Where to Stay on Kauai for the Best Weather

Kauai Bali Hai Rainbow

Kauai is known as the garden isle because of it’s lush green cliffs and valleys. Anyone with a green thumb knows that sunshine and rain are two essentials for growing a healthy garden.  Kauai is blessed with a nice balance of both.

In comparison to the large resort areas on Maui, Oahu and the Big Island, Kauai does experience a bit more rain. Is that a problem? Not usually and your reward after a rain shower is a beautiful rainbow!

As you plan your Kauai vacation, you’ll probably want to know where the sunniest spots are. This consideration is probably more important in the wetter, winter months, than it is in the significantly more sunny summer months.  Here are the major resort areas listed in order of most sunshine.

  1. Poipu and Waimea on the South is by far your best bet for dry sunny days, as it averages around 35 inches of rain per year.
  2. Kapaa and Lihue on the eastern side of Kauai would be your second best choice with an average rainfall of 48 inches per year.
  3. The North Shore (including Princeville and Hanalei) is gorgeous and very lush for a reason, it gets around 85 inches of rain annually. Even though it does get more rain, the North Shore is actually one of my favorite places to stay on the island.

On Kauai is that it’s pretty easy to navigate your way from one end of the island around to the other in just over an hour.  So, if you find yourself in a rain shower on the North Shore, just drive around to the South Shore where you’re more likely to find the sun.

If you’ve been to Kauai, please tell us what your weather experience was like.

  1. Hi there
    We were in Kapaa, Kauai from August 16 to 23. The weather was great for the most part! The first few days were warm but the consistent breeze cooled things off. The last couple of days the wind dropped and it was quite hot – about 90 F – it rained in the afternoon for a short period a few afternoons – but it wasn’t a bother – we were usually in the pool.

    We went ziplining up in Princeville and it rained a bit at the beginning but we soon dried off – it kept us cool.

    We were fortunate to have a monk seal beach on our beach one day! It was awesome to see him – I was impressed with the volunteer organization that is in charge of protecting them! They were there quickly and watched over him all day. They had loads of info about him – including how old he was and that it was a male.

    Kauai is one of our favorite places in Hawaii!

  2. Thanks for this blog! Questions: Are the rains in the Princeville area in December steady or intermittent?

    Are there issues with flash flooding on the hiking trails in that area?

    Is there hiking out of Poipu?


  3. Claudia –

    I think the best way to describe the rain is too look at past rain charts:
    – Here’s the December 2008 chartfrom Princeville http://www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl/hydro/pages/rra_graphs.php?station=PRIH1&mo=122008 Notice that there are a couple days of heavy rain and then lots of days with no rain or just a trace.

    – Here’s the December 2007 from Princeville: http://www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl/hydro/pages/rra_graphs.php?station=PRIH1&mo=122007 Notice that the rain is more evenly distributed.

    To see more charts from December, use the pull down menu from those charts.

    Here’s a couple of trails in Poipu:

    Also, there’s tons and tons of great hiking in Kokee & Waimea Canyon State Parks that’s not too far away from Poipu.

    Hope this helps.https://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/08/23/kauais-waimea-canyon-and-kokee-state-parks/

  4. MeliVareli says:

    Today is our last day in Kauai. The weather has been so inconsistent. Our first 2 days were overcast and windy. Then we had 2 beautifully sunny days followed by an evening of crazy hard rain during our luau. Then a cold and ugly day followed by a sunny day which turned windy and overcast by 2pm. Seems to me that your best bet is to arrive at the beaches early before the wind and clouds take over midday.

    1. Sheila Beal says:

      It seems that you may have visited during an unfortunate weather time. I see that a large storm system came through the islands and then stalled in the path of the wind patterns. 🙁

  5. hi,
    I’ve been to Kauai in May and in June, have enjoyed both vacations and the weather was what i would expect from a tropical island. Sunny, with some rain at night and early morning… sometimes you had a bit of showers in day but always warm and would pass through quickly.
    This feb,2017- we will be getting married in poipu beach. Im a bit nervous of weather since i’ve never been at this time of year. I was in oahu in january and it was rainy and i visited oahu during a feb. and it was extremely warm with no rain…

    So, my question is, should my ceremony be earlier in the day to avoid the likelihood of showers or should i still shoot for sunset?
    thank you!!

  6. My husband & I haven’t had a vacation together in over 23 years since having 4 kids. I am trying to plan as perfect as possible vacation the first week of December this year. Looking into Kauai because of some of the great attractions like the lazy river through the mountains. Any suggestions on where we should stay?

