Visit Hawaii in May: Is May a Good Time to Go to Hawaii? (2024)

by | Feb 8, 2024

Are you eyeing Hawaii for an unforgettable getaway in May? Wondering if it’s the right spot for your vacation in May?

Let me tell you, May might just be one of Hawaii’s best-kept secrets when it comes to choosing the perfect time to explore its lush landscapes and pristine beaches.

With temperatures on the rise and crowds not yet at their peak, this month offers a balance of great weather and reasonable prices that savvy travelers dream about.

Is May a Good Time to Go to Hawaii?

Yes, May is an ideal time to visit Hawaii, marking the start of the dry season with warm, dry weather and sunny days. Average temperatures hover around 77°F (25°C), with ocean temperatures between 76° and 81°F (24° to 27°C), perfect for outdoor and water activities.

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Planning Your Trip? Use Our Favorite Resources!

🏨 Accommodations: We recommend Expedia

✈️ Flights: For the cheapest flights, we use Skyscanner

🚗 Rental Car: We recommend Discount Hawaii Car Rental

🌋 Attractions: We recommend Get Your Guide

🌺 Luaus and Tours: We recommend Hawaii Tours

📱 Mobile Tour App: Our favorite is Shaka Guide

Hawaii’s charm in May isn’t just about sunny days and cool nights—it’s also a chance to experience unique local events away from the hustle of high tourist season.

The islands beckon with their warm ocean waves ideal for surfing or snorkeling, trails waiting for intrepid hikers, and cultural celebrations that bring Hawaiian traditions to life.

Get ready to discover why booking your trip to this tropical paradise during the month of May is a decision full of potential sunshine—and savings! Dive into our blog as we unwrap all the reasons why visiting Hawaii in May could give you that picture-perfect vacation.

Hawaii in May is a sweet spot for travelers. You dodge the high prices and crowds of peak season but still soak up plenty of sunshine. This month brings you closer to Hawaii’s nature with everything in full bloom, making it picture-perfect for your adventure or relaxation needs.

Festivals add color and culture to your visit, like the Lei Day celebrations encompassing traditional Hawaiian art, dance, and music.

The ocean beckons with warm waters ideal for swimming and snorkeling alongside vibrant marine life. Hiking trails offer cool breezes and fewer hikers, so you have the paths almost to yourself.

Enjoy long days under the sun as May gifts you more daylight hours to explore or lounge on the white sandy beaches. With all this magic wrapped into one month, it’s clear why May stands out as an excellent time for your Hawaii getaway.

Key Takeaways of Hawaii in May

  • May is a great time to visit Hawaii, with warm days and cool nights, fewer crowds before Memorial Day, and reasonable prices for hotels, which can start at $200 per night.
  • Hawaii weather in May is mostly sunny with minimal rainfall usually occurring at night. Ocean temperatures average 77°F, perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
  • There are many cultural events in May like Lei Day on the 1st, the Samoa Festival, World Fire-Knife Dance Championships, and Memorial Day ceremonies including Lantern Floating on Magic Island.
  • Hiking trails provide stunning views with less crowding while water sports like surfing and snorkeling benefit from favorable ocean conditions.
  • While airfares are lower in mid-May compared to peak times, booking flights early can save about 14%, and car rental costs range from $52 to $90 per day plus parking fees.

Recommended Tours Nearby (Viator Widget)

Weather Conditions in May for Kauai, Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island

You’re in for a treat with Hawaii’s May climate—think warm, comfortable days that practically beg you to step outside and soak up the sun.

With its tempting blend of sunshine and a light ocean breeze, this time of year is all about enjoying the island’s natural beauty without breaking a sweat.

So grab your shades, because we’re diving into what Mother Nature has in store for you during this splendid month!

Average Temperatures

As you plan your Hawaiian vacation in May 2024, knowing the average temperatures can help you pack appropriately and set your expectations for the paradise awaiting you.

