The Best Time to Visit Hawaii for Perfect Weather and Low Prices
A trip to the Aloha State is all about timing, and we have details on the best time to visit Hawaii to ensure you make the most of your stay
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Hawaii has long held a spot on travelers’ bucket lists and enjoys popularity among honeymooners—and for good reason. With its year-round balmy weather and tropical island vibes, you might say the best time to visit Hawaii is anytime. The archipelago has attracted travelers for generations, well before it joined the United States in 1959 to become the country’s 50th state. Its golden-sand beaches, dramatic coastlines, active volcanoes, flowing waterfalls, lush rainforests, historic sites, all-inclusive Hawaiian resorts, vibrant culture and aloha spirit attract visitors all year long.
Hawaii is unlike any other state in that it spans nearly 11,000 square miles and is made up of 132 islands, six of which welcome visitors: the Island of Hawaii, Kauai, Lanai, Maui, Molokai and Oahu. Traveling between the Hawaiian islands is made easy by quick, inter-island flights and a ferry that runs between Maui and Lanai, which are only 9 miles apart. Most major airlines fly to Hawaii, and inter-island flights are available on Hawaiian Airlines, Mokulele Airlines and Southwest Airlines.
Whether you’re looking for cheap places to travel, ways to make the most of your Hawaii vacation or the ideal time to visit for a romantic getaway, we’ve got you covered. So read on to learn the best time to visit Hawaii for travel deals, fewer crowds and weather that’ll help you live out the vacation of your dreams.
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When is the cheapest time to go to Hawaii?
If getting a great deal is your top priority, the best time to go to Hawaii is during the spring and fall shoulder seasons, provided you book a trip outside of schools’ spring and fall breaks. Another time to consider visiting is when kids go back to school in the fall but before the holiday breaks. This is usually the cheapest time to fly to Hawaii, so keep an eye out for deals from your favorite airlines.
Pro tip: Get the best airfare possible by creating airline price alerts that’ll let you know when it’s the best time to book a flight for a Hawaiian island escape. Apps like Skyscanner and tools like Google Flights price alerts make that easy. Another way to save on your trip to the Aloha State is to fly a budget airline.
When is the weather the best in Hawaii?
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Its proximity to the equator means that Hawaii and all its islands enjoy just two seasons: summer and winter. And even the cooler season has unbeatable temps, which reinforces the idea that any time of year is the best time of year to visit Hawaii.
Daytime temperatures at sea level average 85 degrees in the summer (May to October) and 78 degrees in the winter (November through April). When the sun sets, those temps can drop about 10 degrees. Keep in mind that temperatures drop the higher you go in elevation, regardless of the time of year, and the islands have micro-environments ranging from cool alpine regions to hot, sunny beaches. A top packing tip for Hawaii is to keep a light jacket or sweater on hand in case temps dip.
Hurricane season in Hawaii runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, though crowds still flock to the islands in the summertime. The wettest months are typically November through March, but don’t let that stop you from visiting during that time of year. If it’s raining where you are, there’s a good chance you can find some sun just a few miles down the road.
No matter when you visit Hawaii, be sure to use sunscreen for the duration of your trip to avoid having to rely on sunburn remedies. Yes, even in the winter!
What is the most popular month to go to Hawaii?
According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, nearly 9.25 million people visited the state in 2022, a 36% increase over 2021’s visitation numbers. July saw the most tourists, followed by December. A spokesperson for the authority says the most popular times to visit Hawaii are over school summer breaks (June, July and August), the last two weeks of December, the first week of January and spring breaks.
That said, documented 2022 visitation numbers show that the months with the fewest tourists were January and February, making winter the best time to visit Hawaii if you’re hoping to escape the crowds. Oahu is historically the most-visited island, while Lanai and Molokai, which get fewer tourists, are two of the least-crowded islands.
When is the best time to visit Hawaii for whale watching?
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Humpback whales migrate to Hawaii during the winter, which makes it the best time to visit Hawaii for travelers hoping to watch breaching whales right from the beach.
“We’re in the middle of peak season for the best whale watching in Hawaii, which normally runs between mid-January through early March,” says Elijah Smith, a beach ambassador for the Hui Holokai Beach Club at the Fairmont Orchid hotel on the island of Hawaii. “I take guests out on morning canoe adventures every day, and I’ve had the great fortune of spotting a number of whales breaching within 50 yards of our canoe. It’s important to maintain a respectful distance, and it’s always a majestic sight to behold. It never gets old.”
Want a peek at other sea life? You can see dolphins (and swim with them!) in Hawaii, and you’ll catch other underwater creatures through snorkeling and scuba diving adventures.
How many days is enough to visit Hawaii?
Flying to Hawaii takes some time, even when traveling from the West Coast, so be sure to plan enough time to truly enjoy the Aloha State once you arrive. This most likely won’t be a quick trip. Determining how many days you’ll need for your Hawaii vacation starts with deciding how many (and which) islands to visit.
First-timers can get a good feel for Hawaii with a visit to Oahu, while honeymooners could be content spending a week at one of the most romantic resorts on the island of Hawaii, and adventurers may island hop in search of thrills.
Planning to attend annual festivals—like the statewide King Kamehameha Celebration in June, the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival on the islands of Hawaii, Maui and Oahu in October and November, and the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival on the island of Hawaii in November—could come into play too.
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