Traveling to Hawaii in December

Weather, Crowds, & Prices for December

Hawaii has become the go-to annual holiday vacation spot for many people seeking a tropical paradise to celebrate this festive season. With the unofficial Christmas flower, the poinsettia, in bloom, and perfect temperatures both on land and sea, it is no surprise that December has become a favorite travel time in the islands. If you are considering a Hawaiian vacation in December, here’s an overview of what to expect.

Hawaii Weather in December

A typical December day in Hawaii sees temperatures sitting in the low 80s. December is one of the best times of the year to see poinsettias in their natural habitat. The evenings can get a little chilly, and it is not uncommon to see the temperatures dip into the upper 60s. Although it might seem a little cold for the Pacific, it is nothing a light jacket or sweater won’t take care of quickly.

December is the rainiest month in Hawaii. However, it still does not pose much of an issue. Showers tend to come in short little bursts, lasting no more than about 10 minutes. You will want to carry an umbrella or lightweight rain jacket with you—just in case. However, in most cases, rain tends to fall at night in Hawaii.

If the rain worries you, consider booking your stay on the leeward side of the islands as they tend to be drier. You can also look at the islands with the least rain in December, which include Big Island and Maui.  

You will also find the ocean warm and inviting at this time of year. December is ideal for water sports lovers and those who want to feel the Pacific Ocean underfoot when strolling along the beach. Traveling any time of the year in the mountains or climbing to the summit of the highest volcanoes can get quite chilly. If your daytime excursions include higher elevations, be sure to bring a jacket and long pants.

December Temperatures in Hawaii

December Temperatures in Hawaii

Hawaii Rainfall in December

Hawaii Rainfall in December

Hawaii Crowds in December

The end of the month gets pretty busy in Hawaii with people flocking to this tropical paradise for the holidays. December is the most active tourist season for the islands. However, the rest of the month is tranquil making it a lovely choice for a winter getaway.

Hawaii Visitor Arrivals in December

Hawaii Visitor Arrivals in December

Hawaii Costs in December

After Thanksgiving, hotel rates start to dip but then make a drastic upswing as the holidays approach. In fact, Christmas week leading up to New Year's Day is the most expensive time to visit Hawaii. The average annual hotel stay is about $250, and at Christmas time, this rises to $339. By New Year's Eve, a night's stay will cost you over $100 more than the annual average. Airfares can also see a rise, but this is typical for all airfares at this time of year, regardless of your destination.

Hawaii Hotel Rates

Hawaii Hotel Rates

Hawaii Events & Highlights in December

The Christmas season tends to see an increase in events throughout the islands. It is also a wonderful time of year with towns, major shopping areas, hotels, and homes decorated to mark the festive season. You can experience a Hawaiian Christmas with exciting luaus, sumptuous Christmas feasts, and even a Christmas Eve cruise on one of the islands' many dinner cruises. You can also visit malls and major hotels as each celebrates with its own unique annual holiday events. Common community events might include festive light displays, garden festivities, visits with “Santa Marty,” and even unexpected snow displays.

A few words of advice when it comes to Christmas travel:

  • This is the busiest time of year, so no matter what you are planning, if your vacation is during the Christmas holidays, call ahead to make reservations.
  • Events around the holidays can vary greatly, so be certain to confirm all events by phone or email with the venue.
  • Some venues and destinations might be closed over the holidays, so be sure to call ahead to ask about holiday hours in order to avoid disappointment.

Your December Hawaiian vacation will be filled with a few special features that you won't find any other time of year. From stunning light displays and holiday decorations to near-perfect weather, December offers a special experience in paradise. Mele Kalikimaka!

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