Hawaii Travel Guide


Honolulu has two hula festivals in June and July: the King Kamehameha Hula & Chant Competition and the Prince Lot Hula festival. In August, the Hawaiian Slack-Key Guitar Festival and Ka Himeni Ana - an old-style Hawaiian singing contest - celebrate Hawaiian contributions to the world of music. Sports nuts get an eyeful with the Bankoh Kayak Challenge in May, the Transpacific Yacht Race in July, and major women's and men's outrigger canoe races in September and October, respectively. The Honolulu Marathon is run in mid-December, and the Aloha Bowl, a nationally televised collegiate football game, takes place on Christmas Day.

With its multitude of cultures and permanently good weather, Hawaii always has something to celebrate. Some of the events to look out for include Hawaii's biggest hula competition, the Merrie Monarch Festival (April); Lei Day, an extravaganza of lei-making (May); King Kamehameha Day, a state holiday with parades (June); Aloha Week , a celebration with parades, cultural events, canoe races and Hawaiian music, (September); and the Quicksilver/Eddie Aikau Memorial Big Wave Classic, a surf event held when wave heights exceed 6m/20ft, (December).

Several big surf-related blowouts take place every year, drawing the world's top wave riders to beaches across the island. Exact dates depend on when and where the surf's up.

PGA MasterCard Championship Golf Tournament
Watch the pros play in this 18 hole, par 72 golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus. Last year's purse was $1.5 million. Located at the Hualalai Resort Golf Club, Kaupulehu-Kona, Hawaii. Call (800) 417-2770 for more information.
Annual Stan Cann Classic
The Hawaii Island Paddlesports Association hosts this annual OC - 1/surfski canoe race at Hilo Bay. This is a great race for novice paddlers. The courses run from the bayfront to outside the breakwater. Call (808) 969-6695 for information.
Hula Kahiko Series
Come out and watch the Hula Halau as they present artistic and cultural dances that have been handed down through generations. These free outdoor presentations are held in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, located on the Big Island of Hawai'i, on Highway 11, approximately 30 miles south of Hilo. Call (808) 985-6000 for information.


Annual Hilo Chinese New Year Festival
Join the fun in this celebration of the Chinese New Year. Food, arts and crafts, entertainment, kids activities and lion dances will keep you going. Located in Kalakaua Park. Call (808) 933-9772 for more information.
Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival
Enjoy arts and crafts, parades, food, Taiko drums, bon dancing, karaoke, hula cherry blossom art and much more in this annual festival honoring the janpanese culture. Located in Waimea. Call (808) 961-8706 for more information.
Waimea Town Celebration
Celebrates Captain Cook's arrival with two days of sporting events, from canoe racing to a marathon. Carnival fun includes Hawaiian food, lei-making and ukulele contests. Call (808) 335-2824 or (808) 338-9975 for more information.

Annaul Tahiti Fête of Hilo
Come out and watch the finest in Tahitian dancing. At least 20 Polynesian dance companies (halau) are expected along with 250 solo dancers from various dance companies. Arts and crafts and food from Tahitian and local artisans will be available. Polynesian island guest performers will highlight this event. Located at at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo. Admission is $12 a day or $25 for the Weekend Pass. Call (808) 935-3002 for more information.
Kona Brewers Festival
The first Saturday in March brings opportunity to sample the best of local beer at a festival including live music, fire dancing, fashion, food, and an award ceremony for best home brew. Located at the Kona Beach Hotel, Palani Road. Call (808) 326-1126 for more information.
Annual Stampede Rodeo
Hawaii’s ranchers, known as paniolos, started their annual rodeo on the Big Island more than 35 years ago. Admission is free for the two-day, action-packed event. Located at Route 160 & Hale O Keawe Road. Call (808) 323-2388 for more information.

The Annual Merrie Monarch Festival
Enjoy a festival of cultural events beginning with a Ho`olaule'a, music, food and fun. Also included in this week-long festival is a free hula exhibition night, ancient and modern hula competitions and a parade through Hilo. Call (808) 935-9168 for more information.
Celebration of the Arts
Held in the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, this festival features artistic works, workshops, and other entertainment. Admission is free. Located at One Ritz-Carlton Drive. Call (808) 669-6200 for more information.
Earth Day Ho’olauea & Luau
Earth Awareness Week brings ecology focus, live music, food stands and cultural displays. Admission is free. Located at Vidinha Stadium, on Queen Kapule Road. Call (808) 828-0297 for more information.

