While any time is a good time to visit Hawaii, not all months are created equal. Here’s how travelers can work out the best time to visit Hawaii, that is, the best time to escape the crowds, nab a cheaper hotel rate and find less expensive airfares.
Hawaii is a consistently popular holiday destination, with anywhere between 720,000 and 1 million visitors flocking to the Hawaiian Islands every month.
By looking at the number of Total Visitors to Hawaii, and relevant Holiday Periods, natural patterns start to emerge across Hawaii’s tourism industry.
These patterns help identify when Hawaii is going to be ‘less busy’. This is the time when hotels and airlines are more likely to extend lower prices, as they try to entice more vacationers to Hawaii.
I’ve crunched the latest stats to find the best time to visit Hawaii.
Total Visitors to Hawaii
Over 10.2 million people visited Hawaii in 2019. Here’s the breakdown by island:
- Oahu = 6.2 million visitors
- Maui = 3 million visitors
- Hawaii Island = 1.7 million visitors
- Kauai = 1.3 million visitors
- Molokai = 65,000 visitors
- Lanai = 87,000 visitors
Visitors to Hawaii travel to an average of 1.2 islands and stay for an avg. of 8.8 days.
If you are after a less crowded vacation consider Hawaii Island, Kauai, Molokai or Lanai.
Hawaii has the least number of visitors in September, February, and October. Therefore, these are the best months to escape the crowds and nab a cheaper hotel rate.
While hotel rates might be cheaper depending on overall visitors in the destination, airfare prices are not. Airfare prices are dependent on when people are travelling to Hawaii from your own country of origin.
For example, Australia has the most number of people traveling to Hawaii in September and October (due to School Holidays), so while hotels prices are lower in Hawaii airfare prices are going to be high from this market.
Hawaii’s Monthly Visitor Statistics by market can be found here.
Out of the 10.2 million people who visited Hawaii in 2019, 6.8 million were from North America and 1.5 million were from Japan. Australia is the next biggest international market with 290,000 annual visitors. It’s important to look at these Holiday Periods, these are periods of high demand for travel equating to more expensive airfares.
Peak Periods in Hawaii
Generally speaking, the two major peak periods in Hawaii are outlined below. The best time to visit Hawaii is obviously outside these periods.
- June to August, Hawaii’s three summer months which coincide with the U.S. Summer Break and Japan’s Summer Holidays.
- Mid-December to Mid-January, a global period of celebration where the U.S. Winter Break, Japan’s Winter Holidays and Australia’s Term 4 School Holidays all occur.
Hawaii State Holidays
It’s also worth noting Hawaii State Holidays. Many Americans take mini-breaks at these times, traveling inter-island or across from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii resulting in a price spike. For a list of State Observed Holidays click here.
If you compare Total Visitors to Hawaii and Holidays Periods for overlaps, it becomes apparent that the best time to visit Hawaii is February-March, September, and October-November. These months have the least number of visitors and sit mostly outside holiday periods. This should mean the Hawaii holiday trifecta – escape the crowds, nab a cheaper hotel and scoring a cheaper airfare!
TIP: Regarding the best time to visit Hawaii, you might also want to check the seasonality of activities in Hawaii. Surf the big waves in November and December, watch for humpback whales from December until April, see sunflower fields in full bloom in November, pick a Halloween pumpkin throughout October and catch the best fish June to August.