Planning a trip and wondering what the best time to travel to Hawaii is? The answer really depends on you. Hawaii is a beautiful place to visit no matter what time of the year you go. You can enjoy the beautiful summer weather in April, have a taste of the ocean with the surfers in winter, or frolic in the rain in January.
One of the best things about visiting any of the Hawaiian islands is that alsmot all activities occur all year round. Of course, some natural phemonemon, like whales in Hawaii, occur seasonally, but outdoor activities are not limited to certain times of the year!
However, you will want to consider other factors like cost, hotel booking and hurricane weather when choosing the best time of the year to visit Hawaii. Prices are going to be higher in peak periods, like Christmas, and if you are limited in budget, you are going to want to choose a lower demand time to visit.
Depending on your schedule, you can choose to visit Hawaii during the high seasons or the quieter months. When buying flight tickets, it is best to book up to four months in advance. That way, you get the best deals on both flights, accommodations and car rentals.
Seeing as Hawaii is a year-round destination, there are tons of fun things to do whenever you choose to go.
Why Visit Hawaii in the Spring
Spring is a wonderful time to visit Hawaii. It marks the beginning of the dry season and the weather is superb. From mid-March down to early June, flight tickets and hotel accommodations are relatively cheaper and readily available for booking.
Spring in Hawaii means you get to enjoy the amazing produce and beautiful fragrant flowers that are native to the Hawaiian Islands. Starting Easter Sunday every year, the Merrie Monarch Festival is held and is open to tourists and all who would love to experience the art of hula.
If you are interested in participating in any of the water activities then spring is definitely the best time to travel to Hawaii. The waves are calmer during the spring months and this makes it the best time to enjoy swimming, snorkeling, fishing, whale watching etc.
Music lovers are also encouraged to visit Hawaii during spring. With a host of festivals and lots of tourists trooping in, concerts and live entertainment shows are held daily all around the Big Island. Grab tickets to the Honolulu Brewers Festival in Oahu before they sell out. This annual festival held in April features over 100 craft beers from all over Hawaii and abroad.
They also have the yearly Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, similar to the Grammys. It’s a perfect time to interact with the locals and fellow tourists.
If you are looking for the best prices, stay away from Spring Break travel, where airfares are typically higher.
Why Fall is the Best time to travel to Hawaii?
Fall is another best time to go to Hawaii. Seeing as the fall months still offers great weather, calm waters and fewer kids running around, it is a perfect time for singles, couples and older tourists to visit.
There are several festivals and fun events to look out for in the Fall. For food lovers, it is the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival where you get to meet with local chefs and enjoy global delicacies beautifully prepared with local island ingredients. The Kauai Mokihana Festival is also held in the fall. It is a weeklong cultural event where both guests and locals enjoy lectures, a music contest, craft fair and hula contest. Get ready to experience the rich Hawaiian culture!
If you are a triathlon enthusiast, look out for the Ironman World Championship in October. Coffee lovers would enjoy participating in the Kona Coffee Festival where the finest coffee growers and farmers on the island come to display their coffee beans and treats. Kona coffee is one of the most popular Hawaiian souvenirs to buy on any trip to Hawaii.
If you are interested in surfing and would love to learn, fall is the time for you. The waves are calmer, especially at the south sides of the island so grab a surfboard and go for it!
Why visit Hawaii in the Summer?
Being the most popular season for traveling, Summer in Hawaii features lots of families and is one of the busiest seasons for tourists. The weather is very warm, sometimes getting up to 90 degrees. This is a great time to enjoy water activities and engage in beach sports. The waves are calmer which is great for families with kids and beginner surfers.
If you are looking to plan a destination wedding, the summer months are your best bet. May especially promises the best weather with almost no chance of rain. Ensure you plan and book flights and accommodations away ahead of time to beat the summer rush.
Lovers of food and wine get to enjoy the summer vacation especially because of the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival where delicious meals and the finest grapes are showcased. It is also the best time to shop for souvenirs because the Made in Hawaii Festival holds in the summer. This festival features a showcase of locally made items and visitors are welcome.
Looking to experience the beautiful Hawaiian culture; flowers and all? The Aloha Festivals where locals proudly showcase the culture and history of Hawaiian legacy is the place to be. You also get to experience pa’u riding.
Why winter is the Best time to visit Hawaii?
If you are looking to celebrate Christmas in Hawaii then winter is the best time to travel to Hawaii. December is high season in Hawaii so flight and hotel fees are higher but it is totally worth it.
The winter season is the whale watching season. This is the time when Whales travel from Alaska to birth their young. This season stretches into mid-February so if you can’t make it in Christmas, you might as well spend your Valentine’s Day watching the beautiful Humpback Whales in Maui and the Big Island.
Temperatures are a steady 78 degrees; perfect weather for hiking and exploring. It is also a great time for pro surfers and tons of surfing competitions are held. Other water activities like swimming and snorkeling are mostly suspended due to the cold weather. If you visit between February and March then you are in for a thrill. Snowboarding and Skiing on Mauna Kea are best around this time. Although there are no lifts to get you to the top of the year-round snow mountain, it is a perfect adventure for nature lovers.
