The Best Time To Visit Hawaii: A Month-by-Month Guide | Thrifty Traveler

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The Best Time To Visit Hawaii: A Month-by-Month Guide

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If you've heard that there's no bad time to visit Hawaii, you heard right. But really, let's get into it: What's the best time to visit Hawaii?

The Hawaiian Islands are incredible all-year around, with warm temperatures and sunny beaches that make the state one of the most sought-after travel destinations for Americans and even many international tourists. But some months are rainier than others – and it varies from island to island. Crowds throughout the islands fluctuate, throughout the year, too.

For instance, November will likely have the fewest crowds of any month in Hawaii … but it's also one of the rainiest months of the year. Want to go in June? Historical averages show there won't be much rain, but you'll be dealing with bigger crowds as families take their kids on trips after school is out.
 

hawaii 

There are a few different tradeoffs and other things to consider before you book your trip to Hawaii, so let's break it all down.
 

 

Hawaii Climate Guide

The Hawaiian Islands boast incredibly varied landscapes including tropical forests, lava deserts, snow-capped mountains, plunging oceanside cliffs, and more.

That means that you could experience wildly different weather on the same day exploring one island. Head to another island? The climate can be completely different. The temperature rarely goes below 60 degrees or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It rains all year in Hawaii, but there tends to be more rain in the winter months, peaking in December. Hurricane season in Hawaii runs from June through November, generally speaking.

Keep in mind that each island is going to vary slightly in temperature and weather. Still, here is generally what you can expect during the different seasons if you're focused on finding the best weather in Hawaii.

 

Visiting Hawaii During the Spring

The weather might be perfect in the spring.

March through May in Hawaii sees average highs in the low to mid-80s. The average low is right at 70 degrees. March sees the most rain during springtime with an average of 3 1/2 inches, but by May the rainfall average drops to just 1 1/2 inches.

After spring break has come and gone, the late spring months of April and May are a great time to visit Hawaii to avoid crowds and peak pricing at hotels and resorts while taking advantage of the some great Hawaii weather.
 

Maui, Hawaii

 

Visiting Hawaii During the Summer

These are the warmest months in Hawaii with the least amount of rain.

June through August warms up a bit in Hawaii with highs in the high 80s and low 90s. The average lows are between 72 degrees and 75 degrees. The summer months also see the lowest amount of rain, averaging just 1 3/4 inches per month.

The summer months are the second busiest tourist season for Hawaii, driven by an increase in family travel around this time with kids on summer break.

 

Visiting Hawaii During the Fall

September through November historically has highs starting in the low 90s and high 80s. The average lows are in the low 70s. The average precipitation ranges from 2 1/2 inches up to just under 5 inches in November. Along with December, November sees the most amount of rain of any month in Hawaii.

As a result, November is one of the best times to visit the islands if you want to avoid the crowds and take advantage of cheaper hotel rates. Just be sure to pack a raincoat.
 

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Visiting Hawaii During the Winter

Temperatures in December through February are in the mid to low 80s. The average lows are in the mid-60s. The winter months see the most rain overall with about 3.5 inches of precipitation every month.

Mid-December to March is also the peak tourist season in Hawaii. It's still a great time to go to Hawaii to get away from the winter, but expect higher rates at hotels and resorts and more crowds.

 

What is the Best Month to Visit Hawaii?

Visiting Hawaii in January

January is one of the more popular months for tourists to visit Hawaii.

If you want to go in January, make sure to plan well in advance as resorts and hotels will sell out. Not only is January popular with tourists but there are also annual PGA golf tournaments held in January on several islands.

January has an average high of 81 degrees and an average low of 64 degrees with three inches of precipitation over the month.

 

Visiting Hawaii in February

February is also a popular month to visit Hawaii.

It has an average high of 81 degrees and an average low of 66 degrees with 3 1/2 inches of precipitation over the month.

February is one of the rainier months of the year in Hawaii. It's also popular among travelers looking to flee gloomy, cold weather on the mainland.

 

Northern beaches of Oahu, Hawaii

 

Visiting Hawaii in March

Because of spring break, March is going to be a busy time to travel anywhere … and Hawaii is no exception.

March has an average high of 82 degrees and an average low of 68 degrees with 3 1/2 inches of precipitation over the month.

There are a handful of events that happen in March including the annual Honolulu Festival and the Kona Brewers Festival that can lead to some bigger crowds.

 

Visiting Hawaii in April

Tourist season starts to slow down in April with the exception of Easter weekend.

The average high is 84 degrees and the average low is 70 degrees. The average precipitation drops in April to just 2 inches of rain over the course of the month, making it a great time to plan your trip to Hawaii.

 

Visiting Hawaii in May

May is the start of the dry season in Hawaii.

The average precipitation is just 1 1/2 inches of rain over the month. The temperatures are great, too, with an average high of 86 degrees and the average low of 70 degrees.

May is also one of the slower tourist months for Hawaii, meaning prices for hotels and resorts should be more reasonable.
 

hawaii sunset maui scaled

 

Visiting Hawaii in June

Hawaii starts to heat up in June.

The average high in June is 88 degrees and the average low is 72 degrees. The average precipitation is under 1 3/4 inches of rain over the month.

On the flipside, tourist season starts ramping up again in June with families taking advantage of summer break.

There are plenty of events and festivals that take place in June on all of the different islands. Two of the main events are the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival in Maui and the King Kamehameha Celebration that is celebrated on all of the islands.

King Kamehameha Day, June 11, was created to honor the memory of Kamehameha the Great who united the Hawaiian Islands in 1810 and became Hawai‘i’s first King. The festivals celebrating Kamehameha features traditional Hawaiian dance, music, chant, practices, arts and crafts, and ‘ono (delicious) food

 

Visiting Hawaii in July

Rain starts to fall in Hawaii in July again.

The average high in July is 88 degrees and the average low is 73 degrees. But the average precipitation is over 2 1/4 inches of rain over the month.

The Prince Lot Hula Competition, put on by the Moanalua Gardens Foundation, takes place every year on the third weekend of July on the island of Ohahu. Since 1970, the Moanalua Gardens Foundation has had the goal to preserve and protect the environmental and cultural resources of Hawaii.

 

Visiting Hawaii in August

Seeking the heat? August is usually the warmest month in Hawaii.

The average high is 90 degrees and the average low is 75 degrees. The average precipitation is just above 1 1/4 inches of rain over the month.

August sees some of the peak season traffic that June and July do, but it starts to drop off. It might be a good sweet spot to consider a summer trip, so long as you don't mind a little bit of heat!
 

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Visiting Hawaii in September

With kids back in school, tourism in Hawaii starts to slow down a bit for a few months starting in September.

The average high temperature in September is 90 degrees in Hawaii, with the average low touching 73 degrees. The state averages about 2 1/2 inches of rain during the month of September, which is much lighter than the rainier months ahead as fall gets underway

 

Visiting Hawaii in October

October in Hawaii is a busy month with the Hawaii International Film Festival, the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival, the Kauai Chocolate and Coffee Festival, and the Eo E Emalani I Alakai Festival all taking place on their various islands.

The average high temperature on the Hawaiian Islands in October is 88 degrees, with the average low being 73 degrees.

But rainfall on the islands picks up, too, with an average of nearly 3 1/4 inches of rain throughout the month of October.

 

Visiting Hawaii in November

If you're hoping to visit the Annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival on the Big Island, you can expect good weather (as always) in Hawaii. November is, however, the rainiest month in Hawaii.

November rains in Hawaii total nearly 5 inches on average, making it one of the rainiest months on the island. The average high temperature in November is 84 and the average low is 72.

 

Visiting Hawaii in December

To round out the year, December has an average high temperature of 82 degrees and an average low of 66 degrees, making for great running conditions for the Honolulu Marathon, which takes place that month every year.

December can also be quite rainy with an average of nearly 3 1/2 inches – though some years, the islands will see considerably more December precipitation.
 

whale watching off the coast of Maui
 

Best Times to Go Whale Watching in Hawaii

The best time to see whales in Hawaii is from November to May.

This is when the Pacific humpback whales return to the warm waters around the Islands to breed, birth, and nurse their young.

 

The Best Island in Hawaii to See Whales

You can watch for whales from the shores of almost any Hawaiian island, but one spot stands out: Maui.

The Auau Channel between Maui, Molokai, and Lani is one of the prime spots for whale watching. Lahaina, a town on Maui's western shores, is home to many whale-watching tour companies. Plus, Lahaina also offers great oceanfront restaurants and shopping.

Read more: What is the Best Island to Visit in Hawaii? A Complete Guide

 

A surfer in the water in Hawaiii
 

Surfing in Hawaii

Surfing was born in Hawaii, and it's incredibly popular today.

You can take surfing lessons or watch the pros in action from any island.

 

Best Times to Go Surfing in Hawaii

You can surf year-round in Hawaii.

But if you're looking for the biggest swells to test your skills, there are a few times of the year and locations that are better than others. Between November and February, the west and north shores of Oahu are where you'll find the biggest and most powerful waves.

Not a surfer? Take a lesson! You can find a small group or one on one surfing lessons on almost every island. Airbnb Experiences is a great place to find a local for a class.

 

Best Times to Watch Surfing in Hawaii

The big wave season happens from November to February every year.

You can watch surfers on any island but the big competitions happen on Oahu. The North Shore of Oahu is the place to be to watch the pros in world-renowned competitions.

 

Best Time to Go to Hawaii to Avoid the Crowds

The best time to go to Hawaii to avoid packed resorts and crowded beaches is from mid-April to mid-June and September to mid-December.

Monthly visitor statistics from the Hawaii Tourism Authority clearly show that peak tourist season in Hawaii typically runs from mid-December through the end of March to the beginning of April. If you want to visit Hawaii during these months, expect hotels and resorts to sell out fast.

The second busiest time of the year is typically from mid-June to the end of August when many families with kids on summer break vacation.

 

When is the Cheapest Time to Visit Hawaii?

Because mid-April to mid-June and September to mid-December are the low seasons for tourism in Hawaii, there are deals to be had.

Hotel and resort rates tend to be cheaper and so do tours. And because demand is down you can also find cheaper flights to Hawaii during these months.

As far as booking flights, there is no best time to find and book cheap flights, but the cheapest flights are typically found in the fall to Hawaii, too.

 

Ready to Book Your Trip to Hawaii?

Forget what you've heard: Flights to Hawaii don't have to cost $600 or more roundtrip. You can find cheap flights to Hawaii.

Let's start with the basics. We have a #1, most important rule for booking cheap travel anywhere: The Flight First Rule. Search for your flights first, and then plan your vacation around that. Doing the opposite could handcuff you to certain travel dates, which is a surefire recipe for expensive airfare.

So, how do you find cheap flights to Hawaii? Well, you could study up on everything you know surrounding how to find cheap flights. But if you're a Thrifty Traveler Premium member, you had them sent right to your inbox with fares like this:
 

SJC to Hawaii 

Or this…
 

MSP to Hawaii 

Or even this…
 

Eugene to Hawaii 

Because so many U.S. airlines service the Hawaiian Islands, it's not always difficult to find cheap flights there. You can even find nonstop flights from the mainland to Honolulu (HNL), the Big Island (KOA), Maui (OGG), and Kauai (LIH). And even as flight prices increase, we're still regularly seeing fares to Hawaii for $300 roundtrip or less.

As always, we recommend you search and book flights with Google Flights. It's simply the best way to search for cheap airfare out there. And remember: There's no single best day to book flights.

After your flights are booked, there are a ton of great ways to find good hotels in Hawaii. We just put together a list of our 17 favorite hotel booking sites that can help you start your journey, too. But if you're traveling with a group, booking an Airbnb is the way to go in Hawaii.

 

Bottom Line

There's truly no bad time to go to Hawaii. But there might just be a best time to visit Hawaii – at least for you.

There's no question some times are better than others. You might want to avoid rainier or busier times of the year when you go. The rainiest months are November through February in Hawaii, and the busiest times are January through March and the peak summer travel season of June through August.

 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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