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What to Expect & Things to Do on Maui in the Winter

Whether you live in a cold climate or want to go somewhere special for the holidays, there are so many reasons to travel to Maui to spend some of your winter in Hawaii. Amazing weather, humpback whale sightings, and beautiful sightseeing are just a few perks of planning your trip to Maui around the holidays. 

In fact, winter is one of the most popular times to visit Hawaii! Before you book your flight and rush out to buy a new swimsuit, check out our tips for visiting Maui in the winter and a list of fun things to do to keep the whole family occupied.

What Is Hawaii Like in the Winter?

You may have heard that Hawaii is rainy in the winter, but it’s not as common as you think. From November through April, you can expect pleasant temperatures between 75 and 80°F, meaning you can still escape the cold, snowy months of January and February and enjoy the sunshine. If you’re really worried about the rain, keep in mind that the southern and western coast of Maui typically see less rainfall. 

Did you know Hawaii only has two seasons? Hawaiian natives call them Hoolio and Kau, winter and summer, respectively. The climate is truly enjoyable year-round, so there’s never a bad time to visit Maui. You can still enjoy the same fun activities like snorkeling and surfing in the winter. And the colorful flowers and lush gardens that Hawaii is known for are just as lustrous during the winter months.

Winter Activities on Maui

Whether you prefer relaxing on the beach or hitting the water, there are so many ways to enjoy the winter in Maui, Hawaii!

Whale Watching

Whale watching is hands down the most popular activity during winter in Hawaii. This is because humpback whales migrate to Hawaii’s warm waters during the winter months, giving locals and visitors an amazing opportunity to view these incredible animals up close. 

The winter whale watching season on Maui is from mid-December to mid-May, but your best chances of spotting whales is from January to March. While you can see them from land, you’ll be in for a real adventure (with better sightings!) on a whale watching cruise. Head out with a local captain and look for the North Pacific humpback whales that travel more than 3,500 miles from Alaska to mate and give birth to their calves. You might even see spinner dolphins and other wildlife in the waters around Maui!

Maui Whale Festival

Maui certainly loves its biggest visitors. The island’s Pacific Whale Foundation hosts a month-long celebration in honor of the humpback whale with events taking place throughout February. 

Lahaina Banyan Tree Lighting

Is there anything more magical than a Christmas tree lighting? Maui may be known for its tropical charm, but you can still get a full dose of Christmas when you visit in December – minus the snow, of course. 

If you’re on Maui in early December, you’ll get to witness the famous Lahaina Banyan Tree Lighting Ceremony. See thousands of twinkling lights wrapped around the massive Lahaina banyan tree, the biggest in Hawaii! Spanning 1.8 acres, this is unlike any Christmas tree you’ve seen.


Surfing is a huge part of the Hawaii lifestyle, and Maui has some world-class surf spots you don’t want to miss! Whether you’re a beginner surfer (you’ve come to the right place to learn!) or a seasoned pro, surfing on Maui is a popular activity year-round, especially in the winter.

January through March is an excellent time to go surfing on Maui. In fact, winter is known as big wave season throughout Hawaii! There are so many beaches and surf spots where you can try this sport for yourself, from beginner swells to massive waves. Try the Lahaina Reefs or Honolua Bay. If you’re more of a spectator, check out Peahi, also known as Jaws, where the waves are so huge that surfers actually get towed into the swell by jet skis. 

a person sitting on a beach

Holiday Luaus

It wouldn’t be a trip to Hawaii without attending a luau! While luaus are held year-round, you can also find holiday specials that feature magical songs, Christmas lights, and themed food items like pumpkin pie and roast turkey. 

These are just a few of the many things to do in Maui during the winter season! The great thing about visiting Hawaii in the winter is that you can pretty much plan the exact same itinerary you would during the summer months (with some fun holiday events sprinkled in!). Be sure to browse all tours and activities to reserve your fun ahead of time. Experiences like whale watching tend to fill up fast.