Let's find out when is the best time to go to Hawaii!
It's a common question - and the answer DOES matter.
Hawaii is a dream location for many travelers. But figuring out the best time to visit this tropical paradise depends on many things. There are time-sensitive factors such as the weather, the amount of visitors, and seasonal activities. Let's help you figure out when the best time is to go on a trip you'll never forget.
Hawaii has warm weather all year, so temperature isn't too much of a consideration. Most of the time, the temperature is in the mid-20s to mid-30s Celsius (mid-70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit). Unless you're in a high elevation area (the volcano peaks) then you will stay relatively warm.
While Hawaii doesn't have a "winter season" per say, it does have a RAINY season. Depending on which side of the island you are on (and it will vary from island-to-island) you may be bombarded with rain during winter. Also, word of warning: the ocean is often far more aggressive during the classical "winter season" (depending on which side you stay on).
It's important to remember that Hawaii has microclimates. This means that the weather changes depending on the island and where you are on it. Each island has a "dry side" and a "wet side". For specifications, search for a rain map for your particular island.
As a rule of thumb, the weather on the windward (eastern) sides is usually wetter and the weather on the leeward (western) sides is usually drier. The islands have many different kinds of scenery and often times, even when it's a rainy day, beautiful weather is only a short drive away. That is... unless you're on Big Island and are staying on the Hilo side. That is an immensely rainy area and drives won't be so "short," per say... as it IS a "big" island!
When is "Busy Season?"
From mid-December to March, which is the winter season, Hawaii is at its busiest. Many people from colder places come to warmer places to escape the winter. This leads to more tourists and higher room rates. During this time, the weather is usually mild if you're on the western side... but the eastern sides experience more rain showers and cooler temps.
If you're planning on driving the famous "Road to Hana" in Maui, for example, the winter time is a "worse time" to go. I would often find my favorite swimming spots absolutely flooded, for example. It's best to look at a simple rain level map of your chosen island to have an orientation of what to expect with weather.
Busy Season also exists because of the whales! Humpback whales migrate from Alaska to the warm Hawaiian waters during winter. Many tourists flock to see these beautiful creatures. The whales give birth in the warm waters and stick around with their calves, teaching them proper breathing techniques and feeding. It's a worthwhile adventure to sign up for whale-watching!
If you want to go during the busy season, it's best to book your lodging and events ahead of time.
Late March usually marks the end of whale-watching season (if there's any left). The whales go back towards the Alaskan waters. Between April and May is a slower season. Temperatures are great here, not too hot... but you won't see any whales.
Sometimes, the slower season starts as early as February. But... then spring break comes along and we have a surge of tourists. It's a gamble during February/March.
The next "low" season is September through November. During these times, the weather is mild, hotel prices are lower, and the beaches are usually less crowded. As a local, I love this season! There are no whales yet but there is plenty to do, especially before the winter season when more rain comes.
From June to August, The Summer Season
The summer season is HOT. It can be busy with tourists, because everyone's kids are on summer vacation, but fair warning: the dry sides of the island can be unbearable. If you book an airbnb on a dry side then... well... good luck. Most Hawaiian homes don't have air condition. If you're not temperature acclimated then that can suck.
Expect to pay more for hotels and see more people at attractions, especially in touristy places. But the nice weather, long days, and lively events make it a great time to learn about Hawaiian culture and do outdoor activities.
Events and Activities That Stand Out
You might want to plan your trip around special events and activities that happen at different times of the year. From the Merrie Monarch Festival in April, which honors hula traditions, to the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival in November, which shows off Hawaii's famous coffee, there are a lot of cultural and food-related events to help you get the most out of your trip to Hawaii. And, of course, the aforementioned whales! Whale sighting begin in November (sometimes), and are frequent from December to early February before waning off.
Hawaii has something for everyone all year long. When planning your trip, think about things like the weather, the number of people there, and any special events. In the end, a trip to this beautiful group of islands will give you the chance to see beautiful scenery, meet friendly people, and make experiences that will last a lifetime. Aloha is waiting for you in Hawaii.
If this article was in any way helpful to you... consider checking out my Hawaiian art prints at www.soulofhawaii.com