The question of the best time to visit Hawaii is a tricky one. Sure, it's one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world - and for good reason: the gorgeous and lush landscape, the surf-ready ocean waves, the culinary mix of diverse Pacific dining options, and the local cultures that are worth understanding, remembering, and honoring.
One simple answer to the question "when is the best time to visit Hawaii?" - is that there is always a good time to visit Hawaii. But because the destination is so popular, considering the effects of over-tourism is key to determining when to visit, according to Сntraveler.com .
The past few years have highlighted a difficult truth: tourism is an integral part of Hawaii, but also a burden on people and the ecosystem. Just this summer, devastating wildfires swept across Maui, leaving the town of Lahaina, a historically and culturally important site, devastated. As Maui continues to grieve and rebuild, tourists-past, present, and future-must take proper responsibility and consider their impact on the area and its people, no matter what part of Hawaii they visit. So perhaps the question is not only when to visit Hawaii, but also how.
When is the best time?
"There really is no off-season here," says Joy Steadman, Business Development Manager at Timbers Kaua'i at Hōkūala, a native Hawaiian born and raised in the state. "I was raised to believe that there are only two seasons in Hawaii: 'summer is here' and 'summer is coming'. But there are definitely seasons on the islands when tourism is not yet at its most intense or when it dies down. "These times are not as busy as others," she says.
Hawaii's shoulder season falls in May, just before the summer crowds; and in September, after Labor Day, which typically marks the last holiday weekend of the summer travel season in the United States. Since tourist activity slows down during these periods, it's a particularly good time to seek out and support local Hawaiian-owned businesses like restaurants and cafes, craft shops, and even surf schools that are experiencing a decline in foot traffic.
When is the best time to visit Hawaii?
The cheapest time to book your airfare and actually travel to Hawaii depends on where you are flying from, as well as the day of the week you want to travel. These off-peak seasons - April or May, September or October - will often be your best bet for low cost flights to Hawaii. And consider flying midweek; Laura Lindsay, Skyscanner's Global Travel Trends Expert, says that typically the cheapest day to travel is Wednesday, when everyone is still in the office or school, while the most expensive day to travel is Sunday, when everyone is back home for work or classes on Monday.
According to Skyscanner, for example, the cheapest airfares to Hawaii from Los Angeles are available in February, and the lowest to Hawaii from New York are available in December. However, for both sides of the mainland, July has the highest airfares.
When is the hurricane season in Hawaii?
Officially, the hurricane season in the Central Pacific begins on June 1 and ends on November 30, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. However, hurricanes are relatively rare in Hawaii, given the islands' location in the world's largest ocean. Hurricanes often approach Hawaii bringing rain, but they are pushed away by easterly trade winds before they can cause much damage.
Another reason is that Hawaii is a "needle in a haystack," as Jeff Weber, an atmospheric researcher with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, put it. The Pacific Ocean is so huge, and the islands are so tiny in comparison. That's why "hurricanes just can't find Hawaii".
When is the best time to go surfing in Hawaii?
Surfing conditions in the waters around Hawaii vary by season and location, so you should plan when and where to surf based on your experience level. "During the winter months, big wave surfers are drawn to Oahu's North Shore to ride some of the most impressive waves in the world," says Greg Champion, general manager of The LineUp at Wai Kai, a waterfront recreational complex on Oahu's Ewa Beach. The island's north shore is best known for its spectacular surf breaks, such as the legendary right-hand point break at Waimea Bay.
When is the best time to visit Hawaii for whale watching?
Wondering when is the best time to go whale watching in Hawaii? Your best bet is to go either at the end of the calendar year or right at the beginning.
"Humpback whales migrate back to Hawaii every year to mate and give birth, and are only here during the winter months of December through April - a few eager whales show up as early as October, and some stragglers stay until May," says Toni Colombo, a Lahaina local who owns and operates Hawaii Ocean Rafting with her husband Peter.