Rainy Days in Hawaii: What to Do When the Weather Changes

Hawaii is renowned for its idyllic beaches, lush landscapes, and endless sunshine, but even in paradise, rain showers can be a common occurrence. To truly enjoy your stay in Hawaii, it's essential to understand the dynamics of the island state's rainy season.

Hawaii experiences two primary seasons: the dry season, which typically spans from April to October, and the wet season, which occurs from November to March. During the wet season, rain showers become more frequent, especially in the afternoons and evenings. However, it's important to note that Hawaii's rain showers are often short-lived and followed by clear skies.

What to Expect During Hawaii's Rainy Season:

  • Intermittent Showers: Rain in Hawaii tends to come and go quickly, providing opportunities for outdoor activities between showers.
  • Temperature: Despite the rain, temperatures remain mild, making it comfortable to explore the islands.
  • Lush Scenery: The rainy season contributes to the vibrant greenery of Hawaii, enhancing the beauty of the landscapes.

Preparing for Rainy Days:

  • Pack a Light Rain Jacket: A compact rain jacket can be a handy addition to your suitcase.
  • Umbrella: Consider bringing a small, portable umbrella for sudden showers.
  • Plan Indoor Activities: Be ready with indoor options for entertainment.

Indoor Attractions in Honolulu

When the rain does fall in Hawaii, it's an excellent opportunity to explore the indoor attractions, and Honolulu, the capital of the state, offers a plethora of options to keep you engaged.

Exploring the Bishop Museum:

The Bishop Museum is a fascinating place to delve into Hawaiian history and culture. With exhibits showcasing artifacts, natural history specimens, and interactive displays, you can learn about the heritage of the islands and its people. It's an educational and enlightening experience that offers a deeper understanding of Hawaii's rich past.

Discovering the Waikiki Aquarium:

Located on the beautiful Waikiki Beach, the Waikiki Aquarium is a marine enthusiast's paradise. It houses an impressive collection of Pacific marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and coral reefs. Strolling through the exhibits and watching the aquatic creatures is both informative and relaxing, making it a perfect rainy day activity.

Hawaii State Art Museum:

For art enthusiasts, the Hawaii State Art Museum, also known as HiSAM, is a must-visit. The museum features a diverse collection of Hawaiian art, including traditional and contemporary works. With its thought-provoking exhibits, HiSAM offers a unique perspective on the art and culture of Hawaii.

Exploring Museums and Galleries

Hawaii is not just about sun and surf; it also boasts a vibrant cultural scene that comes alive on rainy days. When the weather takes a turn, consider exploring the museums and galleries scattered across the islands.

Hawaii State Museum of Art:

Situated in downtown Honolulu, the Hawaii State Museum of Art is a cultural gem. This museum houses an extensive collection of art, including works by local and international artists. From traditional Hawaiian art to contemporary pieces, you can immerse yourself in a world of creativity and expression. Don't forget to check out the rotating exhibitions, which offer fresh perspectives with each visit.

Honolulu Museum of Art:

The Honolulu Museum of Art is a true sanctuary for art enthusiasts. With an impressive collection that spans various cultures and time periods, it provides a diverse and enriching experience. The museum's Asian, European, and American art collections are particularly noteworthy. Exploring the galleries here is not just a visual delight but also a journey through history and human creativity.

Rainy Day Culinary Adventures in Hawaii

Embracing the rain in Hawaii doesn't mean you have to miss out on the island's delectable cuisine. In fact, rainy days offer a unique opportunity to savor some of Hawaii's finest culinary delights. Here's how you can turn a rainy day into a gourmet adventure:

Indulge in Hawaiian Comfort Food:

Seek out local restaurants that specialize in Hawaiian comfort food. From hearty plate lunches with delicious kalua pig to warm bowls of saimin (noodle soup), these dishes are the perfect antidote to a rainy day. Don't forget to try the famous loco moco—a mouthwatering combination of rice, hamburger patty, egg, and gravy.

