Things to do in Maui in Winter

You can also enjoy Maui during the winter thanks to its tropical climate, so come with me to discover some of the best things to do in Maui during this season!

Verónica Álvarez

Verónica Álvarez

8 min read

Things to do in Maui in Winter

Maui | ©Gordon Baldwin

The climate in Maui is tropical, for this reason, temperatures do not vary much from summer to winter. The main difference between both seasons is that winter is the rainy season.

Due to the climatic characteristics, during this time of the year you will find an endless number of things to see and do in Maui, from cruises and whale watching to typical dance shows. You will be amazed with all that Mui has to offer and you will fall in love with this island paradise.

1. Enjoy and learn with whale watching in Maui

Whales swimming at the surface| ©National Marine Sanctuaries
Whales swimming at the surface| ©National Marine Sanctuaries

Winter is whale season on Maui. Humpback whales migrate to the warm waters of Hawaii during the winter months and the official whale watching season on Maui runs from mid-December to mid-May, with the peak whale watching months being January, February and March.

Whale watching is one of the most popular activities on Maui in the winter. Whale watching cruises are a wonderful way to see these magnificent creatures, but you can also see them from land and even hear them sing underwater.

Book your Whale Watching Cruise

2. Attend the annual lighting of the Banyan Tree in Lahaina

Banyan Tree in Lahaina.| ©Roger Wong
Banyan Tree in Lahaina.| ©Roger Wong

You may find it a little strange, but in Maui during the days leading up to Christmas, Christmas tree lighting ceremonies are also held like in other cities in the United States.

Unlike other regions of the country, what is decorated and illuminated is not a pine tree, but a banyan tree, a type of tree typical of Polynesia considered sacred.

The traditional banyan tree lighting ceremony is held in Lahaina Park where you can see how the huge banyan tree (almost 150 years old) is illuminated for the holidays.

This event is free and also includes holiday crafts, live entertainment and children's activities throughout the day.

During the months of December and January there are several Christmas activities in Lahiana in which you can participate.

Practical Information

  • Where: Lahiana Park.
  • When: it is advisable to consult the official calendar because the dates change every year.
  • Price: it is a free activity.

3. Attend a round of golf at the PGA TOUR Sentry Tournament of Champions

Golf Tournament| ©Andres
Golf Tournament| ©Andres

If you're interested in sports, you can't miss the opportunity to witness a world-class PGA match on Maui.

This sporting event is held at the Plantation Golf Course in Kapalua. It is unique in that only players who have won official PGA TOUR events during the previous year qualify to participate in this annual event.

This long-running event is one of the most anticipated activities on Maui in the winter, offering the opportunity to see some of the world's best golfers in action.

Tickets for the Sentry Tournament are reserved online and it is advisable to book early because they sell out.

Practical Information

  • Where: Plantation Golf Course.
  • When: It is advisable to consult the official calendar because the dates tend to change from one year to another.
  • Price: You can buy tickets starting at approximately 120 euros.

4. See Maui from a different perspective flying in a helicopter

Enjoy the experience| ©Ethan Eddins
Enjoy the experience| ©Ethan Eddins

For adrenaline lovers, one of the best activities is to take a helicopter ride over Maui to contemplate the beauty of the landscape from a totally different perspective.

This is a great activity to do in winter, when you have a few days without much sun and prefer not to go to the beach.

In these rides you will fly over the island and you will be able to observe the wonderful geography of Maui, its waterfalls and valleys without missing the details. You will be able to take incredible photos to treasure for the rest of your life.

There are different options for helicopter rides, but keep in mind that this is not an activity suitable for people with a fear of heights.

Book your helicopter ride over Maui here

5. Have fun at the Chinese New Year Festival

Chinese New Year Festival| ©Michael G Winters
Chinese New Year Festival| ©Michael G Winters

At this event you can celebrate the Chinese culture that has been part of Hawaii's community for generations. Every year a Chinese New Year festival is held at the Maui Mall in Kahului (Central Maui) and also at the Wo Hing Museum and Cooking House (West Maui).

At this event you will enjoy music, entertainment as well as martial arts demonstrations, Chinese fireworks and a traditional Lion Dance.

The Chinese New Year celebration in Maui is a highly recommended activity to do with children due to its colorful, fun and festive atmosphere.

Practical Information

  • Where: it is celebrated in two different places, at the Maui Mall and at the Wo Hing Museum and Cooking House located on Front Street in Lahiana.
  • When: usually the event is held on February 31 but may change.
  • Price: it is a free activity.

6. Attend or participate in the World Whale Day run and walk for whales

Whales swimming at the surface| ©National Marine Sanctuaries
Whales swimming at the surface| ©National Marine Sanctuaries

Every year a run and walk is organized to support humpback whale research. The festivities begin and end at the Maalaea Harbor Mall (South Central Maui) and include different courses, with a length of 1.6 km, 5 km, 10 km and 18.5 km.

There are also other participation options posted on the official World Whale Day race page.

