Are you thinking of visiting Hawaii in the winter? Of course you are!
Well, if you’re coming to the islands between November and March, you’re coming during the state’s rainy season. So, you’ll want a few rainy-day activities in your back-pocket just in case. Here are our top 7 things to do on the neighbor islands, if it’s raining:
1. The Maui Ocean Center: The Maui Ocean Center is the largest tropical aquarium in the Western Hemisphere and is sometimes dubbed “The Hawaiian Aquarium.” It features one of the largest collections of coral in the nation. And, it houses more than 60 exhibits, including interpretive displays, outdoor touch pools, and a 750 gallon Open Ocean exhibit with a 240 degree-view acrylic tunnel. You can get great discounts and perks when you book your Maui Ocean Center excursion through Hawaii Aloha Travel, too. So, make sure you ask your travel professional about your upcoming visit. Check out the aquarium’s website at www.mauioceancenter.com to learn more.
2. Kula Lodge: If it’s going to storm anyway, why not watch it roll in? The Kula Lodge is perched at 3,200 feet on the slopes of Haleakala, and the restaurant is a great place to sit back, drink some hot chocolate, and storm-watch. Downstairs, you can always take a stroll through the find the paintings of Curtis Wilson Cost, which are housed in a gallery downstairs. Click on the lodge’s website, www.kulalodge.com, for more.
3. Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center: If you visit Maui between January and March, you’re visiting during peak whale watching season. If you need some indoor-time and want to learn more about these majestic animals, you can spend a few hours at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center in Kihei. There, you’ll find exhibits that range from monk seals to turtles, volcanoes, and tsunamis, and if the rain lets up you can visit Koieie fishpond, built around 1450 AD. Visit www.hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov for more information.
3. Shopping in Kailua-Kona: If it’s raining Kailua-Kona-side, it’s unlikely you’ll experience a downpour for more than a few minutes. But, if the rain is steady—or a drizzle—you can still have a lot of fun in Kailua-Kona. Hawaii’s oldest Christian Church, Mokuaikaua Church, can provide shelter from the rain, and it’s a beautiful church to explore if you’re a history-buff. The church was founded by missionaries in 1820, and you’ll notice the iconic arch and sanctuary. Afterwards, head-out to the shops in downtown Kailua-Kona, where you’ll find everything from T-shirts to art to coffee shops. Guaranteed, you won’t be bored (and many of the shops have awnings, in case the rain starts back up).
4. Thomas A. Jaggar Museum: Even in the rain, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a spectacular place to visit. Located about 50 minutes southwest of Hilo, it’s worth the drive, even in the rain. While you’re there, you can take cover in the Jaggar Museum, which is a museum on volcanology. there, you’ll find numerous exhibits featuring types of lava, eruption “by-product” displays, real-time monitors, equipment used by scientists in the past to study the volcano, and working “state of the art” electronic seismographs. You can also enjoy learning about volcanoes as the ancient Hawaiians experienced them. In the museum, there are several Hawaiian cultural exhibits that demonstrate the close relationship of Pelehonuamea, the Hawaiian deity of volcanoes and the landscape. You can visit https://www.volcanogallery.com/Jaggar.htm for more information.
5. Kauai ATV: When it comes to ATVs and rain, there’s no better combination! If you’re a thrill-seeker and love to splash around in the mud, the wetter the better. Kauai ATV is one company which provides guests with guided explorations that are available daily on the south side of the island. Explore waterfalls, jungle landscapes, movie locations and a 1/2-mile tunnel through the Haupu mountain range, too. Check out www.kauaiatv.com to learn more.
6. Spa-Day: What better excuse to become a spa-rat than when it’s raining outside? If you’ve been postponing an indulgent afternoon of pampering, then this is your chance to take advantage of some of Kauai’s best spas. The Anara Spa at the Grand Hyatt Resort in Poipu is one of my favorite places to frequent, if I need to relax. Choose from from lomilomi massages, facials, and body treatments. Or pamper yourself at the resort’s full hair and nail salon. Visit the website at www.anaraspa.com to learn more.