Save money on your next flight

Skyscanner is the world’s leading flight search engine, helping you find the cheapest flights to destinations all over the world.

With its tropical location and balmy breezes, Hawaii is known as an idyllic warm-weather getaway. But does Hawaii ever actually get cold?

The short answer is: yes, Hawaii can get a bit chilly at times – though not nearly as cold as many mainland destinations.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at Hawaii’s weather and temperatures throughout the year.

We’ll explore Hawaii’s different climatic zones, seasonal variations, and record low temperatures.

We’ll also provide tips on what to pack if traveling during Hawaii’s cooler periods.

Hawaii’s Year-Round Warm Climate

Hawaii's Year-Round Warm Climate

When people think of Hawaii, they often imagine pristine beaches, lush green landscapes, and a perfect tropical paradise. One of the key factors that contribute to this image is Hawaii’s year-round warm climate.

Let’s dive deeper into what makes Hawaii’s weather so consistently pleasant.

Located in the tropical zone

Hawaii is located in the tropical zone, which means it is situated near the equator. As a result, the islands experience warm weather throughout the year.

The average temperatures in Hawaii range from the mid-70s to low-80s Fahrenheit (24-29 degrees Celsius).

This tropical location provides the perfect environment for a variety of beautiful flora and fauna that thrive in the warm climate.

Also read: What Climate Zone Is Hawaii In?

Tempered by northeasterly trade winds

Another factor that contributes to Hawaii’s year-round warm climate is the presence of northeasterly trade winds. These winds blow across the islands, providing a pleasant cooling effect.

While the trade winds can sometimes be stronger during certain months, they help to regulate the temperature and make the weather in Hawaii enjoyable and comfortable.

Also read: What Are Trade Winds In Hawaii?

Little seasonal variation

Unlike many other parts of the world, Hawaii experiences little seasonal variation in terms of temperature.

While there may be slight fluctuations throughout the year, the overall difference is minimal. This means that whether you visit Hawaii in the summer or winter, you can expect to enjoy warm and pleasant weather.

In fact, Hawaii is often referred to as having an eternal summer. This consistent warmth attracts tourists from all over the world who are looking to escape colder climates and bask in the sunshine.

So, if you’re looking for a destination with beautiful weather all year round, Hawaii is definitely a top choice.

For more information about Hawaii’s climate and weather patterns, you can visit the official website of the National Weather Service:

Different Climate Zones Within the Hawaiian Islands

The Hawaiian Islands are known for their beautiful tropical climate, but did you know that there are actually several different climate zones within the islands? This is due to a variety of factors such as elevation, prevailing winds, and ocean currents.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these climate zones and how they affect the weather and temperatures in Hawaii.

Windward vs. leeward sides

One of the most significant factors that contribute to the different climate zones in Hawaii is the presence of windward and leeward sides of the islands.

The windward side of an island is the side that faces the prevailing trade winds, while the leeward side is the side that is sheltered from these winds.

The windward side tends to be cooler and wetter, as the trade winds bring moisture from the ocean, resulting in lush rainforests and higher annual rainfall.

On the other hand, the leeward side is drier and warmer, as it is shielded from the moisture-bearing winds. This creates a stark contrast in weather patterns between the two sides of the islands.

Also read: Windward Vs Leeward Oahu: A Detailed Comparison

High elevation areas

Another factor that influences the climate in Hawaii is elevation. As you go higher in elevation, the temperature tends to drop.

This is why places like Mauna Kea and Haleakala, which are both over 10,000 feet above sea level, can experience freezing temperatures and even snowfall during the winter months.

These high elevation areas create a unique microclimate, providing a stark contrast to the warm tropical climate found at sea level.

Hilo vs. Kona sides of Big Island

When it comes to the Big Island of Hawaii, there is a notable difference in weather patterns between the Hilo side and the Kona side.

The Hilo side, located on the windward side of the island, receives abundant rainfall and is known for its lush vegetation. In fact, Hilo is one of the wettest cities in the United States.

On the other hand, the Kona side, located on the leeward side, is much drier and sunnier.

This stark contrast is due to the presence of the Mauna Loa shield volcano, which blocks the trade winds and creates a rain shadow effect on the Kona side. As a result, the Kona side is known for its beautiful beaches and sunny weather.

Hawaii’s ‘Cool’ and ‘Warm’ Seasons

When it comes to weather, Hawaii is often associated with warm tropical temperatures and sunny skies.

However, like any other place, Hawaii experiences variations in temperature throughout the year.

Let’s take an in-depth look at Hawaii’s “cool” and “warm” seasons to better understand the weather patterns in this beautiful island paradise.

Winter months are cooler

Winter months in Hawaii

During the winter months in Hawaii, which typically span from December to February, temperatures tend to be slightly cooler compared to the rest of the year.

However, it’s essential to remember that “cooler” in Hawaii still means pleasant and mild weather.

On average, temperatures during winter range between the mid-60s to low 80s Fahrenheit (around 18 to 27 degrees Celsius).

So, even during the coolest months, you can still enjoy comfortable temperatures and outdoor activities without the need for heavy winter clothing.

Also read: What Is Winter Like In Hawaii?

Summer months are warmer

As you might expect, the summer months in Hawaii, from June to August, bring warmer temperatures to the islands. During this time, temperatures can reach the mid to high 80s Fahrenheit (around 29 to 32 degrees Celsius).