The islands offer a perfect balance of warmth and comfort that appeals to most travelers:

Time of DayAverage Temperature
Daytime84°F (29°C)
Evening70°F (21°C)
average monthly temperature in hawaii - hawaii in may

Hawaii’s alluring climate in May means you can spend your days exploring without the worry of excessive heat.

Beachgoers revel in the delightfully warm afternoons while the evenings bring a refreshing coolness, perfect for a relaxing stroll along the shore.

Rainfall and Winds

Transitioning smoothly from the pleasant average temperatures, let’s delve into what you can expect in terms of rainfall and winds for Hawaii in May.

The islands enjoy a relatively dry season starting in May, with any rain that does occur typically falling at night.

This means your days are likely to be sunny and clear, ideal for all the outdoor activities Hawaii offers. But let’s break down the specifics so you can plan your adventures with confidence.

IslandAverage RainfallWind Conditions
OahuMinimal – Night showersTrade winds, mild
MauiSparse, mainly at nightTrade winds, can be brisk
Big IslandVaries – Dry on leeward sideTrade winds, vary by region
KauaiOccasional showersTrade winds, generally gentle
average monthly rainfall in hawaii - hawaii in may

Remember, these trade winds are moisture-rich, contributing to the lush landscapes of the islands while keeping the leeward coastlines drier.

This unique Hawaiian weather pattern allows for diverse experiences across the archipelago.

Whether you’re exploring the dramatic cliffs of the Napali Coast in Kauai or sunbathing on the Big Island’s Kohala Coast, the May breeze will be your constant, refreshing companion.

Direction-of-both-Kona-and-Trade-Winds-Source-Climate-The-Sandwich-Islands

Walker, Ann & Scholz, Debra & Hess, Ann. (2018). Hawaii Net Environmental Benefit Analysis: Consensus Evaluation of Tradeoffs Associated with Oil Spill Response Options A Report to the Oceania Regional Response Team.

Ocean Temperatures

As you plan to visit Hawaii in May, you’ll be delighted to know that the ocean temperatures are incredibly inviting.

Envision yourself diving into a warm, soothing sea, with temperatures averaging a comfortable 77°F.

This prime condition allows you to indulge in various water activities from sunrise to sunset.

Below, a handy table summarizes what you can expect from the ocean’s embrace during your May getaway to Hawaii.

LocationAverage Ocean Temperature in MayPerfect For
Hawaii (Big Island)77°FSnorkeling, Scuba Diving
Maui77°FWindsurfing
Oahu77°FSurfing, Swimming
Kauai77°FKayaking, Paddleboarding
Lanai77°FSnorkeling
Molokai77°FFishing, Cultural Tours

The consistent ocean warmth in Hawaii in May paves the way for endless aquatic exploration. Whether you’re plunging into the depths near the Big Island’s volcanic coastlines or paddling along the serene bays of Kauai, the sea’s caress remains constant.

Hawaii in May truly is a fantastic time for water enthusiasts of all stripes to experience Hawaii’s marine majesty.

Visitor Arrivals: Is Hawaii Crowded in May?

estimated monthly visitors to hawaii - hawaii in may

Hawaii’s visitor numbers swell in May, but the islands are not as packed as during winter and summer holidays.

You’ll find more tourists around Golden Week (late April-early May)–a string of Japanese holidays–and Memorial Day weekend when Americans like to travel.

Still, beaches and attractions have enough space for you to enjoy without feeling overwhelmed.

Mid-May is your sweet spot if you want even fewer crowds. Many schools are still in session, which means family vacations haven’t kicked into high gear.

You can roam through the Hawaiian Islands with ease, finding serenity on sandy shores or quiet trails.

With less competition for views of cascading waterfalls or seats at sunset luausMay invites a sense of calm exploration before the busier months ahead.

Travel and Accommodation Costs in May

You’ll want to pay close attention to travel and accommodation costs, as they can vary with the season’s demand.

When traveling to Hawaii in May, you might just find that sweet spot where prices begin to dip before the summer rush—making it an opportune time for savvy travelers to enjoy Hawaii’s charms without breaking the bank.

