Looking to get away this winter? Seeking white-sand beaches over snow-capped mountains? Hawaii is always a good idea, but for ski-bums looking to shake things up, or anyone who is tired of the cold weather, the islands can’t be beat. These tropical beach oases that won’t break the bank. Ranked by ascending price, here are the most affordable spots in Hawaii for any snowbird escaping the cold this winter.
Escape The Cold In These Hawaii Snowbird Destinations
Located on the eastern part of the Big Island, Keaau is largely known for it’s specialty botanical gardens full of indigenous tropical plants and herbs. Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden, with endangered medicinal herbs, and Pacific Floral Exchange, a 50-acre greenhouse, are the most popular. Activities in the area also include volcano hiking, ATV tours, and zip-lining. If you stay downtown, you are minutes from nearby Hilo - or you can choose to stay closer to nature in a historic guest house.
This small town is filled to the brim with some of the most quintessential Hawaiian nature on the island. Visit Wailuku River State Park with Rainbow Falls, which gets it’s name from the colorful effects of the mist. The Boiling Pots, bubbling basalt-lava rock pools, spout nearby. Hawaii Volvanoes National Park is home to gorgeous rainforests and two active volcanoes. Stay in a rental like this beautiful, Japanese-inspired home with a hot tub and bamboo garden.
Pahoa is the antithesis to the developed urban areas of the Big Island. It’s a small Victorian town tucked away in the abundantly beautiful and natural tropical Puna region of Hawaii. Here in the “hippie capital”, you’ll find the quiet island escape you’re looking for, as well as gorgeous homes like this Balinese-style rental. Pahoa also has one of our eleven favorite yoga retreats in the U.S., which is another great excuse to go.
Located on the quiet and forested island of Moloka’i, this tiny beach town offers another reprieve from touristy spots. Find a rental with SUP boards and kayaks to take full advantage of the oceanside Ualapue, or somewhere with a view of the water. For more action, visit nearby Kaunakakai, the main shopping hub for the tranquil island.
One of the most prominent towns on Oahu’s coastline, Waianae maintains a laid-back small island vibe. Take a boat tour from Waianae Small Boat Harbor to snorkel with dolphins in their natural habitat, or stop by the area’s best swimming beach, Pokai Bay. Stay in a vacation rental close to the beach to enjoy the colors of the sunsets.
Located in the District of Puna, Volcano lies on on the northern border of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii. You can easily stay in a vacation rental surrounded by lush forests. Drive the Crater Rim past steaming steam vents and visit the Jaggar Museum for a lesson in volcanology (and to get a fantastic viewpoint!). If you're curious, you can explore these interesting Hawaii volcanoes during your stay.
The only town in the West End of Molokai, Maunaloa is a charming plantation village with two popular beaches nearby. Choose a vacation rental on the shores of Paohaku or Kapukahehu (Dixie Maru) beaches for surf and sand, and stay in town if you’re looking for shopping and art galleries. Manuel is also known for it’s Big Wind Kite Factory, making everything from windsocks to stunt kites.
8. Captain Cook
This small town on the Big Island sports kayak rentals, small shops, snorkeling, fishing, sailing and diving are the main attractions. Check out restaurants, local fare at the farmer’s market, and art in this small farm town near Keylakekua Bay. Don't forget to sample the pork chops at Nanago Hotel! You can stay in an island getaway home like this one, where you feel like you have left the mainland far behind.
This is Molokai’s main town for shopping and has the island’s main harbor. On Ala Malama Avenue, you’ll find boutique stores and the popular Kanemitsu’s Bakery. Order a onion-and-cheese bread with cinnamon, cream cheese, or jelly before relaxing the rest of the day on the hammock at your vacation rental.
Holualoa is an art-lovers haven in the middle of Kona coffee country, and you can feel like a local in your vacation rental. The elevation, cloudy coverage, and rich volcanic soil make it as beautiful as it is ideal for the Kona commodity to flourish. Visit a coffee farm or one of the nearby dormant volcanoes for a unique look at the region.
Easy to get to from the Kona Airport, the historic Kailua village is a destination place on the Kona Coastline for shopping, excellent dining and Hawaiian culture. Tour Hulihee Palace on Alii Drive, watch the sunset at Kailua Pier, and end the day by enjoying live music and active nightlife. Leave the doors and windows open while you're relaxing at your vacation rental to feel the gentle breeze.
