The short answer as to when the best time to go to Hawaii is, it’s always a good time to go to Hawaii. Hawaii is one of those rare locations on earth which welcomes you with its warm and sunny demeanor at almost any time of the year. However, it does have moments that can make your visit more enjoyable depending on what you have planned.

January is the wettest month, December is the coldest, and June is the driest. While December may be the coldest month, the lowest recorded temperature for Hawaii is 64°F (18° C). For the most part, it’s t-shirts and boardshorts weather for a lot of the year, and maybe a raincoat in January.

May in Hawaii is one of Hawaii’s most popular months. The snowbirds have migrated, the weather is more pleasant, and you may even spot the last of the humpbacks trailing the rest of herd.

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Photo by Tyler Lastovich from Pexels

The best time of year to visit Hawaii will depend on the reason for your trip. Are you looking to laze on the beach, surf, go whale watching, or explore the wonder of Hawaii’s natural environment?

Decide on what you want to do during your visit to Hawaii, and you will have a good idea about when to plan your trip. Here’s how using the seasons can help you schedule your vacation according to the activities you have planned.

Hawaii in the Fall

The summer rush is over, and Hawaii breathes a sigh of relief as it settles down into a more laid-back routine during fall. However, there is still plenty of fun to be found around the islands.

Fall is the offseason between the exit of summer beachgoers and the arrival of winter crowds. Because demand is lower, there are always heaps of value-added deals for accommodation for budget-savvy travelers.

There is also no shortage of events to take in during fall, including the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival in October and the Eo E Emalani I Alakai Festival on the second Saturday of October.

The Eo E Emalani I Alakai Festival is a commemoration of the Hawaiian Queen Emma Naea Rooke’s journey to the upper reaches of Kilohana Viewpoint in 1871. Guests of the celebration must behave as if they are in the presence of royalty when the “Queen” enters or leaves the royal tent.

October is a busy month for Hawaii due to the Ironman Triathlon event held on the Kona side of the Big Island of Hawaii. The dates do vary each year so make sure you check your calendar.

In December you will also notice the rates for accommodation and airfares rising as the winter crowds start to gain momentum.

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Photo by Matthew Leland from Pexels

Hawaii During Winter

The winter months are a popular time for Hawaii, so don’t plan on scoring any deals on accommodation or air travel during this month. If you plan on visiting between Christmas through to the New Year, then book well in advance. This small window of the year comes close to rivaling the crowd numbers Hawaii experiences during its “high season.”

Winter in Hawaii is when the whales make their way from Alaska to mate, calve, and birth their young in the shallower waters around Hawaii. Off the coast of Maui is a favorite location for the whales, and one of the best places to catch sight of them.

Whale traffic is heaviest from December through to April and starts to taper off during the first weeks of May.

The last weeks of April and the first weeks of May are the start of the dry season and the close of the high-demand period. If you time your visit, you can score some good travel deals during this time and maybe catch sight of the last of the whales as they head for home.

Hawaii is a unique location during winter. On the Big Island, you can throw snowballs in the morning and enjoy a dip in the warm ocean in the afternoon. There have been some years during winter where snow has even been dropped on Maui.

Swimming can be a little rough during winter, but the big waves make it popular for surfers to descend on Hawaii from all over the world.

Unless the trip is to see the whales or catch big waves, then the wet weather, bigger crowds, and higher prices during Hawaiian winters may not suit most travelers.

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Photo by Peter Vanosdall on Unsplash

Hawaii In Spring

Trade winds are starting to recede by spring, and there are fewer rainy days to spoil your fun. The sun is almost always shining, but the temperatures haven’t yet reached the humid highs typical of summer.

Even better is, come the middle of April, the high-demand period for visiting Hawaii has dropped off. Airlines desperate to get bums on seats are offering heavily discounted ticket prices around this time.

If you love the beach but aren’t too keen on surfing, then the Hawaiian spring will be your favorite time for a visit. It’s the best time for swimming if you like cool waters. Ocean water temperatures reach around 70°F (21° C); cool, but not too cold, and no trade winds pushing waves to huge proportions.

Because the trade winds die down during spring, you can still get some surfing in. However, it’s not the best time of year for getting onto the big waves for which Hawaii is famous.

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Photo by Dan Ramsay on Unsplash

Related Podcast: Best Time to Visit Hawaii

Visiting Hawaii During Summer

Summer months in Hawaii are when crowds are the lowest, but it’s not the best time for budget travelers. There is a high demand for travel in general at this time of year due to school breaks making summer a popular time for families to getaway.

The school students in Hawaii also take their school breaks during summer and will frequent the same beaches and favorite tourist destinations you will be visiting.

Temperatures can reach warm to uncomfortably warm at 90+°F (32° C). If high temperatures aren’t enough to keep you hiding in your hotel room with the aircon on high, then a day of high humidity will be even more of a low point.

Summer is the offseason for surfing due to the trade winds dying down, and the water temperatures can reach 80+°F (26°C), making summer an excellent time for snorkeling.

Hawaii has tons of interesting locations for hikers. Summer temperatures, though, can make it difficult for unique landscapes, like the black lava fields and beautiful coastal walks, to lure you away from anywhere but the beach.

Hawaii offers something for everyone’s tastes in vacation. The trick to getting the most enjoyment out of your trip is to plan it so it coincides with the best weather conditions for your planned activity, cheaper ticket prices, or your tolerance for crowds.  We hope the above tips have helped you in making the best choice.

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Bryan Murphy

Bryan Murphy

Bryan Murphy is a recognized authority on responsible travel to Hawaii. Combining years of on-ground experience with insights from the top-rated podcast, Hawaii’s Best, he connects with a broad online community, offering a richer, more responsible way to experience Hawaii.