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With its year-round warm weather, stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and stunning landscapes, Hawaii is a perennially popular vacation destination. But even paradise has its bad days—so when is the worst time to visit Hawaii?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: the worst time to visit Hawaii is from May to October, which coincides with both the rainy season and the busiest tourist season. Expect crowds, high prices, frequent rains, and muggy weather.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down month-by-month weather patterns in Hawaii as well what you can expect in terms of crowds, costs, and things to see and do throughout the year. We’ll offer tips on avoiding the pitfalls of visiting during the low and shoulder seasons and help you determine the best time to plan your Hawaiian getaway.

Overview of Hawaii’s Tourist Seasons

High Season: December – April

The high season from December to April is the most popular and busiest time for tourism in Hawaii. This peak season draws the largest crowds and airfares and hotel rates are at their highest. Many families travel to Hawaii over the winter school break in December and January.

Spring break also falls during March and April, attracting lots of college students to the islands. The weather tends to be drier and more mild during the winter high season.

According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, over 6 million visitors came to Hawaii in 2019 across all islands during these peak months. This accounted for 60% of Hawaii’s annual visitors. If wanting smaller crowds, lower prices, and more availability for hotels and activities, it’s best to avoid vacationing in Hawaii from December to April.

Shoulder Seasons: September – November & April – May

The spring (April to May) and fall (September to November) shoulder seasons have fewer tourists than the winter crowds. With mild weather and fewer visitors, traveling during the shoulder months can be an optimal time to visit Hawaii.

Peak season crowds have returned home for school, yet the weather remains beautiful in paradise.

Hotel rates and airfares are much cheaper compared to the winter high season. According to, hotel rates can be 20-50% cheaper during the spring and fall shoulder seasons. There’s also ample availability for booking popular hotels and vacation rentals.

The beaches and attractions are less crowded as well. For good weather with smaller crowds, traveling to Hawaii in April-May or September-November is a great option!

Low Season: May – September

The summer months of May through September are considered Hawaii’s low tourist season because families opt for mainland beach vacations instead. Hawaii can feel hotter and more humid during the summer low season with temperatures climbing to 90 degrees Fahrenheit on some islands.

However, the ocean waters remain warm for swimming and surfing year-round.

According to, hotel rates typically drop 20%-60% lower than the winter high rates during these low season months. Airfare deals also increase, allowing budget travelers to score discounts on summer flights.

The tradeoff is you may experience brief tropical rain showers on certain islands. But with far fewer tourists and lower costs, the summer can still be an excellent time to plan a Hawaiian vacation!

Hawaii’s Rainy and Dry Seasons

Hawaii is known for its beautiful beaches and sunny weather, but the islands do have distinct rainy and dry seasons that visitors should be aware of. Generally speaking, Hawaii has warmer and drier weather from May through September and cooler, rainier weather from October through April.

The Wet Season

Hawaii’s wet season lasts from October through April, with the rainiest months typically being November through March. During this time of year, cold fronts and low pressure systems produce more rain, especially on the northern and eastern sides of the islands which face the prevailing northeasterly trade winds.

The island of Kauai generally sees the most rain during Hawaii’s wet season, averaging about 15-20 inches per month between December and March. Other islands like Oahu and Maui average 10-15 inches per month during the peak of the rainy season.

Also read: When Exactly Is The Rainy Season In Hawaii?

The Dry Season

Hawaii’s dry season runs from May through September when rainfall decreases significantly across the islands. Summer is generally sunnier and drier thanks to warmer ocean temperatures and fewer storms in the region.

however, the islands can still see some rain during this time of year due to localized afternoon shower activity.

During the dry season, rainfall averages only a few inches per month. For example, Honolulu on Oahu sees only around 1 inch of rain in June. The chances of rain are higher on the windward sides of the islands that face the northeasterly trade winds.

Best and Worst Times to Visit

The best time to visit Hawaii is generally during the dry season in the late spring and summer months. However, Hawaii rarely sees truly bad weather even during the wet season. Travelers who don’t mind a bit of rain can often find cheaper rates and fewer crowds visiting Hawaii in the winter.