Museums, hikes, hot nightlife, and perfect beaches, Honolulu is a top destination for a reason. You can see beautiful views of the beach and Diamond head from this vacation rental, too. Try funky local favorite Alan Wong’s for Asian-Pacific seafood or Kelley O’Neil’s for a popular bar on the Kalakaua strip. The main attraction is still Pearl Harbor, and you’ll have to plan ahead because lines for the visitor center form early in the morning. Don't leave without visiting these ten places and having the perfect end to the day at one of our favorite Honolulu rooftop bars. Waikiki has no shortage of beaches and adventure activities or nightly entertainment. Hike Diamond Head, take a surf lesson, or shop at the outdoor market for souvenirs.
There are plenty of unique experiences to be had in the North Shore town of Waialua. Consider horseback riding on the beach, chartering a fishing boat, watching a polo match at Hawaii Polo Club, or taking a souvenir handmade soap home to your peaceful and quiet rental from North Shore Soap Factory home of Hawaiian Bath & Body.
This commercial center of Maui maintains small-town charm with wooden storefronts, family-owned businesses, and local “mom and pop” bakeries on Market Street. It’s growing to include stylish coffee shops and boutiques while preserving historical highlights and attractions. Nearby is Iao Valley, a retired sacred burial ground of Hawaiian chiefs. You can even whale watch right from your vacation rental if you choose to stay close to the water.
During whale season between late November to April, this coastal town launches whale watching cruises from the harbor. It’s perfect for dolphin spotting as well as snorkeling! Stop by the must-see Maui Ocean Center, or Kealia National Wildlife Refuge for birdwatching. This vacation rental is close to all of the best attractions in the area.
Haiku-Pauwela is a fantastic place to be close to nature, especially at this vacation rental on an organic farm. A main attraction is Peʻahi, or Jaws, a world-renown surf break. Onlookers can watch as top professional surfers take on the challenging waves from November to March. Not a surfer? Not a problem. Hookipa Beach Park is known to be one of the most popular windsurfing destinations.
Waikoloa is nothing short of beautiful, especially when you have a romantic vacation rental to call home. Stop at the picturesque Anaeho’omalu Bay for scuba diving or windsurfing. Swim with dolphins in a resort ocean lagoon with Dolphin Quest. Visit the stunning 49 Black Sand Beach for snorkeling, where lava formations present ideal habitats for vibrant marine life. You might even catch sight of a sea turtle!
Head to Kailua on Oahu for pristine beaches and great hiking trails right near your home just steps away from the beach. There’s Kalama Beach Park, Kailua Beach park, and Lanikai Beach, all with stretches of white sand and teal waters ideal for kayaking, snorkeling and swimming. Lanikai Pillbox Hike (Ka’iwa Ridge Trail) is a short 30 minute hike beginning at the beach and ending with incredible views.
This small town on the northern shore of Oahu boasts interesting beach after beach. Check out Haleiwa Beach Park only a few minutes from your relaxing vacation rental for oceanside picnicking (but not great for swimming). Laniakea (Turtle) Beach lets you get up close and personal with wild giant turtles. Sunset Beach Park is your best bet for getting in the water. It hosts internationally renowned surf contests in winter!
There are 3 Kamaole Beach Parks in Kihei, Maui, all of which offer incredible views of nearby islands. Finding a vacation rental in the right spot in Kihei is also a great way to take advantage of lovely vistas of the ocean. Kamaole III is one of the best spots in South Maui for boogie-boarding, though it’s the more crowded one of the three. Snorkeling is ideal at each beach. Stop by Maui Brewing Company after a beach day for outstanding cuisine and drink, and treat yourself to a massage at one of the best spas in Hawaii. The town holds a party every 4th Friday of month where local food, artists, speakers, and musicians gather at the Azeka Shipping Center. During your trip, take an unforgettable snorkel tour through Molokini Crater, a underwater volcano islet about 2 miles off the shore.
One of the largest residential communities on the coast of Oahu with plenty of ideal rentals to choose from, Kane’ohe boasts great restaurants, top golf courses, and the highly photographed Kane’ohe Bay. The Byody-In Temple at the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park and the lush Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden are other highlights of this breathtaking area. Spend a day at the beach before returning to have a barbecue at your vacation home.
This small town in Oahu lies between Laie and Turtle Bay. It’s known for superb shrimp food trucks from one of the many local shrimp farms (Giovanni’s is a favorite!). Choose from garlic, lemon and butter, or spicy spicy shrimp served on rice. Kahuku Beach is good for fishing but not ideal for swimming, which is better at Turtle Bay Beach. You can enjoy ocean views from your vacation rental or soar through the dense canopy and lush Kahuku landscape with CLIMB Works Keana Farms, a 3-hour guided zip-line tour!
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This article was written by Lauren Riley.