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Best time to visit Hawaii

Learn how to get cheap flights and skip long lines in the Aloha State.

The best times to visit Hawaii overall are in April, May, September and October. These spring and fall months feature fewer visitors, lovely weather and good prices, though you’ll want to avoid major holidays to get the best deals.

Peak season

December, June, July are August are the busiest months in Hawaii. Destinations like Waikiki Beach, Honolulu and Volcanoes National Park become crowded, and you’ll likely pay a premium for flights, hotel rooms and souvenirs.

Off season

Spring and fall are considered off-seasons in Hawaii, with some of the best rates in May through mid-June, September through mid-December and Janurary. To avoid a flock of tourists and spend less money, plan your trip during these times. You might still be able to catch the tail end of whale-watching season in late April and early May.

Expert take: Marie Denis

Our US distributed support manager, Marie Denis, lives and works in Hawaii— here’s her expert take on the best time to visit:

I like between December and March because we have a mini rainy season and it’s so much cooler than August through October. The least expensive months are probably December to March, based on the amount of rain we get — but it would suck to come all the way here and have it be raining the whole time, especially since it’s such an outdoorsy vacation destination.

The best time to come is probably between April to June, when it’s not raining. The temperature is usually around 75°F to 80°F, so it’s not too hot. November could work, but it’s all over the place. Some years it’s nice and sunny, and others it’s raining.

Cheapest time to visit Hawaii

January is the cheapest month to visit Hawaii, with flights into Honolulu up to 17% cheaper on average, according to data from Skyscanner. You should also be able to find good deals on accommodations, as hotels try to attract visitors after the December rush is over. You can also score great deals on tours and sightseeing activities in January and February. Rates are likely to spike again in March, as spring breakers flock to the islands.

Best time to visit Hawaii for whale watching

The best time to visit Hawaii for whale watching is from November to March, when humpback whales make their way to Hawaiian waters.

Weather

Hawaii has two seasons: the dry summer season from April to October and the wet winter season from November to March. Average temperatures are between 70ºF and 85ºF during the summer and drop off in the 68ºF to 78ºF range in the winter. Still, the wet season can be relatively dry, depending on where you are in the state.

While it rarely ever gets warmer than 90ºF or cooler than 65ºF, the Aloha State does experience microclimates that fluctuate based on which island you’re on. In fact, the Aloha State has 10 of the earth’s 14 climate zones packed into its islands. You can hike through both tropical rainforests and arid deserts, and even see polar tundra landscapes if you venture to the summit of Mauna Kea or Mauna Loa.

Average monthly temps in Honolulu

Here’s what you can expect during every month of the year in Honolulu:

JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
High81° F81° F82° F83° F85° F 86° F 87° F 88° F88° F87° F84° F82° F
Low65° F65° F67° F68° F69° F 72° F73° F 73° F73° F72° F70° F67° F
Rain6 days5 days6 days5 days4 days2 days3 days3 days4 days4 days6 days7 days

Average yearly temperatures sourced from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) in February 2021.

When is hurricane season in Hawaii?

Despite being made up of a series of islands, Hawaii doesn’t often experience hurricane landfalls. The last hurricane to hit the state was in 1992 when Hurricane Iniki struck the island of Kauai. But just like in the Atlantic Ocean, storms are more likely from June to November.

Best events to attend throughout the year

Hawaii’s warm year-round, but there are plenty of seasonal festivals and activities throughout the year. Check out some of the biggest events in this state by season.

Spring

  • Lei Day. Known as May Day in other parts of the country, Lei Day falls on May 1st every year. The biggest Lei Day celebration is held in Waikiki on Oahu, where you’ll find live music, hula performances and delicious food and drinks. The event is free and open to all.
  • Honolulu Festival. Celebrate the rich blend of Asian, Pacific and Hawaiian cultures that come together in the region at this three-day festival in early March. Admission to festival events are free, including the climactic parade down Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki at the festival’s end.

Summer

  • Na Hula Festival. Experience Hawaii’s longest-running non-competitive hula event during the annual Na Hula Festival. This free event takes place every August at the Kapi’olani Park Bandstand in Honolulu.
  • Koloa Plantation Days. Celebrate the rich history of Kauai’s plantation heritage at this 10-day festival in July. Visitors can participate in both free and low-cost events and activities celebrating cultural diversity of the historic town of Koloa.
  • Ukulele Festival. Check out this annual festival in mid-to-late July to immerse yourself in the soothing melodies of the ukulele. It takes place at the Waikiki Bandstand in Honolulu.

Fall

  • Aloha Festivals. This weeklong September festival celebrates vibrant Hawaiian music and culture. It’s divided into two main events: the Hoʻolauleʻa block party and the Aloha Festivals Parade down Kalākaua Avenue.
  • Vans Triple Crown. One of the biggest surfing events in the country, the Vans Triple Crown consists of three events along the north shore of Oahu: the Hawaiian Pro, Vans World Cup of Surfing and Billabong Pipe Masters. Events are held during the highest surf days in November and December.

Winter

  • Pearl Harbor Remembrance. Pearl Harbor Day is December 7th. Each year, memorial ceremonies are held at the Pearl Harbor monuments in Honolulu, Hawaii. These ceremonies are free and open to the public.
  • Thirteen Days of Polynesia. Held from December 9th to the 22nd every year at the Polynesian Cultural Center, the Thirteen Days of Polynesia is a special Christmas event that features live music, canoe rides and lots of fun activities for kids.
Traveling during COVID-19
The CDC continues to advise caution when traveling within or outside the US, though it no longer requires self-quarantine or a COVID-19 test for fully vaccinated travelers as of April 2021. It recommends that you delay travel if you are not fully vaccinated to protect yourself and your family from getting or spreading the virus.

When traveling, follow safety measures that include wearing a mask in public, social distancing and washing your hands. If you are diagnosed with, have symptoms of or are waiting for COVID-19 test results — or are otherwise at risk of illness — do not attend gatherings or travel for 14 days.

Bottom line

With a little research and planning, your trip to Hawaii can be everything you dreamed it would be — whether that’s a remote getaway or to sun-soaked adventure.

Now that you’ve nailed down the dates for your trip, research some of the top airlines and flight options to beautiful Hawaii.

Frequently asked questions

Which Hawaiian island gets the most rain?
Kauai is the rainiest Hawaiian island. The driest months to visit are April, May, August and September.

What’s the average rainfall in Hawaii?
It rains an average of 17 inches per year across the state, with the majority falling in the winter months.

Does it snow in Hawaii?
The summits of Hawaii’s highest volcanic mountains — Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa and Haleakala — receive snowfall each year. But it rarely, if ever, snows in lower elevations.

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