CHRISTMAS IN HAWAII | 30 THINGS TO DO IN HAWAII FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Mele Kalikimaka! If you ever plan a Christmas in Hawaii, you will want to make sure you do something from the Oahu Photography Tours list of the top 30 things to do while you’re getting sunburnt when everyone else is freezing.
The winter can be the most fantastic time here on the island. You can watch the giant waves on the North Shore of Oahu, or you can make snow angels on top Mauna Kea on the Big Island. No matter what you do, you know everyone back home will be super jealous of your Christmas Vacation in Hawaii. It’s ok to rub it in on social media. Of course, you shouldn’t forget to bring back some gifts for everyone … 🙂
Now with the Christmas list. It will be challenging in choosing to want you are going to do with so many choices. Still, if you can do a minimum of 2 things from this list, you will probably come back for more as the list is pretty epic.
Honolulu’s Best Winter Hike Experiences
Depending on your skill level, you will always want to pay attention to the weather before hiking and always bring water!!!
1. Kaena Point
The farthest point from Waikiki is the first on this list because it will probably be the hardest to complete, but if you can do this one, you will not regret it. A short walk from the end of the road will take you to an unbelievable location where you can find all types of wildlife during the Winter season. If you can’t find the 6-foot wind spanned Lassen Albatross flying all over the place, we don’t know what to tell you. Try to look for the Monk Seal sleeping on the lava rocks, but remember to keep your distance. You wouldn’t want some weirdos coming up to you while you were sleeping, would you? If you can start the hike around 2 pm and get out to the end around 3:30, you could have the best lighting for photos when you reach the point. Start your walk back at 5:00 and enjoy the sun dipping down into the ocean. This is also the best time to look for humpback whales. You will be able to spot their spouts out in the sunlight. If you can pull this one off, tag us in some of your photos on IG with #oahuphototours
Oahu Photo Tours does not go to this location on the tours but you can access this location from both the Westside and North Shore ways. Have fun and be safe.
2. Diamond Head Sunrise
The hike up to the Diamond Head lookout opens up at 6 AM no matter what time of year so you won’t always be able to catch the sunrise up here. However, during the winter months, when the sun is coming around 7 AM, you can get your booty in gear and get up to the top by 6:30 no problem. Learn the phrase Sumimasen (Sumi-Ma-Sen). This means excuse me in Japanese. You will have to part the red seas when hiking up. The Japanese love to get on this one early but kind of take their time. So don’t be rude, just let them know you’re hot on their trail. When you get to the top do not, we mean it, do not jump over the rail to hike to the next bunker closer to the Waikiki side. You will not get a much better view from there. We are serious … Have fun 🙂
3. Makapu’u Lighthouse
One of our favorite hikes on the island is the Makapuu Lighthouse trail. No matter what time of day you head out for this one, you are going to love it. About the same level hiking as Diamond head, this hike is about a mile up and will take about 35-45 minutes. There are a few lookout points you will want to check out before getting to the top where the epic view is. It is also one of the best spots to look for humpback whales. They will be everywhere. Just watch out for their spouts and breeches. Go the extra mile, and get up to the highest point on the top for the best view of all.
4. Sunset Pill Box Hike
Now we are going to throw a hard one in. Not necessarily hard as in hiking hard but more so hard to find. We are using the nickname for this one. It does have a different name, but you will have to go to “school” to learn the real name. That was a hint on where it is located BTW. With some epic views of all the significant surf breaks and epic sunsets, the short hike up will be worth it, but not that hard. Swing by Foodland before you do this one and pick up some water and snakes … and maybe a beer to cheers up top. Good luck.
5. Crouching Lion
Another epic hike, but this one is going to be the most difficult and challenging. Do not go on this hike if you do not like heights or do not have the proper hiking shoes. It is pretty vertical and can be very muddy. To get to the first lookout will take you anywhere from 15 minutes to never, all depending on you. Once you get to the first lookout, you can decide if you have what it takes to keep going as it will get a little harder but not for too much longer. The view of Kahana Valley will take your breath away. It is like looking into the past and seeing an ancient Hawaiian Valley. We recommend starting this hike early and do not leave anything in your car. Never leave anything in your vehicle. Santa is always forgetting gifts and sometimes grabs your stuff. Damn Santa.
Best Christmas Light Display in Hawaii
Now it’s time to get into the Holiday spirit. These are a few of our favorite tips, and we hope you do at least one of these so you, too, can experience Christmas in Hawaii.