Keauhou Kona Triathlon
This annual triathlon is a half ironman distance race held on the Kona Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. It includes a 1.2 mile swim in Kailua Bay, a 56 mile bike starting at Kailua Pier and going up Kuakini Highway to Queen Kaahumanu Highway and a 13.1 mile run from the Ohana Keauhou Beach Resort along Alii Drive and back. Call (808) 329-0601 for more information.
Annual International Festival of the Pacific
Celebrating Japanese influences on Hawaii culture, highlights include a Lantern Parade, craft and food festival, and a Japanese tea ceremony at the Tea House at Liliuokalani Park. Admission is free. Events over four months end in August. Located in Downtown Hilo. Call (808) 934-0177 for more information.
Orchid Show
This annual Mother's Day Orchid Show and Sale is hosted by the Kona Orchid Society. Educational sessions are scheduled. Located at Hale Halawai on Alii Drive. Free to the public. Call (808) 322-8817 for more information.

King Kamehameha Day Celebration Floral Parade
Come out and celebrate this annual event. Colorful floral floats, glamorous Pa`u riders, marching bands along with free entertainment, crafts, and food. Call (808) 989-8282 for more information.
Annual International Festival of the Pacific
Celebrating Japanese influences on Hawaii's culture, highlights include a Lantern Parade, food festival, craft demonstrations, contests, and a Japanese tea ceremony at the Tea House at Liliuokalani Park. Admission is free. Events end in August. Downtown Hilo. Call (808) 934-0177 for more information.
Annual Waiki’I Music Festival
For two days, the Waiki'i Ranch hosts visitors from all over as Hawaii's best performers showcase talents. Artists set up booths, and local food is plentiful at concessions. The event benefits North Hawaii Community Hospital and North Hawaii Hospice. Saddle Road. Call (808) 883-2077 for more information.

Concert in the Sky
Thousands head to Vidinha Stadium to celebrate the Fourth of July. Top restaurants provide food, Hawaiian celebrities entertain, and events throughout the day are capped by a fireworks finale. Proceeds benefit hospice. Queen Kapule Road. Call (808) 634-9100 for more information.
Parker Ranch Fourth of July Rodeo
Parker Ranch, Hawaii’s largest working ranch near the town of Waimea (Kamuela), hosts paniolos in roping and riding competition. Horse races, food and entertainment add to the fun. 66-1304 Mamalahoa Highway. Call (808) 885-2303 for more information.
Annual International Festival of the Pacific
Celebrating Japanese influences on Hawaii's culture, highlights include a Lantern Parade, food festival, craft demonstrations, contests, and a Japanese tea ceremony at the Tea House at Liliuokalani Park. Admission is free. Events end in August. Downtown Hilo. Call (808) 934-0177 for more information.
World Billfish Challenge
Held over two weeks in July, for three tournament divisions: Light Tackle, Heavy Tackle and Total Release. Billfish events promote conservation through "tag and release" programs. Kailua Pier. Call (866) 922-4294 for more information.

Puukohola Heiau Cultural Festival, Kawaihae
Join in the celebration of King Kamehameha's temple. Festivities include hula, lei making and other traditional demonstrations. Call (808) 882-7218 for more information.
Annual International Festival of the Pacific
Celebrating Japanese influences on Hawaii's culture, highlights include a Lantern Parade, food festival, craft demonstrations, and a Japanese tea ceremony at the Tea House at Liliuokalani Park. Free admission. Downtown Hilo. Call (808) 934-0177 for more information.
Ka Hoolaa O Na Alii
Join others at Halemaumau Crater, the home of the goddess of volcanes, for The Aloha Festivals Royal Court Investiture. In this ceremony, the royal monarchs will be adorned with symbols of royalty to the sounds of ceremonial chant and hula honoring Hawaii's noble heritage. Call (808) 885-7786 for more information.