Keep reading as we dive into what kind of deals you could score on hotels, flights, and car rentals during May, and why many consider it the best time of the year to visit Hawaii.

Hotel and Lodging

When you imagine your Hawaiian getaway, the picturesque accommodations are part of the dream.

In May, you’re in luck as the hotel and lodging options are not only abundant but also more affordable. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect in terms of your stay for Hawaii in May:

Type of LodgingCost RangeKey Notes
Standard Hotels$200 and upOffers the essentials with comfortable amenities; mid-level options are readily available.
Luxury ResortsPrices vary widelyCosts remain high due to premium services & facilities; early booking is recommended to secure the best rates.
Vacation RentalsVaries based on location and sizeGreat for large groups or families; offers a more home-like experience.
Boutique HotelsMid to high-rangeUnique themes and personalized service; a quaint choice for a romantic retreat.
Bed & BreakfastsLower to mid-rangeIdeal for cozy, intimate stays; includes breakfast with a local touch.
HostelsMost economicalBest suited for solo travelers or those on a tight budget; basic accommodations can be found throughout the year in Hawaii.

Balancing cost with comfort, you’ll find that Hawaii in May offers a sweet spot for hotel prices.

It’s a time when you can savor the luxury of hotels in Hawaii without the peak season price tag, especially since hotel accommodation prices can start as low as $200 per room per night.

However, remember to book in advance to capture these attractive rates before they rise with increased demand.

Whether you’re eyeing a lavish escape in a resort or a snug beachfront rental, May’s pricing range tends to favor the savvy traveler.

As for couples planning a wedding, May’s favorable Hawaii weather conditions make it the best month of the year to tie the knot.

It’s an ideal month for an island ceremony, promising a breathtaking backdrop and a comfortably lavish stay for you and your guests.

Airfare for Hawaii in May

Airfare can be one of the biggest expenses when planning your Hawaiian getaway, but if you’ve set your sights on Hawaii in May, the best month to visit, you’re in luck.

Booking your tickets in or before February can lead to significant savings, with the potential to reduce your airfare costs by roughly 14%.

Here’s a breakdown of what you might expect to pay for flights to Hawaii in May 2024:

Early MayMid-MayEnd of May
Higher prices due to Golden WeekLower costs mid-month, optimal savingsPrices rise for Memorial Day weekend

Check the Best Prices

Keep these variations in mind as you budget for your trip.

Plan strategically, and you could enjoy the splendors of Hawaii without overspending on flights. Remember, savvy travelers book early to catch the best deals!

Car Rentals and Parking for Hawaii in May

In May, the demand for car rentals in Hawaii is moderate, allowing you to enjoy relatively reasonable rates and availability.

Remember to factor in gasoline, insurance, and fees to avoid surprises. As for parking, costs and availability will vary greatly depending on your location in the islands.

Some hotels might treat you to complimentary parking, while public spaces might charge you a small fortune. Street parking can be a gamble with strict regulations, so always read signs carefully.

Private lots and garages are plentiful, providing a dependable—if occasionally pricey—alternative.

Overall, with a bit of planning, your car rental and parking needs can be easily managed, ensuring a smooth Hawaiian adventure.

Car Rental CostsParking Information
Daily rental rates range from $52 to $90Varies by location; free to $30 per day
Additional insurance and fees may applySome hotels offer free parking for guests
Gasoline adds to the expensePublic parking available; rates differ
Booking early can secure better ratesStreet parking is limited; observe regulations
Check for package deals or discountsPrivate lots and garages offer alternatives

Activities and Sightseeing Around the Islands in May

As the island’s landscapes burst with vibrant colors, you’ll find that Hawaii in May offers a perfect backdrop for an array of outdoor adventures.

Imagine yourself kayaking alongside turtles or meandering through lush trails, each moment teeming with the potential for lifelong memories.

