Hawaii is one of the most stunning and popular tropical getaways in America. This group of islands, collectively known as Hawaii, is in the central Pacific Ocean and is located off the coast of California. As the only state outside of mainland North America, Hawaii offers travelers unique cultural and environmental experiences.

While Hawaii is a well-known vacation destination and tourism hub, it also is a great place to visit during the holiday season. Hawaii has picturesque beaches, lush forests, deserts, snowy mountains and many other landscapes that present travelers a chance to witness a great deal in one visit. Hawaii even has a diverse ethnic makeup and welcoming locals, so it is no surprise that Hawaii attracts so many visitors every year. 

The concept of a tropical Christmas celebration has gained popularity over recent years since travelers can avoid the cold, create new traditions and have exciting adventures abroad. Escaping the cold weather (say goodbye to a traditional white Christmas) and embracing the warm beaches is all the hype. A relaxing holiday on the beach, whether solo or accompanied, can really help melt the stress away. Spending Christmas at the beach is a refreshing way to enjoy the holiday season and experience the season in a new way.

Holiday luaus, Christmas feasts and even Christmas cruises are just some of the options travelers can choose from. The possibilities for a jolly island Christmas are nearly endless. Check out why Hawaii is a popular holiday getaway destination for travelers from all over the world. 

Traveling During the Christmas Season

Visit Hawaii during the Christmas to enjoy a tropical and jolly holiday. These tips will help navigate the busy season. 
Pictured: a palm tree with Christmas lights wrapped around it

Traveling during the holiday season is sometimes a bit risky. The airport crowds, higher prices and weather or time zone changes can be overwhelming. But, there are always ways to alleviate stress or at least a destination that is worth the fuss.

Best and Worst Times To Travel

December is certainly a popular tourist season in Hawaii. The tropical paradise is usually busy during the holidays and travelers should proceed with caution if they choose to visit during this time. This popularity means that there is a spike in visitors and costs. From mid-December to early January, there is an increase in tourism as Christmas celebrants trickle in. Travelers may notice that flights are full, rental companies have limited availability and hotel rates skyrocket. To avoid the bulk of these issues, visitors should aim to travel during early December. While visiting Hawaii is not for everyone and a holiday visit may incur extra costs, the destination’s popularity is due to it being one of the best places to have a white (sand) Christmas. 


October and November are the cheapest times to visit Hawaii, due to the lower rates on accommodations and transportation. The weather during these months is dodgy since the hurricane season is during the fall. If travelers stay informed about weather conditions, the shoulder season is a great time to visit Hawaii. 

December is popular due to the holidays but it does not have the sunniest weather. It is the month with the most rainfall and coldest weather. Luckily for travelers, cold is a relative term as December temperatures in Hawaii average around 70 degrees. So, compared to other destinations which may have snowy winters, Hawaii is a pretty nice place to visit during the holiday season. 

Transportation and Hawaii 

Travelers planning to visit Hawaii during the holidays should decide their means of transportation well ahead of time.
Pictured: a coast of Hawaii with roaring waves and lush green forests surrounding a residential area on the beach

Getting to Hawaii

For those not worried about having a multiple island vacation, there are a few airports they can fly into to get to Hawaii. Considering a traveler’s vacation itinerary, the airport to fly directly to may vary since each island has a dedicated airport. The most popular airport that visitors arrive from is the Kona International Airport (KOA), which is located on the Big Island.


The Big Island, Maui, Oahu, Molokai, Kauai and Lanai are the main islands of Hawaii. Transportation varies from island to island but the majority of travelers use either buses, rental cars or ride-sharing apps to explore. For travelers who intend to take many tours, taking shuttles directly to attractions may be the most convenient. Tourists that stay in metropolitan areas and want to stay close to their accommodations may only need quick rides to restaurants across town unless walking is preferred.  

 Island Hopping 

The best way to get from island to island is air travel, but travelers can also acquire ferries for a cost. Not many islands are accessible by ferry though, so it may not be a reliable form of transportation. 

Those cruising around the Hawaiian islands have a convenient mode of transportation. Otherwise, travelers will need to travel by commercial plane between islands. Fortunately, flying between islands takes at most around 40 minutes since the major islands are relatively close together. 

The major Hawaiian islands can be reached by the only three airlines that have flights between them. Hawaiian Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Mokulele Airlines are the airlines that travelers can choose between. 

Christmas in Hawaii 

Spending Christmas in Hawaii is a popular choice for travelers. Learn about the number of activities that Hawaii’s islands offer. 
Pictured: tropical palm trees with Christmas lights lighting up the night at a resort

Check out these popular holiday festivities by island. Travelers have plenty of activities to choose from while planning their Hawaiian holiday. 


Oahu is one of the most popular islands to spend Christmas in. Due to its higher population it has an array of activities available to tourists. Some of the most popular holiday events in Oahu are the Honolulu Hale City Lights, Aloha Land’s Winter Wonderland and the North Shore Christmas Festival. Each of these events occur throughout December, so travelers visiting Oahu at nearly any point of the holiday season can enjoy them. 

Big Island

The Big Island hosts many Christmas events that are unique to its lands. The annual Waimea Christmas Twilight Parade and Kailua-Kona Christmas Parade are among the most notable of the Big Island’s Christmas events. Although each has their own flair, Waimea’s parade has more attractions. The parade has around 60 floats and is even graced by the presence of Saint Nick. 


Christmas celebrations in Maui are quite limited and intimate, compared to offerings from the rest of the islands. The top holiday celebration is the Festivus 5K Run, which is a special race that raises funds and collects donations for the Maui Food Bank. This event is perfect for visitors that want to give back to the community in Hawaii. 

Check out the holiday offerings of the many Hawaiian islands. 
Pictured: the warm sunset off the coast of Kauai


Since Kauai is one of the less touristy islands, travelers will experience smaller events like hula shows and local celebrations. The Kauai Festival of Lights and Waimea Christmas Parade (not to be mistaken with the Big Island’s parade, since there are three different towns with the same name) are quite popular. The light festival can be enjoyed daily from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Eve, so there are plenty of photo ops. 

Molokai and Lanai

Both Molokai and Lanai have Christmas celebrations, but they are not widely publicized since the islands are quaint. For example, Molokai (Kaunakakai) has a Christmas Light Parade and Lanai hosts a Christmas Festival. Visitors should expect to celebrate the holidays by engaging in community events and live entertainment alongside mostly locals if they visit Molokai or Lanai.