Best Time to Visit Maui

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There truly are no bad seasons at this Hawaiian island, but the best time to visit maui will depend on what you want your vacation to include.
With typically mild temperatures year round and warm ocean water, there is always plenty to do and relaxation is always on the menu. But we do have a few tips to ensure your Maui itinerary to the Valley Isle is no ka oi (the best)!

Best Time to See Whales

Whale season is a magical time of year. Their spouts can be seen off the south and west facing shores, reminding us of their power and strength beneath the waves. The official start of Humpback whale season is November, although they can be spotted as early as September. Whales typically migrate back to Alaska in May. Peak whale season is mid-January through March. The best way to witness these humpback wonders is by boat. And because there are so many options and we have our favorite whale watching tours depending on the type of experience you're looking for. The visiting whales are also visible from various lookout points throughout the west side.
Local Secret: Swim underwater to hear the whales sing.

Best Time to Snorkel

Maui snorkeling is great year round, and we have some of the best beaches to snorkel off of, as well as tours going to Molokini Crater and Turtle town daily. While the month doesn’t matter, time of day does. The very best time to snorkel is during the morning hours. This is when the ocean is calmer, before the afternoon wind kicks up, and the waves start churning the sand making visibility less than ideal. If you plan to snorkel on your own, we recommend renting equipment from Snorkel Bobs and getting the best beach recommendation for the day. Snorkel experts on the island will let you know where to go, in order to ensure your safety. A group snorkel boat trip is also a great way to enjoy underwater sea life. Boat captains will check ocean conditions and take you to the calm areas, in order to ensure an enjoyable experience.

Local Tips:
  • Always snorkel with a buddy. Going out alone is dangerous, due to changing ocean conditions and currents.
  • Snorkeling is best off of the South Maui and West Maui beaches. The North Shore, while beautiful often times has rougher water, making visibility an issue.

Best time to Surf

Beginner surfers can learn year round, but if you are a seasoned pro you may want to book your Hawaii vacation between November and March. This is when the North shore swells typically are at their peak, making it prime time to catch some waves. We recommend surfing Ho'okipa beach park if you are up for the challenge, but high season here is no joke so only go out if you know what you are doing on the board.

Best Months to Avoid Crowds

While Maui is always full of vacationers, May and June tend to be less crowded than others. Spring break is over and school isn't quite out yet. You'll likely see honeymooners keeping to themselves. It's also warmer on the mainland, so those visiting Maui from colder states are ready to enjoy their own nice weather. September and October are also quieter times. School has started and everyone is enjoying fall weather in their home states. Whale season hasn't started and part-time residents who live here in the winter haven't arrived yet. Peak tourist season is mid-December through March.

Local Secret: Spring and Fall are less crowded than Winter and Summer.

Best Time to See Haleakala Sunset

Watching sunrise from Haleakala National Park, the House of the Sun, is a breathtaking experience. The sun rises over the Big Island, as everything comes alive. But beware that booking a ticket in the winter could mean a cloudy experience with little visibility. One tour bus driver, who has driven up to the summit hundreds of times, reports that, 40% of the time, a winter sunrise is met with disappointment. Since sunrise bookings tend to be hard to obtain, waiting until your trip to drive up for sunset may be a better plan. You'll still get to experience the sweeping vistas but without the early morning wake up call.

Sunset bookings are available 60 days ahead of time starting at 7AM Hawaii Standard Time through Reservations sell out within 15 minutes, so be sure to have your credit card information ready. Another portion of reservations are released 2 days prior. Due to the popularity of this activity booking with an official tour is an easier way to go if your heart is set on seeing the sun rise over the Big Island.
Local Secret: Driving up to Haleakala crater for the sunset ensures the weather doesn't ruin your plans.

Best Time to Visit Hana

While we always recommend checking daily weather predictions, doing the road to Hana tour is magnificent all year round. Winter months will bring more waterfalls due to the rainy season. Summer months will have less flash flood warnings. No matter when you take the winding drive, be sure to stop on the side of the road for homemade banana bread.

Local Secret: Pull over to the side of the road to let residents pass if your drive is taking a more leisurely pace.

Whether you're planning a quick trip to Maui or spending a few weeks enjoying the sand and surf, the best time to come is when you can relax and enjoy. We recommend a 10 day trip (check out our Maui itinerary) to ensure optimal relaxation mixed in with activities. The most important thing is bringing a laid back attitude along with your aloha to ensure your days here are full of hau'oli (happiness).

Julia Wurst