Travel Insiders Reveal: The Best Time to Visit Hawaii

The islands are a tropical paradise at any time of year, but experts know there is a best time to visit Hawaii. Here's our exclusive report.

Travel agents say there is no wrong time of year to visit Hawaii. It’s hard to argue. The Hawaiian islands enjoy mild tropical temperatures year-round. You can enjoy the beach and the scenery anytime.

There are other factors to take into account, however. Hawaii’s wet season brings increased chances of showers. The islands are more crowded with tourists at certain times of year. Airfare and hotel prices vary with the seasons. So although you can have a great Hawaiian vacation at any time of year, you might find some seasons fit your needs better than others.

Because there are so many factors to consider, there really is no best time to visit Hawaii. It all boils down to personal preference.

We’ve listed the pluses and minuses of each season so you can take all the facts into account as you plan your Hawaiian adventure.

Before that, read along for a quick trip to some of the best beaches in Hawaii.


Travel Insiders Reveal: The Best Time to Visit Hawaii, Winter

It’s no wonder so many people travel to tropical locales when the thermometer drops below freezing. When there’s snow on the ground we all dream of escaping to a warm beach where we can sip tropical cocktails as we relax and listen to the waves roll in.

Winter is the rainy season in Hawaii. Although the average temperature is a comfortable 78 degrees, winter brings an increased chance of showers.

It is almost always raining somewhere on the islands, no matter the time of year. But you’ll encounter rain more frequently during the rainy season. That could put a damper on your sunbathing plans. Rainstorms tend to be mild and short – sometimes just 10 minutes of showers as a few lonely rain clouds pass over the islands on their way across the Pacific. But if you’re in Hawaii for a short visit every minute counts.

Winter is also the “high season” for Hawaiian tourism. That means tourists flock to the islands during the winter months, making it more expensive to book airfare and hotel rooms. The best rooms may be unavailable, and upgrades will certainly be harder to negotiate.

Most of this travel is confined to the week between Christmas and New Year’s, however. You can find winter bargains if you’re willing to travel before Christmas or after New Year’s day.

Many families like to celebrate the holidays in paradise, and who can blame them? A palm tree makes a very nice Christmas tree, and it’s nice to spend the holiday week shoveling sand instead of snow.

The water temperature is about 74 degrees, perfect for swimming. Watch out for rough waves, however, as the surf runs high during the winter months. That’s a plus, of course, if you’re an experienced surfer.

Winter is great for sightseeing. You can play in the snow and swim in the warm Pacific the same day. You’ll find that Hawaii’s beautiful waterfalls are more active and impressive during the winter due to the rain. And if you’re hoping to see whales, winter is the best time to visit: the annual migration of humpback whales brings the magnificent mammals to the Hawaiian islands from December to early May.

Winter isn’t all that bad. Just expect to pay a little more and be willing to deal with the rain and the crowds.


The Best Time to Visit Hawaii, Spring

Hawaii is at its beautiful best in the spring. The weather is perfect as the rainy season draws to a close and the dry season begins. The ocean temperature is in the mid-70s, which makes it perfect for taking a dip.

Best of all, travel costs drop after mid-April. This is the best time to find travel bargains as the high season comes to an end.

Spring brings flowers, lush vegetation and luscious tropical fruit…the very things you visit Hawaii to experience. If you’re lucky, some of the waterfalls may still be peaking because of the winter rains, so you’ll still get to experience some truly majestic views.

The mild weather is perfect for hiking, and if you arrive before May you might still catch the humpback whales before they swim away for the summer.

All in all, you can’t beat spring in Hawaii. If you’re looking for nice weather, travel bargains and beautiful views, then spring is the best time for a visit to paradise.


The Best Time to Visit Hawaii, Hawaii Summer

Hawaii has only two distinct seasons. The average daytime temperature during the summer is 85 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to the winter’s average 78 degrees. Summer can be humid too. On the very hottest days the combination of heat and humidity can be unpleasant.

Generations of travelers have found that a cold cocktail and a dip in the hotel pool at the peak of the day’s heat represent an effective solution to this problem, however.

Summer is fine for sunbathing and most other tourist activities. But if you’re hoping to climb lava cliffs, hike Hawaii’s mountains or go ziplining, you may find summer’s heat oppressive.

Travel agents refer to Hawaii’s summer as the low season, but that term is misleading. Many families plan vacations during the summer months, which can cause airline tickets and hotel rooms to cost more. In fact, Hawaii attracts its largest crowds of tourists in July.

One result is that local attractions may be more crowded and less accessible than usual. Hawaii’s local children are out of school too, adding to the crowds.

Hurricanes are rare in Hawaii, but when they come, they come in the summer. It’s sensible to include the risk of tropical storms in your travel plans.

If you’re content to sit at the beach, a summer vacation in Hawaii may be perfect. Otherwise, you can save money and enjoy better weather by traveling earlier or later in the year.


Hawaii Autumn

The autumn months aren’t part of Hawaii’s rainy season, but rain does become increasingly more likely after summer’s end, especially in November when the winter winds begin to blow.

Rain is usually confined to brief showers, but downpours are not unheard of. They are usually confined to individual towns or beaches, however, and they tend to blow over as quickly as they start.

There is also the possibility of a kona storm, which is essentially a cyclone. Kona storms are not limited to the Big Island’s Kona district, nor to the city of Kailua-Kona. In the Hawaiian language, “kona” means “west.” Cyclones tend to approach from the islands’ leeward sides – that is, from the west. That’s why they care called kona storms. Kona storms are not common, but when they arrive they bring heavy rain, lightning and thunder.

If a kona storm threatens during your Hawaiian vacation, book a cheap flight to a different island. As severe as they are, kona storms rarely are big enough to affect multiple islands.

Autumn comes between the summer low season and the winter high season, so airfare and hotel rates tend to creep upward, especially in late fall.

If you’re traveling during October, be ready for big crowds on the Big Island. That’s when the annual Ironman Triathlon is held. Check the calendar and adjust your plans accordingly.

How to Choose the Best Hawaiian Island to Visit

It mainly depends on both one’s budget and preferences. There are a couple of things to pay attention to when choosing the best Hawaiian island to visit.

You may be looking for relaxation and soaking in the sun, or some fishing, diving, surfing, or maybe something different.

You can easily take a budget vacation to even the most popular destinations on the islands, including Honolulu. No matter what you are looking for, Hawaii can offer it. For more information about all of the great things you can see and do in Hawaii, visit the official page of the island at

Here are some some general tips on choosing a Hawaiian island that suits you best.

The Bottom Line

The Best Time to Visit Hawaii

The best time to visit Hawaii? That depends on what you’re looking to get out of your trip and what activities you hope to explore.

Ultimately, however, travel experts agree that spring is the best time to visit Hawaii. Not only do you have lower prices, but you’ll enjoy nicer weather and smaller crowds.

If you’re celebrating a birthday, honeymoon, anniversary, or graduation, you may have little flexibility in planning your trip. And you’ll have a great time no matter when you visit – there really is no bad time to visit Hawaii. Each season has its own character, but you can’t go wrong visiting this tropical paradise at any time of year.


About the author

Kristen Duvall

Kristen is a writer of tales both real and make-believe. A Midwestern girl at heart, she currently resides in Southern California with her boyfriend, a Great Dane, and two rescued kitties, one of which is known simply as the KiKi Monster.

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