Other fun holiday traditions and sights to look out for during Christmas are the breathtaking holiday décor in Honolulu, the Christmas Light parades and the amazing New Year’s performances by artists and performers who visit from all over the world.
When is the Best Surfing Time in Hawaii?
Winter storms bring the big surf to Hawaii and the North Shore of Oahu sees the biggest waves in the winter months. Generally the professional competitions occur in December and January but you will find large swells well into March.
For beginners, the surf at any time of year is good to learn. You will want to stay away from the large swells as beginners really only need a few feet of waves to learn to surf.
The south shores have small waves most of the year and the North Shore’s surf is smallest from May to September.
When is the best time to Snorkel in Hawaii?
The summer months offer the clearest waters in Hawaii. Strong winter surf can cloud up the waters making visability less than ideal, but that does not mean you cannot snorkel all year long.
If you want to know the best time to snorkel in Hawaii, summer is going to be your best bet. There is more sun and less surf, making for better visability conditions.
The best islands in Hawaii for underwater snorkeling are the Big Island and Maui, however, Oahu’s Hanauma Bay is a must-visit for anyone who is going to Oahu. the worst island for snorkelling is Kauai due to its wet weather. Rain often makes the visibility poor and it often rains all year long in Kauai.
When is the best time to travel to Hawaii to go Whale Watching?
Whale watching season occurs from December to April but February and March is the peak time when the whales have recently had their calves.
Whale Watching on Oahu: if you will be visiting Oahu, check out whale watching here.
When is the best time to go to Hawaii for weddings?
The summer months in Hawaii tend to be drier so planning a beach ceremony is not likely to get ruined by a quick rain storm. This is much more likely in the winter months.
When to Book Airline Tickets?
The general guide when it comes to booking tickets to Hawaii is about 4 months out. However, my suggestion is to wathc for sales and when you see a sale, to secure your dates.
If you are planning to travel over Christmas, you are going to want to book early.
If you are traveling over Spring Break, I also suggest at least three months in advance, ideally before the Christmas holiday when people are not yet thinking of their spring break travels.
When to Make Hotel Reservations for Hawaii
If you are traveling over Christmas, Thanksgiving, Spring Break, you will want to book as early as possible, as several mid range hotels will sell out.
More Hawaii Travel Resources
Now that we have gotten through the best time to travel to Hawaii you can move on to more planning. I have put together some resources for your trip to Hawaii to help make the planning a little bit easier.
Should you rent a car in Hawaii?
First you need to decide whether you want to rent a car or not. Personally I prefer to rent a car from the airport and keep it during our stay. It allows the most amount of flexibility and is especially nice if you have young kids.
You can check prices on rental cars here.
Find the perfect captions for your Photos!
Part of traveling now is sharing those memories online. I have put together a post on the best Maui Instagram captions as well as 101+ Hawaii Instagram captions. Have a read of them to find the perfect quotes for your travel photos!
What to Pack for Hawaii?
Packing for the beach is usually the easiest type of packing. But I have put together a few essentials that you do not want to forget on your trip to Hawaii. You can also click the link above to see my complete beach packing list post!
Sunscreen and Lip Balm – You can get sunscreen on every corner of Hawaii but it is a lot more expensive than bringing your own. Also if you have a preference on brand or have kids with sensitive skin, you will want to make sure you have the brand you like. Make sure if it is over 100mls that you put it in your checked luggage. Also make sure you pack reef safe sunscreen! If you want a gret lip balm, I suggest this one available at Sephoa. You can also get it on Amazon here.
Flat Toiletries Bag – If you are like me, you have packed your suitcase perfectly, only to realize that your round toiletries bag is not going to fit. With this lay flat toiletries bag, you can easily stand up your suitcase and slide it on top! at only 2 inches wide, it will almost always fit, once your clothing settles. You can also get it on Amazon here.
Beach Blanket – This might sound frivolous, but if you have kids, especially younger ones, this blanket is perfect! It is big, light and folded up with a convenient carry handle. I called it my luxury item in my suitcase as it took up a fair bit of room but we used it every day and it beat those sand mats that you can buy at all of the stores.
Reusable Shopping Bag – Hawaii is way ahead of the rest of the United States when it comes to recycling. They do not have plastic bags and expect you to be prepared. You can bring your own small nylon bag from home or there are plenty of cute Hawaiian print ones to buy in Hawaii. Need another Hawaiian souvenir idea? This is one!
Baby Powder – One of the popular beach hacks is to pack some baby powder when you go to Hawaii (or any beach destination!). When you have sand all over your feet, apply some baby powder and the sand will quickly come off! Beats getting rubbing blisters from the sand between your toes! You can get convenient travel sized ones here
Lindsay Nieminen hails from Vancouver, Canada and shares her love of travel on this website. She is passionate about showing others that they should not put off traveling the world just because they have young children or are single parents. She aims to encourage them to seek out adventure, whether it is at home or abroad by providing information on how just about everywhere can be a destination to explore as a family.