Some of the most popular events in Hawaii like the Merrie Monarch Festival and the Ironman World Championship triathlon take place in the spring. So visitors who want warmer and drier weather without massive crowds may want to plan a trip for late April through early June.

Month-by-Month Breakdown


January is considered one of the worst times to visit Hawaii. As it is peak tourist season, hotel rates and airfares are at their highest. Expect crowded beaches, long lines at popular attractions, and difficult reservations at popular restaurants.

However, January also brings big waves and surfing competitions to the north shores of the islands. So for die-hard surfers, it may be worth braving the crowds.


February is still considered peak tourist season in Hawaii, so you can expect many of the same crowds and challenges with reservations as in January. One advantage is that big surfing competitions continue, especially on Oahu’s North Shore.

Temperatures remain warm and comfortable, making it possible to enjoy the beaches despite the crowds.


As spring break takes place in March, Hawaii sees an influx of families with kids on vacation from school. The crowds from January and February continue going strong. While airfares and hotel rates come down slightly from peak season, March is still a fairly expensive time to visit.

Expect popular attractions and beaches to be mobbed with spring breakers. Making reservations well in advance is crucial.


April signals the end of peak tourist season in Hawaii. Crowds and prices go down from their winter highs. Mid-April, after spring break, is an especially good time to find travel deals. With temperatures in the 70s and 80s, beach weather is reliably pleasant.

Surfing on Oahu’s North Shore winds down but there are still waves for surfers. April sees fun events like the Maui Brewers Festival.


May is one of the best times of year to visit Hawaii. Crowds are smaller as peak season ends. Prices for hotels and flights are reasonable. Temperatures are ideal for enjoying Hawaii’s beaches and outdoor activities. Surfing conditions can still be excellent.

Catch world-class athletes at the Ironman Triathlon on the Big Island. With cooler temperatures high up in volcanoes, it’s also an excellent month for hiking.


Early summer brings ideal weather to Hawaii in June, with warm ocean temperatures and air temperatures in the 80s. With schools still in session on the mainland U.S., you’ll beat the summer vacation crowds. Hotel rates and airfares remain reasonable between peak winter and summer seasons.

From snorkeling clear waters to scenic hikes through lush forests, June is a gorgeous time to soak up Hawaii’s natural splendor.


The peak of summer vacation in July means larger crowds descend upon Hawaii, increasing demand, and prices for hotels and flights again. With families traveling, popular attractions and beaches are very crowded.

However, for a quintessential Hawaiian vacation of beach, sun and surf, July fits the bill. Ocean temperatures reach their peak, with surfing and snorkeling conditions at their best. Temperatures hover in the 80s.


August sees more summer crowds, as mainland U.S. schools continue their vacation season. Hotels and flights jump up in price again to meet summer demand. Expect popular destinations around Hawaii to be packed with visitors.

However, the trade-off is warm ocean temperatures averaging 79°F, ideal for swimming, snorkeling or surfing. Meanwhile, trade winds keep air temperatures feeling comfortable, even in the heat of summer.


With mainland schools going back into session after Labor Day Weekend, September brings fewer crowds to Hawaii. Prices for flights and hotels remain reasonable between peak summer and winter seasons.

Daytime highs average in the mid 80s, while the ocean hovers around 78°F, making early fall a delightful time for swimming, snorkeling and beach-going.

With fewer visitors this month, popular attractions are not as crowded or hectic.


Pleasant warm weather, smaller crowds and lower prices make October an excellent time to visit Hawaii. With air temperatures in the low 80s and ocean temperatures around 77°F, conditions for sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling are ideal well into fall.

As the holiday season approaches, hotel rates and airfares remain low before rising again. The slow season sees far fewer visitors at popular sights like Pearl Harbor and Volcanoes National Park.

Also read: What Is The Weather Like In Hawaii In October?


Before winter peak season, November offers a sweet spot in Hawaii of smaller crowds paired with lovely warm weather, as temperatures hover in the low 80s. With the islands less crowded than winter and summer, popular attractions and beaches are more accessible.

