Is there ever a wrong time to visit Hawaii? Many people would doubt it. But when is the best time to visit Hawaii? Well, it’s not always easy figuring out!
While there are alignments of certain stars and planets that may determine the best time to visit, Hawaii is such a great place to visit any month of the year, and it would be just as magical.
- When Should You Visit Hawaii on Vacation?
- What Is the Climate Like in Hawaii Throughout the Year?
- Visiting Hawaii in January
- Visiting Hawaii in February
- Visiting Hawaii in March
- Visiting Hawaii in April
- Visiting Hawaii in May
- Visiting Hawaii in June
- Visiting Hawaii in July
- Visiting Hawaii in August
- Visiting Hawaii in September
- Visiting Hawaii in October
- Visiting Hawaii in November
- Visiting Hawaii in December
- When Is Hurricane Season in Hawaii?
- When Is Dry Season in Hawaii?
- When Is the Rainy Season in Hawaii?
- Final Thoughts
When Should You Visit Hawaii on Vacation?
Many factors go into determining the answer to the question above. Some people will tell you that there’s no wrong time for a visit to Hawaii (and they would be right).
So when should you visit Hawaii on vacation? Here are a few tips:
- Three notable events make good times for those planning a visit to Hawaii in late spring or early fall. The first is May Day (May 1st), which many people know as Lei Day and the celebration of Mahealani Spencer’s birthday.
- The second event is the Last Friday Art Walk – a night when art galleries along Kona’s Front Street remain open until 9:00 PM, and local musicians perform live music on stage all evening long.
- The third event, also held on one weekend in September, is called Aloha Festivals Fireworks Extravaganza. It is a massive community event that draws thousands of people to watch the stunning fireworks display.
- For whale-watching enthusiasts, one of the best times to visit Hawaii is between December and April, when you can experience the annual migration of over 20,000 humpback whales. You’ll see them migrating from their winter feeding grounds in Mexico to their summer breeding grounds near Alaska.
- September has two big schedules for those interested in surfing competitions: The Billabong Pipe Masters Championship and the Quicksilver In Memory Of Eddie Aikau surf contest.
What Is the Climate Like in Hawaii Throughout the Year?
When it comes to the climate, that depends on what island you’re visiting. On the big main islands (Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii), the weather is the same throughout the year. Their climate relies heavily on trade winds to control temperatures for most of the year.
But each month has its own climate features:
- The warmest month in Hawaii is July, with average high temperatures in the low-mid 90s and lows in the mid 70 degrees.
- Oahu’s climate is chilly during December, January, and February when highs are in the 60s to low 70s, but it can feel cooler because of wind chill. The climate is generally mild in June, August, and September, with high temperatures in the low-mid 80s.
- The climate on Maui and Big Island is a little different from Oahu’s climate. Although the average climate temperature is the same as Oahu’s climate – around 66 degrees during winter – it can feel colder.
That’s because of fierce winds blowing consistently throughout the year.
- In Hilo, the climate is low to mid-80s from April through September. Temperatures are cooler during the colder months of October and November, averaging around 62 degrees.
However, the climate starts heating up again by December, averaging a daily high of 78 degrees.
- The climate on Kauai is much like the climate on Oahu, with an average of 66 degrees throughout the year. However, climate temperature can feel more extreme due to dramatic differences between daytime and nighttime temperatures.
Daytime climate averages 93 degrees in July, while nighttime climate averages 63 degrees.
That said, let’s face it; while you could visit Hawaii at any time of the year, some months might be better than others for visiting.
Visiting Hawaii in January
At the beginning of January, a lot of people visit Maui for the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival. It’s a celebration of Hawaiian culture through hula dancing, with dancers from across the globe attending and performing. The festival starts around New Year’s Eve and goes on until about mid-January.
For many, January is also when visiting Hawaii has its biggest draw (as mentioned above): whale watching. While it depends on what you want to see while you visit Hawaii, there are plenty of opportunities to visit islands where visitors will see whales during this time of year.
Visiting Hawaii in February
February is a busy month when it comes to visiting Hawaii for two reasons. First, Valentine’s Day celebrations are held across Oahu in February, with restaurants and hotels offering special menus and discounts. It’s the perfect time to visit the island if you want a romantic getaway before or after your visit.
