• Worst Time To Visit Hawaii

Worst Time To Visit Hawaii

Last update: 2023-09-30

Hawaii is a beautiful destination that many dream of visiting. With pristine beaches, stunning natural landscapes, and a relaxed island vibe, it's no wonder why Hawaii remains one of the most popular vacation spots for travelers around the world. However, due to its popularity and island location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, there are certainly better and worse times to visit Hawaii. If you want to avoid crowds and high prices, you'll want to avoid visiting during the peak tourist seasons. Here's a look at when is the worst time to visit Hawaii and why you'll want to steer clear of these periods if possible.

June Through August

The summer months of June through August are by far the worst time to visit Hawaii. This is considered peak tourist season, so you can expect big crowds everywhere you go. All the most popular attractions like Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbor, and Volcanoes National Park will be packed with tourists. Restaurants, hotels, and activities will also be very crowded and you'll likely face long wait times.

Waikiki Beach, Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii.

During summer, Hawaii's weather is hotter and more humid. Temperatures average in the high 80s Fahrenheit across the islands. With so many people traveling to Hawaii in summer, prices also skyrocket on airfare, hotels, and rentals. For example, hotel rates can be nearly double compared to off-season times of the year. If you're hoping to save money and avoid throngs of other travelers, definitely don't plan a summer vacation to Hawaii.

Holiday Periods

Holidays like Christmas, New Year's, Thanksgiving, and Spring Break also see huge crowds descend upon Hawaii. Like summer, you'll encounter long lines, crowded beaches, expensive hotel rates, and limited availability for popular tours or attractions around the holidays. This includes the weeks surrounding these holidays as people often take off more time from work or school.

The weather doesn't vary too significantly around the Hawaiian holidays but major gatherings like New Year's fireworks displays or Christmas festivities will draw bigger crowds. Hawaii also sees more families travel during school break periods which can add to the crowds and demand. If you can avoid taking a Hawaii vacation during the holidays, you'll enjoy a much more relaxing island experience.

Large Events or Conferences

There are certain special events or conferences that can drastically increase Hawaii's tourist population for a week or two each year. Some examples include major sporting events like the Honolulu Marathon, Ironman Triathlon events, major conventions like Aloha Festivals, or large company conferences. Hotels often increase their rates significantly during major events. With so many activities centered around the events, other non-related attractions in Hawaii also tend to be busier and more crowded. Checking Hawaii's calendar of events before you plan your trip and avoiding visiting during major happenings is advised.

Kalakaua Merrie Mile : Honolulu Marathon 2019

When is the Best Time to Visit Hawaii?

To avoid the worst tourist crowds and expenses, the best time to visit Hawaii is typically during the Spring (Late March to Early June) and Fall (September to Mid-December) shoulder seasons. During these periods, tourist numbers drop significantly, resorts and flights offer good discounts, and the weather is still excellent for enjoying the Hawaiian islands. Let's take a closer look at why these seasons offer prime visiting conditions.

Spring Shoulder Season (Excluding Spring Break)

Once you get past the busy Spring Break weeks in March and early April, Hawaii sees much fewer visitors during the Spring shoulder season period until early June. The weather is comfortably warm, averaging highs in the low to mid 80s Fahrenheit, with slightly cooler temperatures at higher elevations and during evenings. Rainfall increases in certain areas like Hilo side of the Big Island or in the interior mountains, but drier conditions remain along many leeward coastal regions.

Crowds are smaller, hotel rates are lower, and you have your pick of flights without struggling to find availability. There are fewer families traveling this time of year as well. The lush tropical landscape is also at its greenest during the Spring due to increased rainfall during Hawaii's wet season. If you don't mind some passing showers, Spring is arguably the single best time to plan a trip to Hawaii.

Fall Shoulder Season

Similar benefits can be found when visiting Hawaii during the Fall shoulder season months. Hawaii's rainy season begins to wind down in September, so rainfall decreases across the islands along with humid conditions. By late September and through December, Hawaii enters its dry season with comfortable daytime temperatures in the mid 80s Fahrenheit and cooler nights.

Honolulu, Hawaii.

Like Spring, you'll avoid the peak crowds and prices of summer or the holidays. Resorts are less likely to sell out and airfare/car rental prices dip during Fall. The weather is beautiful, and the islands are lush and green following the rainy season. Fewer families also visit Hawaii in the Fall with kids back in school. For reliably nice weather, smaller crowds, and good prices, Fall is a prime time for a Hawaiian vacation.

Tips for Booking During Off-Season Times

Here are some tips to consider when planning your Hawaii vacation during the Spring or Fall shoulder seasons:

  • Book hotels, flights and cars early, ideally 4-6 months in advance, to get the lowest rates and best selection.
  • Look for resort deals and "Kama'aina rates" offered to Hawaii residents during Spring and Fall.
  • Rent a condo or vacation rental to benefit from lower prices and added amenities like a full kitchen.
  • Pack layers of lightweight clothing as temperatures can vary, especially at higher elevations or if storms pass through.
  • Consider purchasing travel insurance in case your trip gets disrupted by rare bouts of bad weather.
  • Rent a 4x4 vehicle for the ability to explore more secluded areas of the islands and handle muddy/unpaved backroads.
  • Follow Hawaii's rainfall radar and patterns to know which areas of each island tend to stay drier.
  • Book whale watching, snorkeling, and other outdoor excursions early as they can sell out during peak days.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much does visiting Hawaii cost during peak summer vs shoulder seasons?

Visiting Hawaii in the summer will cost around 25-50% more on average for flights, hotels, vacations rentals, car rentals and activities compared to visiting during the Spring or Fall shoulder seasons.

2. What months have the cheapest flights to Hawaii?

The cheapest airfare to Hawaii is generally found from mid-April to early June and from September through mid-December. These align with the Spring and Fall shoulder seasons when tourism declines.

3. Is Spring or Fall better for visiting Hawaii?

Spring and Fall offer similar advantages over summer or winter for visiting Hawaii. Both seasons see smaller crowds, lower prices, and comfortable weather ideal for sightseeing. Some prefer Spring as the landscape is greener following Hawaii's rainy season while others favor the drier weather of Fall.

4. How crowded is Hawaii around Christmas and New Years?

Christmas and New Year's weeks are two of the busiest times all year to visit Hawaii. Hotel prices skyrocket, crowds flock to the beaches and attractions, and reservations for popular restaurants, luaus or excursions get booked up months in advance.

5. When is whale watching season in Hawaii?

The best time to go whale watching in Hawaii is during the winter and spring months between November and May when thousands of humpback whales migrate to Hawaii's warm waters to mate and birth calves. Peak viewing is usually January through March.


Although Hawaii is beautiful all year round, visiting during the peak summer months or holidays results in larger crowds, limited availability and higher prices across all aspects of your vacation. For smaller crowds, lower prices and great weather, the Spring and Fall shoulder seasons are undoubtedly the best times to plan your Hawaiian getaway. Avoiding visiting Hawaii in June through August or during holiday weeks is highly recommended if you want a more relaxing island experience. With the right planning and timing, Hawaii can provide a tropical vacation full of incredible sights, great prices and minimal crowds.

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