How to Spend Thanksgiving in Hawaii: A Guide to Visiting Hawaii During the Holiday

by | Nov 3, 2023

Is Thanksgiving a Good Time to Visit Hawaii?

Thanksgiving is an excellent time to visit Hawaii, as the weather during this period is typically warm and sunny, making it ideal for snorkeling and hitting the beach.

The holiday season brings numerous festive celebrations, including Thanksgiving-themed events, to the islands.

You can benefit from slightly-favorable rates for hotels, airfare, and car rentals compared to peak travel seasons.

Additionally, the beaches tend to be less crowded around Thanksgiving, resulting in better service and less crowded restaurants, offering a more relaxed vacation experience.

Whether you’re seeking the best luau-style feast or the most serene beach spot to give thanks, our comprehensive guide positions you perfectly to navigate the holiday Hawaiian-style, backed by our deep understanding and passion for Hawaii’s unique cultural landscape.

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Are you considering a tropical getaway for Thanksgiving? Hawaii, with its warm November weather and unique holiday festivities, is the perfect destination to consider.

In this guide, we’ll share how to plan your Hawaiian vacation during Thanksgiving that lines up with local customs and celebrations.

Keep reading—you may discover that a luau-style feast beats turkey any day!

Key Takeaways of Thanksgiving in Hawaii

  • Hawaii has great weather in November. It’s perfect for beach fun and outdoor activities like hiking.
  • The islands have special Thanksgiving events. These mix Hawaiian culture with American traditions.
  • You need to plan well before your trip. Check travel rules, book early, and choose the right island for you.
  • There are unique ways to celebrate Thanksgiving in Hawaii. This includes special races, dinners, shows, tours, and parades.

Ready to learn more about Hawaii in November? After reading this blog post, check out our in-depth article on what to know about visiting Hawaii in November.

Why Thanksgiving is the Perfect Time to Visit Hawaii

In November, Hawaii promises beautiful weather with sunny skies and warm oceans, perfect for soaking up the sun or snorkeling. Hawaii offers a special way to celebrate

Thanksgiving by mixing its traditions with those from the continental United States. Besides the usual turkey and stuffing, Hawaiian-style feasts, including local dishes, are common.

There are also luau parties, hula dancing shows, and a unique celebration known as Makahiki, which honors ancient Hawaiian customs.

Aloha spirit fills the air as you can spend Thanksgiving break joining whale-watching tours or join fun-loving Hawaii residents in ‘Turkey trots’.

The less crowded beaches during this season, combined with the many outdoor activities, make Hawaii a perfect destination for a special Thanksgiving holiday!

thanksgiving in hawaii - on a beach

Beautiful weather in November

In Hawaii, November brings sunny days with a cool ocean breeze. Daytime temperatures stay around the 80s, perfect for beach time. And then it cools down to 60s at night.

Don’t worry about rain; any showers are quick and mostly fall at bedtime. This great weather means you can enjoy outdoor fun like swimming or hiking!

Festive and unique Thanksgiving celebrations

Hawaii puts on big, fun parties for Thanksgiving. You can see the rich culture of the Hawaiian people in these events. They thank nature and each other during this time, just like they did in their old Makahiki party.

This was a time to give thanks that lasted four months! Luau-style foods are often part of a Hawaiian Thanksgiving dinner. One special dish is kalua pig, which cooks slowly in an underground oven called an imu.

Taro leaves cover it while it cooks. People also enjoy eating staple Hawaiian dishes like mashed potatoes and turkey on this day. With music, hula dances, and great food, Thanksgiving becomes a very special time to visit Hawaii!

Opportunities for outdoor activities

Hawaii is full of fun things to do outside. Hiking during November can be a great time. There are many places to explore, like the rich green forests and stunning mountains. If you love the water, try snorkeling in November.

There are fewer people, and you get a clear sea view! Another great thing to see is the Makahiki festival, where you learn about Hawaiian culture.

For those who love art and music, don’t miss Ko’olina Artfest! It’s where local artists share their work and play sweet Hawaiian tunes.

And if you’re on Oahu during Thanksgiving week, be sure to check out a luau or visit Waikiki Holiday Parade after Thanksgiving Day for an amazing time.

Planning Your Visit to Hawaii During Thanksgiving

Choose the right Hawaiian island that suits your vacation needs – whether that’s Oahu, filled with lively events, or Maui for a laid-back experience. Planning early ensures you have an unforgettable Thanksgiving trip without any hitches!

thanksgiving in hawaii - meal

Booking accommodations and activities in advance

Plan your trip soon to spend Thanksgiving in Hawaii. Make sure you book your place to stay and fun things to do early. This will help you get a good deal. You may even find special offers for the holiday.

