Best Time to Visit - 10 min read

Best Time to Visit the Big Island (Full of Festivals & Epic Volcanoes!)

Ashley Brown

Ashley Brown, Updated October 3, 2022

The Big Island is a marvelous place, with so much diversity, clear blue water, volcanoes, and activities to do. Plus, there are many preserved historic sites located on the Big Island. However, prices vary depending on when you visit. So, when is the best time to visit?

Between September and November is the best time to visit the Big Island. During these months, there is not much rain, and the weather is in the low 80s. December is the most popular time to visit with an increase of 15% in price. However, April is popular for the Ka’u Coffee Festival and the Big Island Chocolate Festival.

While the temperature in the Big Island tends to stay the same all year round, some months are better for avoiding crowds and price increases. Some months can be better for surfing or whale watching. Let’s get into each month to help you decide when your next vacation could be!

Worst Time to Visit the Big Island

December through March are the worst months to visit the Big Island. During these months, there are more tourists and the prices tend to spike.

If you visit in December through March, there can be more rain than in other months. December gets the most amount of precipitation at an average of 3 inches. 

June through August can also be bad times for visiting the Big Island as these months have an increase in flights and hotel rates. This is a popular time that many families start to travel for their summer vacations.

Cheapest Time to Visit the Big Island

The cheapest months to visit the Big Island are April through May and September through October. During these months, there are not as many tourists as usual.

If you visit in April, May, September, and October, you must ensure that you book everything in advance. Moreover, you may have to deal with general standby flights and inconveniences. 

If you are on a budget, avoid visiting in December through March and June through August. These months have the most increased prices, with December having an increase of 15% in flights. 

Related Read: How Much Does A Trip To Hawaii Cost?

Best Time to Visit the Big Island (Monthly Breakdown)

January: Waimea Ocean Film Festival

January on the Big Island has pleasant weather with blooming tropical flowers. Moreover, the average daily high temperature is 81°F (27°C), and its average low temperature is 66°F (19°C). 

While January is an excellent time to visit the island, it has some of the most crowds. Therefore, if you are trying to avoid crowds and stick to a budget, January may not be your best option.

However, January does have plenty of fun activities to try out. Those that enjoy surfing will find that the waves are the best. Plus, whale watching season starts in January!

  • Waimea Ocean Film Festival
  • Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai
  • Go Surfing 
  • Go Whale-Watching

February: Waimea Cherry Blossom Festival

The weather in February is the same as in January. Its daily high average is 81°F (27°C), while its low average is 66°F (19°C).

February tends to be a better month to visit the Big Island if you want to save some money. However, it is still not the cheapest month to visit. You really should only visit if there are specific festivals or events you want to see. 

February holds plenty of fun and beautiful events on the Big Island. One event in February is the Waimea Cherry Blossom Festival. This festival will have a tea ceremony, multi-cultural performing arts, and mochi! 

  • Waimea Cherry Blossom Festival
  • Panaewa Stampede Rodeo
  • Wiliwili Festival
  • Go Whale-Watching

Related Read: The 10 Best All-Inclusive Hawaii Resorts for Families

March: Waikoloa Ukelele Festival 

March begins to get slightly warmer with a high temperature of 82°F (28°C). The Big Island’s daily low temperature is 68°F (20°C).

March is an excellent month if you want to see humpback whales. However, rainfall may occur, so it is best to check the weather! 

There are also some fun festivals that you can attend in March as well. For example, the Waikoloa Ukelele Festival is held every March and brings artists worldwide to participate!

  • Waikoloa Ukelele Festival
  • Lavaman Waikoloa Triathlon
  • Kona Brewer’s Festival
  • Go Surfing

April: Merrie Monarch Hula Festival 

The temperature in April has a daily high average of 83°F (28°C). Its daily low temperature is 69°F (21°C).

April is perfect if you are looking for a time with good weather, reasonably priced accommodation, and festivals! However, there may be many crowds during this month. 

April’s festivals are excellent if you enjoy chocolate and coffee. April consists of the Big Island Chocolate Festival and the Ka’u Coffee Festival. 

  • Merrie Monarch Hula Festival
  • Big Island Chocolate Festival
  • Laupahoehoe Music Festival
  • Ka’u Coffee Festival

May: Hilo Lei Day Festival 

The temperature in May is pleasant, with a high of 84°F (29°C). In contrast, its daily low is 71°F (21°C). 

Credit: Frank Hamm / Flickr

May is one of the best times to visit if you are on a budget. There are fewer crowds, and it is right before the summer tourist peak, allowing you to enjoy your stay.

May holds great festivals if you want to learn more about the culture and history of the lei. An example of a festival you can celebrate is the Hilo Lei Day Festival, where you can attend ceremonies featuring oli and ho’okupu.

  • Hilo Lei Day Festival
  • Annual Farm Festival by Hamakua Harvest
  • Waikoloa Lei Day Festival
  • Big Island Chocolate Festival

Related Read: 20 Basic Hawaiian Words and Phrases for Your Trip to the Aloha State

June: Kamehameha Day Parade 

The temperature in June has a high average of 85°F (30°C). Its daily low-temperature average is 72°F (22°C).

June is a popular month for visiting the Big Island. As a result, there tend to be more tourists and a price increase. Therefore, if you want to visit in June, it is best to make reservations in advance.

June commemorates Ali’i, who united the Hawaiian Islands. During this celebration, you can experience a parade with regal pa’u riders on horseback, marching bands, and more!

  • Kamehameha Day Parade
  • Big Island Jazz and Blues Festival
  • Hawai’i Kuauli Pacific and Asia Cultural Festival
  • Ironman 70.3 Hawaii

July: Turtle Independence Day Celebration 

The Big Island’s temperature in July is usually in the mid to high 80s. Its highest daily average is 86°F (30°C), while its low average is 73°F (23°C). 

July on the Big Island has many various 4th of July events. Whether you want to see fireworks, horse races, or watch a rubber ducky race, there is an event for you! 

The Turtle Independence Day Celebration on the Big Island releases sea turtles that Mauna Lani Auberge Resorts Collection nurtured. It will be a great experience with your family as they also have educational displays.

  • Turtle Independence Day Celebration
  • Hawaii Billfish Tournament 
  • Fireworks Blast and Celebrations at Hilo Bay
  • Volcano’s ‘Ohi’a Lehua Run
  • Parker Ranch 4th of July Rodea and Horse Races

Related Read: Are there Snakes in Hawaii?

August: Best Time to Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

While August has warm temperatures, there is a risk for hurricanes. The daily high average is 87°F (31°C), while its daily low is 73°F (23°C).

August is the best time to visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Beginning on August 4th, they are fee-free. If you are on a budget, visit later in the month of August for more deals! 

Visiting in August is another great time if you want to learn more about Hawaii’s ancient culture. Moreover, in August, plenty of cultural events will have Hawaiian games and ancient arts and crafts workshops!

  • Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
  • Ho’oku’ikahi Establishment Day Hawaiian Cultural Festival
  • Duke’s OceanFest
  • 30 Days of Aloha on Hawaii Island

September: Queen Liliuokalani Canoe Race

September is one of the best months for visiting the Big Island. During this month, prices are lower, and there are fewer tourists. Moreover, the weather is warm, with a high of 87°F (31°C) and a low of 73°F (23°C).

If you want to see the world’s largest long-distance canoe race, September is the month to do so. This canoe race follows the historic course between Kamakahonu Beach and Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park.

While there are not as many events and festivals in September as in other months, you can enjoy many activities. You can visit the Volcanoes National Park or snorkel at Kealakekua Bay! 

  • Queen Liliuokalani Canoe Race
  • Ka’u Coffee Trail Run
  • Kona Pride Festival
  • Slack Key Guitar Festival

October: Hawaii Island Festival of Birds

October’s temperatures are starting to cool down with an average high of 86°F (30°C). In contrast, the low temperature in October is 72°F (22°C).

October is a great month to travel as you can experience cooler weather, decreased prices, and fewer visitors! October still has plenty of fun events that you can attend, Like the Ironman World Championship!

Bird lovers can rejoice on the Big Island during October as the Hawaii Island Festival of Birds occurs. There will be guided birding trips, boat tours, education booths, local vendors, and more!

  • Hawaii Island Festival of Birds
  • Ironman World Championship
  • Seek or Treat at Queen’s Marketplace
  • Big Island Lilikoi Festival

November: Kona Coffee Cultural Festival

The weather in November is even cooler than in October, with an average high of 84°F (29°C). Its low daily average is 70°F (21°C).

Credit: Steeeeven / Flickr

November is a great time to visit the Big Island for affordable hotel rooms. Most hotel rooms start at $100 and increase depending on where they are and their amenities. 

The Big Island does not have that many festivals and events in November. However, you can enjoy the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival and visit the national parks.

  • Kona Coffee Cultural Festival
  • Visit the Volcanoes National Park
  • Go Kayaking
  • Go Snorkeling

December: Waimea Twilight Christmas Parade

In most places, December means a snowy climate and cold weather. However, on the Big Island, the daily high is usually around 82°F (28°C), and its daily low is 67°F (20°C).

Those visiting in December will experience an increase in prices. December has many families who want to experience the Big Island’s fun Christmas festivals and parades.

There are plenty of exciting activities on the Big Island for you and your family to discover in December. If you want to experience the lighting of the town’s Christmas tree or listen to Christmas music, the Big Island has it.

  • Waimea Twilight Christmas Parade
  • Holualoa Christmas Music and Lights Festival
  • Kona Surf Film Festival
  • Drive up Mauna Kea Volcano

Best Time to Visit the Big Island Volcano 

November through March are the best months for visiting the Big Island Volcano. During these months, the weather is warm and depending on when you visit, there may be fewer crowds.

An important thing to note before visiting is that these months are the rainy season. However, rain on the Big Island tends to be sporadic and leaves quickly. 

Best Time to Visit the Big Island for Whale Watching 

November and April are the best times for whale watching on the Big Island. During these months, humpback whales travel from Alaska to Hawaii for the warmer waters and feeding areas.

Those that want to see whales should visit North Kona, North Kohala, Hilo, or Kohala coasts. However, try going on a tour early in the day as it can be best with fewer people.

Best Time to Visit the Big Island for Snorkeling

The best time to visit the Big Island for snorkeling is May through September. However, you may need to check the weather for any rain or conditions that could affect snorkeling.

December, April, June, and mid-August usually have the most crowds. Therefore, it is best to avoid visiting during these months as prices increase.

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