If you’ve been envisioning a warm-weather getaway for the upcoming seasons, Oahu, Hawaii is a special destination unlike any other. With spectacular beaches, renowned golf courses, top-notch dining options, and a host of water- and land-based activity options, there’s something for every traveler on Oahu. And traveling to this tropical isle is especially rewarding during the winter and spring seasons, when you’ll enjoy ideal weather and a plethora of activities and events. While planning the many details of an ideal vacation can be overwhelming, this ultimate Honolulu travel guide to winter and spring on Oahu will provide comprehensive tips that are sure to get you moving in the right direction!
Thanks to its warm weather that persists even throughout the winter months, Oahu is a top destination for those looking to escape cold weather elsewhere. While wind and snow sweep in throughout other parts of the world, Oahu remains a warm oasis. Though winter is considered the rainy season (November through March), most days still offer significant hours of sunshine. And as an added bonus, even when it’s raining on one part of the island, there’s often sunshine to be found on another beach. Throughout the winter, temperatures on Oahu remain steadily in the mid- to upper-70s during the day, with the evenings cooling off to temperatures that can often dip into the low 60s. Be sure to bring along a light jacket for cooler winter evenings, which often feel refreshing after a day in the sun!
In Hawaii, the term “April showers brings May flowers” doesn’t ring true. With the rainy season tapering off in March, the dry season begins in April and extends until October. That means that while colder regions are just beginning to thaw and the spring rains are setting in, you’ll find cloudless blue skies on Oahu. Temperatures climb more steadily into the high 70s and low 80s throughout the spring months, with evening temperatures also rising into the high 60s. Spring offers extremely pleasant weather in Hawaii, with warmer temperatures than winter but without the intensity that the summer heat can bring.
Hawaii’s peak travel season occurs from mid-December to mid-April and then again from mid-June to mid-September. If you have a flexible schedule and are able to travel outside of these busier times, you are more likely to find better deals on flights, accommodations, rental cars, and activities, not to mention fewer crowds on the beach. However, if like most other travelers, you’ll be heading to Oahu during peak travel season, there are a few things to keep in mind that will make your trip go more smoothly!
When traveling to Hawaii during peak travel season, be sure to book ahead. Especially in recent years, rental cars are quick to sell out, leaving travelers who didn’t plan ahead with no other option than to rely on public transportation. You’ll also want to book ahead for any activities that are high on your importance list, such as boat tours or a luau, as popular island activities are also quick to sell out in advance. And of course, with the vacation rental setting the stage for the entirety of your stay, you’ll want to plan ahead of time to snag the best Oahu vacation rental for your beach vacation!
Whether you prefer lounging along a postcard-perfect beach or summiting a challenging trail, you’ll find many ways to stay entertained on a winter getaway to Oahu. Whether you’ve got your sights set on soaking up as much sun as possible or you plan to balance the itinerary with the many cultural and historic sites Oahu has to offer, there are many ways to enjoy a winter day on Oahu. Be sure to add some of these favorite Honolulu winter activities on Oahu to your itinerary.
The migration season for humpback whales to Hawaii’s warm waters occurs between December and April, making winter an ideal time to take advantage of a whale watching excursion. While a keen eye can occasionally spot a whale spout from the shoreline, the only way to get a good look at these magnificent creatures is to book an Oahu whale watching excursion with a local boat tour company. A variety of outfitters operate on Oahu, offering tours that range from thrilling Zodiac rides to luxurious catamaran cruises. Onboard technology such as a hydrophone, an underwater microphone, allow passengers to hear current whale songs and for captains to easier locate nearby whales. Often sighting dolphins and sea turtles along the way, a whale watching tour is a great way to view some of Oahu’s most exciting wildlife! Check out Ko Olina Ocean Adventures for whale watching tour options.
Vacationing on Oahu during the winter holidays adds a host of festive holiday possibility options that are sure to brighten your stay. Christmas on Oahu brings unique island flair, such as watching Santa row his outrigger canoe ashore and getting in your holiday shopping among palm trees draped with twinkling lights. Productions of The Nutcracker, Christmas services in places of worship, and holiday parades also bring a traditional element of familiarity to celebrating the holidays in the islands. And there’s no better way to end the current year and ring in the next than with your toes in the sand and a vibrant firework display overhead!
While winter days are still plenty warm for enjoying the beach, they usually lack the intense heat and humidity that come with summer. That makes winter a great time to hit the trail, exploring some of the many miles of hiking trails that will get you away from the busyness of Honolulu and Waikiki. The Manoa Falls Trail is a favorite for its family-friendly terrain, short distance (1.6 miles round trip) and its culmination at a spectacular 150-foot waterfall. Views of the verdant green valley and groves of eucalyptus and bamboo create a lush scenery along the way. Diamond Head Trail is another favorite, summiting the Diamond Head Crater and offering sweeping views of Waikiki, Honolulu, and the surrounding area. This trek is just 1.6 miles roundtrip but also includes 560 feet of elevation gain.
Winter months bring a large swell to the North Shore to the extent that big wave surfing competitions draw pro surfers from around the world. While most travelers won’t be getting in the water at many North Shore beaches during the winter, taking in sights of the monster swell is worth a road trip north. Head to Waimea Bay, Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline) and Sunset Beach to catch some of the big wave action, but be sure to watch from a safe distance.
If you’re heading to Hawaii to escape cold weather elsewhere, you’ll be more than ready to soak up all the sunshine possible at Oahu’s best beaches. And thanks to Oahu’s year-round warm weather, it’s easy to enjoy a winter day at the beach! The tranquil ocean lagoons at Ko Olina are ideal for lounging in the sand or swimming, snorkeling, or stand up paddle boarding in the calm waters. Surf lessons can also be booked nearby to avoid the crowds of Waikiki. The secluded stretch of sand at Yokohama Bay is a favorite for its location off the beaten path, especially during the peak tourism season of winter when other beaches may be more crowded.
With much of spring occurring during Hawaii’s dry season, a typical Oahu spring day is filled with blue skies and sunshine. Honolulu spring on Oahu is a great time to enjoy the island’s many outdoor activities!
The peak tourism season tapers off in April, making the middle and end of spring an ideal time to explore some of the more popular beaches that can otherwise be crowded. Explore the famed shoreline of Waikiki, trying your hand at surfing or simply taking in the views. Another popular Oahu beach is Hanauma Bay, which is well-known for its excellent snorkeling. This bay offers a snorkeling experience guaranteed to surround you with a variety of tropical fish, thanks to its status as a protected aquatic Hawaii state park. With daily attendance limited in order to continue to protect this special destination, Hanauma Bay is a great option for spring when the final tourist crowds have gone.
With cloudless skies overhead, spring on Oahu is a great time to enjoy some of Oahu’s top outdoor attractions. Play a ground of golf at the Ko Olina Golf Club, head out on an excursion, go horseback riding, or fly on a zipline over a tropical canopy. There are so many ways to enjoy the great outdoors on a spring day on Oahu!
Without the humidity and intense heat of summer, winter and spring are ideal times to take advantage of Oahu’s al fresco dining scene. Not to mention an outdoor table often means being just steps away from the ocean with a stunning view. A good place to start for outdoor dining on Oahu is Mina’s Fish House, a Michelin-starred restaurant with a fabulous deck just steps from the aqua blue water. Dine on the fresh catch of the day alongside a cold brew or glass of wine as you take in panoramic beach views.
If you head up to the North Shore to experience the large winter swell, consider stopping in for a meal at Hale’iwa Beach House. This casual eatery is situated right on Waialua Bay, offering ocean breezes and scenic views. Snack on a bowl of edamame while you wait for your fresh catch, and be sure to save room for the warm fruity pebbles donuts!
Whether you need to get in some holiday shopping for your winter getaway to Oahu or you simply desire to get your shopping fix, Oahu offers the most extensive shopping experience of all the Hawaiian Islands. Located in Honolulu, Ala Moana Center is the largest open-air mall in the world, offering hundreds of shops that range from local boutiques to worldwide fashion brands, not to mention the many restaurants located here. Waikele Premium Outlets offers more great finds on all the latest trends, while the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet offers a distinctly local flair. The Waikiki Beach Walk offers another distinct island shopping experience, with local boutiques and specialty shops such as the Waikiki Christmas Store and the Ukulele Shop.
Be sure to check the local events calendar to see which of these Honolulu winter and spring events on Oahu coincide with your travel plans!
Generally held between December and January, there are several big wave surfing competitions held on Oahu’s North Shore that are well worth checking out if your travel dates align. The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing at Sunset Beach, Billabong Pipe Masters, and Eddie Would Go, held in honor of Eddie Aikau, all bring in big wave surfers from around the world.
With the marathon distance becoming increasingly popular even among casual runners, planning a destination race is one way to get and stay motivated. The Honolulu Marathon is held in January, and runners enjoy a route that takes them through Waikiki, Diamond Head, and Hawaii Kai.
Cultural events such as May Day add an extra element of fun to the itinerary. Held at the beginning of May, you’ll find lei making and hula events popping up around the island for May Day, known as Lei Day in Hawaii!
Whether you’re getting away for the entire season or staying just a few days, our winter and spring accommodations on Oahu offer an ideal place to vacation. At Ola Properties, we offer a variety of condos, villas, and private homes located on the desirable west coast of the island, just steps from beautiful white sand beaches. Equipped with everything you’ll need for your island vacation, these well-appointed Oahu vacation rentals are the perfect place to call home. Contact us at Ola Properties to learn more!