Hawaii gets busy with visitors during Thanksgiving week. Book all your plans ahead of time to be safe. This way, you won’t miss out on any fun places to stay because they are full.

November is not so busy in Hawaii, so flights and spots might cost less.

Choosing the right island for your vacation

Hawaii has many islands. Each one is great, but they are all unique. Some have lots of people and city life, others don’t. Oahu is where Honolulu, the state’s capital, lies. Here you will find big hotels and busy streets.

Maui offers a mix; there are towns to visit and peaceful spots with beautiful views. The Big Island has active volcanoes! It also lets you learn about Hawaii’s past in its old parks or small museums.

If quiet nature trips sound fun, Kauai is for you! Pick your island based on what makes your holiday perfect for you.

Unique Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving in Hawaii

Discover how Thanksgiving in Hawaii goes beyond the traditional turkey dinner with unique celebrations like paddling for hunger, special holiday shows, volcano tours and more.

Paddle for Hunger with Hawaiian Paddle Sports on Maui

In Maui, you can join a special event on Thanksgiving Day. Hawaiian Paddle Sports hosts “Paddle for Hunger”. This is a fun yet helpful race on the water. People bring food and money to give to the Maui Food Bank.

You don’t need a fancy boat for this race. Many people use canoes, surfboards, or even paddleboards! There is also a silent auction where you can bid on cool items. All of the money goes to help feed hungry people in Maui through the Maui Food Bank.

Thanksgiving dinner and show at Rock-A-Hula on Oahu

Thanksgiving at Rock-A-Hula on Oahu is a fun time. It’s in Waikiki, where there is always a lot to see and do. You can enjoy good food, drinks, and games there. The dinner has many tasty things to eat.

This place also puts on a great show about Hawaii’s history.

Going to Rock-A-Hula gives you the chance to learn about Hawaiian culture too. It lets you celebrate Thanksgiving in a new way. So if you want something different for your holiday, this may be it!

Thanksgiving volcano tour with KapohoKine Adventures on the Big Island

The Big Island has exciting tours. One is the Thanksgiving volcano tour with KapohoKine Adventures. They take you on a trip to see the island’s big volcanoes during the holiday.

The land looks very cool because of all the lava that came out of them! You get to eat a tasty feast during this trip too. It has good food like smoked turkey and kalua pig, which are cooked in an imu, just like a Hawaiian luau party!

This way, you can explore and enjoy Thanksgiving at the same time.

Turkey trots on Oahu and Maui

On Maui and Oahu, Turkey Trots are great fun. You can run or walk for 5 kilometers or 10 kilometers. The best part? Your fun helps others! Food from the event goes to local food banks.

So, you get a nice workout and help feed hungry folks at the same time. It’s a win-win on Thanksgiving in Hawaii!

Waikiki Holiday Parade on Oahu

The Waikiki Holiday Parade lights up Oahu. This happens every year on the Friday of Thanksgiving week. It is a way to thank veterans and to enjoy the holiday. Marching bands, military units, and local chiefs fill Kalakaua Avenue for this parade.

Tiki torches light up the evening. Both people who live in Hawaii and tourists love this event. It’s a fun way to see how Hawaii does Thanksgiving!

Tips for a Memorable Thanksgiving in Hawaii

From packing beach essentials to delighting in traditional Hawaiian Thanksgiving dishes, discover our top tips for a memorable and responsibly enjoyable holiday in the islands.

Continue reading to uncover more about sustainable tourism practices and safety guidelines for your Thanksgiving adventure in Hawaii.

thanksgiving in hawaii - whale watching

Packing essentials for a beach vacation

You need the right stuff for your beach vacation in Hawaii. Pack a swimsuit, of course! You will want to swim in the clear blue sea. Also, bring a light jacket. Even if it’s warm during the day, it can get chilly at night.

And don’t forget hiking shoes. There are great trails where you might see cool things like waterfalls or rare birds!

Trying traditional Hawaiian dishes for Thanksgiving dinner

You’re in for a treat on your Hawaiian Thanksgiving! One must-try dish is Kalua pig. Cooks slow-roast the pig in an underground oven known as an imu. The meal also includes taro leaves, which wrap around the meat to keep it moist and juicy.

Some families even smoke their turkey this way! Other local favorites are poke, poi, and rice instead of mashed potatoes or mac ‘n cheese. So get ready to mix up your usual menu with these unique Hawaiian dishes for a true island-style holiday feast!

Supporting local businesses and sustainable tourism

You can help the people and nature of Hawaii. Buy things from local shops. This gives money to the people who live there. Eat at places owned by Hawaiians, not big companies. Pick tours that are good for nature and don’t hurt it.

