By Kyle Ellison
November 05, 2014
David Fleetham / Alamy

There aren’t very many postcards of Maui that show an island socked in with rain. The reality, however, is that Maui is wet—especially during the winter—since the same storms that drop snow on the Sierras can first spill rain on Hawaii. While places like Kihei, Wailea, or Lahaina can go the entire summer without rain, Kapalua, Napili, and ever-so-lush Hana can get rain at any time of year. During the big winter cold fronts, however—which most commonly swing through in February—the entire island can become socked in with rain for multiple days at a time. Sure, you can always go to the beach in the rain, or hike on a slippery trail, but a better bet is to seek out shelter with one of the activities below. Rainy days are the perfect time to visit a whale sanctuary, contribute to the local economy by exploring the island’s eclectic shops or sip a cup of something hot while sampling relaxing.

Visit the Maui Ocean Center

Staring a hammerhead shark in the eye is a good way to forget about the rain. So is watching a turtle breathe or being mesmerized by dancing sea jellies, or watching from a tunnel as stingrays and sharks go swimming just above your head.

Go Shopping in Makawao

When it comes to women’s clothing and art, professional shoppers skip Lahaina and head Upcountry to Makawao. This two-street town features glass-blowing demonstrations and over a dozen clothing boutiques and galleries, and there are even a handful of sports bars and restaurants where tortured males can escape.

Go Deep on Atlantis Submarines

It’s hard to be bothered by a constant drizzle from 130 feet below water. That’s the depth that this submarine tour can reach on the ocean floor, where travelers can visit a scuttled whaling ship festooned in colorful coral. Also available down below: Sharks, fish—and on rare occasions, whales—can be viewed from the numerous portholes.

Sip Hot Chocolate at Kula Lodge

Perched at 3,200 feet on the slopes of Haleakala, this Kula restaurant offers a romantic escape for watching a storm roll through. Combat the chill with a hot chocolate while gazing into the clouds, and if the rain keeps falling in heavy sheets, peruse the paintings of Curtis Wilson Cost at his gallery down the stairs.

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center

January-March is the peak season for watching humpback whales in Maui, although visitors can learn about these 40-ton giants during any time of the year. There are also exhibits that range from monk seals to turtles, volcanoes, and tsunamis, and if the rain lets up you can visit Ko‘ie‘ie fishpond—built around 1450 AD.