Trying to figure out the best time to visit Kauai for a vacation? There are a couple of considerations to account for, including the busy season, weather, and prices. While there is never a bad time to visit, some months might be more convenient.
As a general guide, the best time to visit Kauai is during the slow season months of September to November and between late March and early June. These are the best times to find great deals on hotels and tours and avoid the tourist crowds.
Busy and Slow Months
According to the data from State of Hawaii, September, October, and November are the least visited months, followed by February. These tend to be best for families on a budget looking for cheaper accommodations. The summer months are the peak travel season, with July being the most popular month of the year for travel to Kauai.
March sees a spike during the spring break weeks when families travel to Kauai on the break. In our experience, weeks that experience a high number of visitors are those around major holidays and the last two weeks of December and the first week of January.
This is when kids are out of school during the Christmas break. Note the time around Christmas into the New Year is one of the island’s busiest periods. In the first week of January, we’ve seen major traffic jams not only in Kapaa but all the way from Kilauea to Kapaa.
The slowest months, which feature the least amount of visitors, also tend to include the best travel deals. If you’re on a budget and want to spend the least amount of money, then it’s worth basing it off the slow off-season rathern than the busy summer season.
Hotels won’t be as busy, so they will tend to lower their prices in order to encourage tourism. While the prices for a 5-star all-inclusive resort might not mean a huge price difference in terms of affordability, other less luxurious accommodations might be more reasonable.
It’s not just hotels where you might save on costs, but airfare is typically lower too. If you’re coming from mainland United States, the 12-hour airplane trip sure isn’t cheap so you can save on costs.
Weather & Rain
If weather is a strong consideration when visiting Kauai, there are basically two seasons — summer from May to October and winter from November to April. The weather in Kauai is actually pretty consistent, with only minor variations throughout the year.
Temperatures are warm throughout the year and there are often trade winds to cool things off a bit, though humidity is often substantial. The summer months tend to be drier and the rainy season is actually during the winter months.
But substantial rains can occur at any time of the year. In our experience, August tends to be the driest month, but don’t bet on it. Overall, it’s a hit-or-miss proposition if you’re trying to plan your trip around the rain.
The good thing about Kauai is that if it’s raining in one area you can probably find a spot where it’s not raining with a short (30-45 minutes) drive.
Waves & Ocean Conditions
If you’re a huge fan of surfing or interested in other water sports, know that the winter months produce high surf and possibly dangerous surf for many beaches, especially those on the North Shore. Some beaches such as Hanakapiai completely disappear.
Popular destinations such as Queen’s Bath and Secret Beach can also be more dangerous in the winter. During summer months many of Kauai’s beaches are calm. You also have a better chance of your Na Pali Coast boat tour or kayaking tour not being cancelled due to ocean conditions.
Whale watching season is from November to April and May at the very latest when some mother whales and their calves are still hanging around. Peak months for whale watching on Kauai are January to March. For fishing, summer months tend to be the best for the staple Yellowfin Tuna and the elusive Blue Marlin.