Hiking Trails

woman walking a trail in hawaii in may
Hiking in Hawaii is a dream come true, especially in May. The trails lead you to breathtaking waterfalls, vibrant flowers, and fascinating historical sites.
  • Napali Coast on Kauai offers stunning views of the ocean and cliffs. It’s a must-see for all hikers.
  • Diamond Head on Oahu takes you up a volcanic crater for amazing views of Honolulu.
  • Hike the trails of Waimea Canyon to see why Kauai is called “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific.”
  • Iao Valley State Park on Maui has lush green scenery and the iconic Iao Needle.
  • Kalalau Trail provides experienced hikers with adventure along Kauai’s remote beaches.
  • Manoa Falls Trail leads through a jungle to a towering waterfall right in Oahu’s backyard.
  • Explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island for unique volcanic landscapes.
  • Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve offers a gentle hike with snorkeling opportunities at the bay below.
  • Akaka Falls State Park lets you walk through a rainforest to see one of Hawaii’s tallest waterfalls.
  • Haleakala National Park on Maui includes sunrise hikes where you can watch the sun peek over Haleakala Crater.

Water Sports: Surfing and Snorkeling

After exploring the trails, you can dive into the ocean for some water activities. May is perfect for surfing and snorkeling in Hawaii’s clear waters.
 

  • Surfing thrives on the North Shore with great waves.
  • Snorkelers enjoy calm waters and plenty of fish.
  • This month offers ideal conditions with warm ocean temperatures.
  • You’ll see turtles, colorful coral, and maybe even dolphins!
  • For first-timerssurf schools offer a safe way to learn.

Things to Do in Hawaii in May

May in Hawaii isn’t just about the spectacular weather and scenic beaches.

It’s also a month brimming with cultural festivities and events that promise to enrich your Hawaiian experience—so, why not dive into the local celebrations and see what makes this island so vibrant?

Keep reading to discover how these unique events can add an unforgettable dimension to your trip.

Lei Day

lei day

During the first week of May, Hawaii honors its unique tradition with Lei Day on May 1. This special day in Waikiki, Oahu is all about celebrating the Hawaiian custom of lei making.

You can join locals and visitors at Queen Kapiolani Regional Park Bandstand for competitions in lei-making.

Enjoy beauty pageants that sparkle under the sun. Don’t miss out on the amazing live concert filled with melodious tunes capturing the spirit of Hawaii.

Lei Day festivities bring a festival vibe to all the islands. Dive into Hawaiian culture while watching skilled artisans create beautiful leis from flowers, leaves, and even seashells! Take part in workshops or simply marvel at their intricate work.

This wonderful event unites everyone through music, dance, and shared aloha – it’s an experience you won’t forget!

Samoa Festival and World Fire-Knife Dance Championships

Get ready to be amazed by the Samoa Festival and World Fire-Knife Dance Championships.

These events light up the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu with thrilling performances. You’ll see fire-knife dancers spin, twirl, and toss flaming knives with incredible skill.

Taste authentic Samoan cuisine as you enjoy live music and colorful festivities that showcase the vibrant culture of Samoa.

Feel the heat of competition as dancers from around the globe battle for the championship title. Their daring moves will keep you on the edge of your seat!

This festival is one of May’s highlights in Hawaii, offering a unique cultural experience you won’t forget.

Next, witness another spectacular event—Lantern Floating on Magic Island.

Lantern Floating on Magic Island

After enjoying the vibrant energy at the Samoa Festival and World Fire-Knife Dance Championships, take a moment for reflection at another significant May event in Hawaii.

The Lantern Floating ceremony on Magic Island is a sight to behold.

More than 40,000 people gather at Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu to remember loved ones who have passed away. Here, you’ll see thousands of lanterns gently set adrift on the ocean as dusk falls.

Each lantern carries prayers and memories, creating an illuminated path on the water’s surface. This beautiful tradition takes place every year on Memorial Day.

It serves as a communal pause to honor those who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces as well as other beloved family members and friends lost along life’s journey.