Explore Food Markets:

Hawaii's food markets come alive with an array of flavors, even on rainy days. Visit farmers' markets and food halls where you can sample fresh tropical fruits, poke bowls, and other local delicacies. It's a culinary adventure that showcases the diversity of Hawaiian cuisine, rain or shine.

Rainy Day Culinary Adventures in Hawaii

Shopping and Entertainment Centers

When the rain starts to fall in Hawaii, it's an excellent opportunity to explore the vibrant shopping and entertainment centers scattered across the islands. These centers offer a mix of retail therapy and indoor fun, ensuring you make the most of your rainy day.

Ala Moana Center:

Ala Moana Center in Honolulu is one of the largest open-air shopping malls in the world. However, its extensive covered walkways make it the perfect place to escape the rain. With a vast array of shops, from luxury boutiques to well-known brands, you can indulge in some retail therapy. Additionally, the center offers a wide range of dining options, making it a one-stop destination for shopping and entertainment.

International Market Place:

Located in the heart of Waikiki, the International Market Place is a shopper's paradise. It combines retail spaces with a lively atmosphere, featuring local artisans and boutique shops. Rainy days are an ideal time to explore the market's unique stores, where you can find everything from Hawaiian souvenirs to stylish clothing and accessories.

Wellness and Spa Experiences on Rainy Days

A rainy day in Hawaii provides an opportunity to rejuvenate your body and mind through wellness and spa experiences. Hawaii boasts a range of world-class spas that offer relaxation and pampering amidst the soothing sounds of raindrops.

Traditional Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Massage:

One of the signature spa treatments in Hawaii is the Lomi Lomi massage. This traditional Hawaiian massage technique is known for its long, flowing strokes that mimic the gentle movements of the ocean waves. It promotes relaxation, relieves tension, and allows you to connect with the island's ancient healing traditions.

Rainforest Retreat:

Some wellness centers in Hawaii offer unique rainforest retreat experiences. These retreats often include guided meditation sessions, yoga in tranquil rainforest settings, and therapeutic spa treatments. The combination of natural beauty and wellness practices creates a serene and rejuvenating experience.

Engaging Workshops and Classes

Rainy days in Hawaii can be an opportunity to engage in creative and educational activities. The islands offer a variety of workshops and classes that cater to a wide range of interests and skill levels.

Hula Dance Workshops:

Embrace the Hawaiian culture by participating in hula dance workshops. These classes are often conducted indoors, allowing you to learn the graceful art of hula while staying dry. You'll have the chance to sway to the rhythm of traditional Hawaiian music and connect with the island's heritage.

Lei-Making Classes:

Lei-making is a cherished Hawaiian tradition, and rainy days provide an ideal setting for learning this craft. Join a lei-making class to create your own beautiful flower lei. It's a hands-on experience that allows you to immerse yourself in the vibrant colors and fragrances of Hawaii's flora.

Art and Craft Workshops:

Hawaii's artistic community offers a variety of workshops, including painting, pottery, and jewelry-making. These creative classes provide an opportunity to tap into your artistic side and create unique souvenirs or keepsakes.

Cooking Classes:

Learn to prepare traditional Hawaiian dishes or explore international cuisines in cooking classes held across the islands. Cooking classes are a fun way to enhance your culinary skills and savor the flavors of Hawaii.

Theater and Performing Arts in Hawaii

Hawaii's theater and performing arts scene is thriving, and a rainy day is the perfect occasion to immerse yourself in the island's cultural offerings. From traditional hula performances to contemporary theater productions, you'll find a variety of entertainment options to suit your taste.

Attend a Traditional Hula Show:

Experience the enchanting world of hula by attending a live performance. Many theaters and cultural centers in Hawaii showcase traditional hula shows that narrate the history and stories of the islands through dance. The mesmerizing movements and vibrant costumes create a captivating spectacle that's perfect for a rainy evening.

Catch a Play or Musical:

Hawaii's vibrant theater community regularly stages a wide range of plays and musicals. Whether you're interested in classic dramas, Broadway hits, or original Hawaiian productions, there's likely a show that will pique your interest. Check local theater listings to see what's playing during your visit.