The second draw to visit Hawaii in February is another famous Hawaiian culture festival: the Aloha Festival at Kapiolani Park. It’s a fun way to learn about the history and the culture of Hawaii.
This event is so unique because it offers free hula lessons for everyone who attends the festival.
In late February, visit Hawaii for another spectacular sight: lava viewing. Most of the year, you won’t see any active lava flowing from volcanoes on Big Island. You can visit Kīlauea Caldera or Halema’uma’u crater during these times if you want to experience an active volcano and bubbling lava pits.
Visiting Hawaii in March
Visit Hawaii in March to visit one of the best places on the planet for meteor showers: Mauna Kea. Many people visit Hawaii specifically to witness this natural phenomenon. However, visitors will need to stay at an altitude of over 10,000 feet.
If you’re not that adventurous, then you may visit Hawaii during another period when they’re visible: mid-July through August.
Visiting Hawaii in April
April is a great time to visit Hawaii for hula hooping. It’s the perfect opportunity for Honolulu residents and visitors who visit Hawaii specifically for this festival.
It’s also a fun time to visit the island because of other festivities throughout the month. For example, Japanese-Americans celebrate their culture in mid-April by showing off their kimonos, dancing, and a traditional drum festival.
Visiting Hawaii in May
May is the month for spectators who visit Hawaii for Polynesian Festival. It’s a fantastic way to learn about Hawaiian culture and check out fun activities like canoe races. There are also plenty of other things to do, such as visiting the doldrums.
May is also a great time to visit Hawaii for people who love shell hunting. The best shells are present during this month and may last through August. Visiting during this time will ensure that you get the perfect souvenir from your visit to Hawaii, not to mention a great tan.
Visiting Hawaii in June
If you love luaus, then June is one of your best months to visit the state. There are plenty of luaus throughout Oahu at resorts and hotels, where visitors can learn about Hawaiian culture while eating poi and drinking some delicious sake. July has plenty of options too.
During this month, visit Hawaii for the Merrie Monarch Festival. The festival started in 1964, and it is held every year at Mailekini heiau on Oahu’s North Shore. It’s a celebration of hula dancing that honors King David Kalakaua, who invented this dance style.
Visiting Hawaii in July
If you love surfing, visit Hawaii in July when the state hosts its most significant event: Triple Crown of Surfing on Oahu’s North Shore. You can visit Waimea Bay or Sunset Beach to check out the competition.
Additionally, visit Hawaii in July for Pineapple Festival, a special event, which takes place at the Dole Plantation. It celebrates this delicious fruit. You can see the plantation to learn more about its history, visit pineapple fields or enjoy a few exotic cocktails made with the fruit mixed in.
Visiting Hawaii in August
August is another great month to visit the island because of two stellar events. First, visit Hawaii in August for a spectacular display of green sea turtles as part of Turtle Week. It’s also a fun time to visit and watch the diving competition at Ka Lae.
August is also the month to watch the world’s best surfers display their skills on some of Oahu’s most famous breaks at the Ho’okipa Beach Park Pro-Am.
One of the main tourist attractions here in August is Aloha Festivals. This event features three days of live entertainment, cultural demonstrations, fireworks, and hula.
The weather in August on Oahu is just about perfect. The temperature ranges between 73° and 88°. Expect light rain, morning showers, and afternoon sun with light winds of eight to 15 miles an hour from the northwest. That’s a great combination beyond what you find any month of the year.
Visiting Hawaii in September
September is another great visit to Hawaii. Plenty of activities take place throughout the island during this month. For example, visit the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary to learn about its preservation efforts.
You will also learn how it helps this endangered species through a variety of programs.
Another reason to visit during September is the Great Aloha Run/Walk. This race takes place in Honolulu over the third and fourth weekends of September. However, the date varies by year. The most common times are on the third weekend or a Saturday.
September also features an off-road triathlon, Ironman Oahu 70.3. It begins with a 1.2-mile swim in the ocean. This component is followed by a 56-mile bike ride and finally a 13.1-mile run.
Visiting Hawaii in October
This time is another excellent month for Hawaii visitors. The weather can be a bit cooler, but it’s still warm enough for all the fun activities available in October on Oahu. Visiting during October means you will probably miss summer crowds and get more affordable airfare and hotel rates.
In October, some of the events to look forward to include a half marathon, Honolulu Marathon, and Honolulu Triathlon. This month also marks Makahiki season. During this time, people celebrate the harvest and acknowledge the gods of old Hawaii.
Oahu is one of few places that continue to keep up with its traditions for this festive tradition.
Visiting Hawaii in November
Taking a trip to Hawaii in November means you will have an opportunity to catch the end of the tourist season and get a better deal on airfare. This month is also the perfect time to visit the Kona side of Hawaii for a great surfing experience.
If you love the rain, you will be in heaven because November is the time for Kona to get plenty of rainfall.
Other fun November events include a massive golf tournament and a famous film festival. This event features an array of independent films, and you may get the chance to see a celebrity or two at the Waimea Film Festival.
Visiting Hawaii in December
Your great final month to visit Hawaii is December. The weather is usually pretty stable, with plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures. The island also comes alive with holiday festivities, making December a favorite for many visitors.
This month is also the best time to attend an event at Pearl Harbor that commemorates the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II. You can watch military aircraft flyovers, re-enactments, and live entertainment.
It’s a very moving experience if you have ties to anyone who served or died in this devastating event.
Visiting Hawaii in December also means you will get to experience the island’s annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony. This presentation takes place at Kapiolani Park on Oahu and is a great family event that includes a parade, entertainment, and Santa Claus.
However, you may have to contend with heavier crowds and higher prices due to Christmas.
When Is Hurricane Season in Hawaii?
Hawaii is not new to hurricanes. The hurricane season here starts in June and runs through November. The worst storms in the history of Hawaii include the Iniki Hurricane in 1992 and the Iwa hurricane in 1982.
Unlike many other popular Caribbean locations, Hawaii’s hurricanes are usually not of the eerie category. Instead, they are typically smaller Category 1 or Category 2 storms with high wind gusts and heavy rainfall that often arrive without much warning.
Hurricane season is an excellent time for evacuation purposes, but it is NOT ideal for visiting Hawaii on vacation.
Thus, if you plan to visit during the hurricane season, make sure you check weather conditions carefully before purchasing your air ticket. And follow weather news just to be on the safe side.
When Is Dry Season in Hawaii?
Hawaii’s dry season is during the winter months of December, January, and February. It will significantly increase your risk of wildfires, especially if you plan a trip during this time.
With the increase of dry brush comes a higher risk of wildfires that can spread quickly and are extremely difficult to contain.
If you are planning a trip to visit Hawaii during this time, be very careful about where you choose to stay, especially if it is near Honolulu.
If you love fishing, the dry season is also a great time to visit the island. That’s because the water has a lot less rainfall, and there’s more visibility in the ocean, and fishing tours are much more productive.
Many people choose to stay in hotels with outdoor Jacuzzis during this time so they can enjoy some fresh air and soak up as much sunshine as they can get. Social events during this time of year are generally smaller gatherings at restaurants or on large hotel terraces.
When Is the Rainy Season in Hawaii?
Rains in Hawaii are expected to begin in May and last through October. Keep in mind that while it does rain during this time, there is always the possibility of experiencing sunny weather. That’s especially true if you visit one of the more southern islands like Kauai or Oahu for your trip.
Reasons as to why most people do not want to travel to Hawaii during the rainy season include:
1. Clouds reduce visibility on island sightseeing tours such as helicopter rides, parasailing excursions, etc.
2. Hiking is risky during this season as hikers are at risk for contracting leptospirosis.
3. The high rainfall means that mudslides are common, and thus there is a higher risk of property damage, especially along coastal areas such as Hanauma Bay.
So, what is the best time to visit Hawaii? It’s difficult to say.
It all depends on what you want to do while in Hawaii and how the climate will affect your trip if you have young children that like the water, visit during the rainy season when there are sunnier days around Waikiki Beach (but do not forget your rain gear).
If you want good visibility for sightseeing tours of the island, consider visiting during the dry season. If you’re planning a romantic getaway to Hawaii with a significant other, avoid end-of-year holidays such as Christmas or New Year’s Eve. The reason for this is because these times can be very crowded, especially in Honolulu, where most of the hotels reside.
More about our TFVG Author
A seasoned traveller, Dad, and avid sports tourist, James foundered The Family Vacation Guide to share his expert vacation experiences- especially when it comes to being a travelling family man.
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