If you’re seeking a meaningful experience during your Hawaii vacation, this moving tribute is not to be missed.

As night settles and the last lantern glides out into the Pacific, it’s clear why this event has become such a cherished part of Memorial Day celebrations across Honolulu – uniting hearts in remembrance under Hawaii’s starlit sky.

Memorial Day Celebrations

Memorial Day in Hawaii gives you a chance to honor heroes and enjoy unique ceremonies.

At the National Memorial Cemetery at the Punchbowl Crater, join thousands in paying tribute to those who sacrificed their lives serving in the U.S. armed forces.

This solemn event is a powerful reminder of bravery and patriotism.

Experience the Lantern Floating on Magic Island, too.

Over 40,000 people gather here each year for an evening filled with hope and remembrance on Honolulu’s Ala Moana Beach Park.

You’ll see thousands of lanterns light up the ocean as they carry messages of love out to sea.

It’s truly a sight that connects hearts and commemorates lives lost in service to freedom.

These celebrations add deep meaning to your May trip, offering moments of reflection amid Hawaii’s stunning landscapes.

Enjoy Memorial Day by honoring history while surrounded by beauty on these beautiful islands.

Pros and Cons for a Hawaii Vacation in May

Hawaii in May has plenty to offer. The weather is usually warm and sunny, with temperatures ideal for beach days and outdoor adventures.

You’ll experience the true beauty of Hawaii’s nature without too much rain spoiling your plans.

Enjoy hiking through lush green landscapes or lounging on golden beaches under clear skies.

But visiting Hawaii in May comes with a few drawbacks, too.

Prices for flights and hotels can spike during the first week due to Golden Week tourists from Japan. There may also be more people around at popular tourist spots during Memorial Day weekend toward the end of the month.

Also, while it’s not peak season for storms, you should still keep an eye on weather reports as conditions can change.

Another thing to consider is that certain attractions may be busier due to local events like Lei Day or school graduations. It means some extra planning might be needed if you’re trying to avoid crowds at these times.

Even though there are fewer tourists overall compared to summer monthsbooking your activities early ensures you won’t miss out on what you really want to do.

Planning Your Trip to Hawaii in May 2024

the big island of hawaii - hawaii in may
After weighing the pros and cons, you might decide May 2024 is your ideal time for a Hawaii getaway. Here’s how to plan your trip:
 
  • Set a budget that includes flights, accommodation, food, activities, and some extra cash for unexpected expenses.
  • Book your flights early to grab the best deals. Airlines often have sales for travel during less busy months like May.
  • Choose lodging that suits your needs. Consider hotels, resorts, or vacation rentals across the islands.
  • Rent a car in advance if you want to explore the islands at your own pace. Remember parking fees can add up.
  • Pack light clothing for the day and something warmer for cooler evenings. Don’t forget sunscreen, hats, and comfortable shoes.
  • Make activity reservations ahead of time. Book tours for snorkeling or hiking to ensure you don’t miss out.
  • Research events happening in May such as Lei Day celebrations or the Lantern Floating Festival. Plan to attend them if interested.
  • Think about a travel insurance policy that covers trip cancellations or medical emergencies.

Our Opinions and Advice on Hawaii in May

May can be a busy time for people on the U.S. continent with graduations and the school year winding down.

However, if you’re able to sneak away to Hawaii in May during the middle of the month, it just may be the best time of year to visit Hawaii!

Traveling to Hawaii in May Wrap-Up

Hawaii in May truly is a traveler’s dream come true. With its unbeatable mix of pleasant weather, manageable crowds, and a calendar full of vibrant cultural festivities, it’s the golden ticket to experiencing the islands at their best.

Whether you’re surfing the waves, hiking up to breathtaking views, or just soaking in the local celebrations, May offers the perfect backdrop for every kind of adventure.

So, as you plan your Hawaiian getaway, remember the magic that awaits you in May – from sun-drenched beaches to the spirit of aloha at every turn. Ready to dive into the beauty of Hawaii in May?

