The Hawaiian Islan's tropical paradise is an absolute 'Mecca' for tours, activities and local offerings that makes traveling to Hawaii a unique experience of a lifetime. The islands have some of the best weather in the world. 10 out of 14 different world’s climates can be found on the island. Its trade winds, cool breezes, ample sunshine, over 400 named beaches to explore and the Technicolor shoals and reefs beneath make a perfect day in paradise being in Hawaii.
Out of 8 million passengers that visit Hawaii, about 60% of them arrive from the US. Talk to any avid traveler and they will vouch for the fact that there is never a bad time to travel to Hawaii however, different seasons promise an altogether different experience of the island.
Here's a look at the Best times to visit Hawaii based on different seasonal activities, events, and every island's unique topography that is at its peak during a particular season.
PEAK SEASON IN HAWAII
If you are traveling on a budget, refrain from traveling during the most expensive times in Hawaii:
- July: Hawaii's most traveled month
- Peak Season: Dec 22 - January 3
- Summer Season: July followed by August witness a huge crowd
Prices are about 20% higher in the summer as compared to the low season. Peak seasons are even more expensive as car rental skyrockets and the occupancy rate of accommodations is almost 100%. Care must be taken to book a holiday at least 6 months in advance or opt for a timeshare holiday. The only region available for a quieter holiday during peak season is the Kauai’s north shore.
BEST TIME FOR GOOD WEATHER IN HAWAII
Overall the best opportunity to visit Hawaii and enjoy its good weather exists during April, May, September, and October when the weather is warm; around 83-88ºF (29-31ºC) in the summer months. Tradewinds pick up in winter months and so does the showers followed by surf swells particularly on the windward north/northeast shores.
Here's a rundown of the best seasons in Hawaii along with their favorable months.
A picture-perfect vacation beach is also one of the top reasons why people visit Hawaii. Lazing in the day basking under the glorious Hawaiian sunshine and returning home with a golden suntan is what Hawaii is best known for.
AUTUMN IN HAWAII
September tops the chart for being the best month to visit Hawaii. The entire September month has pleasant, warm temperatures with the absence of precipitation until
With summer crowds departed, accommodation rates returning to normal, it is also the best time for those who dislike the usual bustle of vacation season. Conditions are also perfect for snorkeling.
FESTIVALS IN AUTUMN
- Aloha Festivals - A month-long festival extending into October
- Hawaii Food & Wine Festival - A premier epicurean event featuring 80 internationally renowned master chefs and culinary personalities
- Kauaʻi Mokihana Festival - A week-long fest includes exciting workshops, contests, music, folk crafts
- Queen Lili`uokalani Music Festival and Concert - Held in the honor of the queen, the fest features music, arts, crafts, food, and a mass hula of more than 500 dancers
SPRING IN HAWAII
Late spring is a delightful season to visit Hawaii due to pleasant weather and serene oceanic condition. The crowd is fewer as work and schools get open. This is also the right time so see gorgeous flowers sprung all over and the time for humpback whales to migrate to their tropical winter quarters in Hawaii. Whale-watching season begins late in December and lasts through May, so there's ample chance to watch these blue mammoths on every island during a spring trip!
May is quite close to September and these months also have a lot in common. May signals the beginning of summer. The temperature rises gradually but one difference is that the ocean is more active and is the best time to try boogie boarding, learn surfing and still there are ample calm days to try snorkeling. Price and crowd are equivalent to September.
June is also an excellent month to visit Hawaii. The best weather of the year in Hawaii is in June with the lowest amounts of rainfall. Depending on school schedules, the holiday crowds don't arrive until the second or third week of this month.
EVENTS IN SPRING
- Lei Day - A flowering spectacle when islanders all wear a flower necklace and take part in lei-making competitions.
- Historic Merrie Monarch Festival (April) - A celebration honoring the "Merrie Monarch King David Kalakaua.
- Kapalua Wine and Food Festival – The 4-day culinary extravaganza is one of the most prestigious festivals featuring world-renowned winemakers, celebrated chefs, and cooking demonstrations. It is the best time to explore some of the most exciting gastronomic trends.
- Pan-Pacific Festival - One of Hawaii's largest cultural events where more than 4,000 musicians, dancers, and artists from Japan come to perform with the locals to present a variety of events; most are free.
SUMMER IN HAWAII
Summer is a busy season for families with children while July is the state's most-visited month; although the temperature may not be the best and surfs can be intense.
- July & August
You can surf at the south shore as the waves that were rough in winters get milder now. Summers are also quite good for snorkeling and swimming. Waikiki is packed but elsewhere, you likely won’t mind. Hurricane season kicks in around the first week of June.
EVENTS IN SUMMER MONTHS
- King Kamehameha Day - The celebratory parade that starts from Downtown Honolulu and finishes at Kapiʻolani Park in Waikiki.
- Honolulu's annual festival (July) - Experience the magic of the ukulele; Hawaii’s famed instrument.