It’s important to note that Hawaii’s unique geography, with its trade winds and mountainous terrain, helps to regulate the temperature and keep it pleasant even during the hottest months.

So, you can still enjoy the beautiful beaches and outdoor adventures without feeling overwhelmed by the heat.

Also read: When Is Summer In Hawaii?

Ocean water temperatures vary

Another factor that adds to Hawaii’s appeal is its inviting ocean waters. The temperature of the ocean water varies throughout the year, with the warmest waters occurring during the summer months.

In the summer, the ocean water temperature can reach around 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius), making it perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and other water activities.

During the cooler winter months, the water temperature can drop to the low 70s Fahrenheit (around 21 degrees Celsius), which is still relatively warm compared to many other coastal regions.

Regardless of the season, the ocean waters in Hawaii remain inviting and enjoyable for water enthusiasts.

So, whether you’re visiting Hawaii during the cooler winter months or the warmer summer months, you can expect pleasant weather and comfortable temperatures.

Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen, beachwear, and a sense of adventure as you explore all that this tropical paradise has to offer.

Record Low Temperatures in Hawaii

While Hawaii is known for its warm and tropical climate, it does experience occasional dips in temperature. Let’s explore some record low temperatures in Hawaii to get a better understanding of its weather patterns.

All-time record lows on each island

Each island in Hawaii has its own unique climate and temperature range. Here are some of the all-time record low temperatures recorded on each island:

  • Mauna Kea, located on the Big Island, holds the record for the lowest temperature ever measured in Hawaii at -11.0°C (12.2°F).
  • Haleakala, found on Maui, experienced a record low of -9.4°C (15°F).
  • On Oahu, the island that houses Honolulu, the record low temperature is 12.8°C (55°F).
  • Kauai, the Garden Isle, saw its lowest temperature drop to 10.6°C (51°F).
  • Molokai, known for its rugged beauty, recorded a record low of 8.9°C (48°F).

These record lows may be surprising to those who envision Hawaii as a perpetually warm paradise, but they highlight the variation in temperatures that can occur across the islands.

Temperature variation by elevation

Hawaii’s temperature can also vary significantly depending on the elevation. As you climb higher into the mountains, temperatures tend to drop.

This can be observed on mountains like Mauna Kea and Haleakala, where the temperatures at the summit can be significantly colder than at sea level.

For example, at the summit of Mauna Kea, which stands at an elevation of over 4,200 meters (13,800 feet), temperatures regularly drop below freezing, even during the warmer months. In contrast, at sea level, temperatures are typically much milder.

Coldest temperatures typically at night and in early morning

If you’re visiting Hawaii and hoping for cooler temperatures, you’ll likely find them during the night and early morning hours. Hawaii’s coldest temperatures are often experienced during these times.

The warm tropical sun during the day helps to maintain pleasant temperatures, even during the cooler months.

So, while Hawaii is generally known for its warm and balmy weather, it’s important to remember that the islands do experience variations in temperature.

Whether you’re seeking a cool mountain retreat or a sunny beach day, Hawaii has something for everyone!

What to Pack for Hawaii’s Cooler Weather

What to Pack for Hawaii's Cooler Weather

While Hawaii is known for its warm and tropical climate, it’s important to note that the islands can experience cooler weather, especially during the winter months.

So, if you’re planning a trip to Hawaii, it’s always a good idea to pack a few items to stay comfortable in case the temperatures drop.

Light jackets and layers

Even though Hawaii is generally warm, it’s not uncommon for temperatures to dip into the 60s or even 50s Fahrenheit (15-20 degrees Celsius) during the cooler months.

It’s always a good idea to pack a lightweight jacket or sweater to layer over your clothes when needed. This way, you can easily adjust to the changing temperatures throughout the day.

Long pants and closed-toe shoes

While shorts and flip-flops may be the go-to attire for many visitors, it’s a good idea to also pack a pair of long pants and closed-toe shoes. These can come in handy when exploring higher elevations or if you plan to do some hiking.

Additionally, long pants can provide extra protection against mosquitoes, especially during the evening hours.

Warmer pajamas

Even though you may be used to sleeping in lighter clothing, it’s a good idea to pack some warmer pajamas for your trip to Hawaii.

Depending on the location and time of year, nighttime temperatures can drop, making it a bit chilly. So, having some cozy pajamas will ensure a comfortable night’s sleep.

Remember, packing a few extra layers and items for cooler weather won’t take up much space in your luggage, but it can make a big difference in your comfort level during your trip.

Being prepared for the cooler temperatures will allow you to fully enjoy all that Hawaii has to offer, no matter the weather.

Also read: What To Pack For Your Hawaii Vacation: The Ultimate Packing List


While Hawaii is rightly famous for its warm tropical climate, the islands can experience cooler and chillier temperatures during the winter months.

Elevation and location also play a role, with higher interior areas being generally cooler than the coasts.

By packing appropriately and timing your trip to avoid the coolest periods, you can enjoy Hawaii’s magnificent scenery and aloha spirit in comfort.

In summary, Hawaii does get cold at times, with record lows in the 40s or 50s. But compared to many mainland winters, Hawaii remains a top warm-weather destination even during its coolest seasons.

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts