Things to do on Maui in winter: couple swimming in the ocean with santa hats on

Things To Do on Maui in Winter (December-January-February)

Winter is one of the most popular visitor seasons on Maui. . .for obvious reasons! While most of the United States is blanketed under snow and suffering through miserable temperatures, Maui’s perpetually warm weather becomes more appealing than ever. If you are planning a winter escape, here are some of the most exciting events and fun things to do on Maui in winter.




Whale Watching: December 15th marks the official start of whale season on Maui! Whale watching is one of the most popular things to do on Maui in winter when thousands of humpback whales migrate from Alaska to Hawaii to mate and give birth. During this time, many tour boats offer whale watching cruises. This is the best way to observe these gentle giants in their natural habitat! You can also easily spot whales from land and even hear them singing underwater! Whale sightings peak from January to March, but there are still plenty of whales to be found in Maui’s waters in December. Before you visit Maui this winter, take a look at these Whale Watching Tips.


Best Things to do on Maui in Winter: Whale Watching


Holiday Events: Other than the whales, December on Maui is all about tropical holiday cheer! Santa often visits Maui in December, usually via outrigger canoe instead of his regular sleigh. During this time, expect holiday events, concerts, and craft fairs featuring local hand-made artwork that make unique gifts. Check with your accommodation or browse the local newspapers for schedules of holiday events while you’re here. 


One of our favorite holiday events on Maui:

The Annual Lighting of the Banyan Tree in Lahaina. Each year in December, Lahaina’s iconic banyan tree is lit up for the holidays. This lively ceremony also features holiday arts and crafts, live entertainment, and children’s activities throughout the day. 


2022 Date: Event date was not yet announced at the time of this writingBanyan Tree Park, Lahaina (West Maui)

Great book-direct places to stay nearby in Lahaina

Details & Future Dates (as they become available)


Santa’s Arrival via Outrigger Canoe: In front of West Maui and South Maui, Santa will arrive by outrigger canoe to take photos with families! Pictured below is Santa’s arrival on Ka’anapali Beach in front of Hula Grill.

Hula Grill Santa Arrival

Watch our Facebook Live of Santa’s arrival in 2021:

2022 Date: Event date was not yet announced at the time of this writingKa’anapali Beach and various beaches, Lahaina (West Maui) and other beaches across Maui.

Details & Future Dates (as they become available)


Best Things to do on Maui in Winter: Holiday Events




PGA TOUR Sentry Tournament of Champions: Hello, golfers…this one’s for you! The coveted PGA Sentry Tournament of Champions makes its way to Maui’s shore every January. This season-opener event takes place at the Plantation Golf Course in Kapalua. Only players who won official PGA TOUR events during the previous calendar year qualify to tee it up in this annual tournament. This longstanding event is one of the most anticipated things to do on Maui in winter, providing an opportunity to see some of the world’s top golfers in action!

2023 Dates: January 4-8. Plantation Golf Course, Kapalua (West Maui)

Book-direct Condos and Villas for rent in Kapalua

Details and Tickets


Best Things to do on Maui in Winter: Maui Golf Courses





Annual Chinese New Year Festival: Chinese culture has been part of the fabric of Hawaii’s “melting pot” community for generations! Every year, the Maui Mall in Kahului (Central Maui) and the Wo Hing Museum in Lahaina host extravagant Chinese New Year celebrations. Enjoy music and entertainment like martial arts demonstrations, Chinese fireworks, and a traditional Lion Dance. 


2023 Dates: Dates were not yet announced at the time of this writing.


Best Things to do on Maui in Winter: Chinese New Year Lahaina



World Whale Day Run And Walk for The Whales: As part of Maui Whale Festival and World Whale Day, Pacific Whale Foundation hosts an annual fun run and walking event to support humpback whale research. Festivities start and end in the shopping center at Maalaea Harbor (Central/South Maui) and include a 1-mile, 5K, 10K, and 11.5-mile course, as well as other options for participation.

2023 Date: Date was not yet announced at the time of this writing.

Book-direct Condos for rent in this area at Maalaea 

Details & Future Dates (as they become available)


Maui Whale Festival: Hosted by the Pacific Whale Foundation, this is a month-long celebration of our annual winter visitors — the humpback whales — with a series of events taking place throughout February. Check HERE for a schedule of events and more details as they become available.


Best Things to do on Maui in Winter: Maui Whale Festival



Year-round Activities

Friday Night Town Parties: If it’s Friday, there’s a party on Maui! The Town Parties (sponsored by Maui County) take place on Friday evenings in different towns across the island. The town parties are great fun for both visitors and residents, with local food, entertainment, and vendors. More Details.  NOTE: Fourth Friday in Kihei is the only town party in currently in operation. Wailuku, Lahaina, and Makawao are expected to follow suit soon!

• First Friday of the month — Wailuku Town Party (Central Maui) 

• Second Friday — Lahaina Town Party (West Maui)

• Third Friday — Makawao Town Party (Upcountry); this one takes place every other month, rather than monthly

• Fourth Friday – Kihei Town Party (South Maui) – Back in operation!


Best Things to do on Maui in Winter: Maui Town Parties


Free Entertainment: When you are here, make sure you check for entertainment and events at nearby hotels and resorts, as well as island shopping centers, which often offer free hula shows, activities like lei making and ukulele lessons, and live Hawaiian entertainment. And check out my list of 25 Free Things To Do on Maui for other suggestions.


Farmers Markets: A popular stop for locals and visitors alike, peruse the delicious local produce at a nearby farmers market. Enjoy colorful and flavorful fruits and veggies, learn about the unique produce of Maui, and support the local farmers and vendors. Often local crafters and designers are also selling their unique products like jams and jellies, clothing, jewelry, and island-themed goodies. Some of our top favorites include the Upcountry Farmers Market, Napili Farmers Market, and South Maui Farmers Market. See our ultimate guide to Maui Farmers Markets.

Jodo Mission Lahaina Farmers Market



Live Music on Maui — Mana’o Radio: Live music is still happening around the island, with local musicians jamming almost every night at some of the island’s best restaurants. To find out who’s performing where, check out Mana’o Radio’s Music2Nite site for a full lineup of live music on Maui.

Mana’o Radio (KMNO 91.7 FM) is Maui’s non-commercial all-volunteer radio station. Instead of a canned, pre-programmed song list, you’ll hear local people (volunteer djs) playing an eclectic selection of the music they love best. Listen while you’re here on Maui, or live stream from their website. Tune in to a truly local radio station! Follow Mana’o Radio on Facebook for the latest word on their broadcast schedule and live events on Maui.


Grassroots Festivals and Fundraisers: Don’t be shy to buy a ticket and attend local school, church, and charity fundraisers, bazaars, and festivals. These events are a great way for visitors to experience an authentic local gathering, and the organizers will love to have you there. There is always plenty of local food (eating is a priority here on Maui!) and entertainment, and often there are fundraising auctions (silent and live) where you can snag great deals on visitor activities like luaus, golf, dining, and boat tours.


Best Things to do on Maui in Winter: Maui Community Events


Live Webcams: When you are here planning your day on Maui, check out these webcams to view current weather conditions around the island. It’s not unusual for it to be overcast or rainy in one area but clear and sunny just a few minutes away!


Maui Arts & Cultural Center: This is another excellent resource you should check for upcoming events and performances on Maui, from world-famous celebrities and musicians to symphonies and ballet to local Hawaiian cultural programs and festivals. The Maui Arts & Cultural Center (pictured below) is located in Kahului.


Best Things to do on Maui in Winter: Maui Arts and Cultural Center


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Happy Travels!


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