6. Hawaii Kai Boat Parade
A unique style to your Holiday parade will be found early in December in Hawaii Kai. The locals in this area go all out with decorations on their boats, kayaks, and jet skis. The winners get cash and put the money right back into next year’s design. You can enjoy the parade from the Hawaii Kai shopping center or sneak your way into the neighborhood called Koko Isle and pretend you live there. We have been doing that for years, hahaha. Check out the details HERE
7. Downtown Honolulu City Lights
In Hawaii, we have to put in some effort for it to feel like Christmas, and we think the City does a great job with their lights festival and parades. Starting on in Early December, the City lights up the Christmas Tree near whats know as Honolulu Hale and continues with parades and block party. Even if you do not get a chance to see the lighting and the parade, it is still worth the effort to make your way down and see the lights. Get more info from GoHawaii.Com
8. Honolulu City Lights Trolly Tour
Every evening starting December 8th, you and the family can hop on a City Trolly for $8 a person and be taken around to see the light displays. Every year we hear the crowds on the trolleys as they pass by hooting and hollering along the way. It is so much fun and will make for a memorable night. Check out the info HERE
9. Christmas Lane Kaneohe
If you happen to be in the Kaneohe area one eve, take a walk down Namoku Street, also known as Christmas Lane. Swing by the Starbucks in the shopping center right before and pick up a hot chocolate. You will feel the holiday spirit as you pass by the local families enjoying the lights with you. These neighbors go at it as they are trying to compete with the one next door, and their displays are pretty dang funny.
10. Waikele Neighborhood Lights
The word around town is this is the light show to see. Know as The Great Christmas Light Fight, and the sky is the limit with these electric bills. About 15 to 20 homes go at it each year with a crazy amount of lights and decorations. The streets will be pretty crowded on the weekends but not too bad on weekdays. If you happen to be staying in Ko Olina, then you need to make sure you stop by this area and take a walk down the streets. You can’t even drive down the road because of the foot traffic. Tag us with your photos at #oahuphototours
If you have any questions about these topics, email Contact.
Where to Spend New Years Eve in Honolulu
Ringing in the new year in Hawaii is something most people will never get to do in their life. Still, you had the opportunity to celebrate the new year in paradise. So where do you spend your time? We have listed some of our favorite spots to let the good times roll. This might be a little off the normal, but trust us, these are very fun and memorable. Especially the first one.
11. H1 Freeway
No other place in the united state celebrates the New Year, like the residents of Hawaii. You will never see a firework show like this anywhere, period. While the “O.K.” fireworks of Waikiki are getting ready to go off for a few minutes, the rest of the island has been launching off the “Big Boys” for over an hour and swill continue until 1:00 am or past. If you want to see the best firework show in Hawaii, take a drive on the H1 starting at the Mucully on-ramp around 11:30 Pm heading West. Continue until you reach the Ewa Beach off-ramp, then get off only to get back on and then pull off on the side of the road where you can get a fantastic view of all the fireworks! It is something to see. You will never regret skipping the typical New Years party with the crowds. This is the favorite choice for any Oahu Photography Tours guide.
12. Rum Fire
Do you want a party like its 1999? Then the Sheraton/Rum Fire Carvial party is precisely what you are looking for. Starting at 8:30 PM, this is a historic location with ocean views and firework displays, to bring in the new year. It will be a little pricy, but if you want to party hard, then this is it. Make sure you purchase the tickets before the event, as they will most likely sell out. Get more info HERE.
13. Sky Waikiki New Years Masquerade Party 2020
Located above the Waikiki streets is the Sky Waikiki. Hanging out up here will make you feel like a million bucks when the ball drops at midnight. With a dance floor and a wrap-around deck looking at the city lights and fireworks, this could be an excellent choice for you. You will have to follow the dress code at this place, or you won’t get in. Check the details HERE
14. For The Whole Family
The Moana Surfrider would be our pick for the best party that you can bring the whole family to. With a live band and a very relaxed ambiance, you will enjoy yourself here. Knowing that people have been celebrating the New Year here for over 100 years is a pretty cool thing to think about. It could be the oldest party in Waikiki. A great resource would be visiting this WEBSITE.
15. Waikiki Beach
The easiest and possibly most fun would be to simply hit up the Waikiki streets and find some parties to jump in and out of. You do not have to pay the big bucks to party like a baller. You can enjoy yourself just walking the streets and telling people Happy New Year and feeling the happiness of the last bit of the holidays.
No matter what you do, know that you are about to ring in the New Year in Hawaii, and that is so special as you will be part of the last group ion the world to love in the past. Have fun, and have a Happy New Year! 🎊
Five Ultimate Surf Breaks to Watch Surfing
Winter is coming … JK. Winter is here. We like to think of the winter in Hawaii as the 3 W’s. Waves, whales, and waterfalls. The winter months bring the beautiful Humpback whales back home to play int he Hawaiian waters. The weather doesn’t get that much colder, but it does bring the “rainy season” and wit that, we can see a lot of waterfalls in the mountains. The number one thing that says winter in Hawaii s the big waves on the North Shore of Hawaii. There is no denying that the waves on Oahu are the most impressive in the world, and they are only a few minute’s walks from each other. Here is a list of the best ones to watch on the North Shore of Oahu. The North Shore Tour will take you there!
16. Waimea Bay
Perhaps the most beautiful big surf bay in the world is Waimea Bay. During the summer months, this bay looks like a playground for all types of swimmers. With its crystal clear water and playful dolphins, your jaw will drop every time you round the corner to see the bay. Now, in the wintertime, your jaw will lose even more when you see the 40 to 60-foot waves breaking outside the bay, sometimes with packs of surfers waiting for the most epic ride of their life. You will have to get up here early with you want the right parking spot, or you can walk from where ever you find a place to pull off. Read the parking signs before you leave your car, you don’t want to come back to have a ticket or worse, no car at all.
17. Sunset Point
Known to have a great place to watch the sunset, Sunset Point is a proving ground for most surfers. It is a very dangerous wave to surf but can be one of the most amazing rides ever. The only problem with this beach is over the years, the sand has been disappearing, and when the surf is massive, it can be hard to find a spot to watch the ocean. If you happen to get here early, sing over to the Sunrise Shack for a great coffee and healthy snack.
18. Banzai Pipeline
Ok, so if you haven’t heard of this wave, then… we don’t know what to say. The most famous surf break in the entire world lies right in the middle of the North Shore of Oahu, known as the Banzai Pipeline. At first glance, you might think this is just another wave, but then you notice that for some reason, there are 100 times more guys sitting in one small group than any other surf break you have ever seen. Then you notice this little hump rolling in from a distance, standing taller and taller. You think it should break any minutes, but it just keeps growing. Then, only about 300 years, if that from shore, the waves are standing about 30 foot high, with a vertical dropdown. A group of guys starts digging with all their might, one by one pulling back when there is one surfer left to ride this massive beast. Dropping straight down and then turning hard down the line, the surfer seems to disappear. Don’t look away just yet. As the water spits out of the barrel of the wave, you see a silhouette coming out of this massive hole of water. You hear the beach erupt into excitement. Congratulations, you have just witnessed the Banzai Pipeline. Now, the next one is breaking. Want to see that in person? Book our North Shore Tour from Oahu Photo Tours! It’s the best 🙂
19. Off the Wall
Depending on the direction of where the storm generated waves that will ultimately hit the coast of Oahu, some waves might not break as they should. Right down the way from the Banzai Pipeline is a surf break known as Off The Wall. You might recognize this name from the famous shoe company, “Vans.” This is a great surf break to watch from heights of 3 feet to 20 feet. The maneuvers surfers can pull off here is impressive.
20. Keiki Beach
For a while, your email might have been bombarded with some breathtaking images from inside a wave. There is a famous surfer named Clark Little that has developed a side of photography that has taken the surf world by storm. You might be able to see him in action at Keiki beach, getting pounded by the shore break. It will hurt you to watch it, but you will be in awe if you happen to take a look at his work. Go here in the middle f the day when the light is perfect for those blue waves.
Best Quick Bites: Top 5 Oahu Fast Food Spots
We came across this little gem while on our Instagram Hawaii Tour. Located in Kakaako, E.A.R.L. has some epic sandwiches to choose from. The place is pretty basic, but that doesn’t matter because the food is some dang good. If you happen to be at the wall art in Kakaako, we highly recommend stopping in the spot for a bite to eat. You can be energized when taking photos or just walking around. Check out their Menu.
22. Jax Pizza Hale’iwa
A brand new restaurant to hit the North Shore is Jax Wood Fired Pizza. These guys had a brick over shipped in from Italy to make the pizza that much better. We have stopped in a few times on our tours, and everyone seems to enjoy the taste and quality. There have been quite a few pizza spots on the North Shore come and go, but we have a feeling this one is here to stay. Get a pizza to go and take it to the beach to watch the surf! JAX WOOD FIRED PIZZA. When joining a tour with Oahu Photography Tours, all guests get 20% off a pizza. Who cares about you?
