Play a round of golf at one of Hawaii’s many beautiful courses during the winter or check out a tournament. The Sony Open in Hawaii, the state’s largest charity golf event, has been held every January since 1999 and has raised more than $16 million for over 350 local nonprofits.
Of course, there are some things you can only do in other parts of the world in winter, like scraping ice off the car’s windshield on a dark morning. But if you’re thinking of leaving typical winter weather behind and living in Hawaii year ’round, Royal Hawaiian Movers can help you explore the possibilities.
Contact us for a customized moving quote. We’ve been providing professional relocation services for over 30 years, and bring specialized experience in Hawaii to every move.