Oh, the allure of Hawaii’s breathtaking beaches and lush landscapes!
I remember my first trip there with my boyfriend like it was yesterday – we were so excited to escape our everyday routine and enjoy paradise together. But let me tell you, knowing the best time to visit can really make or break your Hawaiian vacation experience.
After years of researching and exploring different islands at various times, I’ve finally mastered the art of perfectly timing a Hawaiian getaway. Trust me: avoiding overcrowded spots, unpredictable weather, and skyrocketing prices is absolutely essential for a memorable vacation in paradise.
And guess what? I’m here to share all the juicy details with you. From personal anecdotes about oh-so-beautiful tropical rain showers to insider tips on snagging deals during low season, this article has got you covered!
Warning: Reading this might cause an irresistible urge to pack your bags and head straight for that flight to Hawaii… but hey, who could blame you?
So sit back, relax (maybe grab a fruity drink?), and let’s dive into all things related to finding the ideal time for your perfect Hawaiian adventure!
The Worst Time to Visit Hawaii: Crowds
When you imagine paradise, sandy white beaches, exotic waterfalls, and jungles, you probably don’t imagine crowds and waiting lines. That’s why it’s important to pick the right time and avoid the wrong time to visit Hawaii. Depending on the time you visit, a blissful and carefully planned vacation can turn into frustration and long waiting lines. Because no one wants to fight for a spot to put their towels down or wait in endless lines to grab a meal, it’s important to know when the peak and down seasons are in Hawaiian tourism.
Most crowded Island – What island is right for you?
Oahu is the most populated island in Hawaii, with the central hub of Honolulu and Waikiki. Oahu offers a generally more urban and cosmopolitan vacation, including lively nightlife and a big influx of tourists. That’s why those who prefer to have a calm and stress-free vacation should only visit in the off-season. In general, the island has most tourists in November and December (during the holidays)
The second most populated island (especially with tourists) is Maui. This is an extremely popular destination for honeymooners, weddings, and romantic getaways, due to the naturally stunning beaches, sunsets, and resorts. Maui tends to be more crowded than the Big Island, especially in the summer and winter months.
Those looking to vacation on this island should look for down-season times like early spring and fall (when generally people have less opportunity to vacation). Since the temperatures in Maui are generally stable during the whole year (with a month or two of rainy season), the weather will not play a big part in the quality of your experience.
Least crowded Island – The off-the-beaten-path choices for adventurers.
This island is among the least visited islands in Hawaii. It is a beautifully preserved island with great natural beauty, seclusion, and beaches that look like deserted islands from postcards.
Still, this least developed and the least influenced tourism spot offers plenty of activities and is perfect for couples looking for privacy and seclusion. The downside is a limited rental opportunity, so you must gook way ahead if you want hotel accommodations or a quality vacation rental. To check out the best deals and places to stay I recommend starting early and contacting Airbnb / VRBO /Booking.com, and rentals managed by their local companies. This is a nature lover’s destination.
The second great choice is Lanai, with a larger offer of hotels, rentals, restaurants, and amenities. It’s a good place to avoid crowds, without sacrificing some of the luxury and amenities most are looking for.
The island is known as the Garden of the Gods and offers secluded, pristine, and tourist-free beaches for ultimate relaxation. Best of all, it’s only about 10 miles from Maui, so there are many options to island hop and have a change of scenery if you wish. On this island, a 4×4 will be your friend if you wish to explore the remote rainforest trails and beaches.
Most crowded time of year
The most crowded time to visit most of the Hawaiian islands is December through February. This is the time of the largest number of tourists, and with all the holidays, you may find yourself waiting in crowds, in lines, or struggling to find that special tour you are looking for (due to booking restrictions and even prices). At this time hotels, tours and flights are usually booked to capacity.
The second most crowded time is during summer vacation when there is a large incoming of family tourism (also mid-spring—during breaks from school). As children are on summer vacation, and the dry and hotter season starts on the island, families head to Hawaii. The influx of additional tourists is mostly felt on the beaches (especially Maui and Oahu), as these offer the most resorts and family-friendly activities.
The Worst Time to Visit Hawaii: Weather
Depending on what type of climate you prefer, Hawaii has both a rainy season and a dry season. While during the summer there is almost no rainfall, the temperatures can go up to the 90-degree range. The average is in the mid-80-degree range. The rainy season is in the winter, with most precipitation in December, so let’s take a more detailed look.
Rain and Hurricane season
The official Hurricane season in Hawaii is from July to September. During this time there are increased winds, the temperature can drop down into the low to mid-70-degree range and clouds are common.
Still, there are no hurricanes in Hawaii as often as one might think. In fact, the last notable hurricane was in 1992 by the name of Hurricane Iniki. Information about expected hurricanes can be generally found on weather sites and should be checked – and re-checked before your vacation.
The rainy season in Hawaii is in the winter months. The month with the most rain is usually December and January. If visiting at this time, make sure to plan some indoor activities as alternatives. The good side of the rainy season is that the rain usually doesn’t last long, and the temperatures stay high. Also, if you have transportation, it’s always sunny somewhere on the island.