Rain-Proof Outdoor Activities

While rain might deter some outdoor enthusiasts, there are plenty of rain-proof outdoor activities in Hawaii that allow you to embrace the elements without getting wet.

Zip Lining:

Explore the lush landscapes of Hawaii from a unique perspective by going zip lining. Many zip line tours operate rain or shine, providing you with an adrenaline-pumping adventure through the treetops. Glide above the rainforest canopy and take in breathtaking views, all while staying dry in your harness.

Visit Indoor Botanical Gardens:

Hawaii is known for its stunning natural beauty, and indoor botanical gardens offer a chance to experience it without the rain. These enclosed gardens are home to a vast array of tropical plants and flowers, providing a colorful and fragrant escape from the weather.

Navigating Hawaii's Weather: Tips and Tricks

Hawaii's weather, like any tropical destination, can be unpredictable, especially during the rainy season. To make the most of your trip and ensure you're prepared for any weather changes, here are some valuable tips and tricks:

Weather Forecast:

  • Stay Informed: Keep an eye on the weather forecast for the specific island you're visiting. Weather conditions can vary between islands, so it's essential to have accurate information.
  • Apps and Websites: Use weather apps and websites to get real-time updates on rainfall, wind, and temperature. This will help you plan your activities accordingly.

Packing Essentials:

  • Rain Gear: Pack lightweight, waterproof gear such as a rain jacket or poncho. It's a good idea to have these items readily available in your daypack.
  • Footwear: Opt for comfortable waterproof shoes or sandals for exploring on rainy days. Water-resistant footwear will keep your feet dry and comfortable.

Flexible Itinerary:

  • Plan Alternatives: Have a backup plan for outdoor activities in case of rain. Research indoor attractions, museums, and cultural experiences to enjoy when the weather takes a turn.
  • Spontaneity: Embrace spontaneity and be open to adjusting your plans based on the weather conditions. Sometimes, unexpected rainy days can lead to memorable experiences.

Rainy Day Essentials:

  • Umbrella: Carry a compact travel umbrella for unexpected showers.
  • Indoor Activities: Always have a list of indoor activities, such as visiting museums or trying local cuisine, ready to go.
  • Dry Bags: Invest in waterproof dry bags or pouches to protect your electronic devices, documents, and valuables when you're out and about.

Navigating Hawaii's Weather: Tips and Tricks

Rainy Day Photography: Capturing Hawaii’s Beauty

Rainy days can provide a unique opportunity for photography in Hawaii. The rain adds a layer of mystique to the landscapes, creating beautiful and dramatic scenes. Here are some tips for capturing Hawaii's beauty on a rainy day:

Rainforest Photography:

  • Macro Shots: Use the rain to your advantage by capturing macro shots of raindrops on leaves and flowers. The intricate details can result in stunning photographs.
  • Reflections: Look for puddles or bodies of water to capture reflections of the lush rainforest surroundings. These mirror-like reflections can add depth and beauty to your photos.

Beach Photography:

  • Cloudy Skies: Cloudy and overcast skies can create a soft and diffused light, ideal for beach photography. Experiment with long exposure shots to capture the motion of waves.
  • Surfers and Rain: If you're at a beach known for surfing, rainy days can yield captivating images of surfers braving the waves amidst the rain.

Cityscape Photography:

  • Rain-Kissed Cityscapes: In urban areas like Honolulu, rain can transform cityscapes into glistening scenes. Capture the reflections of city lights on wet streets for a captivating nighttime shot.


In conclusion, Hawaii's rainy days need not dampen your spirits or your vacation plans. The islands offer a wide array of indoor and outdoor activities to keep you engaged and entertained, rain or shine. Understanding the dynamics of Hawaii's weather, packing appropriately, and having a flexible itinerary are key to making the most of your trip.

Whether you choose to explore indoor attractions, engage in workshops, pamper yourself with spa experiences, or venture into the rain for unique photography opportunities, Hawaii's rainy days can be just as memorable as its sunny ones.