Visit Hawaii in December: Is December a Good Time to Visit Hawaii? (2023)

by | Oct 18, 2023

Is December a Good Time to go to Hawaii?

Yes, December is a good time of the year to go to Hawaii. Although the winter months, including December, experience higher rainfall with an average of 3.5 inches of precipitation, it remains a popular time for visitors. From mid-December to March, Hawaii sees its peak tourist season.

There might be more rain in December than in other months. So, bring your umbrella or rain jacket just in case! Also, the cost of hotels goes up as Christmas gets closer. Plan your trip early if you want to save money.

Even with these things, many people choose to visit Hawaii in December. They love the holiday feel and mild winter temperatures. It’s not part of the hurricane season, which ends in November, so it’s generally safe from big storms.

Ready to learn more about Christmas in Hawaii? After reading this blog post, check out our in-depth article on What to Know When Visiting Hawaii During Christmastime.

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Visiting Hawaii is often a dream vacation, but timing can be crucial to your overall experience. Did you know December is among the most popular times to visit these beautiful islands?

This guide provides detailed information on what you should expect when visiting Hawaii in December – from its mild weather conditions and unique activities to seasonal costs and crowd levels.

So, let’s jump into the Hawaiian paradise even as the calendar shifts into winter.

Key Takeaways of Hawaii in December

  • December is a great time to visit Hawaii because the weather is warm and there are fun activities like surfing and hiking.
  • While December can be rainy, showers are usually short. Just bring an umbrella or rain jacket.
  • The ocean temperatures in December are warm, around 78°F, making it perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Plus, there are festive holiday events to enjoy during your trip.
  • It’s important to book accommodations early in advance as prices tend to increase closer to Christmas due to high demand.

Overview of Hawaii in December

Immerse yourself in the tropical paradise that is Hawaii during December. The island state truly comes alive, displaying a unique blend of Hawaiian hospitality and holiday festivity that cannot be experienced at any other time of year.

The lush rainforests become even more vibrant due to an average rainfall of 1.85 inches during this month, adding an extra layer of charm to your visit. Rain showers are typically brief, ensuring they don’t disrupt your outdoor plans.

Despite being the wettest month for Hawaii overall, parts like Maui remain relatively dry with just 0.87 inches of rainfall on average – making it a dream destination for those seeking generous sunshine amidst moderate temperatures and crystal blue waters.

Keep in mind that early December sees less crowd than end-of-the-month days as holidaymakers start pouring in closer to Christmas. This increases accommodation prices across islands from Honolulu’s Oahu to Kauai and the Big Island.

December Weather in Hawaii

December in Hawaii offers pleasant weather with warm temperatures and inviting ocean conditions. From air temperature to water temperatures, rainfall, and the hurricane threat, find out everything you need to know about visiting Hawaii in December.

Air Temperature

In Hawaii, December air can feel warm and inviting. The average high reaches 77 degrees Fahrenheit. The low temperature is not too cool, only dropping to an average of 71 degrees. It’s warmer in Kailua-Kona with a high of 83 degrees.

Even in winter, the weather stays mild for perfect beach days at any time during your Hawaiian vacation!

Water Temperatures

In December, the ocean in Hawaii feels nice and warm. It is about 78°F (26°C). You will love this if you like swimming or surfing (be aware of big/dangerous waves at north-facing beaches). This pleasant temperature happens because of trade winds and the fact that there are no hurricanes in December.

So, you can enjoy water sports all day long!

Rainfall

December is the rainiest month in Hawaii, with an average rainfall of 1.85 inches. However, don’t worry too much because showers are usually short and don’t last all day. The amount of rain varies from island to island, with Maui being the driest with an average rainfall of 0.87 inches.

So, while you may need to pack a rain jacket or bring an umbrella just in case, it’s unlikely that your entire trip will be rained out.

Hurricane Threat

December is not part of the hurricane season in Hawaii, so you don’t need to worry about hurricanes if you’re planning a trip during that time. The hurricane season typically runs from June to November, but the threat of hurricanes has significantly diminished by December.

It’s important to note that while hurricanes are rare during December in Hawaii, it’s always good to stay informed and check for any weather updates before your trip. Safety should be your top priority when visiting any destination, so make sure to follow any advisories or warnings issued by local authorities.

