The Best Time to Visit Hawaii for Low Prices and Beautiful Weather

These are the best times to visit Hawaii, according to your travel preferences.

Napali coast of Kauai (Hawaii) seen from above
Photo: Getty Images

Hawaii is a perennially popular destination for many reasons. The Aloha State is home to an extraordinary culture, pristine landscapes, and idyllic beaches. If you're searching for the best time to visit Hawaii, we've got you covered. The islands are beautiful at any time of year, though individual preferences can dictate the best time to book your tropical vacation. Looking to save a few bucks? Plan your trip for the shoulder season. Hoping to spot a humpback whale? Opt for a winter or early spring getaway.

Illustrated graphic using information from the text of the article in a circular calendar format

Michela Buttignol/Travel+Leisure

Best Time of Year to Visit Hawaii for Low Prices

Hawaiian Airlines, which operates nonstop flights to Hawaii from the United States, Asia, and the South Pacific, as well as inter-island flights within Hawaii, reports that traveling to the islands is generally cheaper in the shoulder seasons of late spring and early fall: the months of April, May, September, and October. For more savings, the airline suggests booking your flights so you're arriving and departing on weekdays, not weekends.

Generally speaking, the last two weeks of December and the first week of January — over Christmas and New Year's — hotel rates soar. Other peak periods are when kids are out of school for spring break and summer vacation, according to Hawaiian Airlines. So, if you want to cut costs on both accommodations and airfare, avoid those times of the year.

Best Time to Visit Hawaii for Great Weather

The weather in Hawaii is consistently warm, with temperatures slightly lower in the winter months (November to April) than in the summer (May to October). Hawaii's average daily winter temperature at the beach is 78 degrees Fahrenheit, while the average daily summer temperature is 85 degrees, according to the Hawaiian Tourism Authority.

Travelers looking for the best weather in Hawaii will find that rainfall is at its lowest from April through October. However, according to the Hawaii Department of Health, hurricane season in the central Pacific lasts from June through November, though massive tropical storms can happen anytime.

Most Popular Times to Visit Hawaii

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawaii saw more than 10 million visitors in 2019, with the most tourists visiting the islands in July (997,872), June (950,931), and December (942,969), according to reporting by the Hawaiian Tourism Authority.

However, when the pandemic hit, tourism came to a crashing halt. Hawaii enacted strict self-quarantine rules for incoming visitors. Later, the state required all incoming domestic travelers to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test or proof of full COVID-19 vaccination before entry through the Safe Travels Program, which came to an end on March 25, 2022.

That's all to say Hawaii is continuing to build back its tourism to pre-pandemic numbers. In all of 2021, 6.8 million visitors made their way to the islands, with July (879,551), June (791,053), and December (753,670) being the busiest months — similar to 2019.

Prior to the pandemic, Japanese travelers regularly made their way to Hawaii in droves during the last week of April and the first week of May, the so-called Golden Week, when four Japanese holidays are celebrated over seven days. Now that pre-departure testing requirements have been lifted for international air travelers to the United States (as of June 12, 2022), Hawaii may again see tourism numbers boom during this popular period for Japanese travelers — a time to avoid if you want to miss the crowds.

There are plenty of annual events to keep in mind, too. Notable yearly events that attract visitors to Hawaii include the PGA Tour in January, the Aloha Festivals in September, and the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival in October.

Best Times to Go Surfing in Hawaii

Visitors and locals can surf year-round on Hawaii's famous waves, but there are a few things to keep in mind if you're planning to hang ten. Waves are usually larger during the winter months, says the Hawaiian Tourism Authority, especially on the islands' north-facing shores, so conditions aren't ideal for beginners learning to surf. However, if you want to watch the experts tackle some big waves, this is a fun time to visit.

Best Times to Go Whale Watching in Hawaii

Those who visit Hawaii with the intent of whale watching will find humpback whales off the islands' coasts from December through May. January, February, and March are considered by many as the peak of the season, as it's when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls on the public to help monitor whales and contribute to its annual Sanctuary Ocean Count.

Those seeking a perfect combination of fewer visitors, lower prices, and good weather will likely find their ideal booking window during the shoulder season in May or September.

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