The best time to visit Maui for whale watching, hitting the beach or avoiding crowds - Lonely Planet (2022)

The weather is idyllic year-round on Maui, so there's really no bad time to come. Summer and winter temperatures vary only by a few degrees so Hawaii’s Valley Isle offers an enticingly-warm, beachfront escape at any time.

At the resorts clustered in South Maui (Wailea/Kihei) and West Maui (Lahaina/Kaanapali), expect the warmest temperatures in July and August. January and February are only a few degrees cooler; the winter months see more rain, but also better surf conditions and great opportunities for whale-watching.

With Maui being relatively close to the equator, there’s relatively little variation in daylight hours across the year. Resort sunset ceremonies begin between 5:30pm and 6:30pm with the blowing of a conch shell (pu in Hawaiian), followed by a traditional chant and the lighting of tiki torches.

With such slight variations in the weather, deciding when to travel to Maui will usually boil down to the best time for particular activities. Here’s what to expect from Maui month by month.

Editor's note: during COVID-19 there are restrictions on travel and opening hours may vary. Check the latest guidance before planning a trip, and always follow local health advice. Events may be subject to change.

(Video) The Best Time to Visit Hawaii | Best Weather, Smallest Crowds, and Best Prices are in this Month

Introducing Hawaii

Best time for whale watching: December–March

Understandably, Maui is a busy place during the holiday season and at New Year, when winter is at its worst in many parts of the world. There's more rain than in summer, but it's still warm, and for those escaping frigid, snowy weather back home, winter coincides with the peak season for whale-watching and surfing.

Between November and March, 10,000-15,000 humpback whales migrate from Alaska to Hawaii to mate, give birth and tend to their newborn calves. Their favorite gathering spot is in the shallow waters of the Auau Channel southwest of Maui, making for easy whale encounters.

“My favorite two weeks are the last week of December and the first week of January,” says Daniel Sullivan, a professional photographer who leads whale photography tours in a Zodiac boat. “Literally, there’s whales breaching everywhere. One time, I encountered 54 breaches in a row. It was just amazing.”

Get more travel inspiration, tips and exclusive offers sent straight to your inbox with our weekly newsletter.

The best time to visit Maui for whale watching, hitting the beach or avoiding crowds - Lonely Planet (1)

(Video) The Best Time to Visit Maui, Hawaii (Weather, What Airport to Fly In To, When To Visit & More)

Best time for scuba diving and relaxing on the beach: June–August

The Valley Isle also gets very busy in the summertime. At the height of the summer season, daytime highs hover around 87°F, dropping to 73°F overnight. With abundant sunshine, sunbathers flock to the beaches and snorkelers come out in droves to view the colorful fish and green sea turtles that gather near the coral reefs, just a few yards from the beach.

Summer is when the water tends to be clearest so this is the best time for scuba diving. Key considerations in choosing when to venture into the ocean include cloud cover, which decreases underwater visibility, and wind, which also can decrease clarity.

Visitors making the journey inland to Haleakalā National Park should prepare for very different weather conditions. On days when it’s beach weather at sea level, it can be 30°F at the volcano’s 10,023ft summit, a prime location for watching the sunrise.

When summiting the volcano, dress appropriately; as a gauge, expect the temperature to drop several degrees for every 1,000ft (300m) increase in altitude. The National Weather Service provides an online forecast for the summit (see the "Detailed Forecast" section) or you can view live conditions on the Crater Cam, though the weather can change dramatically during the drive from the oceanfront to the summit.

Best time for lower prices and avoiding crowds: April–May and September–November

Spring and fall see a modest drop in visitor numbers. Hoteliers on Maui don’t really recognize seasonal differences as they do elsewhere in the world, since visitor numbers stay relatively strong regardless of the month, but the low season means quieter beaches, shorter lines at popular restaurants and, sometimes, a drop in room rates. The weather is still warm, and there's less rain than in winter.

The best time to visit Maui for whale watching, hitting the beach or avoiding crowds - Lonely Planet (2)

January

While January is statistically a “rainy” month, umbrellas are seldom needed. On average, rain falls on just six days during the month. The Sentry Tournament of Champions, a stop on the PGA Tour, comes to Kapalua.
Key events: Sentry Tournament of Champions, Chinese New Year

(Video) WHAT NO ONE TELLS YOU ABOUT MAUI...🏝

February

Typically the coolest month of the year. Daytime highs average 81°F (27°C), with overnight lows still a pleasant 65°F (18°C). With a variety of activities, the Maui Whale Festival seeks to both celebrate and protect the humpbacks that winter here.
Key events: Maui Whale Festival

March

The mild weather continues as the winter peak season winds to a close.
Key events: Lahaina Whale & Ocean Arts Festival

April

The rain dials down as the month rolls on. Leave the big resorts behind and head across the island to tiny Hana for the East Maui Taro Festival, or see Native Hawaiians sharing their traditions at the Celebration of the Arts, held annually at the Ritz-Carlton resort.
Key events: Eat Maui Taro Festival, Celebration of the Arts, Banyan Tree Birthday Party

May

In the build-up to the summer peak season, temperatures climb slightly. On May 1, Hawaii celebrates Lei Day with the making and giving of lei (flower garlands) to honor the spirit of aloha – the Hawaiian concept of fellowship. This state holiday draws locals and visitors alike to destinations across Maui.
Key events: Lei Day, Maui Brewers Festival

June

June is warm, dry and sunny and this is a busy time for events. Outrigger canoes brought the first Polynesians to Hawaii, so it's fitting that these vessels should be in the spotlight during the Waa Kiakahi Canoe Festival at the beachfront Kaanapali Beach Hotel.
Key events: Waa Kiakahi Canoe Festival, King Kamehameha Day Parade & Celebration,Maui Film Festival,Kapalua Wine & Food Festival,Ki Ho’alu Slack Key Guitar Festival

The best time to visit Maui for whale watching, hitting the beach or avoiding crowds - Lonely Planet (3)

July

The hot, dry weather continues at this busy time for tourism. Indulge in a bounty of fresh, locally-grown fruit while learning more about why it’s so nutritious during the Maui Fruit Festival.
Key events: Maui Fruit Festival, Lana’i Pineapple Festival

(Video) 21 Things to Do Around Maui, Hawaii | Two residents share their favorite things to do on Maui

August

The warm weather continues. Pack some breath mints and head to the Maui Onion Festival at Whalers Village to try some creative dishes featuring this island-raised veggie.
Key events: Maui Onion Festival

September

Yes, they have county fairs in Hawaii. Health concerns permitting, the Maui County Fair in Kahului draws a crowd. The weather is warm and dry, but with the reopening of schools, tourist numbers start to fall.
Key events: Maui County Fair

October

Temperatures dip slightly from peak summer highs and prices drop slightly as fall approaches. The state’s premier epicurean celebration, the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival links several islands, Maui included.
Key events: Hawaii Food & Wine Festival, Halloween celebrations inLahaina.

November

Rainfall increases, but the surf season begins and whales start their migration to Maui. It's a quieter time for tourism, but you can watch local kids strut their hula dancing moves during Hula O Na Keiki, a children’s hula competition.
Key events: Hula O Na Keiki

December

There's more rain, but temperatures still hover around 81°F. and it's a good time for whale-watching. Celebrate the season with the lighting of Lahaina’s giant banyan tree, Santa greeting the youngsters in a Hawaiian shirt and holiday shopping. Consider a drive upcountry to the cowboy town of Makawao to visit festive boutiques.
Key events: Christmas, Nā Mele O Maui

You may also like:
Maui's best beaches for swimming, snorkeling and soaking up the sun
How to visit Hawaii on a budget
Top 10 Maui travel experiences

FAQs

What is the best time of year to go to Maui? ›

The best times to visit Maui are April through May and September through November. The spring and fall shoulder seasons provide the pleasant weather Hawaii vacationers seek without the high rates and heavy crowds that accompany the summer and winter.

How do you avoid crowds on Maui? ›

5 Tips to Escape Tourist Crowds in Maui
  1. Skip the beach and head to the mountains.
  2. Take the Road to Hana and stay overnight.
  3. Experience local voluntourism.
  4. Try a local market or hole-in-the-wall restaurant.
  5. Find a secluded beach.
12 Jun 2018

When should you not go to Maui? ›

For instance, whale-watching season is mid-December to mid-May, with the peak months being February and March. During whale season, some ocean activities are prohibited, such as jet ski and parasailing operations. So if either of those two Maui activities is on your bucket list, don't visit during whale season.

