When is the slowest time to go to Hawaii?

Pool at Whalers Cove
We had this Whaler’s Cove (Poipu, Kauai) pool in all to ourselves in April 2010.

Recently, two different friends have asked me when is the slowest time to go to Hawaii. Neither friend likes crowds, so they’d like to take their first visits to Hawaii at a quiet time.

I like to avoid going to Hawaii during the high seasons. That being said, I have been to Hawaii during some peak times (New Years Eve and Easter) and I had fantastic visits. Once again, I have to say that anytime is a great time to visit Hawaii. Some times are just greater than others.

I’d like to mention that the slowest seasons in Hawaii also correspond to the lowest hotel rates and usually better airfare deals. With demand down, hotels and airlines lower rates to entice visitors.

In my article Best times to Visit Hawaii – Weather, Price, Crowds, I provide an overview of some of the slowest times. With this article, I want to expand upon that a bit with more detail. The following months and periods of time are either low or shoulder seasons, making them great times to avoid crowds.

April

With weather warming up on the Mainland, the “snowbirds” aren’t in desperate need for a Winter warm up.

Exceptions:

  • the days immediately around Easter when the holiday falls in April
  • the last week in April is a known as Golden Week in Japan with three Japanese Holidays in the same week.  To escape crowds, you’ll want to avoid Waikiki, during Golden Week as it is very popular with Japanese tourists.

May

With the mainland weather warming up even more, Hawaii isn’t crowded as mainlanders are content to stay at home with signs of Spring

Exception: Memorial Day Weekend (around the last Monday of May)

June (first week only)

The reason the first week of June is quiet is that most Mainland schools are still in session. The first week is a relatively slow time before the busy summer vacation season begins.

September

Mainland schools have started their new year, the crowds of summer are gone.

Exception: Before and around Labor Day Weekend

October

This entire month is a quiet time to visit.

November

This month is one of the quietest times of the year.

Exception:  Thanksgiving weekend around the last Thursday of the month.

December

Like November, December is very quiet as most Mainlanders are preparing for the holidays. Up until about December 20th, you’ll practically have the islands all to yourself. After that, don’t even think about going to Hawaii is you’re hoping for a very slow time.

Exceptions:

  • Around December 20th, folks who are flocking to Hawaii to celebrate Christmas begin to arrive.
  • The days during and around Christmas
  • New Years Eve

—-

In a nutshell, Hawaii is busiest during holidays, when it’s Winter in North America, and when kids are out of school.

Have you been to Hawaii during a quiet period or during a busy holiday? When did you go? What was your experience?

9 comments
  1. We were in Oahu in January 2008 and it was very crowded around Pearl Harbor, Honolulu etc. but quiet on the North Shore.
    We went to Kauai this past December and it was pretty quiet. Not many lines etc.—if there ever are!

    1. Thanks for adding your experiences, Nikki. You make an excellent point — even when Hawaii is at it’s busiest, there are still places to go on the islands to escape crowds.

  2. We were in Hawaii in Feb. 2008. I think every day of the year is a good time to go to Hawaii. We were on Maui, Oahu and the Big Island and I would go back any second. I would move there if I could. I absolutely loved every second of every day we were there. I have never ever seen such a beautiful place. We were there for 2 weeks and it wasn’t long enough.

    1. Nickii – Mahalo for sharing your Hawaii travel and crowd experiences. I absolutely agree with you — I’d never hesitate to go to Hawaii, even if it is during a peak period.

  3. We were in Maui for 11 nights in September, 2010. We had huge beaches like Ka’anapali almost to ourselves. The “forbidden” southern route to Hana was just about devoid of cars. The road from Hana northbound was just about empty on a Saturday! Great time to go and perfect weather. But parking in Lahaina was still not easy, and the Costco parking lot in Kahului was pretty full. Really not a problem, but I can’t imagine at peak times!

  4. First off, absolutely love that photo. Gorgeous.

    As far as offseason goes, all but one of our trips to Maui have been during the offseason. The only exception was one trip in February to see the whales. Those guys need to read your blog and visit during the offseason with the rest of us. 🙂

    It’s a great idea going in the offseason, since not fighting the crowds certainly helps reduce that vacation stress and even things like rental car shortages.

  5. As a property manager for several vacation rentals here on Oahu, I get these types of questions all the time, and I think your guidelines are right on. I will definitely share this article with my clients looking to plan the right time to visit us here on Oahu.

    If you stick to these low season dates, not only will you find less crowds, but most companies like mine will offer special discounts on accommodation just to keep our rooms filled. Typically, all you have to do is call and ask!

  6. I was a lucky member of the crew that shot ‘The Islands’ – this big epic movie on Hawaii history – in November. I agree with the article that it’s a good month except towards Thanksgiving. For some reason, tons of mainlanders come and spend Thanksgiving here in Hawaii.

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