Rolling blue waves, sandy shores, brilliant sunshine, palm trees swaying gently overhead. These are usually the first images that spring to mind when dreaming of a Hawaiʻi vacation. But what happens when you pull back the curtains of your windows to find gray clouds and darkening skies?
Like it or not, Hawaiʻi sees its fair share of rainy days, from mild passing showers to more torrential weather. But if you only have a few days in paradise, you can’t (and shouldn’t) spend every one of them waiting around for the skies to turn. Take advantage of the enjoyable and uniquely Hawaiian indoor activities offered around Oʻahu, including some of our favorites below:
Sample Hawaiʻi’s favorite fruit
Pineapple is one of Hawaiʻi’s staple fruits, and whether or not you enjoy the sweet flavor, you’ll definitely love stopping at Dole Plantation. Peer into the pineapple mania when you visit Dole Plantation, offering Hawaiʻi’s premier “Pineapple Experience” and opening its doors to over a million visitors every year. What began as a simple fruit stand in 1950 has grown to encompass pineapple-related tours, activities, food and gifts—all in the expansive Wahiawā factory. PC: Dole Plantation.
On a rainy day, hop aboard the Pineapple Express Train Tour for a two-mile narrated train tour of the plantation’s unique landscape. Then take your time browing the Pineapple Shop, where you can purchase apparel, trinkets, snacks and other gifts. You can even eat an authentic Hawaiian lunch at the Plantation Grille—and enjoy a scoop (or more!) of the world-famous Dole Whip! And if you’re lucky enough for the rain to clear, tackle the Pineapple Garden Maze, stretching over three acres and officially dubbed the world’s largest maze!
Tour a royal residence
As the only royal residence in the US, Iolani Palace is a living restoration of Hawaiʻi’s history. During the reign of the esteemed King Kalākaua and Queen Liliʻuokalani, the Palace served as the “happening place” for balls, dinners, and other royal festivities hosted for guests from around the world. Today, the Palace has been meticulously restored as a National Historic Landmark and museum open to the public.
If you’re wandering downtown Honolulu and feel sprinkles falling from the sky, take shelter in Iolani Palace. When stepping into the hallowed halls of the Palace, you’ll find its many rooms showcasing the styles, tastes and preferences of the monarchy during a thriving time in Hawaiʻi’s history. Opt for either a Guided Tour with a knowledgeable Palace Docent or a Self-Led Audio Tour.
For history buffs looking to experience even more of Hawaiʻi’s rich heritage and culture, visit Bishop Museum, Honolulu Museum of Art, Hawaiian Mission Houses Museum or Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, just to name a few!
Indulge in retail therapy
Oʻahu is a prime destination for all things retail—from Ala Moana Center, the world’s largest open-air shopping center to the newly opened Ka Makana Aliʻi, there’s no end to the retail adventures that await in you on Oʻahus. Shop ‘til you drop at the popular Ala Moana Center and Ward Village, or venture west to Pearlridge Shopping Center, Waikele Premium Outlets or Ka Makana Aliʻi. If you’re on the North Shore, check out the open-air North Shore Marketplace in Haleʻiwa. Don’t forget to visit windward Oʻahu for a trip to Windward Mall (and a sight of the gorgeous Koʻolau Mountain Range). PC: North Shore Marketplace.
Stuck in Waikīkī on a rainy day? Take shelter in one of the island’s largest shopping meccas! No matter where you’re staying, you won’t have to walk far to enjoy some quality retail therapy. Be sure to visit Royal Hawaiian Center and the newly renovated International Market Place!
Peer into Hawaiʻi’s underwater world
If it’s too rainy for a day in Hawaiʻi’s waters, then enjoy aquatic adventures on land at Waikīkī Aquarium! With its mission to promote understanding, appreciation and conservation of Pacific marine life, Waikīkī Aquarium features a sprawling campus of unique and interactive exhibits. Popular exhibits include Hunters of the Reef, Amazing Adaptations and Edge of the Reef, a 7,500-gallon outdoor recreation of a shoreline habitat. Don’t leave without visiting the Hawaiian Monk Seal exhibit, where you can say “aloha” to Maka and Hōʻailona, the Aquarium’s two endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals! PC: Waikīkī Aquarium.
There are so many ways to transform a dreary rainy day into an authentic Hawaiian experience you’ll never forget. Follow us on social media @ThisWeekHawaii for other inspiring ideas to kick start your vacation! And when island-hopping, don’t forget to check out activities and attractions on the Big Island, Maui and Kauaʻi so you can make the most of your time in paradise!
For rainy day activities on our other islands, click one of the below links: