Hawaii is a tropical paradise with year-round warm weather, making it a dream destination for many folks. Still, you may be wondering if there is a season that is best to visit.
It’s better to visit Hawaii in the so-called spring and summer seasons, as the weather is more favorable and the ocean calmer. The months between April and August have the best chance of having clear skies for outdoor activities like snorkeling, swimming, and hiking.
Read on for the best Hawaii travel tips to plan your ideal vacation. Let’s go over what to expect during the different seasons as well as the best time of year for popular activities.
Visiting Hawaii in Summer vs. Winter
Though Hawaii is warm year-round due to its tropical climate, there is a wet season during the so-called winter months (October to April) that can limit your ability to enjoy certain outdoor activities. For this reason, many people choose to visit Hawaii during the spring and summer months (April to August).
However, summertime sees the most crowds, and popular tourist spots will be full. We recommend considering off-the-beaten-path activities for your summer stay. Be sure to book everything ahead of time, as most rentals, hotels, and tours will be full.
Keep in mind that if you are visiting volcanoes or mountainous regions, jackets and pants are recommended any time of year.
Hawaii in the Spring & Summer
From April to August, you can expect the temperatures to reach an average high of 83 to 88°F (28 to 31°C). These tend to be dry months, with only small rain showers in the evening. Hiking in the morning is recommended, and summertime is considered the best time for snorkeling on the islands as the water is calm and warm.
April and May are a bit cooler, with temperatures gradually dropping to an average of 80 to 85°F (27 to 29°C). Nights will also cool off, dropping down below 80°F (27°C) by a few degrees.
These months are also the least crowded, so long as you avoid Easter and Memorial Day Weekend. It’s also a great time for couples to visit, as children are still in school.
June through August see the hottest temperatures and the least amount of rain. You can expect the weather to peak at around 88°F (31°C) come August. Sun protection and adequate hydration are necessary for summer trips, as the days tend to be very bright, hot, and humid.
Hawaii in the Fall & Winter
Hurricane season in Hawaii runs from June to September, but they are rare. Just be sure to keep an eye on the weather as your trip approaches.
Another low peak in tourist activity is in September and October. The weather starts cooling off, but the rain is still not yet hitting in full force. Prices tend to dip as well, so many people consider the fall an ideal time to visit.
The rainy season in Hawaii runs from November to March. The weather is still warm, with average highs around 78 to 82°F (26 to 28°C). Expect temperatures to drop at night, so packing a jacket and pants is a good idea.
You may be limited in outdoor activities if you get several days of rain, but winter is also considered an ideal time for surfing and whale watching.
The Best Time to Visit Hawaii
Most expert travelers recommend April to May and September to October as the best times to visit Hawaii. These months tend to have calm, dry, and warm weather. There are also fewer visitors during these months, making attractions less crowded and prices a bit cheaper.
That being said, the best time to visit Hawaii depends in part on what you want to do.
Best Time for Snorkeling and Swimming
Summertime is the best time for snorkeling and swimming, as the waves are calm and the water temperature is quite warm. That being said, springtime comes in at a close second, especially in May.
Best Time for Surfing
If you are a beginner surfer, April to October are the best months to visit Hawaii. For experienced surfers seeking the gnarliest waves, the so-called winter months (November to February) see the biggest swells, especially along the North Shore of the Big Island.
Best Time for Whale Watching
Whales pass through Hawaii from December through March. If whale-watching is your primary goal for your trip, January and February are the peak times for whale activity.
Humpback whales tend to concentrate around the Western shore of Maui and the islands of Molokai and Lanai. They give birth in the warm waters before returning to their cold-water feeding grounds up North.
Best Time for Hiking
Spring and fall are the best times for hiking in Hawaii. The summertime is very hot, and wintertime can see long spells of rain. Be sure to have at least a light waterproof jacket, as small downpours can occur at any time in Hawaii.
Best Time for Visiting Volcanoes
Volcanoes can be a great way to escape the summer heat. That being said, springtime sees the least amount of tourists, so if you want to have a more nature-inspired experience, consider going in the shoulder season.
Many volcano summits are quite cold, so be sure to pack a warm jacket and pants for your excursion.
Best Time for Island-Hopping
The best time for island hopping is during the dry season. April to October sees the least amount of rain. If you want to be extra certain that the weather won’t ruin your plans, then avoid the summer months, as there can be the occasional tropical storm during this time.
To get the best prices on your island-hopping adventure, consider going in April, May, or October, as prices tend to be the lowest during these months.
Travelers to Hawaii find that they have the most activities available to them from April to October. The shoulder seasons in the spring and fall bring clear skies, lower prices, and fewer crowds.
Wintertime in Hawaii can be just as fun, especially if you are interested in surfing or whale-watching.
No matter what time of year you visit these magical islands, you will surely receive an abundance of sunshine and beautiful sights. Aloha!