Things to Do in Hawaii in December

In December, Hawaii offers many activities to make your vacation unforgettable. From surfing and swimming to snorkeling and hiking, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Holiday events like the Honolulu City Lights and stunning light displays add to the festive atmosphere.

hawaii in december - santa surfing

RELATED PODCAST: Best time to visit Hawaii

Surfing

Surfing is a popular activity in Hawaii, especially in December. The trade winds and warmer ocean temperatures make it a great time for surfing. In winter, the Pacific Ocean has higher winds and larger swells, ideal surfing conditions for VERY experienced surfers.

The North Shore of Oahu is a renowned spot for surfing in December, but you can also find great waves in Maui and Kauai. Whether you’re an experienced surfer or just starting out, December offers fantastic opportunities to catch some waves in Hawaii’s beautiful waters.

Looking to learn how to surf? Check out south-facing beaches like Waikiki.

Swimming

The warm ocean temperature in Hawaii during December, which is around 78°F, makes it the perfect time for swimming. Despite the rougher conditions with higher winds and swells, swimming is still popular this month.

It’s especially enjoyable in the first two weeks before the holiday rush. Showers are usually short and don’t last all day, providing ample opportunities for a refreshing swim in Hawaii’s crystal blue waters.

So grab your swimsuit and dive into the tropical paradise of Hawaii!

Snorkeling

December is a great time to go snorkeling in Hawaii! The warmer ocean temperatures make it perfect for swimming and exploring underwater. Popular spots like Hanauma Bay in Oahu and Molokini in Maui offer crystal clear waters where you can see colorful tropical fish, sea turtles, and if you’re lucky, even whales.

Just keep in mind that December is the peak tourist season. So, be prepared for larger crowds at these popular snorkeling locations. If you don’t have your own gear, don’t worry – there are plenty of rental shops available throughout Hawaii where you can easily rent snorkeling equipment for your underwater adventures.

Hiking

Hiking is a popular activity in Hawaii, especially in December. The weather during this time is pleasant, making it ideal for outdoor activities like hiking. Whether you’re on Oahu or Kauai, there are plenty of trails to explore and breathtaking views to enjoy.

On Oahu, you can hike on the North Shore and take in the scenic beauty of the island’s mountains and coastline. If you’re on Kauai, make sure to check out the Hanakapi’ai Trail at Haena State Park for stunning views.

Hiking in Hawaii allows you to experience the islands’ natural beauty firsthand and create unforgettable memories.

Holiday Events

In December, Hawaii comes alive with festive holiday events that will bring joy and excitement to your vacation. One of the highlights is Honolulu City Lights, a magical display featuring beautiful light decorations and a giant Christmas tree in downtown Honolulu.

You can also enjoy the Waikiki Holiday Parade where colorful floats, marching bands, and performers make their way through Waikiki Beach.

These unique celebrations allow you to experience the holiday spirit in a tropical paradise like no other. So pack your bags and prepare for some unforgettable festivities during your December trip to Hawaii!

Accommodation and Travel Costs for December in Hawaii

Accommodation and travel costs in December can vary, so it’s important to plan ahead and book your Hawaii vacation in advance.

hawaii in december - family on a beach

When to Book Your Hawaii Vacation

Knowing when to book is essential to make the most of your Hawaii vacation.

Hotel rooms in Hawaii become more expensive as it gets closer to Christmas, so booking early can help you save money and secure a good place to stay during this peak season. Due to the high tourist demand, accommodation rates and airfare prices tend to be higher in December.

However, by doing some early research and being flexible with your travel dates, you may still find good deals and discounts on accommodations. So plan ahead and book your Hawaiian vacation in advance for a stress-free trip!

Airfare

Flying to Hawaii in December can be a bit more expensive due to the high tourist spike during this month. The cost of airfare tickets depends on many factors such as the date of booking, the week of travel, and the number of layovers.

Date of Booking Cost
Early Booking Early booking often secures better deals, and the first two weeks of December usually have cheaper airfares.
Peak Travel Season Airfare prices increase during the second half of December due to the height of the travel season.
Mid-week Flights Mid-week flights can help find better deals as they are usually cheaper than weekend flights.
Open to Layovers Being open to flights with layovers can significantly reduce the cost of airfare.
Cost Range Economy-class, round-trip flight tickets to Hawaii can cost around $500-$900 or more in December.

Depending on your travel dates and flexibility, the airfare can be a significant part of your total travel cost. To balance this, consider booking your accommodations early to secure good deals and save money during this popular travel month. Find the best and most up-to-date rates on airfare here.

Car Rental

Renting a car in Hawaii during December can be a bit more expensive due to the surge in demand. To help you better plan your travels, the table below provides a better understanding of car rental scenarios in Hawaii during December.

Car Rental Factors Details
Demand High demand in December can inflate car rental prices.
Early Booking Book early to secure good deals. Flexibility in travel dates can also lead to potential savings.
Price Comparison Compare prices across different car rental companies and choose the most cost-effective option.
Type of Car Choose a car based on your requirements. Compact cars are often cheaper to rent than SUVs or luxury cars.
Duration of Rental Long-term rentals may offer a better rate per day than short-term rentals.

Remember, careful planning and early booking are key when it comes to saving on car rentals during your Hawaii trip in December.

hawaii in december - ornaments on the beach

Popularity and Crowd Levels in Hawaii in December

In December, Hawaii is a popular destination for tourists from around the world. As Christmas approaches, hotel prices tend to rise, so it’s important to book your accommodation early if you’re planning a trip during this time.

December is historically one of the busiest months for tourism in Hawaii, and crowd levels can be quite high, especially closer to Christmas. If you prefer a less crowded experience, consider visiting earlier in the month or after Christmas when things calm down.

Overall, December offers a unique opportunity to enjoy Hawaii’s beautiful landscapes and tropical weather, but be prepared for larger crowds during this peak season.

Unique Experiences When Visiting Hawaii in December

December in Hawaii offers a unique range of experiences on each island, including enjoying festive light displays and holiday events on Oahu, exploring the volcanic landscapes of The Big Island, relaxing on beautiful beaches in Maui, and hiking through stunning natural scenery in Kauai.

Oahu

Oahu in December is the most crowded island in December, so if you enjoy being around lots of people and festive energy, this is the place for you. The Chinatown Winter Walk is a popular holiday event on Oahu where you can stroll through the streets and enjoy food, live music, and local vendors.

Another must-see is the Honolulu City Lights displays, which are known for their stunning light decorations. Oahu also offers unique experiences like joining a Holiday Luau at Paradise Cove, where you can immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture and enjoy traditional food and performances.

During Christmas, Oahu comes alive with events and festive decorations that will make your visit even more memorable.

Explore Oahu by car with Shaka Guide.

The Big Island

The Big Island is a must-visit destination in Hawaii during December. It offers unique experiences that you won’t find anywhere else. With trade winds blowing and warmer ocean temperatures, it’s the perfect time for water activities like swimming and snorkeling.

However, keep in mind that tourist crowds are at their peak on the Big Island in December, especially around the holidays. Accommodation rates and airfare prices tend to be higher during this festive season.

Explore The Big Island by car with Shaka Guide.

Maui

December in Maui is a popular destination in Hawaii in December. Known for its stunning landscapes and white-sand beaches, Maui offers a wonderful time for visitors. The island experiences less rainfall compared to other islands, with an average of 0.87 inches of rain in December.

This makes it the driest island during this time of year. Maui’s west shore is ideal if you’re looking for calmer beaches for swimming. Additionally, December is a great time for whale-watching tours in Maui, where you can catch glimpses of these majestic creatures as they migrate through Hawaiian waters.

Just keep in mind that Maui tends to be more expensive than other islands, with an average daily hotel rate of $734 in December.

Explore Maui by car with Shaka Guide.

Kauai

December is the rainiest month on Kauai, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time visiting this island. Despite the showers, Kauai offers plenty of activities for visitors to enjoy.

One event that takes place in December is the Island Breeze Concert, where you can listen to live Hawaiian music and experience traditional hula dancing. Another fun event is the Wailua Bay Creator Fair, where local artisans showcase their crafts and artwork.

