Visitors can use wet weather as a reason to take a free ukulele lesson at Waikiki’s Royal Hawaiian Center. // © 2014 HTA/Tor Johnson
Feature image (above): Double rainbows are an extra bonus during a rainy day in Hawaii. // © 2014 HTA/Tor Johnson
Into every paradise a little rain must fall, and Hawaii is no exception. So, even the best travel agents in the world can’t guarantee a rain-free vacation. They can instead arm their clients with suggestions for what to do when the rainclouds roll in.
Locals in Hawaii consider rain as a blessing from the gods. It nourishes nature, keeps the destination lush and green, and results in spectacular rainbows. Visitors who adjust their attitudes accordingly can find plenty of fun things to do in Hawaii while waiting for the sun to return, which normally doesn’t take very long.
Here’s a list of five activities that are ideal to enjoy on a rainy day.
Hit the Spa
When clouds gather outside, Hawaii’s spas do their part to brighten spirits and rejuvenate bodies. Most spas present ancient wellness traditions such as lomilomi massages and heated pohaku stone treatments. More facilities are calling on local ingredients whose natural healing qualities have been used for centuries, from volcanic clay to ti leaves. On the other end of the spectrum are cutting-edge offerings such as the Vichy shower with infrared light technology at Fairmont Kea Lani’s Willow Stream Spa.
Learn Local Culture
Travelers can head indoors for hands-on instruction in the traditional arts of the islands. Waikiki’s Royal Hawaiian Center features free classes such as ukulele strumming and hula dancing. On Hawaii Island at Puukohola Heiau’s Visitor Center, clients learn such skills as coconut leaf weaving and lei making. Most resorts feature free craft classes for guests. One of the best programs awaits at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Kaupulehu on Hawaii Island, a mecca for learning time-honored skills such as quilting and bamboo stamping.
Use the rain as an excuse to shop for made-in-Hawaii souvenirs. Pick up some artistic creations by regional painters, printmakers, woodworkers, ceramicists and jewelers. Purchase a book by a local writer and then read it in a cozy, covered cabana. Visit mom-and-pop shops for island snacks such as crack seed and macadamia nuts. Check out boutiques selling clothes by Hawaii designers. Buy handmade soaps with island scents and feel good knowing you’re supporting the talented people of the 50th state.
Tour a Museum
When it’s wet outside, Hawaii’s many museums whet appetites for learning. Interactive exhibits and one-of-a-kind artifacts await at Oahu’s revered Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. Crowns and thrones recall Hawaii’s royalty at Iolani Palace. Splashy showcases of local marine life are in store at Waikiki Aquarium and Maui Ocean Center. On Hawaii Island, planetarium shows entertain all ages at Imiloa Astronomy Center. Be sure to check out Kauai Museum’s monthly Ohana Day, featuring free family-friendly activities.
Watch a Live Show
If the rain trickles into the evening, head for the lights of Hawaii’s entertainment scene. Theaters around the islands showcase top-tier local and national talent. On Oahu, visitors can cheer for long-running productions such as Rock-A-Hula at Legends in Concert Waikiki and Magic of Polynesia, blending sleight-of-hand with island song and dance. Ulalena, a must-see on Maui, traces the island’s rich history through music, movement and cirque-style theatrics. It’s a dazzling diversion when it’s rainy in Hawaii.