Is June a good month for Maui? ›

Visiting Maui in April, May, or June

These Spring months are in our opinion, the best months to visit Maui. The weather is ideal, crowds are lower than during the summer months, and pricing on accommodations and flights are often the lowest you'll find all year.

What is the cheapest month to go to Maui? ›

January is the cheapest time to fly to Maui. Flights are 20% cheaper than the yearly average when you fly to Maui in January, based on 2 years of historical flight data analyzed by Skyscanner. February is the second cheapest month to fly to Maui.

What is the rainiest month in Maui? ›

The month with the most rain in Maui is March, with an average rainfall of 1.8 inches. The rainless period of the year lasts for 1.7 months, from May 25 to July 15. The month with the least rain in Maui is June, with an average rainfall of 0.3 inches.

What is the least crowded place to stay in Maui? ›

Napili. If you like all of the amenities available in West Maui but prefer to stay in a more chill location with fewer crowds, Napili is the best place to be.

Is it worth going to a luau in Maui? ›

In my opinion, I think going to a luau is definitely worth planning into your Hawaii vacation. For around $90, you get to sample Polynesian food and watch a colorful Polynesian dance show. Luaus feature traditional Polynesian and Hawaiian food that you might not find on a resort menu.

What to do in Maui that is not the beach? ›

It is via these outdoor and culturally-based activities that we are able to see and experience Maui through a different lens.
  • ATV Tours.
  • Beaches.
  • Golf.
  • Farm Tours.
  • Hiking.
  • Horseback Riding.
  • Luau shows.
  • Parks and Botanical Gardens.
13 Jun 2022

How many days do you need for Maui? ›

If Maui is the only Hawaiian island you'll be visiting, you'll want at least 7-10 days to explore the island. That will give you enough time to do some day trips, take a few tours, check out the beaches, and have plenty of time to relax and unwind.

What is the busiest time in Maui? ›

2020 had virtually no visitors and 2021 has just been weird so far. According to data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority, if you want to visit Maui with the fewest crowds, you should visit in January, February, September, October, or November. The busiest months on Maui are March, June, July, August, and December.

Why is the road to Hana famous? ›

The Road to Hana is world-famous for the natural beauty of its unblemished landscapes and towering waterfalls. Maui is understandably proud of Heavenly Hana's successful fight against overdevelopment and the destruction of their Hawaiian culture.

Which side of Maui is best to stay on? ›

Most people stay in West Maui, if for no other reason than it's where the majority of the resorts and condos are. West Maui is home to Maui's original resort areas, and it's still where most of the tourists flock today. West Maui is usually sunny and dry, making it perfect beach weather.

When can you see whales in Maui? ›

Whale sightings in Maui typically occur between November and May. The best months to see whales is usually between mid-January and March as this is considered peak whalewatching season. On occasion, we will have our first whale sighting as early as October or late September.

Which part of Maui has the best weather? ›

Still with all that said, where should you stay on Maui for maximum sunshine? Your best bets would be from the towns and areas of Kihei, Kamaole, Wailea,and Makena as these areas tend to get about 15 inches per year. Your next best options would be in Lahaina and Kaanapali which gets approximately 17 inches per year.

What airline do you fly into for Maui? ›

Southwest Airlines is proud to serve Kahului Airport. Nestled in the valley between the West Maui Mountains and the East Maui Volcano, Kahului is the entry point for the island of Maui. When you deplane, you'll find yourself in the commercial center of the island.

Is it cheaper to fly to Maui or Honolulu? ›

Which city is cheaper, Oahu or Maui? The average daily cost (per person) in Maui is $220, while the average daily cost in Oahu is $266.

Which airport do I fly into for Maui? ›

Kahului Airport is the primary airport on the island of Maui and receives both overseas and interisland flights. On Maui you'll find beautiful beaches, exciting water sports, Haleakala Crater, the old whaling town of Lahaina, blue skies, great dining and the Aloha spirit.

What side of Maui has the best beaches? ›

Maui's leeward side inarguably presents the best beaches on the island—if by “best” you mean golden sand, perfectly-swimmable waters, outstanding snorkeling opportunities, lulling waves gentle enough for first-time surfers, and sunshine in spades.

What is high season in Maui? ›

Thus, the high season—when prices are up and resorts are often booked to capacity—is generally from mid-December through March or mid-April. The last two weeks of December, in particular, are the prime time for travel to Hawaii.

Is Kaanapali Beach swimmable? ›

Kaanapali Beach is not only extremely wide with the most marvelous soft and fluffy sand making it ideal for "laying out" but its sand bottom entry into the water makes it an ideal location to swim.

How long does it take to drive Maui? ›

Driving Time Around the Entire Island

If you wanted to drive all day, you can — the driving time around Maui will take about 9 hours around the periphery of the island, including a trip down Maui Veterans Highway 311, to South Maui's beaches.

What is the main town in Maui? ›

Kahului is the largest census-designated place (CDP) on the island with a population of 26,337 as of 2010, and is the commercial and financial hub of the island.

Is Maui a touristy? ›

In short, Maui is more touristy, but that's not a bad thing for some people. Kauai: Kauai is your pick if the great outdoors and a lack of major development is your idea of paradise. You'll find a real sense of solitude here.

What is the most authentic luau in Maui? ›

Wailele Polynesian Luau. Often referred to as the most authentic luau in Maui, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa's Wailele Luau is held at the resort's Aloha Pavilion. It sits along Kaanapali Beach to give participants a breathtaking view of the sunset before the event.

How much does it cost to go to a luau in Maui? ›

How much does a luau cost on Maui? A. The average price for luaus on Maui is $161 to $275 per person for an evening event with food, drinks, and authentic Polynesian entertainment and hospitality.

How much does it cost to attend a luau in Hawaii? ›

How much does a luau cost? Though the cost of a luau can vary by island and venue, plan on a minimum of $90 to $100 per adult. Most luau companies consider an adult guest to be anyone 13 years and older. For children between the ages of 6 to 12 years, plan to spend a minimum of $60 per child.

What is Maui most known for? ›

Maui, known also as “The Valley Isle,” is the second largest Hawaiian island. The island beloved for its world-famous beaches, the sacred ʻĪao Valley, views of migrating humpback whales (during winter months), farm-to-table cuisine and the magnificent sunrise and sunset from Haleakalā.

Is there lots to do in Maui? ›

Maui, with its scenic drives, beautiful beaches, and water sports, is a top destination for tourists in Hawaii. In just one place, you can snorkel with sea turtles, learn to surf, visit a national park, watch the sunrise above the clouds, go wine tasting, attend a luau, rappel down a waterfall, and relax on the beach.

How do I get to the secret beach in Maui? ›

How do you get to Maui Secret Beach? To get to Secret Beach, hike or drive south along Makena Road a quarter-mile past the Big Beach Third Entrance. Look for a break in the wall to your right, directly across the street from the house at 6925 Makena Rd. Secret Beach is accessed through this entry point.

Which is better to visit Maui or Honolulu? ›

Maui vs Oahu: Oahu is right for you if you want more of a cosmopolitan vacation, enjoy the nightlife, are excited about historical and cultural activities, or want to travel on a budget. Maui is right for you if you're looking for a romantic island, great snorkeling, a relaxing vacation, or more outdoor activities.

Is 4 days enough for Maui? ›

I recommend at least 3 days, but spending 4 days in Maui is even better. You can spend two whole days exploring beaches, watching the sunrise over the Haleakala, the towns of Paia, Lahaina and going whale watching, snorkling or on a helicopter ride.

Is one week in Maui too long? ›

A week in Maui is ideal with enough time to range around the island and experience the diverse attractions here. But if you're island hopping—or only have a long weekend to spare—you can make do with just three days. You might not want to leave though!

What is the least crowded time to visit Maui? ›

Spring and fall are the least crowded times of the year on Maui. The relative lack of crowds will be more pleasant for beach-goers and sightseers alike. While there will always be tourists in Hawaii, you may find advantages to going to popular places during these times of year.

Is Maui super crowded? ›

The weather is pleasant and consistent, the island is less crowded and hotels, airfare and some activities are significantly cheaper. A win win. Although if a top experience you want to have is to see the humpback whales then you will have to travel to Maui during high season.

Is it cold at night in Maui? ›

An evening on Maui is never likely to get cold (unless you're having dinner on top of Haleakala). But that doesn't mean it's as warm as it is during the day. Expect temperatures to chill to around 60°F as the night sets in. Having a jacket or sweater on hand means you don't have to cut your evening short.

Is there a fee for the Road to Hana? ›

Once downloaded, the App gives you 3 road options. The Loop, Reverse Loop, and then the classic tour. The App costs around $14.99 each or $29.99 for the bundle which includes all the tours for the island.

Is the Road to Hana scary to drive? ›

Typical Road to Hana Surface…not scary at all! The Majority of the road is one-lane each way, although the road regularly drops down to one way for BOTH directions. The road is endlessly winding and many corners are seriously blind.

How far is Road to Hana from airport? ›

Starting the Road to Hana From Kahului

The drive from Kahului Airport (OGG) is 53 miles, but most of the posted speed limits east of Paia are 25mph, so expect a drive of almost 3 hours, not including stops.

Which side of Maui has the calmest water? ›

South Shore Beaches

Along Maui's south shore, Maluaka Beach, also known as Makena Beach, is situated between two lava rock formations and is a perfect swimming and snorkeling area when the waters are calm.

What is the sunny side of Maui? ›

The south and west sides are the sunny sides and the east and north sides are the rainy sides. On Kauai Poipu is on the sunny side and Kapaa, Lihue and expecially Hanalei are on the wet side. On Maui Ka'anapali/Kapalua and especially Kihei/Wailea are on the dry sides.

Which side of Maui is less windy? ›

Since towns on the windward side of the island are closer to the wind, they consequently are going to be windier than those on the leeward side of the island.

What time of day are whales most active in Maui? ›

What is the best time for whale watching in Hawaii? Anytime is the best time! But, if you're looking for the best scenic times, early morning or sunset is considered prime. 11 am to 3 pm yields the best overhead light.

What side of Maui is best for whale watching? ›

Generally, whales prefer calm, warm water (kind of like people!) so they're definitely more attracted to certain parts of each island. On Maui, the south side beaches (Kihei and Wailea) and west side (especially Kapalua) are the best areas to see them.

Where is the best place in Maui to watch the whales? ›

The best place to see whales in Maui is the Maui Nui Basin. It's estimated that more than half of the humpback whale population migrates to the Maui Nui Basin for breeding every winter. The Maui Nui Basin refers to the waters between Maui, Lanai, and Kaho'olawe and is a protected sanctuary for the whales.

What is the cheapest month to go to Maui? ›

January is the cheapest time to fly to Maui. Flights are 20% cheaper than the yearly average when you fly to Maui in January, based on 2 years of historical flight data analyzed by Skyscanner. February is the second cheapest month to fly to Maui.

What is best month to go to Maui? ›

The best times to visit Maui are April through May and September through November. The spring and fall shoulder seasons provide the pleasant weather Hawaii vacationers seek without the high rates and heavy crowds that accompany the summer and winter.

What is the coldest month in Maui? ›

January

How many days do you need in Maui? ›

If Maui is the only Hawaiian island you'll be visiting, you'll want at least 7-10 days to explore the island. That will give you enough time to do some day trips, take a few tours, check out the beaches, and have plenty of time to relax and unwind.

What month is best to go to Hawaii? ›

The best time to visit Hawaii is between March and September. This is when the islands see the highest temperatures and the lowest amount of rain. It's the perfect time to enjoy the beach or the water.

Is Maui expensive to visit? ›

Based on our calculations, a trip to Maui for two people can easily cost $500 per person, per day. So yes, Maui deserves its reputation as an expensive vacation destination.

Which side of Maui is best to stay on? ›

Most people stay in West Maui, if for no other reason than it's where the majority of the resorts and condos are. West Maui is home to Maui's original resort areas, and it's still where most of the tourists flock today. West Maui is usually sunny and dry, making it perfect beach weather.

What airport do you fly into for Maui? ›

Kahului Airport is the primary airport on the island of Maui and receives both overseas and interisland flights. On Maui you'll find beautiful beaches, exciting water sports, Haleakala Crater, the old whaling town of Lahaina, blue skies, great dining and the Aloha spirit.

Which is better to visit Maui or Honolulu? ›

Maui vs Oahu: Oahu is right for you if you want more of a cosmopolitan vacation, enjoy the nightlife, are excited about historical and cultural activities, or want to travel on a budget. Maui is right for you if you're looking for a romantic island, great snorkeling, a relaxing vacation, or more outdoor activities.

Is 4 days enough for Maui? ›

I recommend at least 3 days, but spending 4 days in Maui is even better. You can spend two whole days exploring beaches, watching the sunrise over the Haleakala, the towns of Paia, Lahaina and going whale watching, snorkling or on a helicopter ride.

What month is cheapest to visit Hawaii? ›

The cheapest time to fly to Hawaii is during February and March. The most expensive month to fly is December when the holiday period falls, with January being very expensive as well. The peak travel months of June and July are surprisingly not the most expensive months for flights, with middle figure prices.

What is the rainiest month in Hawaii? ›

– Overall June is the driest month in Hawaii, while December is the wettest month.

What Hawaiian island is best for first time visitors? ›

But if you just want an answer that most people would agree on, the best island in Hawaii for first-timers would be Oahu. Hawaii is dotted with eight striking islands but only six are major tourist destinations. They're Hawaii (the Big Island), Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Lanai and Molokai.

What is the cheapest way to plan a trip to Maui? ›

Maui on a Budget – Save Money on Food, Activities & Accommodation...
  • Save on Car Rentals.
  • Travel in the Off-Season.
  • Rent a Place with a Kitchen.
  • Buy Alcohol at the Local Market.
  • Pack Some Snacks.
  • Eat at Food Trucks.
  • Go During Happy Hour.
  • Bring Your Own Snorkel Gear.
9 Sept 2022

Why are Maui hotels so expensive right now? ›

The pent-up demand to travel, due to the pandemic, has particularly caused hotel rates, especially on Maui, to skyrocket. Maui's average daily rate jumped from $401.10 in 2019 to $521.63 in 2021, according to a Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism report.

How long does it take to drive around Maui? ›

Driving Time Around the Entire Island

If you wanted to drive all day, you can — the driving time around Maui will take about 9 hours around the periphery of the island, including a trip down Maui Veterans Highway 311, to South Maui's beaches.

Which side of Maui has the calmest water? ›

South Shore Beaches

Along Maui's south shore, Maluaka Beach, also known as Makena Beach, is situated between two lava rock formations and is a perfect swimming and snorkeling area when the waters are calm.

Videos

1. Maui Hawaii Travel Guide 2021 | 11 Tips for THE BEST Maui Vacation
(The Hawaii Vacation Guide)
2. The BEST Maui Travel Guide of 2021-2022 | From a local resident
(BKR)
3. Hawaii Trip Planning 2022 | 7 Things To Know Before You Book Your Hawaii Vacation
(The Hawaii Vacation Guide)
4. Hawaii Summer Trip Planning 2022: 7 Things to Know Before You Book Your Hawaii Vacation
(The Hawaii Vacation Guide)
5. Most Beautiful Island of Hawaii - Maui 5 Day Itinerary and Travel Guide
(FrooGal Fun)
6. 12 Essential KAUAI Travel Tips | WATCH BEFORE YOU GO!
(Alexander Ayling)

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Prof. An Powlowski

Last Updated: 10/09/2022

Views: 6663

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (44 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Prof. An Powlowski

Birthday: 1992-09-29

Address: Apt. 994 8891 Orval Hill, Brittnyburgh, AZ 41023-0398

Phone: +26417467956738

Job: District Marketing Strategist

Hobby: Embroidery, Bodybuilding, Motor sports, Amateur radio, Wood carving, Whittling, Air sports

Introduction: My name is Prof. An Powlowski, I am a charming, helpful, attractive, good, graceful, thoughtful, vast person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.