The Best Time to Visit Hawaii

by Karen Rose

Originally Published

Ko Olina, Oahu.  Photo:  MarlonBu.
When is the best time to visit Hawaii? Well anytime of course, but depending upon your budget and what you would like to experience during your visit, it’s a good idea to be familiar with what each season offers in terms of weather, cost, activities, and water conditions.

Visiting Hawaii During Winter

85 degrees during Christmastime at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Maui.  Photo:  chadh.
Mid-December is typically high season in Hawaii which means rates for travel and accommodations tend to be higher as well. The best reason to visit Hawaii in the winter is for whale watching. Humpback Whales travel from Alaska and make their appearance every winter to birth their young. The peak whale season usually falls around Valentine’s Day. Whale watching is best on Maui and the Big Island, and still thrills the locals just as much as the tourists! The average daily high temperature is a perfect 78 degrees, so it’s the perfect time of year for hiking and exploring the terrain. Winter surf can be rough and make swimming and other water activities more challenging, but if you enjoy watching surf competitions, this is the time of year to visit.

Visiting Hawaii During Spring

Photo:  Rose Braverman.
Spring is one of the best times to visit Hawaii. It’s the start of the ‘dry’ season, and the weather couldn’t be nicer. This is also when airfare and lodging prices start to drop. Spring is also a wonderful time to enjoy the fantastic produce and fragrant flowers the islands have to offer. And if you appreciate the art of hula, the Big Island of Hawaii hosts the annual Merrie Monarch Festival which starts on Easter Sunday. Generally speaking most water activities are better in the spring, summer, and fall. The surf begins to calm down, making water activities more accessible, as well as safer. In the winter, waves are bigger, currents are stronger, and storms are often unpredictable. So if you’re a water lover, late spring would be the perfect time to visit.

Visiting Hawaii During Summer

Photo:  Ricardo's Photography.
Summer is the most popular time for families to visit Hawaii, because the kids are out of school for summer vacation. July is the busiest month for visitor arrivals, with December being the second busiest. The summer months are also the warmest on the islands, with temperatures sometimes climbing into the 90’s. It can get pretty humid as well, especially on Oahu. And if one of your goals is to hike the black lava fields of the Big Island, prepare yourself for a toasty stroll. Surf is at its lowest during the summer, which is nice for families with small children, and the water averages a balmy 80 degrees. And while hurricanes are rare, the hurricane season is from June to November, so it’s good to be aware that large storm systems can occasionally occur.

Visiting Hawaii During Fall

Surfing on Oahu's North Shore.  Photo:  Daniel Ramirez.
Fall is neck and neck with Spring as one of the best times to visit the islands. The weather is perfect, the water is still calm, and the kids have gone back to school, which means less crowds at the most popular attractions. One exception is October on the Big Island when Ironman World Championships roll into town. Unless you’re a triathlon enthusiast, you may want to avoid all the excitement and head to one of the other islands. If you’re a football fan, consider jumping into a tailgate party at Aloha Stadium during a University of Hawaii Warriors home game. If not, then grab a surfboard and catch a few waves, because fall is the perfect time to learn to surf!

In conclusion, there’s no ‘bad’ time to visit Hawaii. Anytime is perfect – you just need to find the perfect time for YOU.

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