What is the Best Time of Year to Travel to Hawaii?
Updated: Jul 19, 2021
One of the first steps in planning your bucket-list trip to Hawaii is deciding what time of year you want to go. Here are some things to consider when planning your dream vacation.
On average, from May through October, the temps will be between 75-88 degrees. November through April will be slightly cooler, with temps between 68-80 degrees on average. The winter months do tend to have more trade winds, showers, and bigger surf (making the water more dangerous for swimming). However, most of the time, if it is raining where you are, you can drive to another part of the island to find the sun! Summer months are better for water activities like swimming and snorkeling. Water temps are 71-89 year-round.
Crowds and Value
“Tourist season” in Hawaii is typically July through August, and again December through March. The best months for avoiding high visitor times are April, May, October, and November. The best time to find value and get the most bang for your buck for flights and accommodations are in the months that see fewer tourists.
Some of the wildlife in Hawaii is seasonal. If you want to incorporate whale-watching into your itinerary, it is important to know what months they travel to Hawaii. Here are a few things to consider.
Humpback Whales: December through March is when Humpback whales reach the warm waters of Hawaii to breed and give birth.
Sea turtles: summer is nesting season, which is your best chance for seeing sea turtles. However, they do live in Hawaii year-round. I’ve seen them every time I’ve traveled to Hawaii in winter.
Seabirds: visit the Friends of Kauai Wildlife Refuges for a breakdown of when you can see each type of bird.
(Check out our Fantastic Beasts of Hawaii article for more info on Hawaiian wildlife.)
Festivals are a great way to experience Hawaiian culture! They can also draw large crowds, so if you are looking to find some peace and solitude, it is best to avoid festival dates. Here are some popular festivals:
Aloha Festival, all islands in September. Block parties, Hawaiian music, arts and crafts, island food, parades, and Hula performances
Duke’s Oceanfest, Oahu in August. A three-day festival celebrating watersports at Waikiki beach. Surfing, paddleboard racing, swimming, water polo, and beach volleyball are some of the highlights.
Koloa Plantation Days, Kauai in July. Celebrated on the south shore, involves talk stories, keiki (kids) activities, live music, film nights, craft fairs, culinary events, and even a rodeo.
Made in Hawaii, Oahu in August. The largest exhibition of all things made in Hawaii. Great for shopping!
Hawaii Food and Wine Festival, Oahu, Maui, and the Island of Hawaii, October-November. Spanning three weeks, the ultimate foodie festival showcasing Hawaii Regional Cuisine.
I hope this gives you some guidance when choosing a date for your next Hawaiian vacation!
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