I always get asked when the best time to go to Hawaii is. When is the weather the best? Is there a rainy season? When can I get the best deals? These are smart questions to ask. Let me answer them as best I can.
The official rainy season is in the winter from November to March. My personal experinece has been that the rainy season means absolutely nothing.
It rains every day somewhere on every island regardless of the time of year, and it is more like a sprinkle than a downpour. That is why it is so lush and beautiful there.
It is very rare for it to rain continuously for days.
The weather is best described by the micro systems within each island. Certain parts of every island get more rain than the other parts. This is due to the prevalent tradewinds that blow from east to west.
The leeward, or western and southern, sides of all the islands are usually warmer and more dry. The windward, or northern and eastern, sides are usually cooler and more wet.
A perfect example of this is the Big Island of Hawaii. Kona, on the leeward side, gets only 5-6 inches of rain a year. Hilo, on the windward side, gets more than 180 inches of rain a year, making it the wettest city in the United States.
In fact, on any of the islands, it is quite normal to be on a sunny beach on the south or west shore, and be able to see rain and a rainbow toward the mountains.
Let me put it to you this way...If you were a "weather person" here, you could say it would be "mostly sunny with a few mauka (mountain) showers" and you would be right 70% of the time.
If you watch the local news here, you will notice that the weather segment comes on for a few minutes at the end of the newscast. It's justthat predictable the majority of the time. I still find it amusing to watch the news in Minnesota where the weather comes on every ten minutes...and it's still wrong!
The point I am trying to make is this...as far as the weather goes, anytime is the best time. The odds are that you will have great weather.
Sidebar--Hurricane season is officially fromJune to November. The last hurricane to hit Hawaii was Iniki, back in September of 1992, when it damaged Kauai.
The average temperature in Hawaii ranges from the mid 70's (24 degrees Celsius) to the mid 80's (30 degrees Celsius). In the winter, the lows can drop into the mid 60's (18 degrees Celsius), and in the summer, the highs can get right around 90 (32 degrees Celsius).
There are some exceptions to this due to Hawaii's high elevations. Mauna Kea, on the Big Island, with an elevation of 13,770 feet, can get down to 25 degrees (4 degrees Celsius). It does get snow at its summit, and yes, there are people that ski and snowboard there.
Haleakala Crater, on Maui, with an elevation of 10,023 feet, is another example. Temperatures there can reach 32 degrees (0 degrees Celsius).
Kokee State Park, on Kauai, can also get quite cool. There, the higher elevations can get down to 45 degrees (7 degrees Celsius).
So just keep that in mind if you plan on visiting Maui, Kauai, or the Big Island. Aside from these places, temperatures do not vary too much.
Water temperatures remain close to 74 degrees (23 degrees Celsius) year round. In the summer, it can get close to 80 degrees (27 degrees Celsius).
Another nice thing--Being in the tropics, daylight hours do not change drastically between summer and winter.
Hawaii's longest and shortest days are about 13 1/2 hours and 11 hours, respectively, compared with 14 1/2 and 10 hours for Southern California and 15 1/2 hours and 8 1/2 hours for Maine.
Prices in Hawaii
"High" season is considered from mid-December to mid-April. This is when flights and accommodations are usually more expensive. The summer months are also very busy because kids are out of school. The best time to get deals is April, May, September, October, and sometimes November.
So maybe the best time is...ANYTIME!
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There are also some special events that you should be aware of.
- The last week in April and early May is called Golden Week in Japan where most businesses are closed and Japanese visitors flock to the islands.
- The week after the Superbowl is when the annual Pro Bowl (beginning of February) is held on Oahu. Many people come for the game and make a vacation out of it.
- The Honolulu Marathon is held on Oahu the second Sunday every December.
- The Merri Monarch Hula Festival is always held the week after Easter (mid-April) in Hilo, on the Big Island.
- The Ironman Triathalon World Championships are held on the second Saturday of October every year in Kona, on the Big Island.
- The PGA Tour kicks off at the Mercedes Open on Maui in the beginning of January.
- The Sony Open follows the Mercedes Open on Oahu
So when is the best time to come to Hawaii?
If you want the best deals, the best time is in April, May, September, October, and sometimes November.
If you want to get away from a cold, harsh, and long winter, the best time would probably be January or February.
If you've been looking forward to a family vacation with the kids, summer would be the best time.
As far as Hawaii's weather goes, it is usually great year round.