The Hawaiian tropics are the perfect place for an island getaway. In addition to sun, sand and surf available all year round, Hawaii also boasts an amazing events calendar. From February to December, here are our 10 favorite and best annual events in Hawaii.
When planning your Hawaiian vacation, you will want to see if you can find a way to enjoy one of these fun things to do. It’s worth noting that going between the islands in Hawaii almost always involves a flight, so choose your island wisely.
Best annual events in Hawaii
Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival
Where: The Big Island
Having just hit its 20th anniversary, the Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival was established to celebrate the rich Japanese heritage and subsequently the amazing 60-year-old cherry trees in the area of Waimea.
A great one for the family, the festival is rich with multicultural performances, craft stalls and an abundance of food booths featuring local, Japanese and international cuisine.
Another family-friendly event, this three-day festival is jam-packed with performances, tours, craft fairs and parades and concludes with an incredible fireworks display over the beautiful Waikiki beach.
Grab the kids and go!
Merrie Monarch Festival
When: After Easter Sunday in March/April
Where: Hilo (The Big Island)
Another one to get you into the Hawaiian spirit, the Merrie Monarch Festival, honours the contributions of King David Kalākaua. He was an avid campaigner of Hawaiian traditions, the native Hawaiian language and the traditional arts.
The festival spans over a week. It includes art and crafts, food, hula shows and a parade.
Kapalua Wine & Food Festival
Another fantastic food festival? Yes, please!
Considered the longest running food/wine event in the U.S., the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival is a four-day festival. It features food and wine tastings, seminars, educational sessions and demonstrations by top sommeliers and internationally renowned chefs.
Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival
Where: Various locations
Now in its 22nd year, the international renowned Slack Key Guitar Festival was designed to preserve a Hawaiian acoustic guitar style called Ki-ho’alu.
The festival was launched in memory of Phillip Kunia “Gabby” Pahinui, known as the father of Ki-ho’alu, due to his lifetime contributions to Hawaiian music.
The festival features the best in Hawaiian and international talent. It’s considered to be one big traditional dance party.
The Hawaii Food & Wine Festival
Where: Oahu and Maui
Only in its third year, the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival is one of the highlights of the annual events calendar.
The festival features over 50 internationally celebrated chefs, wine makers and spirit producers. Here you will enjoy wine tastings, cooking demos and wine-and-dine opportunities. There’s a focus on home-grown produce.
Where: Kauai The Emalani or “Eo E
The day is a traditional Hawaiian celebration with hula, music and food alongside a royal procession. It’s a great way to experience Hawaiian culture.
Hawaii International Film Festival
Where: Various locations
The Pacific’s premier film fest, the Hawaii International Film Festival is one of the key sources for the discovery and promotion of Pacific and Asian films, including “Once Were Warriors” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”
There are screenings across the state, including Waikiki, Maui and the Big Island.
Kona Coffee Cultural Festival
Where: The Big Island
Running over 10 days, the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is held in celebration of one of the Kona area’s most thriving industries: coffee.
Due to its climate, rich volcanic soils and farming culture, coffee has put Kona on the map.
The festival events include:
- Coffee tastings
- Coffee picking contest
- The renowned Miss Kona Coffee beauty pageant
One of the most popular marathons in the world, the Honolulu Marathon takes place annually on the second Sunday in December. It attracts participants from all over the globe. It is particularly popular with Japanese entrants.
Things To Do In Maui
If you are planning a trip to Maui around one of these fun and culturally enriching festivals, plan to stay awhile. Maui is one of the most romantic holiday destinations, with luxury resorts and hotels, beautiful nature, and great cuisine.
It is the second largest of the Hawaiian islands.
Since there are many flights to Maui from destinations all over the world, it is one of the best islands to choose – especially if you want to keep the prices reasonably low. The fewer flights that leave and go to an island, the more expensive they tend to be.
Fun things in Maui
Maui has many good hiking trails, several of them in the Haleakala National Park. One of the coolest places in the park to visit is the crater at the summit, which is some 19 square miles. Just beware of the drive to the top – it’s the steepest in the world!
If you want to spend some time on the water, canoeing and kayaking are popular activities on Maui. Snorkeling is perhaps even better, and is one of the most affordable activities in Maui – all you need are snorkels and fins!
Some great places to try out are the cove south of Black Rock (near Sheration Resort at Kaanapali Beach), Turtle Town (with lots of coral fish and the occasional giant turtle), and Ulua Beach.
One of the most unique and amazing experiences has to be the whale watching. Thousands of humpback whales migrate to Hawaii’s waters every winter, and most of them can be found off the coast of Maui. The peak season for whale watching is in February and March, but you can see them already from November.
The great thing about Maui is that many of the nature experiences doesn’t involve several hours or even days of hiking.
Many beautiful waterfalls and lakes can be found just a short walk from a parking lot or off the road, so anyone no matter in what condition they’re in, can experience the extraordinary flora and fauna of Maui.
So choose your Hawaiian island, and enjoy some of the best annual events in Hawaii brimming with culture, food, music, history and more.