Although tropical, Hawaii does still experience seasonal changes. Therefore, depending on the type of experience that you want to have in Hawaii, it could be best to go at a specific time of year. Knowing what to expect from the weather and when you should visit Hawaii is very important as a traveler. One of the most frequent questions that tour operators receive is, “When is the best time to come to Hawaii?”. If you want to determine the best time of year that you should go to each island or enjoy each type of experience, here is some basic information about how the seasons change in Hawaii depending on the time of year:
As a quick note before we detail some of the main seasons and changes across the islands, it’s important to consider that Hawaii itself does not have a high or low travel season or a wet and dry season. The weather is usually excellent for travelers year-round but there are certain activities that can be enhanced throughout certain months of the year.
Visit Hawaii in the spring time (March – May)
During the spring, you can expect travel in Hawaii to be a bit easier. There is far less rain during this time of year and the winds tend to die down, close to the same levels experienced in the summer. Throughout other parts of the year the wind can really kick up making the surf quite perilous and making it a bit uncomfortable for sunbathing on some of the Windward Coasts, however, Leeward coasts are generally fine during this time. During the spring however you can find a great bargain on travel activities and get access to perfect weather as well.
Most people make their way to Hawaii just after mid-April and this is generally when some of the lodging prices start to go up, airfare begins to increase as well. Just after the first week of May a number of Japanese visitors often come into Hawaii as this is just after the Golden Week holiday in Japan.
In the spring time the water temperatures are also quite reasonable in the high 70°F marks and the surf can be a little more manageable. If you’re coming to learn how to surf, it is often best done in the springtime so that as you feel more comfortable and you can still access some larger waves if you are confident. The fruit and vegetation also really starts to come out in the spring ensuring that there is much more color to see in the scenery and landscape.
Certain areas of Hawaii can also get quite crowded during the springtime, especially on the Big Island of Hawaii as the world renowned Merrie Monarch Festival brings many people onto the island and into its lodgings. This happens around Easter Sunday so you may want to consider booking around this event for a discount.
Summertime in Hawaii
The summertime is often one of the best ways to find lower rates on travel. You can often rent a car much cheaper during this time as well as access accommodation. The months of June through August remain extremely popular with travelers, however early June and late August into September can often be one of the best times to find a discount. The summer months on the island are the warmest by far and it’s not unusual to see temperatures in excess of 90°F on a number of days in the middle of the summer. This is also one of the lowest times for the surf, something to note if you are an experienced surfer looking for Hawaii’s infamous winter swells. Lowered flow rates on some of the waterfalls can also take away some of the attractions that you might experience across the island. However it means more hikes are accessible.
For swimmers, summertime is definitely the best time to come as water temperatures can be in excess of the 80°F mark. For hiking and other outdoor adventures you may want to consider using a vehicle during this time or even a Segway as the temperatures can get warm with very little wind.
Visit Hawaii on fall
During the month of November, we can start to see the peak of the fall season in Hawaii. This is when rain showers do tend to increase in their frequency especially along the Windward coasts. Some of the larger storms are quite rare but with the extreme terrain across the island some of the gusts of wind can get quite intense across the islands.
Towards the beginning of mid-December, this is usually when high season begins again and a number of travelers start making their way to Hawaii to escape their winter! November can be a fine time to go to Hawaii but there is a greater risk of rainfall, meanwhile there is also excellent surf and comfortable temperatures starting to develop.
Winter in Hawaii
Starting in December, tourism in Hawaii kicks into high season and this is when many of the companies start to increase their rates. It’s normally a very busy time on the island and traveling through the Christmas season can be especially difficult as many of the hotels book up early. The temperature throughout the winter months in December and January can often be around 80°F daily. Water temperatures usually hover around 74° but the surf generally gets quite high on the north shores, making this the perfect time to come for surfing, whether participating or just viewing the famous epic conditions in which Hawaii is known.
The winter is also one of the best times for whale watching throughout Hawaii! Humpback whales migrate to Hawaii from Alaska every year for mating. This is also one of the best times to hike and see waterfalls. This season is perfect to see some of the streams and interior areas when they are at their fullest and most lush. The cooler temperatures also make it more comfortable for hiking and exploring, although you may not see the same amount of blooms as you may in the spring.
If you would like to learn more about the best times to come to Hawaii, be sure to check into the weather reports and trends from the last few years. Hawaii is a fairly diverse area and even with these general trends there can be surprises throughout every season!