Editor's Note: Those who choose to travel are strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 and take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before departure.
Hawaii is a bucket-list 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.
This is the best time to visit Hawaii, according to your travel preferences. Of course, while this advice is generally still applicable, the coronavirus pandemic may have impacted crowd levels, costs, and other events and offerings, so be sure to check before you plan your trip.
Related: More travel tips
Best Time of Year to Visit Hawaii for Low Prices
Flights to Hawaii are generally at their most expensive from mid-December through mid-April. In 2019, Skyscanner estimated that flights would be cheapest in January and September and most expensive in June and December. For extra savings, keep an eye out for flight deals from airlines like Southwest. Hotel rooms, on the other hand, are likely to be cheapest during the fall months, from September through the middle of December.
Best Time to Visit Hawaii for Great Weather
Travelers looking for the best weather in Hawaii will find that rainfall is at its lowest from April through September. However, according to the Hawaii Department of Health, hurricane season in the central Pacific lasts from June through November, though storms can happen at any time of year. Just remember there’s still plenty to do in Honolulu, even when it rains.
Most Popular Times to Visit Hawaii
According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, July typically has the most visitor arrivals of the entire year — in 2019, a total of 995,210 tourists came to the islands in July — and December is usually the second-busiest month. Travelers who want to avoid the crowds should also avoid booking trips during the last week of April and the first week of May. During this so-called Golden Week, hordes of tourists flock to Hawaii from Japan. In 2019, September saw the fewest monthly visitors, with 718,042 arrivals, the Hawaii Tourism Authority reported.
There are plenty of annual events to keep in mind, too. Even though many of these events were canceled this year due to the pandemic, notable yearly events include the PGA Tour in January, the Aloha Festivals in August and 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, 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
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 completes its annual whale survey.
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.