Your island paradise awaits, promising memories that will last a lifetime. Let’s make that trip happen!

FAQs for Hawaii in May

1. Is May a good time to visit Hawaii?

Yes, May is an excellent time to head to Hawaii! The crowds are smaller since it’s before the busy summer months like June and July. You’ll find pleasant weather with little rain and lots of sunny days to explore.

2. How is the weather in Hawaii during May?

May brings some of the best weather to enjoy in Hawaii! Expect warm days with average high temperatures that make beach trips perfect. It’s just before hurricane season starts, so you shouldn’t worry about big storms either.

3. Are there any special events in Hawaii in May I can attend?

Of course! Check out Mele Mei – a celebration full of Hawaiian music and culture. If you love films, don’t miss the exciting Hawaii International Film Festival too.

4. Will I find good deals on hotels when planning my trip for May?

You’re likely to score some great prices on luxury hotels during your May trip since it’s one of the least crowded months to visit—keep an eye out for those bargains!

5. Can I go swimming and enjoy water activities in May?

Absolutely, jump right into that beautiful ocean! Water temperatures are comfy-cozy for swimming or trying fun stuff like surfing around Waikiki Beach or snorkeling at Turtle Bay Resort.

6. What should I pack for a trip to Hawaii in May?

Remember sunscreen for those strong rays and bring along summer clothes – think shorts and flip-flops! Toss in a light jacket though; evenings can get cool when you’re strolling by Lahaina or Kaanapali Beach after sunset.

7. Is May a good time to visit Hawaii?

Yes, May is generally a great time to visit Hawaii. The weather is warm but not too hot, and the islands are less crowded compared to the peak tourist months.

8. What is the weather like in Hawaii in May?

In May, Hawaii experiences mild and pleasant weather with average high temperatures ranging from 79°F to 85°F and average low temperatures ranging from 68°F to 74°F.

9. Are the beaches in Hawaii crowded in May?

May is considered one of the least crowded months to visit the Hawaiian beaches, making it a great time to enjoy the stunning beaches without encountering huge crowds of tourists.

10. Which Hawaiian islands are best to visit in May?

In May, you can explore any of the Hawaiian islands, but the Big Island of Hawaii, Maui, and Oahu are popular choices due to their diverse attractions and activities.

11. What are some popular activities to do in Hawaii in May?

In May, visitors to Hawaii can enjoy various activities such as hiking, snorkeling, surfing, and exploring the natural beauty and cultural attractions the islands have to offer.

12. Are the prices for accommodations and flights cheaper in May?

May, specifically the period before the Memorial Day weekend, is often an ideal time to find competitive prices for accommodations and flights to Hawaii.

13. What should I pack for a trip to Hawaii in May?

Pack light, breathable clothing suitable for warm weather, along with swimwear, sunscreen, sunglasses, and comfortable footwear for hiking and exploring the beautiful islands of Hawaii.

14. Is May a good time for hiking in Hawaii?

Yes, May is one of the best hiking months in Hawaii as the weather is generally pleasant, and the trails are not as crowded as during the peak tourist season.

15. What is the overall climate like during May in Hawaii?

May in Hawaii offers a delightful balance of warm and sunny days with occasional light showers, making it an ideal time to visit the islands.

16. When is the best time to visit Hawaii if I want to avoid the crowds?

Planning a trip to Hawaii in May or during the shoulder season between the peak tourist months is a great way to experience the islands with fewer crowds and enjoy a more relaxed vacation experience.

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Bryan Murphy

Bryan Murphy

Bryan Murphy, owner of Hawaii’s Best Travel, is a certified Hawaii destination expert from the Hawaii Visitors Bureau. He actively participates in the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau as a member and has a strong educational background focused on local culture and sustainability. As the host of “Hawaii’s Best Travel,” a top-30 US travel podcast, Bryan combines his years of experience with valuable insights. He connects with a broad online community, reaching nearly half a million people, and offers a richer, more responsible way to experience Hawaii.