Hawaii in December

Tourists from across the United States look to escape the winter weather and visit tropical paradises like Hawaii during the year’s coldest months. We love visiting Hawaii in December for the peak surfing conditions, holiday festivities, and even snowboarding if you’re adventurous! This article will discuss why your next trip to Hawaii should be in December.

Is December a Good Time?

While you may think of Hawaii as a year-round destination, knowing how each month differs is essential. So, is December a good month to visit Hawaii?

December is a good time to visit Hawaii. The weather is usually great during this month, and it’s ideal for enjoying tropical Christmas with your family. To avoid crowds and enjoy nature and open trails, visiting in early December is recommended.


What Part of Hawaii Is Best To Visit in December?

The Big Island is the best part of Hawaii to visit in December. On average, you’ll get less rain than on the other islands. Biodiversity and an incredible range of topography make December a good time to visit the Big Island.

All the Hawaiian Islands are wonderful to visit, even in December. But what makes the Big Island special in December is you could potentially surf and snowboard on the same day! You can also see an active volcano, snorkel, and take a scenic hike during December.

Weather Overview

Average high temps in December

The weather in December is something you may be pondering when you’re planning a vacation to Hawaii. Different islands may see slightly different conditions. So, what is the overall weather like in December in Hawaii?

The weather in Hawaii during December has an average high temperature ranging from a low of 78°F (26°C) to a high of 82°F (28°C). The average rainfall ranges from 1.4 in. (35.56 mm) in Maui to 5 in. (127mm) in Kauai. On average, wind can also be noticeable at over 14mph (22.53 kph).

The warm weather makes Hawaii a good place to visit in December, with very consistent average high temperatures this time of year. However, the weather can vary a bit from one time of the day to another.

Weather Details

While the average high temperatures are ideal during November and December in Hawaii, there are some other important weather patterns that you’ll want to pay attention to. But not every island in Hawaii has the same weather in December; let’s take a look at some characteristics of each.

Big Island

The Big Island has the most diversity in weather as it features a snow-capped mountain in December and other winter months. We love the weather on the Big Island, and much of it is warm and dry compared to other Hawaiian islands in December.

Rain: The average rainfall in December ranges from 2.5 in. (63.5 mm) to 3.1 in. (78.74 mm). But don’t worry, it’s not like it rains all day. There are plenty of fun outdoor activities to participate in when visiting Hawaii in December, as the rain tends to fall in shorter intervals instead of all day long.

The rainiest part of the Big Island is Hilo, but that’s what makes it beautiful. One thing we love to do is find impressive waterfalls, and the rain makes them that much more gorgeous.

Like other Hawaiian islands, wind on the Big Island is noticeable at certain times of the day, averaging over 14 mph (22.5308 kph). Days are much shorter, and nights are cooler, so you’ll want to head outside sooner rather than later. But the average temperature is still lovely at 80–82F (26–28C).


Oahu is known for having a nice mix of urban and tropical scenery. Like the other Hawaiian Islands, it’s warm and inviting in December. The average high temperature is between 80–82 F (26–28C), and there’s plenty of sunshine most of the time.

Rain: Oahu gets a moderate amount of rain in December. The averages range from 1.9 (48.26 mm) to 2.6 (66.04 mm). Like other Hawaiian islands, the rain is intermittent, and there are rarely hurricanes.


When you think of Kauai, you probably think of the lush tropical landscape. It is known by many as the greenest island and a hiker’s paradise. The weather in December plays an important part here.

Rain: December is a very rainy month in Kauai. Especially on the island’s Northside, you will see numerous showers throughout the day.

The west and south parts get less rain. The average rainfall on Kauai averages between 3.7 in. (93.98 mm) to 5 in. (127 mm).

Overall, Kauai gets more rain than the other islands, but it is still very comfortable for much of the day. The average highs range from 78 F to 80 F (25–26C), allowing you to do plenty of adventurous activities in December.


Maui is also a wonderful island to visit in December. The average temperature is the most consistent of the Hawaiian islands as it barely fluctuates the entire month. 81 F to 82 F (27C) is your everyday high temp on average in Maui.

Rain: Maui has very little rain. In fact, Maui is the driest island in Hawaii, with an average ranging from 1.4 in. (35.56 mm) to 1.9 in. (48.26 mm). This lack of rain makes it ideal for activities that require you to be outside for an extended period without needing a place to shelter from the rain.

Maui also gets approximately the same amount of other weather factors as the other Hawaiian Islands, like:

  • Wind
  • Daylight
  • Humidity.

Water Conditions | Beaches | Swimming

The water temperature in Hawaii is something that makes it very unique. Water temperatures are colder on the bottom of the ocean in Hawaii and warm up above.

This cooler water gets mixed with the warmer water up top, which is not ideal for hurricanes. As a result, there are not many hurricanes in Hawaii.

It’s a great place to do water activities year-round. In December, you can still have a great time doing water play like:

  • Snorkeling
  • Swimming
  • Surfing
  • Diving
  • Relaxing at the beach.

The water temperature is still very enjoyable during December. The average temperature in the Hawaiian Islands is between 77°F and 78°F (25–26°C). It doesn’t change much from island to island, but you may encounter differences if you visit in early December rather than late December.

Because temperatures average a few degrees less in January, if you head to the beach in late December, you might experience chillier water. The waves can also be more intense during late December, as winter has some of the largest waves in Hawaii.

We visited in early December, and the snorkeling was a bit rough but still fun. But be aware that waves are more intense and beaches are more crowded in late December, so there is an increased risk for water play.

Can You Swim in December in Hawaii?

You can swim in December in Hawaii if you are careful. Choose an area with less open water, like a bay or cove. This protection will help insulate you from the waves, which tend to be at their biggest during December. December is an excellent time to swim if you choose the correct location.

What To Wear/Packing List

When visiting Hawaii in December, you wear layers of lightweight clothing. Have a rainjacket or umbrella for the occasional rain shower with you but be prepared for high temperatures near 80 °F (26°C). Additionally, bring a light jacket or long sleeve shirt in the morning and night as the low temperatures can be below 70 °F (21°C).

We like to wear a rain jacket since there’s a good chance we might need it if we get stuck in a storm while out hiking. However, make sure you don’t overdress, as December in Hawaii is still quite warm.

Packing List
  • T-shirts/ Blouses
  • Shorts/Dresses
  • Button-ups/Dress shirts
  • Flip flops
  • Sunglasses
  • Rain Jacket
  • Hats
  • Swimming trunks
  • Goggles
  • Snorkeling gear.

How Busy/Crowds/Rates

Hawaii in December is not always as busy as you might think. While the weeks of Christmas and New Year are very popular times, the rest of the month isn’t as crowded as some other times of the year.

Crowds: From Christmas through New Year, Hawaii is a bustling place. Hawaii is especially busy because kids and people are off work and out of school. That means a lot of people from colder destinations vacation here during this time.

But most of the month is a perfect time to visit Hawaii, even if you want to avoid crowds. Your best option is to arrive in Hawaii earlier in the month; I was surprised how many locations weren’t that busy. Beaches, hiking trails, and other attractions will be much less crowded from early to mid-December.

You can avoid Christmas and New Year’s crowds by waking up early and heading to areas away from the hotel districts. I like to do this regardless of when we travel, but it is imperative around the holidays in Hawaii.

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Hotel and Airfare: Arriving in early December will ensure you get the cheapest airfare and car rentals. The later you get into December, both can go up considerably. We had a trip to Hawaii in December where, had we not booked our car in advance, it would have been nearly impossible to get.

Surprisingly, hotels are cheaper up until a day or two before Christmas. But airfares are more expensive starting halfway through the month and can also be tricky with weather delays caused by storms in other parts of the USA.

Things To Do

Hawaii in December is an excellent time to visit, no matter what you are interested in. When visiting Hawaii in December, favorite activities range from taking a beautiful drive on the Big Island’s backroads to whale watching in Kauai.

When visiting Hawaii in December, you can enjoy all the outdoor activities as much as any time of the year. As long as you prepare and plan ahead to avoid the crowds, you’ll be able to see all the beautiful things that make Hawaii so great.

But if you come during Christmas and New Year, you can count on having an even more special time in Hawaii. Many hotels do a great job decorating and hosting meet Santa and other events for the whole family.

There’s also something special about opening gifts around the pool or on the sand. So plan a trip to Hawaii during the holidays and see the light displays and parades that make December in Hawaii so unique.

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