23. Ikes Sandwiches
So we were walking around the Ala Moana Mall the other day and got hungry. In the food court near Macy’s, we found a lot of options, but nothing stuck out. Then we came across Ike’s, who has Love and Sandwiches. The menu looks great with all kinds of options for all types of stomachs. Highly reckoned to get a sandwich from this place. It is a chain but worth it.
24. Kahuku Superette
With everyone so in love with Poke these days, we couldn’t leave this one out. Alex lived right across the street from this spot back in ’06. Almost every afternoon, he would go into the convenient store, walk to the back, and get a Poke Bowl to go. With only two options, you know they have perfected the art of the Poke Bowl. They are one of the first Poke Bowl stops in Hawaii. If you have to see wind farms on the North Shore, then you are close enough to make the stop.
25. Kalapawi Market
Almost 100 years old, this country store next to Kailua beach will surprise you with the quality and prices they have. Our favorite is the breakfast burrito, and we think it is the best in all of Hawaii. A lot of our guests have a hard time finding a good cup of coffee. That is until they are brought here on our Circle Island Sunrise Tour. You can’t miss this cute green building almost in a place where you wouldn’t expect to see a store. If you have any Green Stamps laying around, they might expect them here.
Five Unforgettable Events During Winter in Hawaii
Wow! Did you make it this far? To wrap things up, we have five events that you will most likely be around for one or two while you are visiting Hawaii. Have fun on these adventures, and remember to tag #oahuphototours when out there enjoying Hawaii.
26. Surfing Competitions
While the first of the Van’s Tripple Crown starts a little before the holiday season, there is still so much to watch. In the first few weeks of December, the Superbowl of surfing will be held at the Banzai Pipeline. For a few months after, there will be more contests to watch. If you happen to be here during the Banzai Pipeline Masters, get your but up there to see it. You will remember it forever. Check out the schedule of the Vans Tripple Crown here.
27. Honolulu City Light
The first weekend of December will have the tree lighting ceremony with events all night long. If you don’t make the first night, they will have more activities the next night and the weeks leading up to Christmas. It might not feel like Christmas in Hawaii with it being warm all the time, but this does make it feel like the Holidays are here. Check out the Honolulu City Lights.
28. Chinese New Years
For those of you that didn’t make it to Hawaii during the traditional Holidays, you’re in luck. We have a thriving Chinese population here, and ever January, they celebrate their news years with impressive parades and events for a few days. We highly recommend catching the show. Check the details for Honolulu Chinese New Year here.
29. New Years Eve Oahu Fireworks
We kind of already went over this in one of the sections above. Still, we just want to remind you that it doesn’t matter where you will be for fireworks just as long as you see some. There are so man shows that happen around the island. If you happen to be by the Ko Olina area, the hotels there put on a great show. Waikiki is pretty good, but in all honesty, it could be a lot better. Have fun and be safe where ever you decide to watch the fireworks in Hawaii for New Year’s Eve. Happy New Year from Oahu Photography Tours.
30. Pow Wow Hawaii
Last but not least. Have you seen fantastic street art while drinking around your city or on vacation? IN Hong Kong, a group of street artists got together and painted fantastic art around the city. This because very popular and so it spread around the world. In 2011 artists came to the Kakaako area and started to bring beauty into an area that didn’t have much character. Now you can enjoy a walk around the neighborhood looking at the beautiful street art. There is so much to see. It is somewhat overwhelming. Make sure you do it soon because ever February, they come back to paint over last year’s art.
Join the Instagram Tour from Oahu Photo Tours for a tour of the Kakaako Wall Art.
CHRISTMAS IN HAWAII | 30 THINGS TO DO IN HAWAII FOR THE HOLIDAYS
There is so much you can choose to do while you’re vacationing here during the holidays, but as long as you try to do something different every day, you will have a great time. We at Oahu Photography Tours know it is tempting to go back to that beach you went to already, but trust us, explore. The more you see, the more you will have to remember. One great thing we recommend is taking our Circle Island Sunrise Photo Adventure the first day you arrive. See all the best places the island has to show and capture the best photos. Bring your phone ion the tour. You will still get the best photos even if you do not have an expensive camera.