Average ocean temperature is a comfortable 75°F. Airfares and travel packages dip to low pre-holidays rates. Cooler temperatures make November ideal for hiking to waterfalls too.


December kicks off peak tourist season again in Hawaii leading up to the holidays, with more visitors arriving daily. Expect popular destinations crowded with tourists through New Year’s. Demand sends hotel rates and airfare upwards, making travel packages more expensive.

However, the festive holiday spirit creates a celebratory atmosphere across Hawaii with luaus, concerts and decorated trees. And warm temperatures in the upper 70s still accommodate beach days.

Tips for Visiting Hawaii During Low Season

Visiting Hawaii during the low tourism season from September to early December can be a great way to save money and avoid crowds. Here are some tips to make the most of your off-peak Hawaii vacation:

Take Advantage of Lower Hotel Rates

Hotel rates in Hawaii can be up to 50% lower during low season. This is especially true on the most popular islands like Oahu and Maui. Use hotel search engines to find last-minute deals at high-end resorts that might be out of reach other times of the year.

Enjoy Uncrowded Beaches and Attractions

During low season, popular beaches and attractions go from being packed to nearly empty. Go snorkeling at Hanauma Bay or visit Waimea Canyon and take in views without fighting for space. The decrease in crowds makes it much easier to relax and soak up the island vibe.

Explore More Secluded Parts of the Islands

When visitor numbers are down, venture beyond Hawaii’s greatest hits. Check out small towns like Hanalei on Kauai or the remote Waipio Valley overlook on the Big Island. Getting off the beaten path leads to unique experiences and a glimpse at Hawaii’s true local culture.

Consider the Weather Risks

Hawaii’s low season overlaps with hurricane season. While major storms are rare, heavy rain and high winds can occur. Check weather reports frequently and have backup indoor plans. Thunderstorms pass quickly, leaving sunny skies to enjoy more empty beaches!

Braving Hawaii’s low tourism season offers a relaxed island getaway at bargain prices. Just pack for varied weather and leave the crowds behind to uncover hidden sides of paradise!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions that people have about the best and worst times to visit Hawaii:

When is the cheapest time to go to Hawaii?

Generally, the cheapest times to visit Hawaii are from mid-April to early June and from September to mid-December. Hotel rates and airfares tend to be lower during these shoulder seasons. You can save 25-50% on lodging compared to peak times.

Some exceptions are major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas when demand is higher.

When is the weather best in Hawaii?

Most people consider September and October to be the best weather months in Hawaii. Temperatures are in the mid 80s Fahrenheit, ocean water is warmest, and chances of rain are low. The surf also tends to be calmer this time of year.

When is Hawaii most crowded?

Hawaii experiences its largest crowds from mid-December through March and June through August due to holidays, school breaks, and summer vacation. Hotel rates jump 50-100%, flights fill up quicker, attractions have long lines, and roads/beaches are busier.

What is the rainiest time to visit Hawaii?

November through March are Hawaii’s rainiest months. Maui and the Big Island tend to see more rain while Lanai and Oahu get less. Temperatures stay balmy so an occasional shower shouldn’t ruin vacations. Always have a backup indoor activity planned just in case!

What months should be avoided for Hawaii trips?

The only months some travelers may want to avoid are January/February. This high season combo hosts big crowds and expensive lodging. Weather can be extra stormy and beaches may have high surf. Whale watching is excellent though! If traveling with kids, these months work for school break vacations.

Also read: When Is The Best Time To Visit Hawaii? A Local’S Guide


While there’s really no such thing as a bad time visit Hawaii, planning your trip strategically around high and low seasons can help you save money and avoid the biggest crowds. We hope this guide has shed light on the ebb and flow of tourism in Hawaii and given you the information you need to plan your island getaway during the best possible time.

Wherever and whenever you choose to visit, just relax and enjoy Hawaii’s magnificent scenery and welcoming spirit. The islands have a magic all their own year-round. Aloha!

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