The dry season in Hawaii is during the late spring and summer (up to the end of August). This is also the time the temperatures are highest and can reach the upper 90-degree ranges. Though there is the least rain in this period, for some people the temperatures will bring great discomfort. Especially since the season is relatively busy, and requires some patience with the large influx of tourists. My suggestion is, if you choose to visit the dry season, choose a more secluded island with more natural shade, less metropolitan centers, and secluded spots for hiking and swimming.
The Worst Time to Visit Hawaii: Cost
Unfortunately, in today’s economy, no luxury vacation can be considered totally cheap. However, those willing to wait and search for hotel, flight, and other accommodation deals can have a high-end luxury vacation in Hawaii. In general, when looking for the cheapest option, focus on reasonable airfare, hotels and vacation rentals, and car rental options.
Most expensive time of year (plain tickets)
If you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for your flight to Hawaii, (and youse those funds on exploring more of the island) then you need to avoid flying during December. In fact, due to the holidays, when many people get vacation time, December and January are the most expensive by far. Sometimes they are at full capacity, which can cause delays and booking changes.
In any case, whenever you book, the ideal time to confirm your tickets is at least 50 to 60 days before departure. Everything closer to your date will be more expensive and drain your planned budget needlessly.
Most expensive time of year (hotels and resorts)
As a general rule, the second half of the calendar year is more expensive than the first half. Due to summer vacations, winter holidays, and family-oriented packages, most people book hotels from July, August, and all the way to New Year.
The spring months of April and May and early fall of September and October offer the best promotions and deals on hotels and resorts. Make sure to check out a few travel agencies that can offer you promotional deals for couples and all-inclusive service.
The worst time for car rentals in Hawaii
During the peak seasons in Hawaii, finding a decent car rental and a reasonable price can be impossible. The agencies are overrun, and fully occupied, and the prices are higher. And let’s be honest, car rentals in Hawaii are generally pricy all year round.
When renting a car in Hawaii it’s best to rent for a 7-day minimum and help get a better deal. As a pro tip, try renting the cheapest option once you book your tickets. If better deals arise in the meantime, or you want an upgrade, it’s relatively easy to change your reservation. Like with plain tickets, expect to pay most during the Holiday season and summer vacation times.
A good time to visit Hawaii
Now that we have gone over the bad and the ugly, let’s see when the best time to visit the island is (at least from my perspective). I prefer less crowded vacations that still offer all the accommodations and luxury I expect.
For Hawaii, this is the period in the spring and fall (avoiding the summer vacation and winter holiday season). Sure you may miss the whale watching in the winter, as they migrate, but the island offers so many rich marine life opportunities, green turtles all year round, seals, and coral reefs full of exotic and tropical fish. Just bring (or rent) some quality snorkeling gear.
Conclusion on The Worst Time to Visit Hawaii
If you haven’t had at least one awful vacation, you haven’t traveled enough. Whether your vacation was ruined by extreme prices and additional charges, bad weather, crowds or the wrong time of the year to visit – use that as a learning experience.
Above is my complete guide and honest advice on when not to visit Hawaii! Depending on what you are looking for the guide is complete, honest, and covers all the traps that can ruin your vacation.
Take it from someone who has done through this situation and knows how to avoid the downfalls.
So read carefully, and enjoy your trip!
What months should you not visit Hawaii?
Hawaii has something to offer all year round, and it all depends on what type of vacation you are looking for. However, considering weather conditions the worst time to visit is during hurricane season (somewhere between June through November) and during the rainy season (November and February).
If your bigger concern is crowds and long lines everywhere you go, then run away from deals in December, January, and during school summer vacation. During these times, most rentals and hotels are at full capacity, meaning less room on the beach, more waiting on services, and generally less peace.
Is there a bad weather season in Hawaii?
Temperatures in Hawaii are generally consistent during the year. From the coldest months in winter, when the temperatures go down to 73-74 degrees to hot summer days when they reach the low 90-degree range. The average, however, mostly remains in the 80-degree range. The same is true for the water temperature as it doesn’t oscillate too much. For activities like snorkeling, water temperatures of 70 degrees and more are considered safe.
That said, the dry season in the summer and the rainy season in the winter can be equally bothersome for tourists who can’t stand high heat or despise the rain. The positive side to this is that the extremes do not last long, and there is always a nice spot on the island with nice weather (so jump in your car).
Which Hawaiian island is the least touristy?
Lanai and Molokai attracted the least amount of tourists. These islands are more focused on preserving the natural beauty and pristine beaches and trails of the islands.
In fact, the accommodations are not as abundant as on the big islands, and some areas require guides and 4×4 transportation. Still, they are the most untouched, undeveloped sports full of deserted island beaches, open ocean views, and peaceful, tourist-free trails.
Outdoor nature lovers and couples looking to relax in a private and luxurious area away from tourists will love these two choices.
Last Updated on April 30, 2023 by Brigitte