This way, you give back to Hawaii while having fun on your trip!

Staying safe and respectful while visiting during the holiday

You want to have a good time in Hawaii. But you also want to stay safe and respectful. Follow the rules and laws of the land. Keep an eye on your kids so they do not cause harm or get into trouble.

Buy goods from local stores for your feast, but don’t take anything else, like rocks or plants from nature.

Some places are sacred in Hawaii. You may need to ask before going there, especially during the Makahiki season, which is a special time for Hawaiians. Listen to what locals say about these places and respect their customs.

Wear cool clothes because it gets hot, but have a rain jacket too because sometimes it rains in November in Hawaii. Stay safe by drinking lots of water and using sunscreen when out under the sun, playing at the beach, or watching outdoor shows.

FAQs for Thanksgiving in Hawaii

1. Does Hawaii Celebrate Thanksgiving?

Yes, Thanksgiving is a good time to visit Hawaii, where the holiday is celebrated with a mix of American and Hawaiian traditions, featuring luau-style feasts instead of the standard turkey and mashed potatoes. This blend offers a unique experience in the island’s pleasant climate.

2. How is the weather in Hawaii during November?

Hawaii weather in November, the weather remains warm enough to swim; it’s sunny and the ocean water is perfect for snorkeling.

3. Are there fun activities during Thanksgiving Day in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, you can participate in various Thanksgiving activities such as attending a hula performance, going snorkeling to explore the underwater world, or learning about the ancient Hawaiian culture.

4. Is Thanksgiving different if celebrated in Hawaii compared to mainland America?

Yes, Hawaiians celebrate Thanksgiving their own way of celebrating Thanksgiving with traditional Hawaiian staples like smoked turkey cooked in an imu.

5. How expensive can it be to spend Thanksgiving week on the island?

The price of flight tickets can go up right around Thanksgiving week, but may still be comparable to prices at other high-demand times.

6. What about celebrating Thanksgiving with kids on Hawaii Island?

Families can find many ways to spend time together while enjoying warm days under sun and sea making unforgettable memories over this American holiday period.

7. How can I spend Thanksgiving in Hawaii?

There are plenty of ways to spend Thanksgiving in Hawaii. You can enjoy a Thanksgiving feast at one of the many restaurants that offer traditional Thanksgiving meals. Alternatively, you can have a picnic on the beach or go on a hike to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

8. Is November a good month to visit Hawaii?

Yes, November is a great month to visit Hawaii. The weather will still most likely be nice and warm, and there will be fewer crowds of tourists compared to the peak season.

9. Can I have turkey in Hawaii for Thanksgiving?

Absolutely! In Hawaii, you can have turkey prepared in various ways. One popular method is cooking the turkey in an imu, which results in a really delicious smoked turkey with unique flavors.

10. Is Thanksgiving a popular holiday in Hawaii?

Yes, Thanksgiving is a popular holiday in Hawaii. Many locals and tourists alike enjoy celebrating Thanksgiving in the Hawaiian islands.

11. What are some family-friendly activities for Thanksgiving in Hawaii?

If you are visiting Hawaii with kids for a memorable Thanksgiving, you can take them to explore the beaches, visit sea life centers, go on a helicopter tour, or attend special Thanksgiving events organized for families.

12. Can I find a Thanksgiving destination in Hawaii?

Yes, you can find a great Thanksgiving destination in Hawaii. Many hotels, resorts, and luaus offer special packages and events for visitors during the week of Thanksgiving.

13. How can I enjoy a Thanksgiving feast in Hawaii?

To enjoy a Thanksgiving feast in Hawaii, you can make a reservation at a restaurant that serves traditional Thanksgiving dishes or opt for a Thanksgiving buffet offered by some hotels. You can also order a Thanksgiving meal to-go and have a picnic on the beach.

Wrap-Up to Thanksgiving in Hawaii

Hawaii is a great place for Thanksgiving. You can eat good food, see pretty sights, and learn about Hawaii’s culture. Make your trip fun and remember to respect the local customs. You will love spending your holiday in this warm place!

Bryan Murphy

Bryan Murphy

Bryan Murphy, owner of Hawaii’s Best Travel, is a certified Hawaii destination expert from the Hawaii Visitors Bureau. He actively participates in the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau as a member and has a strong educational background focused on local culture and sustainability. As the host of “Hawaii’s Best Travel,” a top-30 US travel podcast, Bryan combines his years of experience with valuable insights. He connects with a broad online community, reaching nearly half a million people, and offers a richer, more responsible way to experience Hawaii.