We’re often asked: when is the best time to visit Hawaii? There are multiple answers to that question. In our opinion, there’s really not a bad time to go to Hawaii. Just about any month is a great time to visit Hawaii.
In this article we share loads of great information to help guide you to the ideal time for you to visit Hawaii based on your preferences. However, if you just want the shortest answer…
TLDR: the best months to visit Hawaii are April, May, September and October for the very best rates, weather and the least crowds.
You’ll always be able to find warm, tropical weather in Hawaii. Due to Hawaii’s proximity to the equator, temperatures don’t vary drastically from season to season like they do in North America, Europe, etc.
In summer months, daytime high temperatures range from mid to upper 80s. In the winter months, daytime highs average in the upper 70s to lower 80s. (For readers who are more familiar with temperatures in Celsius, 78F is about 25.6C and 85F is 29.4C.)
You’ll be able to see lush, green landscapes any time of year that you visit Hawaii. Vibrantly colored tropical flowers bloom throughout the year in Hawaii, even in the winter months.
Ocean temperatures around Hawaii allow for year-round swimming and ocean sports. Though, you should always check ocean conditions before going out.
For more island specific weather details see these guides:
Rainfall from season to season varies slightly more than the temperatures do. Summer months tend to be drier while winter months tend to get more rain. We created a graph that shows how average rainfall levels vary month by month.
Even though winter months (November – March) tend to be a tad rainier, chances are you won’t have to contend with much rain throughout your entire trip. We’ve been to Hawaii in all the seasons and very, very rarely has rain caused us to change our plans. We wouldn’t hesitate to hop on a plane to Hawaii any day of the year, even in the wetter wintertime. We make sure we pack quick drying clothes so a passing shower won’t hamper our sightseeing adventures. Usually rain showers are short lived and you are treated to a rainbow afterwards. If you are concerned about rain in Hawaii, particularly in winter months, see our article with advice for where to stay in Hawaii to avoid rain.
Hawaii Vacation Crowds
Before we talk about the most “crowded” time in Hawaii, we should mention that Hawaii has never felt very crowded to us, with the exception of the urban paradise of Waikiki in Honolulu, which is Hawaii’s most populated city.
There are certain times per year that are busier than others in Hawaii. They tend to fall around holidays and family summer vacations. Let’s look it the demand in a graph form. The following chart from our Hawaii visitor analysis shows how many visitors arrived to Hawaii per month. Note the yellow line, which is the average monthly number of visitors. Any month that rises above the yellow line indicates higher occupancy on the islands. Likewise, any month below the yellow line indicates a lower occupancy.
Here are the main reasons that March, June, July, August and December draw bigger crowds to Hawaii:
- March – families like to take spring break vacations to Hawaii.
- June – summer (in the Northern Hemisphere) vacation for families begin. Actually early June, before most schools complete there year, is relatively quiet. As the month progresses, more schools finish their year and thus family vacations start.
- July – summer vacation and July 4h holiday.
- August – summer vacations continue in the early part of the month. Towards the end of the month, when children are back in school, the islands are less occupied.
- December – early to mid-December is relatively quiet. It’s the Christmas and New Year’s holidays in Hawaii that draw the crowds.
The best times to visit Hawaii to avoid crowds are the months of January, February, April, May, September, October and November.
Hawaii Vacation Costs
Generally speaking, crowds and rates trend together. When there are lots of visitors to Hawaii, hotels can charge higher rates for the higher demand. In contrast, where there’s low demand, hotel rates tend to be cheaper.
In 2019, we analyzed the most recent Hawaii hotel rates to create the following graph showing how the rates fluctuate throughout the year. As you can see from the graph below, hotel rates around months with holidays and summer vacations generate the highest rates of the year. Also, Hawaii hotel rates in the cold months in North America — January, February and March — are a bit above average.
In addition to higher hotel rates at holidays, you can also expect to pay more in airfare, too. Even dining, especially holiday dining, can be more expensive.
To save money, the best times to vacation in Hawaii are in April, May, September, October and November. Though not expressed through the above chart, early June and early December are also in expensive times.
Putting It All Together – Weather, Prices, Crowds
We’ve developed the following decision matrix that helps you compare all those key factors. We’re going to use Kauai as an example of average high temperatures (F) and average rainfall levels (inches) so that you can get an idea of overall trends that will generally be true across Hawaii.
|January||78||4.6||Below Avg||Above Avg|
|February||78||3.4||Below Avg*||Above Avg|
|March||78||3.6||Above Avg||Above Avg|
|April||79||3.0||Below Avg**||Below Avg|
|July||84||2.1||Above Avg||Above Avg|
|August||85||1.9||Above Avg||Above Avg|
|September||85||2.7||Below Avg ***||Below Avg|
|October||83||4.3||Below Avg||Below Avg|
|November||81||4.7||Below Avg ****||Below Avg|
|December||79||4.8||Above Avg*****||Above Avg|
*Exceptions in February is around Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day.
**Exception in April is that if Easter falls in April, the weeks around Easter can be higher.
*** Generally high until the week after Labor Day, then low.
**** Exception is the weekend of Thanksgiving.
***** Crowds are very low until approximately December 20th, then very high through the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
From the table, you can see that May and September are optimal times for best weather, least crowds and lowest costs. The end of April and the whole month of October are also quite good. Another great time to consider is the very beginning of June before kids get out of school in the U.S.
We created month-by-month guides to help you choose when to go to Hawaii. These guides go into more detail. These monthly guides are as follows: