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When to visit Hawaii

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When to visit Hawaii

Hawaii is the perfect destination if you’ve been dreaming of a tropical island vacation. From its sugary white-sand beaches, radiant sunsets and gently rustling palm trees to its rain forests, canyons and volcanoes, Hawaii is almost too amazing to explore in a brief visit. 

The biggest crowds from the US mainland arrive for summer vacation, over spring break and during winter. Off-season travel in the late spring and early fall enjoys fewer crowds with equally good weather, and may net you big savings on airfare and accommodations besides.

Editor’s note: during COVID-19 there may be additional travel restrictions. Check the latest guidance in Hawaii before planning a trip, and always follow local government health advice.

High Season: December to April /June to August

Best time for whale-watching and surfing

A professional surfer rides through a perfectly blue North Shore barrel in Hawaii ©Daniel_Goldin/Getty Images

Christmas to New Year and around Easter are the most expensive and busy periods in Hawaii. Despite winter being rainer, it’s best for whale-watching and surfing. Summer is slightly hotter. Be aware that accommodation prices are up 50-100 percent.

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Shoulder Season: May and September 

Best time for milder temperatures

A girl waves during an Aloha Festival
Visit Hawaii in September for the statewide Aloha Festivals © Bruce C. Murray/Shutterstock

Crowds and prices drop slightly between schools’ spring break and summer vacation. Go for the mild temperatures and mostly sunny days. Visit in September and check out the statewide Aloha Festivals.

Low Season: October to November 

Best time for travel bargains

View of Diamond Head crater located on Oahu, Hawaii from airplane after takeoff
Travel to Hawaii during the low season for better airfare rates ©Superfluous02/Getty Images

Travel during low season and you’ll run into the fewest crowds and still have warm temperatures. Airfares during this time are at their lowest from US mainland and Canada, and accommodations rates drop significantly – as much as 50 percent lower than in high season. The weather is typically hot and dry (not ideal for hiking).

How to visit Hawaii on a budget 

January

Typically Hawaii’s wettest and coolest month, January is when the tourist high season gets into full swing, with snowbirds escaping winter elsewhere. The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on the third Monday is especially busy.
Key event: Chinese New Year.

February

Peak tourist season continues, with weekends around Valentine’s Day (Feb 14) and Presidents Day (third Monday) usually booked solid at resorts. Winter storms bring more rainfall and cooler temperatures.
Key event: Waimea Town Celebration.

March

It’s another busy month to visit Hawaii, despite lingering rainfall. College students and families take a one- or two-week spring break around Easter, falling in March or April.
Key events: Whale & Ocean Arts Festival, Honolulu Festival, Prince Kuhio Day.

Flower lei for sale at Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo Hawaii
Intricate lei’s of orchids and other exotic flora at Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo © Alvis Upitis / Getty Images

April

Peak tourist season winds down as rainstorms lessen. Resorts are less busy after Easter, once college students and families finish taking their spring break vacations.
Key events: Merrie Monarch Festival, East Maui Taro Festival, Waikiki Spam Jam.

May

Crowds thin and prices drop slightly between spring break and summer vacation. Temperatures are still mild, with mostly sunny and cloudless days. Hotels sell out for the Memorial Day holiday weekend in late May.
Key events: Mele Mei, Lei Day.

June

Getting in before most families start taking summer vacations, visitors in early June can take advantage of warm, dry weather and discounts on hotels and flights.
Key events: Molokaʻi Ka Hula Piko, Pan-Pacific Festival, King Kamehameha Day, Kapalua Wine & Food Festival, King Kamehameha Hula Celebration.

The best of Hawaii for first-timers

July

Temperatures rise and rain is scarce. School summer vacations and the July 4 national holiday make this one of the busiest travel months. Book early and expect high prices.
Key events: Pineapple Festival, Independence Day, Prince Lot Hula Festival, Koloa Plantation Days Celebration.

August

Families taking summer vacations keep things busy all around the islands. Hot, sunny weather prevails, especially on the islands’ leeward sides. Statehood Day is a holiday observed on the third Friday of the month.
Key events: Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament, Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival, Music & Mango Festival .

September

After Labor Day weekend in early September, crowds start to fade away at beach resorts as students go back to school. Hot, dry weather continues.
Key events: Aloha Festivals, Queen Liliʻuokalani Canoe Race, Kauaʻi Mokihana Festival, Na Wahine O Ke Kai.

October

The slowest month for tourism, October brings travel bargains on hotels and flights. Weather is reliably sunny, but very humid when the trade winds don’t blow.
Key events: Coconut Festival, Eo e Emalani I Alakaʻi, Ironman Triathlon World Championship, Maui Ukulele Festival, Hawaiʻi Food & Wine Festival, Halloween.

Waikiki Beach
Beaches may be less crowded during fall months © Dhoxax / Shutterstock

November

Toward the end of the month, vacationing crowds (and scattered rainfall) start returning to Hawaii. Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday is a popular and pricey time to visit.
Key events: Hawaii International Film Festival, Moku O Keawe, Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, Kohala ʻAina Festival, Triple Crown of Surfing.

December

As winter rainstorms return and temperatures cool slightly, peak tourist season begins in mid-December, making the Christmas to New Year’s holiday period extremely busy – and expensive.
Key events: Honolulu Marathon.

You might also like:

How to choose the best Hawaiian island for your trip 
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is still a hot destination 
How to avoid the crowds at 7 popular Maui attractions 

Source : Lonelyplanet

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