People often ask, “When is the best time to visit Maui?” My answer? “It depends.” Why are you coming to Maui? What do you want to do here? If your goal is to escape frigid temperatures in your home state during the winter months, then hands down, winter is the best time to visit Maui. If you want to have a fun summer vacation while the kids are out of school, then summer is the time for you to come. If you’re dreaming of doing some whale watching, then you must visit in winter. If you want to tick parasailing off your bucket list, you must NOT visit in the winter (we’ll explain further below). If you’re on a budget, then avoid visiting Maui during the holidays— the busiest and most expensive time of year on Maui.
So you see, the “best” time to visit Maui means different things to different people. Below we’ve mapped out some considerations to help determine the best time for you and your family to come to Maui.
NOTE: Due to the impacts of COVID-19, some of the businesses, events, or activities mentioned in this blog may have changed their operations temporarily or permanently. As things change constantly through this pandemic, please check with businesses directly to verify their operating status and hours. Mahalo!
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT MAUI?
Our mild tropical climate makes Maui a year-round destination. For the most part, days are warm and sunny, with temperatures averaging in the 70s and 80s (Fahrenheit) throughout the year. So weather-wise, there is no “bad” time of year to visit Maui.
Unlike on the mainland, where there are four distinct seasons, Maui only has two: winter and summer. Temperatures fluctuate only a few degrees between the two. Maui’s winter season (October through April) is usually cooler, with more rain and big waves (and whales!!!). Summer (May through September) tends to be warmer, dry, breezy, and more humid.
While it rains a bit more frequently in the winter, it can rain at any time throughout the year. Most of the time, rain doesn’t last longer than an hour. Or, you can drive to a different side of the island to find the sun. However, we do occasionally get rainstorms that last several days. So, it’s always a good idea to have some rainy day activities on the back burner just in case.
Maui’s winter season (approximately October through April) tends to be a slightly rainier and cooler period; the summer season (approximately May through September) tends to be drier and warmer, with more humidity. Although there is more chance of rain in the winter months, it can rain at any time throughout the year. Usually (thankfully) the rain doesn’t last more than a few minutes to a few hours, but occasionally we do get a stretch of several rainy days.
Hurricane season in Hawaii is June through November. Thanks to Hawaii’s relatively cool ocean waters, the islands are not as susceptible to hurricanes as other tropical locales, like the Caribbean. Hurricanes occasionally pass near the islands, which can generate some strong wind, rain, and waves. But a hurricane making landfall in Hawaii is very, very rare. The last time Hawaii was struck by a full-blown hurricane was in 1992, when the category 4 Hurricane Iniki hit Kauai head on.
Low Season vs. High Season
“Low season” and “high season” are terms used to describe the slow and busy periods on Maui, when there are more or less visitors. High season— the busiest and most expensive time on Maui— is usually winter (when it’s freezing cold elsewhere) and summer (the most popular family vacation time). Low season is usually in the spring and fall, with a short period in January as well. Spring and fall are great times to visit because you’ll find fewer crowds, less traffic, and lower prices.
Another bonus of visiting in low season: Many Maui accommodations and activities offer discounted prices during low season. The exact dates vary from business to business, so make sure you check their web sites for their specific low season dates. You’re likely to find better prices on airfare and car rentals, and more Maui vacation packages at reduced prices during low season periods.
On the other side of the coin, the busiest time of the year is usually around the Christmas and New Years holidays. You have to book lodging well in advance, and you’re usually met with strict cancellation policies and the highest prices for both flights and accommodation.
High Season in Maui:
- Winter – Approximately mid-January to mid-April
- Summer – Approximately mid-June to mid-August
- Holiday Season (the highest of the High Season): Approximately Dec 20 – Jan 4
Low Season in Maui:
- Early-January (the 1- to 2-week period right after the New Years holiday period)
- Spring – Approximately late April to early June
- Fall – Approximately mid/late August to mid-December
Seasonal Events and Attractions
What do you want to do while you’re here? All of the most popular things to do in Maui (like snorkeling) are available year-round, with just a few exceptions.
Whale-watching season is mid-December to mid-May. Peak months are February and March, when Maui’s waters are absolutely teeming with whales. Certain activities like jet skiing and parasailing are prohibited during whale season to keep our flippered friends safe. If either of those activities are ‘must-dos’, don’t visit during whale season.
For expert surfers, winter is the best time to visit Maui. Winter provides the best swells and surfing conditions on Maui’s north facing shores. If the stars align, spectators and surfers alike might even be able to watch some monster swells during their winter visit.
Alternatively, some hiking trails (like Waihee Ridge Trail, Twin Falls, or Pipiwai Trail) might be impacted during the winter months due to rain. So, if there are specific activities you want to knock off your list, be sure to do a little research in advance to make sure you won’t be disappointed when you arrive (reading this article is a good start!).
You might also consider timing your visit to Maui around a special event here on the island. Maui hosts tons of fun festivals and events year round, like the Maui Film Festival, the Kapalua Wine and Food Festival, and the Made in Maui County Festival. A quick internet search for Maui events will unveil a world of possibilities. Interested in a ukulele festival? A chocolate tasting, wine and food event, or taro festival? A PGA golf tournament? A local parade? A hula competition? A canoe race? A marathon? A film festival? We have all that and more on Maui!
As for holidays… Hawaii state holidays Prince Kuhio Day (March 26) and King Kamehameha Day (June 11) are often celebrated with parades or other cultural events. See my blogs on things to do on Maui in Spring. . . Summer. . .Fall. . . Winter.
So, when is “the best time to visit Maui?” My answer: “Whenever you want to go!”
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