- Makawao Rodeo - The largest rodeo event in Hawaii on the 4th of July when more than 350 cowboys from all over the world livens up Oskie Rice Rodeo Arena in Maui.
- Made in Hawaii Festival - The festival features a dazzling array of the latest finds and old favorite merchandise made-in-Hawaii made by some 400 exhibitors
WINTER IN HAWAII
Most travelers visiting Hawaii in the winters come here to escape the harsh weather and get some of the best bargains. This is the time for some of the biggest swells and time for world-famous surfing competitions. Winter is also the time for the arrival of the Humpback whales.
- Early December
When planning for winter vacations in Hawaii, the best time is early December when prices are low, before the crowds gear-up for the holiday season.
Overall weather is agreeable and average daytime temperature varies from 72 °F - 75 °F (22 °C) between December and February.
- January & February
Late January is a couple of degrees warmer and it’s slightly less busy as well. Airfare in January is also lesser than February but January usually experiences more rainfall. February, on the other hand, has a lot less of trade winds making it ideally suitable for a beachy retreat. February is also perfect for surfing.
EVENTS IN WINTERS
- Christmas, January 25th December – First week of January is the peak season
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day (3rd Monday in January)
- President’s Day (3rd Monday in February)
- Cherry Blossom Festival - The lengthiest festival that takes place over 3 months and continues up till March featuring a variety of Japanese cultural events.
- Ka Moloka'i Makahiki Festival - A week-long celebration featuring a fishing contest, music, and hula dancing, Hawaiian games, and sporting events.
- Chinese New Year Celebration – The Chinese New Year at the Mun Fa Cultural Plaza in Honolulu has lots of entertainment shows, a lion dance, pageants, complete with food booths and a festival bazaar open to the public.
BEST TIME TO AVOID CROWDS?
- November (excluding Thanksgiving)
- May for good weather and the quietest scene on the islands
- 1st week of June, and April (excluding ‘Golden Week’ and Easter)
- September or October
We have compiled detailed information about the cheapest months and ways to book cheap tickets to Hawaii on the CHEAPEST TIME TO GO TO HAWAII.
BEST TIME FOR ACTIVITIES IN HAWAII
BEST TIME FOR SNORKELING, SWIMMING, AND DIVING IN HAWAII:
Hawaii offers fantastic snorkeling and swimming opportunities during the months of May through September when the water is warm, skies are sunnier and surf is less intense. It is a perfect time for exploring the snorkel spots. Top places for surfing are the Big Island and Maui which are least affected by the east trade winds creating perfect conditions for exploring the waters around the islands.
BEST TIME FOR SURFING IN HAWAII:
Surfing in Hawaii primarily depends upon the skill levels of the surfers. The island is popular for some of its serious swells and surfing waves in the world. The winter season, or ho’oilo in winters from mid-November through early February is when the big waves strike Oahu’s North Shore. This is the time for pros, experienced surfers, and spectators to gather for the “Seven Mile Miracle competition.
BEST TIME TO SKI OR SNOWBOARD IN HAWAII:
Hawaii has perfect conditions for skiing and snowboarding. Mauna Kea, on the Big Island, is often snow-blanketed and provides the best worldwide snow during February or March. However, facilities are limited here as there are no resorts and you need to heir a 4x4 vehicle to reach the summit.
BEST TIME FOR WHALE WATCHING AND INTER-ISLAND CRUISES: Whale watching is the most amazing marine wildlife adventure you’d ever have an opportunity to partake. Winter months are also a great time for a good cruise bargain, including the inter-island cruises popular for Humpback whales sighting. Late February through early March is the best time for whale watching after their calve are born. Whales can be spotted on every island, especially concentrated between Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. This is the best time for a romantic whale watching sunset cruise, or a private boat charter to see the whales swim off the sides of the ship.
You will find some of the best cruise deals during the Thanksgiving and mid-December.HAWAIIAN CRUISES – BEST CRUISES TO HAWAII
BEST TIME TO GET MARRIED/HAVE A DESTINATION WEDDING IN HAWAII:
Planning your wedding during April and October is the best time with conducive warm and dry weather that’s a pretty safe bet for a congregation. Ultimately, considering all factors, May is the best month for weddings in Hawaii. Avoid June through November due to Hurricane or rains.
BEST TIME FOR HIKING IN HAWAII?
The superb Mars-like views of the Kea Mauna, the deep Waipio Valley and its giant waterfalls, the diverse landscape of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the cliffs of the NaPali Coast dropping straight into the ocean, and the Waimea Canyon, also known as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific are all the marvels waiting to be conquered in Hawaii. Hawaii has some of the best hiking trails. The most ideal time to hike these trails is during the late spring (April & May) and early fall (September & October) as these months are cooler.
BEST TIME FOR VOLCANO OR GO STARGAZING IN HAWAII?
The Big Island’s Kilauea volcano that has been erupting continuously since 1983 is can be treaded during the winters when the temperatures have subsided.
