It almost goes without saying that Hawaii is an ideal destination for your winter getaway. Still, we’ll say it: Hawaii is the perfect place to beat the winter blues. While the island of Oahu, home to the capital Honolulu and the world famous Wakiki resort area, captures the hearts and flyer-miles of visitors all year round, winter in Oahu is extra special for three reasons: you can whale watch, the surf’s up (WAY up), and it’s much warmer than it is anywhere else in the United States.
The most incredible Oahu attractions are just a plane ride away. Make this the winter you see it all.
Between the months of November and April, over 10,000 humpback whales migrate from Alaska to the warm Hawaiian waters for the winter. Peak season for whale watching is in February and March, so this is the perfect time of year to book your whale watching adventure. Whale watching in Oahu is extra special because you’ll get a chance to witness these majestic creatures, which native Hawaiians traditionally consider the guardians of the islands, in their natural habitat.
One popular option for those who wish to catch sight of a humpback up close is to hop on board the Makani Catamaran. During this two-hour sail through the sparkling waters of the Pacific, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to whale-watch as you cruise through the water in comfort.
If you’d prefer to stay on land, consider the Makapuu Lighthouse Hike, a two-mile trek to the beautiful and historic light house on the southernmost part of Hawaii. During the hike, you’ll be lead to the Halona Blow Hole, a spot famous for its spectacular views of humpback whales during the migration.
Hawaii is known around the world as the place to catch the biggest waves in the winter. In fact, the sport of big wave surfing was born here! The North Shore is the place to go for watching surfing pros ride giant swells. It’s an exhilarating experience to see these fearless surfers attack the rogue waves. Two of the best places to watch are Waimea Bay, which is where big wave surfing started in the ‘50s, and the Banzai Pipeline, a dangerous spot that’s in an ideal position for spectators.
If you want to give surfing a go yourself, please don’t start out on the North Shore in the winter! Instead, Oahu offers numerous surfboard rentals and surf lessons in areas where the waves are significantly calmer.
Out on Maunalua Bay, the waters are calm and incredibly crowd-free. To get to your Maunalua Bay Private Surfing Lesson, you’ll first board a 40-foot catamaran that will escort you to one of the most scenic surf spots in Hawaii. Trained and friendly teachers will help you don your equipment, learn the basics, and get out in the water and, with any luck, up on your board!
If you don’t mind the crowds and would rather find a surf spot closer to your accommodation, check out the Surf Lessons by Hawaiian Ocean right on Waikiki Beach. It’s one of the world’s most famous and historic surfing destinations—it’s where “Big Kahuna” Duke Kahanamoku and his friends grew up and surfed all day back in the early 20th century. Your hour-long lesson will be tailored to your level of experience, and a friendly instructor will give personalized instructions once you’re in the water.
Basking in Tropical Paradise
Warm, sunny days, sandy beaches, beautiful palms and hibiscus trees—while this may sound like a dream to anyone living in the contiguous United States in January, it’s a reality in Hawaii!
Make the most of your Hawaiian vacation with these Oahu attractions that will have you wishing you’d never have to leave this paradise.
Secret Beach – Kualoa
Kualoa Ranch is an enormous recreational complex, in the midst of which lies some of Hawaii’s most beautiful and most-filmed scenery. It’s in this complex that you’ll find Secret Island Beach, a secluded because with beautiful views of Kaneohe Bay. You’ll also have access to hours of outdoor recreational fun, like kayaking, snorkeling, and volleyball.
Home to more than 5,000 tropical plant species, the Lyon Arboretum is a tropical rainforest right outside Honolulu. It’s a great escape from the busy resort area, and the gorgeous setting is ideal for both exploration and relaxation.
You can’t leave Hawaii without experiencing a traditional Hawaiian luau! At Alii Luau, you’ll enjoy authentic all-you-can-eat Polynesian food, live music, and a stunning performance by hundreds of fire-adorned Polynesian dancers. This luau is part of the programming at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, so if you have time before the luau, take some time to get a closer look at Polynesian culture and history.