Crowds in Hawaii can be unbearable at times, especially during the holiday season. During the week of Christmas and New Year’s, good luck finding parking anywhere! Popular tourist attractions like the Diamond Head Crater Hike and Ala Moana Shopping Center are difficult to access simply because of the dense motor vehicle traffic. I recommend arriving to these places as early as possible so to avoid this. I remember my boyfriend and I when visiting home in Honolulu, tried to do the Diamond Head Crater Hike on New Year’s Day. We turned around. It was like an apocalypse of motor vehicle traffic, not to mention that once we reached our destination, there was no parking. It was impossible. We showed up at 8am. I would recommend arriving there as early as possible to do the hike. Here are some recommendations for avoiding crowds in Hawaii. 

Dealing with Crowds in Hawaii Tip #1

Think against the crowd. If you want to do a sunrise hike on New Year’s Day, so does everyone else. As an alternative, you could do a sunset hike. It is helpful to think against the crowd because that will help you to avoid the packed destinations. Another thing to consider is parking lots in proximity to an event. If there’s a parking lot closest to a bar, chances are it will fill up quickly as all those going to the bar, will be parking there. Think against the crowd and plan this in advance so you can be prepared to search for parking elsewhere. Know where there are other lots available and be prepared to head there. 

Crowds in Hawaii

Tourists atop Diamond Head pillbox hike overlooking Kapiolani Park and Waikiki
. . . . aaahhh TOURISTS . . . . by Prayitno / Thank you for (12 millions +) view is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Image may have been resized or cropped from original

Dealing with Crowds Tip #2

Show up as early as possible. This mainly applies to Hawaii’s tourist peak times around Christmas and the holidays. One could argue that Hawaii is always in the high peak of tourist season because there are always visitors to the islands. However, as a local growing up there, I have noticed peaks around the holidays and Christmas season. I worked at Ala Moana Shopping Center in high school and it was difficult to find parking around this time. Everyone is out shopping, both locals and tourists. Local schools are out of session and this puts a lot more weekend traffic on the road. Due to these factors, traffic is heavy and can be a nuisance. Henceforth, show up as early as possible to the popular destinations. They will be packed! 

Crowds in Hawaii

The mall’s center stage is busy with hula performances during the holiday season.
Performance at Ala Moana CenterStage by Daniel Ramirez is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Image may have been resized or cropped from original.

Dealing with Crowds in Hawaii Tip #3

Heed the flight price trends. Airlines typically price flights cheaper when there is low demand, so to attract customers. However, expensive prices can indicate a high demand meaning there will be more people flying to the island and hence, heavier population traffic. I recommend taking note of these market indicators so you can see the trends and influx of tourists at certain points during the year. You’ll see that flights around the holidays can be very expensive. There is a reason why! This is a time of high demand for the island’s tourism commerce. This can contribute to the crowds in Hawaii.

Crowds in Hawaii

N580HA Boeing 767-33A Hawaiian Airlines by 34128007@N04 is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Image may have been resized or cropped from original.