    1. We stayed with our kiddos at the kihuanna plantation outrigger on poipu beach and absolutely Love and recommend those condos! They’re right on the beach and we love south ode of Kauai!
      Have so much fun and good luck!

  7. I’ve been to all the islands but one, Kauai. My B-day wish is to visit from November 18 through November 23rd. lving for home on the 24th. I want to be on the beach, see dolphins, scuba and rest/spa, gardens, sski do or kayak. Can you help me with these wishes. It would be nice to have all inclusive for myself and my cousin. Its a bucket list wish.

    1. Sheila Beal says:

      We’re not travel agents, so we don’t book hotels, activities, etc.

      There aren’t any true all-inclusive hotels in Hawaii like there are in Mexico and the Caribbean.

      There are many nice hotels and vacation condos — from budget to luxury levels — on beaches around Kauai.

      Our favorite Kauai spa: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2010/09/02/pampering-in-paradise-at-kauais-anara-spa/

      Our favorite kayak experience: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2010/11/30/kauais-secretsacred-falls-kayak-hike/

  8. I’m looking to visit Kauai for the 1st time in February for a week. I would love any recommendations or advice regarding North Shore or South Shore rentals – I’m hoping to find a one-bedroom with ocean view, within walking distance to beach.

    Thank you!

    1. Todd Schwarz says:

      North shore is beautiful and extremely lush, but it rains there all the time. South shore is your best bet. I’ve stayed on both several times and now only stay in Poipu/ Koloa due to the weather. You can always visit any part of the island but personally I like to lay out and sunbathe until about lunch or a little longer and then I go exploring the rest of the day. Good luck brah.

      1. Sheila Beal says:

        Thanks for sharing your insights, Todd.

        The north shore does get more rain than the south shore, as we mention in the article, but it doesn’t rain there “all the time.” 🙂

  9. What is the best time to visit Hawaii ( end of nov or. May ? / beginning of June . I have 3 kids so I’m wanting to go so they can have fun in the water when waves are not too high
    This is our frist visit to Hawaii so I don’t know much
    Any help would be nice ! Thank u

    1. Sheila Beal says:

      If this is your first visit, you should check out our first time visitors guide: https://www.govisithawaii.com/first-time-visitors-guide-to-hawaii/

      In general, the waves tend to be gentler in May and June as compared to November. That being said, that’s never a guarantee as ocean swells and weather can be unpredictable.

      In this article we identify the best Hawaii resorts for families with small kids: https://www.govisithawaii.com/2016/02/10/where-are-the-best-places-for-family-vacations-in-hawaii/

  10. Doreen Wright says:

    Looking for a 2 bedroom two bath condo or something with pool,kitchen, washer,dryer and air conditioning. Close to beach. Wanting to go between March and May. What part of the Island is best in those months?

    1. Sheila Beal says:

      As the article states, the Poipu area is always the best bet.

  11. ramon Acosta says:

    I’m looking for the sunniest area on Kauai during Dec 12-the 20th.Im traveling alone looking for a little walking trails shopping and a good area were tourist hang out day and night. Is there such a place on this beautfull Island

    1. Sheila Beal says:

      As far as the sunniest places, nothing has changed since writing this article. All the advice you need is there. Both areas have some walking paths.

  12. We are looking to move to Kauai. Where is the best place for a community feel?
    Which is the best school on the island? We have a 5 year old boy.

    1. Sheila Beal says:

      We don’t know about living in Hawaii. We are just expert visitors. 🙂

  13. We love The Kiahuna Plantation on poipu beach, nice grassy area all the way to the beach, private! Many restaurants and shopping and snacks across the street! Walks on the beach and rarely need to drive unless exploring

  14. It’s a crap shot . It’s not always sunny in poipu .been going there for 40 years and have had out of the three weeks had some form of a heavy shower or a annoying heavy drissel don’t get me I’m not trying to discourage u from choosing poipu but it’s like any other vacation destination u can get a storm front at any time.

  15. Spent a week in Lanai 4 seasons and a week in Kauai Princeville area the end of August to the beginning of sept. Beautiful weather in lanai and Kauai but you have to expect it can rain anytime in the Princeville area. It is short lived and most times a light drizzle that didn’t stop a tennis game or make people run from the beach. So if you are not willing to embrace that don’t go to Kaui. Or Hawaii in general in winter. FYI. We have been all over Hawaii 13 times! Mostly this same time period. Only once in Jan where in Oahu it was very cool. Our personal faves are Lanai and Kauai.

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