Answers from Our Experts (1)
The best time to visit Hawaii’s Big Island is mid to late winter. Temperatures are ideal, humpback whales are visiting, and big surf is rolling in. However, this is also the most crowded and expensive season, so solitude seekers and the budget-minded should consider late winter or early summer. But the weather is pretty much wonderful year round in Hawaii. That said, if you’re staying in Kona, you’ll likely see “vog” (smog from Kilauea) during the afternoons depending on how the wind is blowing; it burns off come evening.
There is little difference between the two seasons: winter, from November to April, sees average daily highs in the upper 70s, while in summer, from May to October, temperatures climb into the mid-80s. At night, the temperature drops only about 10 degrees, thanks to warm surface waters and cool trade winds blowing down from the northern Pacific that keep temperatures mild. When the winds stop, however, hot, sticky conditions prevail.
Hurricane season runs from June through November, though large storms rarely reach the any of the islands. The Big Island gets the most rainfall from November through March, although Hawaii’s many microclimates ensure that dry weather soon follows. Water temperatures average between 74 and 80 degrees. Swimmers and surfers should note that strong currents could make beaches dicier in winter. If you plan to travel into the mountains, such as the 13,796-foot Mauna Kea, during your stay, keep in mind that the sun’s rays intensify while the temperature drops (about 3.5 degrees for every 1,000 feet above sea level).