The Hawaii Stars Adventure is a fantastic exploration at the summit of Mauna Kea. Utilize the world-class telescopes on Mauna Kea’s Observatories and experience big skies and incredible nighttime views. Summer months are best due to clear sky and because it is downright frigid at night to visit in winter.
Remember Mauna Kea is 4,138 meters high up so oxygen levels are low. It’s recommended to take a break halfway and not to ascend the summit within 24-hours of scuba diving.
BEST TIME TO GO FISHING IN HAWAII?
Fishing is a year-round popular activity and the summer tends to be one of the most popular periods for fishing when the blue marlin, jumbo-sized yellowfin, Onos, and mahi-mahi throng in the water. Winter months are best for catching bigeye tuna, skipjack, snapper, and striped marlin.
BEST TIME TO SURF, BODYBOARD, OR PADDLEBOARD IN HAWAII?
Winters are the best time for surfing and bodyboarding. The north shore swell bears some of the world's biggest waves playing host to pro surfing competitions. Summers and the fall seasons are calm and suitable for surfing and paddleboarding skills of all levels.
BEST TIME FOR LOCAL FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
- Chinese New Year – (February) - Celebrated in the Chinatown Cultural Plaza, Oʻahu, is a week-long preceding on the Chinese New Year day.
- Waikiki’s Spam Jam Festival on (April) – It’s a Festival celebrating Spam - Spam merchandise, crafts and apparel for a charity cause.
- Merrie Monarch (April) - also known as the Olympics of Hula, is a week-long hula held on the Big Island. A highly anticipated event followed by a parade and public celebration, craft fair and live shows.
- The King Kamehameha Day (June 11) and Lei Day (May 1) – Includes impressive lei draping ceremonies of the King Kamehameha Statutes, lei drapings, parades, block parties, and hula performances
- Hawaii’s Lantern Floating Festival (May)- The Memorial Day every year, for collective and individual remembrance when thousands of people launch wooden and paper lanterns.
- Kapalua Food and Wine Festival (June) – The longest-running food and wine festival in the U.S. Held from June 6-9, 2019 on Maui featuring massive hoolaulea, parties, food tents, live local entertainment and a colorful floral parade
- Ukulele Festival (July)- Experience the magic of the ʻukulele, and experience why the instrument is so popular in the world
- Koloa Plantation Days’ festival (July) – A rich display of Kaua‘i’s rich cultural diversity and all that is coffee with over 50 events held annually on the sunny South Shore of the island.
- Aloha Festivals (September) - A weeklong celebration of music and culture is an opportunity to attend the big party and festival parade, crafts showcases, hula and food.
HAWAIIAN ISLAND UPDATES
The best time to travel to Hawaii can be highly dependent on which islands you'll be spending your time on as each island is quite different and diverse.
Here’s a list of things to know before visiting all the popular islands of Hawaii.
BEST TIME TO VISIT KAUAI
Weather is Kauai is consistently warm in its mid 70’s and 80’s and the western and southern shores are the driest. Prominent events are the May Day Festival in May and the Chocolate & Coffee Festival in October.
BEST TIME TO VISIT OAHU
Oahu is a popular island to visit year-round and is also known for its peaceful retreats and off beaten exploration. If you like more tranquility, it's advisable to visit Oahu in May or later in the fall season between September and October and the rates are also cheap then. The 'Golden Week' during the last week of April sees a large influx of Japanese visitors, about1.59 million. The Hawaii International Film Festival in October and the Honolulu Marathon (December) also attract a large international crowd.
BEST TIME TO VISIT MAUI
The temperature in Maui is consistently warm with daytime highs in the 75-85 °F. The best months to visit Maui are during April and May, and later in September and October. February month is a good choice for whale watching. The best deals on accommodation are available during the spring and fall season, however, whale watching begins late in November and lasts up till march when visitation increases and so does the prices.
BEST TIME TO VISIT BIG ISLAND
The Big Island also has consistently warm weather. Hilo is a wetter and cooler eastbound windward side whereas Kailua-Kona is the dry and warm westward side of the island. The best months to visit the Big Island are in the months of May, August, and September when the weather is favorable and rates are low.
Annual events such as the Merrie Monarch Festival and the Ironman competition in October are a big draw for the international crowd.
BEST TIME FOR DISCOUNTED TICKETS FOR HAWAII
Hawaii is a popular destination and it can be costlier to travel during high season and traveling at the last moment unless there is a flash sale or surprise deal. For discounted rates, it’s best to book early and fly mid-week.
Cheaper accommodation and flights can be found during the spring and fall months. You can see the airfare prices falling during the Late March through mid-June with exception to the last week in April, which happens to be the Golden Week and the peak time for Japanese travelers to Hawaii.
Hawaii is known as "paradise" in all seasons so ultimately the best time to visit Hawaii is when you get cheaper tickets that form a considerable proportion of your travel expense.
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