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you can explore Limahuli Garden or hike the Hanakapi’ai Trail for breathtaking views of waterfalls and lush greenery. And don’t forget about Hanalei Bay, which is perfect for beach activities like swimming and snorkeling while enjoying stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Explore Kauai by car with Shaka Guide.

 

hawaii in december - tree on a beach

FAQs for Hawaii in December

Are there any potential hurricane threats in Hawaii in December? Can you swim during this time of year? Discover the best parts of Hawaii to visit in December and find answers to all your burning questions.

1. Is there a hurricane threat in Hawaii in December?

December is not part of the hurricane season in Hawaii, which runs from June to November. So if you’re planning a trip to Hawaii in December, you don’t have to worry about hurricanes.

The Pacific Ocean tends to be rougher in winter with higher winds and larger swells, but that doesn’t mean there’s a threat of hurricanes. In fact, December is considered one of the best times to visit Hawaii because it offers pleasant weather and fewer crowds compared to other months.

2. Can you swim in December in Hawaii?

The ocean temperature in Hawaii during December is warm, around 78°F. This means that you can definitely swim and enjoy water activities during this time. December is not part of the hurricane season in Hawaii, so it’s safe to take a dip in the beautiful waters.

However, keep in mind that the Pacific Ocean tends to be rougher with stronger winds and bigger waves during winter months. Just be aware of the conditions before diving in!

3. What part of Hawaii is best to visit in December?

Each island offers its own unique attractions and experiences. Oahu, with its vibrant city of Honolulu and famous North Shore, is a popular choice.

Maui is known for its stunning beaches and lush landscapes. The Big Island offers opportunities to explore volcanoes and go stargazing at Mauna Kea. And Kauai showcases breathtaking natural beauty, including the stunning Na Pali Coast.

No matter which part you choose, you’ll find warm weather, beautiful scenery, and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy during your December trip to Hawaii.

4. What are some of the best things to do in Hawaii in December?

In December, you can engage in various outdoor activities such as hiking, snorkeling, surfing, and whale watching. Additionally, you can explore the beautiful beaches and enjoy the festive vibe of the holiday season.

5. Is it recommended to travel to Hawaii in December?

Yes, it is recommended to travel to Hawaii in December. The weather is typically mild, and you can still experience the warm and inviting temperatures associated with winter in Hawaii. However, you can expect higher prices and crowds in December.

6. When is the best time to book flights for a Hawaiian vacation in December?

It is generally advised to book your flights well in advance to secure the best deals and availability for a Hawaiian vacation in December.

7. Which side of the island should I visit in December?

Whether you choose Maui, the Big Island, Oahu, or Kauai, each island in Hawaii has its own unique charm and attractions. It depends on your preferences and interests.

8. What is the weather like in Hawaii in December?

December falls during winter in Hawaii, but the weather remains warm and inviting this time of year. It’s important to note that weather can vary between the islands.

9. What are some ideal activities for water sports lovers in December?

December is a wonderful time of year for water activities in Hawaii. You can enjoy surfing, paddleboarding, kayaking, and snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters.

10. Are there any festivities or unique holiday events in Hawaii in December?

Absolutely! Hawaii offers a range of unique holiday events, especially if you’re visiting in December. You can explore the decorated towns, attend local festivals, and experience the cultural traditions.

11. Can I also visit the North Shore of Oahu in December?

Yes, you can definitely visit the North Shore of Oahu in December. It is a popular destination known for its stunning beaches, surfing spots, and delicious food trucks.

12. Is the week leading up to New Year’s Day an expensive time to visit Hawaii?

Yes, the week leading up to New Year’s Day tends to be an expensive time to visit Hawaii. It’s advisable to plan and budget accordingly if you choose to visit during this peak holiday period.

Wrap-Up for Hawaii in December

In conclusion, December can be a great time to visit Hawaii. The weather is mild with warm ocean temperatures perfect for swimming and water activities. While it may be the rainiest month, showers are usually short and don’t spoil your plans.

Just make sure to book your accommodation in advance and avoid the peak holiday season if you prefer fewer crowds. With stunning landscapes, festive events, and plenty of outdoor activities, Hawaii in December offers a unique and wonderful experience for visitors.

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.