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Four Seasons of Paradise The Best Times of Year to Visit Hawaii

Your best Hawaiian vacation awaits

The Vacationeer

The culture, the diverse terrain, the sea spray from a waterfall lightly kissing your face. The Hawaiian Islands offer a tantalizing escape no matter the season.

If you’re looking for things to do and see on your next Hawaiian vacation, look no further. Hilton Grand Vacations has a list of recommendations touched by the spirit of aloha.  

If you’re not sure of when to visit, pick your favorite time of year and start your vacation. 

Winter

While many dream of a white Christmas sipping hot chocolate and snuggling by a fire, a Hawaiian vacation during the winter offers a magical – and warmer – holiday experience. 

Here are three reasons to visit Hawaii in the winter:

Whale Watching

Between November and April, more than 10,000 humpback whales migrate from Alaska to the warm Hawaiian waters. Peak season for whale watching is February and March. There are a variety of islands to choose from for whale watching.

Surfing

Hawaii is known as the place to catch the biggest waves in the winter. According to the Hawaiian Tourism Board, the best places to watch surfing daredevils are Waimea Bay (which is where big wave surfing started in the 1950s) and the more dangerous waves of the Banzai Pipeline.

There are also plenty of calmer waters to surf yourself. If you’re a surfing rookie, take a = surfing lessons on your next visit.

  • Oahu: Try Maunalua Bay on Waikiki Beach where Duke Kahanamoku, “Big Kahuna” himself, surfed in the early 20th century right. 
  • Big Island: Surf Banyans on the Big Island’s West Shore is a popular surf spot a few miles from downtown Kona. 
  • Maui: At Surf Lahaina Reefs you’ll find fun reef breaks for riders of all levels. 

Golf

While so many golf courses on the mainland are covered in snow by the winter holidays, the courses on the Hawaiian islands are fresh and ready for 18-holes of play. The Sony Open Golf Tournament takes place in early January, and tickets are available to the public.

Here are a few spots to consider: 

  • Oahu: Ewa Beach Golf Club boasts an award-winning Robin Nelson championship design. This course is a local favorite. 
  • Big Island: Waikoloa Beach Golf is where you can try two breathtaking courses – Beach Course and King’s Course. 
  • Maui: Located on the lower slopes of Mount Haleakala, you can play the Wailea Golf Club designed by Arthur Jack Snyder. 

Bonus: Where to See Lights and Snow in Hawaii

Throughout the month of December, Honolulu City Lights hosts festive events including photos with Santa, family movie night and more.

Visitors can also experience actual snow in Hawaii at the Queen Kaahumanu Center. Where else can you play in the snow and jump into 80-degree ocean water on the same day?

Spring

To avoid tropical rainfall, spring’s “dry season” might be your ideal time to enjoy the best of Hawaii. The weather is almost perfect, and you’ll find fewer crowds flocking the islands.

Here are three reasons to visit Hawaii in the spring:

Beaches

Unlike the record-breaking waves that crash on Oahu’s North Shore in the winter, the sea is typically calm and inviting in the spring. Spring might offer the perfect time of year to snorkel the reefs, or try long boarding without the crowds of competitive surfers.

Check out these three beaches: 

  • Oahu: Haleiwa Beach in the North Shore. You can surf, spot sea turtles, and enjoy a famous Matsumoto’s Shave Ice
  • Big Island: Visit Green Sand Beach (Papakolea Beach), one of only two green sand beaches in the United States.
  • Maui: Black Sand Beach (Waianapanapa State Park) is located near the outskirts of Hana. Take in the views of ancient lava caves, hidden blowholes, and natural stone arches. 

Spring Blossoms

After the heavy tropical rains of the winter months have ceased, the mountains are an emerald green and the flowers are in bloom. The flowers of Waikoloa, especially, are stunning in the spring.

Consider these spots for spotting spring foliage in Hawaii:

  • Oahu: Foster Botanical Gardens is the oldest of the Honolulu botanical gardens. Escape the the city with a visit to Foster’s outdoor butterfly garden. 
  • Big Island: Nani Mau Gardens is a 22-acre botanical garden outside Hilo.
  • Maui: A visit to Maui’s Garden of Eden will include 26 acres of trails to enjoy the sweet aroma of tropical blossoms in a natural island setting. 

Merrie Monarch Festival

The Merrie Monarch Festival is one of the top annual events in Hawaii. This cultural festival takes place on the Big Island, honoring King David Kalakaua.

The festival celebrates the art of hula through:

  • Art exhibits
  • Craft fairs
  • Demonstrations
  • Performances, including a three-day hula competition that is renowned for its historic significance.

Summer

Summer in Hawaii has the highest temperatures and humidity. Summer is considered the dry season in Hawaii, but keep in mind that in Hawaii the weather won’t have too much variance.

Here are three reasons to visit Hawaii in the summer:

North Shore of Oahu

While you may enjoy watching the expert surfers brave the crashing waves of the North Shore during the winter months, during summer, the waters of the north are calm and inviting.

Pan-Pacific Festival

During June on the island of Oahu, hula dancers and taiko drummers share the spotlight during this celebration of Hawaiian and Japanese traditions. Waikiki Beach turns into an international party complete with crafts, food booths, and a multicultural parade.

Hiking

Hiking through the islands of Hawaii uncovers breathtaking moments.

  • Oahu: A hike up Diamond Head volcano offers views of the ancient volcano that are idyllic no matter the weather.
  • Big Island: Enjoy the contrast of black sand against lush hillsides while hiking the Waipi’o Valley in Kohala. 
  • Maui: Become engulfed in a bamboo forest while hiking the Pipiwai Trail in Haleakala National Park. 

Fall

Many travelers love the thought of fall foliage, pumpkins, and sweater-weather, but if you can’t bear the thought of summer ending, a Hawaiian vacation in the fall might be a good compromise.

Similar to spring, you will find fewer tourists visiting the islands thanks to school schedules.

Here are three reasons to visit Hawaii in the fall:

Snorkel Hanauma Bay

Take advantage of fewer crowds to truly enjoy this breathtaking experience under the sea. We recommend arriving early to take in the view above the bay and to avoid the line to get in. This snorkeling spot is ideal for experts and amateurs alike.

Ironman Triathlon

According to Ironman, 15 people came to experience the best of Hawaii in 1978 and take on the Ironman challenge. If you’re an Ironman competitor or want to witness this bucket list experience in person, a trip to Kona during this endurance event will be well worth it.

Pineapple Plantation

Instead of apple picking in the fall, Hawaii has a great alternative – visit an authentic pineapple plantation.

  • Oahu: Order a Dole Whip, and walk the gardens at the Dole Pineapple Plantation. Don’t miss the Pineapple Garden Maze. 
  • Big Island: At Kohala Farms you’ll see fresh pineapple along with organic vegetables, greens, and root crops.
  • Maui: At Maui Pineapple Tours you’ll learn the cultivation techniques as well as tour the distillery. Sample the Pau Maui Vodka – the only vodka in the world made from pineapples. 

No matter the time of year in Hawaii, you will always find the breathtaking sights, sweet smells, and happy feelings that the Aloha state is known for.

Are you ready to live island style?

Vacationeer

The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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