Historic Waimea Walking Tour
The West Kauai Technology and Visitor Center showcases what the island was like before civilization. Tours focus on West Kauai's colorful past including impact of Captain Cook's historic landing. Free admission. 9565 Kaumuali'i Highway. Call (808) 338-1332 for more information.
Aloha Festivals Paniolo Parade
Honor Hawaii's oldest ranching community by joining in the festivites which include floats, marching bands, and Pau Riders. Call (808) 885-7786 for more information.
Aloha Festivals Hilo Hoolaulea
Join more than 10,000 people at the Aloha Festivals block party celebration. The festivities include dancing, entertainment, ethic foods and Hawaiian arts and crafts. Call (808) 935-5461 for more information.

Aloha Festival Kauai
The Aloha Festival comes to Kaua'i before wrapping up in Maui. Festivities include a parade and street fair. Hawaii's largest festival, more than 50 years old, has a different theme each year. Free admission. Call (808) 589-1771 for more information.
Hana Fishing Tournament
The boat fishing begins at 5 am and the shoreline fishing begins at 7 am. The Hana Play Day, for the kids, starts at 11 am and includes various games and kayaking. The adult Play Day starts at 1pm and includes coconut husking and net throwing. Call (808) 248-7758 for more information.
Hana Lei and Floral Show
Enjoy the colorful blossoms of the local flowers and learn how to make them grow at this annual floral show. Call (808) 248-7002 for more information.

Kona Coffee Cultural Festival
The annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is Hawaii’s oldest food festival, bringing locals together while attracting hundreds of visitors to celebrate Kona’s famous harvest at more than 30 community events. Call (808) 326-7820 for more information.
Waimea Ukulele & Slack Key Guitar institute
A Friday night concert begins an intensely musical weekend at the Kahilu Theatre with workshops, master classes, kanikapila and lecture demonstrations led by featured artists. Beginners are welcome to immerse in Hawaiian music. Call (808) 885-6017 for more information.
King of the Hawaiian Islands Boxing Grand Championships
Check out several contenders at this annual boxing event. Tickets required for admission. Call (808) 322-0664 for more information.

Aloha Festival Hawaii
After starting elsewhere in late August, Hawaii's biggest festival comes to the Big Island at the end of September. Activities include a parade and hula exhibition, and this giant street party unfolds at various locales, attracting crowds with free entertainment. Multiple Big Island locations. Call (808) 589-1770 for more information.
Peaman’s Post Pig-Out Plunge Biathlon
The Peaman Biathlon series takes participants ready for the challenge on a 1.3-mile swim from the pier at the King Kamehameha Hotel in Kona. Held on Sunday after Thanksgiving, the timed event has no entry fee and no awards. Alii Drive and Palani Road. Call (808) 324-7327 for more information.
Traditional Mochi Pounding For New Year
Join in this traditional Japanese practice of mochitsuki, where a sweet paste is prepared and eaten for a sweet new year. Activities to celebrate throughout the day. Call (808) 963-6422 or more information.

Public Holidays
25 Dec - Christmas Day
4th Thurs in Nov - Thanksgiving
11 Nov - Veteran's Day
2nd Mon in Oct - Colombus Day
first Mon in Sep - Labor Day
4 Jul - Independence Day
last Mon in May - Memorial Day
3rd Mon in Feb - President's Day
3rd Mon in Jan - Martin Luther King Jnr day
1 Jan - New Year's Day

When to Go

Honolulu is a great place to visit any time of year. Although Hawaii's busiest tourist season is during winter (December to February), this has more to do with the weather elsewhere, since many visitors are snowbirds escaping cold winters back home. Average temperatures differ very little from winter to summer. June through October is the hottest period, while rainfall is heaviest between December and March - neither extreme is worth worrying over. Daily temperatures in Honolulu average a high of 84°F (29°C) and a low of 70°F (22°C). Hotel prices are lowest between April and mid-December.

If you're a surfer, you won't want to miss the Christmas-time action around Oahu's North Shore, but if windsurfing or diving is more your thing, you'll find the waters at their calmest at the height of summer (July and August).

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