Best Time to Visit Hawaii

Best Time to Visit Hawaii

Hawaii is a bucket list destination. Over 9 million tourists visited the Hawaiian Islands in 2022 – and the number continues to rise. It’s hard to resist the picturesque paradise of Hawaii with its sandy beaches, marine life, and Polynesian culture. The aloha spirit is infectious. 

This U.S. state is one of the most popular options for honeymoons and continues to top the list of ultimate travel destinations for solo travelers and couples alike. Like any destination, there’s lots to consider when booking a vacation to Hawaii. The best months to go to Hawaii are those between March and September – but these include the most popular times for tourists.

We’re sharing the best time of year to go to Hawaii and when to consider going to the islands if you’re hoping to do activities like surfing or whale watching. 

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The best time of year to visit Hawaii

There’s lots to think about when planning a vacation to Hawaii. No two trips will ever look the same. You’ll want to consider the island’s tropical climate, peak tourist season, and events on the island like the Honolulu Festival and King Kamehameha Day. 

The optimal time to travel to Hawaii will vary from tourist to tourist, depending on what your priorities are and when you can travel. If it’s your first visit, you’ll want to plan for at least 7 days to experience as much of the islands as possible. 

Here are four things to consider when deciding when to visit Hawaii:

Smaller crowds

If you want to enjoy the Hawaiian islands without the tourists, plan your vacation for October or November. Although the earlier months of the year are also quiet, they attract many professional surfers training for competitions. September is an ideal to visit, as you’ll still enjoy pleasant temperatures without the peak summer crowds.

Photo: Maridav/ Shutterstock.com

Good weather

Hawaii’s tropical climate means it has good weather year-round, but it’ll be cooler between October and February. April is when you’ll notice temperatures start to rise. If you struggle with extreme heat and want to avoid the tourists, these months are ideal for your trip. June is the month with the lowest rainfall, and it’s just before peak tourist season. 

Although Hawaii has rarely experienced severe tropical storms and hurricanes, it’s worth considering hurricane season. The last significant hurricane was Hurricane Douglas in July 2020, which brought heavy rainfall but minor damage. Hurricane season usually runs anywhere from June to November. 

Photo: Makhh /Shutterstock.com

Budget-friendly

Although Hawaii is typically a bucket list vacation, there are ways to save money and make the trip more budget friendly. October is the end of the tourist season and is usually a more affordable time. Although you may encounter the occasional storm or rougher seas, you’ll still get plenty of sunshine. If you’re on a budget, look for “shoulder” months at either end of peak seasons, such as summer vacation and the holidays. 

Water sports

You’ll spend most of your time in the water, even in winter. Whether you enjoy surfing or want to try paddle boarding, it’s worth considering when the best months are to travel to Hawaii for water sports. You can swim and paddle board all year round, but the best surfing conditions are usually from October to April.

Photo: antstang/ Shutterstock.com

Best time to visit Hawaii by activity

You’ll want to consider your dream travel itinerary before you book your trip to Hawaii. Deciding your top priorities for your trip can help you decide when the best time is to go to Hawaii and what hotel to book. We’re rounding up some of the most popular activities and the best time to experience them.

Surfing

Although Hawaii has a hot climate, it sits across trade winds, giving it the breeze that helps create the perfect surfing conditions. If you’re an amateur surfer or want to watch the professionals in a competition, plan your visit for November to February.

However, you can surf year-round in Kauai, Oahu, Maui, and the main island. If you’re a novice surfer, book your hotel in Maui for beginner-friendly waves. 

We recommend the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa

Off to Hawaii

Whale watching

Hawaii is more than just a bucket list destination. It serves up once-in-a-lifetime experiences at every corner of the island. If you’ve always dreamed of seeing humpback whales, you’ll want to visit in the winter and early spring between December and May. Whale watching is happens during January to March as the whales migrate from Alaska. 

Photo: Manuel Balesteri / Shutterstock.com

If whale watching is top of your agenda, choose a hotel along the Kohala Coast for the perfect views. We recommend Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, as it’s a quick walk from the beach.

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Snorkeling

Snorkeling is one of the most popular activities in Hawaii. Although you can do it almost year-round, the warmer months of July and August are perfect times to try it out. You’ll have some of the best spots along the northern shores.

Photo: Denis Moskvinov/ Shutterstock.com

Watch out for jellyfish if you’re planning on snorkeling. The Waikiki Aquarium offers a calendar with dates they expect jellyfish to be present, as they’re usually seen within a week or two of a full moon. 

Turtle watching

If you’ve always wanted to see a turtle in its natural habitat, you’ll want to visit the Hawaiian Islands during the summer season, where you’ll find five different species of sea turtles. Summer is when nesting season occurs, meaning the turtles are easier to spot. You can book a turtle snorkeling experience to see the turtles in the water. Don’t forget to give the turtles their space and don’t touch them. 

Hiking

The luscious landscape of Hawaii makes it one of the most unique hiking experiences in the world. While you can hike year-round, you’ll want to consider the temperature. It’s usually easiest to hike in late spring or early fall as the temperature is a little cooler and drier. You’ll want to make sure you have all the right equipment to survive hiking in Hawaii’s different microclimates. 

Photo: travellife18/ Shutterstock.com

Honolulu is one of the best places to stay if you’re planning on hiking during your vacation. We recommend the Ilikai Hotel & Luxury Suites as the perfect base for your hiking adventures.

Go hiking

When are popular events in Hawaii?

You might want to immerse yourself in Hawaiian and Polynesian culture by coordinating your visit during one of the island’s famous cultural events. 

Popular events include:

  • Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival: February
  • Honolulu Festival: March
  • Kona Brewers Festival: March
  • Merrie Monarch Festival: April
  • Lei Day: May
  • King Kamehameha Festival: June
  • Kōloa Plantation Days: July
  • Duke’s OceanFest: August
  • Aloha Festivals: September
  • Food and Wine Festival: October
  • Hawaii International Film Festival: November
  • Vans Triple Crown of Surfing: November and December

There is always something happening in Hawaii. Take the time to experience the islands like a local by immersing yourself in the culture. The diversity of events and activities makes it a top destination to travel with friends or as part of a group. 

The worst time to visit Hawaii

Hawaii’s tropical climate means it’s hard to find a ‘worst’ time to visit the island. The weather is pleasant year-round, but some months are drier than others. November and March are the wettest times of the year, but the island’s microclimates mean you’ll always find somewhere with pleasant weather. 

Photo: Katrina Brown/ Shutterstock.com

The cheapest time to visit the Hawaiian Islands is usually February and March, when airfare tickets are at their lowest and hotels are more competitively priced. If you’re looking to travel on a budget, the worst time to come is during July, August, and December. 

You’ll want to consider what’s important for your vacation to find the best time to create an unforgettable experience. The Hawaiian islands have their own microclimate, meaning rain showers don’t tend to last long, and you’ll experience unforgettable rainbows after it rains. 

Book your Hawaii accommodation with ZenHotels

Hawaii is a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, perfect for every type of traveler. Whether you’re celebrating your honeymoon, going on a solo vacation, or visiting with friends, we’ll help you curate the vacation of your dreams to the Hawaiian islands. 

Get access to the most competitive rates on accommodation in Hawaii and over 220 other countries with ZenHotels.


Start planning your Hawaii vacation today with ZenHotels! 

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