If you are fit and want to actively participate in this event by running or walking, you can register for the race and be one of its protagonists.

7. Visit the Maui Whale Festival

Humpback Whale| ©Kurzon
Humpback Whale| ©Kurzon

The Pacific Whale Foundation organizes the Maui Whale Festival every year between February and March. This is a month-long celebration of humpback whales, with a series of events generally taking place throughout the month of February.

The events vary from year to year, as do the locations where the different activities take place. For that reason, I advise you to check the calendar of events and all the details as they become available.

8. Sail the magnificent waters of Maui on a Cruise Ship

Maui| ©BirdsEyePix
Maui| ©BirdsEyePix

Another ideal activity to do in winter, during the cloudy days, is to take one of the best boat rides in Maui.

This type of activity is highly recommended during the winter, since the cloudy days make the experience more enjoyable since the sun is not as strong as during the summer.

There are different options of boat rides with prices ranging from 90 to 160 euros approximately, and have a duration of between 2 hours and 2 hours and a half.

This type of ride sometimes includes cocktails and meals on board during the night, so they can be a romantic option for couples. You can also do other night activities in Maui with your partner or group.

Book your Maui boat tour

9. Snorkel in Maui

Snorkeling at Ulua Beach| ©Ian Hamel
Snorkeling at Ulua Beach| ©Ian Hamel

Although this is an activity that you can practice at any time of the year, during the winter is more advisable for climatic reasons, since you will find very pleasant temperatures, but without having to worry about the intensity of UV rays that can burn you a lot if you are long snorkeling in the middle of summer.

Snorkeling in Maui is an activity that you will surely enjoy. Besides, you don't need to have previous experience. You will love being in contact with the varied marine fauna of the island.

These activities are priced from 155 euros and include the use of the necessary equipment.

Book your snorkeling experience in Maui

10. Feel the surf action at Ho'okipa beach

Surfing in Maui| ©Jeff Rowley
Surfing in Maui| ©Jeff Rowley

During the winter months, surfers flock to Ho'okipa Beach, located on Maui's north shore just beyond the town of Paia, to practice their skills.

This beach is considered one of the best places for surfing and windsurfing worldwide.

You can watch for hours dozens of professional athletes and amateurs waiting for the ideal wave. There is no fee for this activity, since entering the beach park is free.

Watching the windsurfers is fascinating and during the winter, in the periods of higher swell, you will be able to see the surfers riding huge waves at Ho'okipa. Surfers who visit Maui say the waves at Ho'okipa are some of the best in the region.

Practical Info

  • Where: Ho'okipa Beach.
  • When: daily depending on sea conditions.
  • Price: it's free

Maui's weather in winter

Maui| ©Kahunapule Michael
Maui| ©Kahunapule Michael

The island of Maui is famous for its multiple microclimates, ranging from dry and desert-like to wet and green. For this reason, the weather in one part of the island may not be the same as another.

If it rains in Hana, it may be sunny in Lahaina or cold in Paia. Each area of the island has its own weather and climate patterns.

The Hawaiian Islands really only have two seasons: summer and winter. On Maui, the dry season occurs during the summer months from April through October and the rainy season corresponds to the winter months.

Fortunately, there are also many rainy day activities on Maui, so you won't get bored if it rains during your stay on the island.

Most of the time, the west coast of Maui gets the least amount of rain due to its lower altitude. The tourist areas of Kaanapali, Lahaina and Kihei are located there and it is usually sunny most of the year.

However, the mountains of West Maui get a fair amount of rain, which contributes to the lush scenery that attracts visitors to the Road to Hana.

Central Maui tends to have colder, drier and windier weather than the rest of the island in winter. This is especially true in Haleakala National Park, where it can snow at the summit.

Even during the summer, the trip up to the Haleakala Visitor Center, at almost 3,000 meters above sea level, always requires warm clothing. Keep in mind that, as a general rule, winter temperatures range from 18 to 26 degrees Celsius.

What to pack for a winter visit to Maui

Luggage| ©Anete Lūsiņa
Luggage| ©Anete Lūsiņa

You should take into account the varied climate in Maui depending on the area and bring appropriate clothing and shoes, both for the beach and for exploring wilder places.

If you plan to hike, it is advisable to be prepared and a good pair of waterproof hiking boots can be an optimal solution so that the rains do not affect your plans to walk around the island.

The clothes you will need are mostly summer clothes, because in winter the temperatures are not low, but if you are going to visit the higher areas you should bring some warm clothes because there you can feel colder.

You should also remember to bring sunscreen, hat and sunglasses. If you have any kind of allergy to insect bites or plants, for example, you should bring your allergy medicine to the trip, because you may not find the one you usually take in pharmacies.

As in all destinations with tropical climate, in Maui there are also insects, so bring a good insect repellent and some cream for bites.

If you are traveling with children, remember to bring something to entertain them during the transfers from one place to another because, although the distances are short, they can get bored while moving to the different activities.

In Maui there are many activities to do with children, include some in your itinerary to make the trip more fun for the little ones.