When to Go to Hawaii

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When to Go to Hawaii

Long days of sunshine and fairly mild year-round temperatures make Hawaii an all-season destination. Most resort areas are at sea level, with average afternoon temperatures of 75°F to 80°F during the coldest months of December and January; during the hottest months of August and September the temperature often reaches 90°F. Only at high elevations does the temperature drop into the colder realms, and only at mountain summits does it reach freezing.

Most travelers head to the Islands in winter. From mid-December through mid-April, visitors find Hawaii's sun-splashed beaches and balmy trade winds appealing. This high season means that fewer travel bargains are available; room rates average 10% to 15% higher during this season than the rest of the year. The highest rates you're likely to pay are between Christmas and New Year. Spring break (the month of March) and even summer can be pricey. A general rule of thumb: When kids are on recess from school, it's high season in Hawaii.

Rainfall can be high in winter, particularly on the north and east shores of each island. Generally speaking, you're guaranteed sun and warm temperatures on the west and south shores no matter what time of year.

Only-in-Hawaii Holidays

If you happen to be in the Islands on March 26 or June 11, you'll notice light traffic and busy beaches—these are state holidays not celebrated anywhere else. March 26 recognizes the birthday of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, a member of the royal line who served as a delegate to Congress and spearheaded the effort to set aside homelands for Hawaiian people. June 11 honors the first island-wide monarch, Kamehameha the Great; locals drape his statues with lei and stage elaborate parades.

May 1 isn't an official holiday, but it's the day when schools and civic groups celebrate the quintessential Islands gift, the flower lei, with lei-making contests and pageants.

Statehood Day is celebrated on the third Friday in August (Admission Day was August 21, 1959).

Another holiday much celebrated is Chinese New Year, in part because many Hawaiians married Chinese immigrants. Homes and businesses sprout bright red good-luck mottoes, lions dance in the streets, and everybody eats gau (steamed pudding) and jai (vegetarian stew).

The state also celebrates Good Friday as a spring holiday.

Climate

Moist trade winds drop their precipitation on the north and east sides of the Islands, creating tropical climates, while the south and west sides remain hot and dry with desertlike conditions. Higher "Upcountry" elevations typically have cooler, and often misty conditions.

Average maximum and minimum temperatures for Honolulu are listed here; temperatures throughout the Hawaiian Islands are similar.

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