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The best time to visit Hawaii for a holiday – and how to avoid the rain

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The best time to visit Hawaii for a holiday – and how to avoid the rain

An eclectic mix of US and Polynesian influences, Hawaii is a destination unlike any other.

When most think of the States, they don’t picture tropical rainforest, turquoise waters, rolling green hills and the white sands of some of the best beaches in the world, but all this and more awaits in the archipelago that is the country’s 50th state.

These volcanic islands sit in the central area of the Pacific Ocean, just below the Tropic of Cancer and over 2,000 miles from the mainland, meaning that they have drastically different weather conditions to the rest of the country, with a mainly tropical climate; though there is some variation throughout the islands.

This means that Hawaii only has two separate seasons; summer and winter. Average temperatures remain high even in winter, with an average daytime temperatures as high as 25C at sea level, but rainfall in one area can be as high as 11,000mm. So when should you visit? Here’s everything you need to know.

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Wet Season

Clouds gathering over Honolulu

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

When is it? November to March

The wet season coincides with ‘winter’ on the islands. Levels of rainfall vary dramatically depending on area, which is usually dependent on moist trade winds that are forced upslope by the mountains – the area around Mount Waialeale, on the island of Kauai, is one of the wettest places on Earth, with an average annual rainfall of roughly 11,430mm.

The heaviest storms come during these months, and even relatively dry areas can receive over half their average rainfall in a day or so. Overall, rainfall is lowest on the islands of Lanai and Molokai, but it is also very low on the leeward sections (part of the island that faces away from prevailing winds, in this case the west) of Big Island, Oahu and Maui. Here, the average is anywhere between 250mm and 740mm per year. It is highest in the east of Big Island and Maui, with up to between 6,400mm and 11,400mm on average, but weather is very localised. On average, the wettest months are November and December.

Dry Season

(Getty Images)

When is it? April to October

While even winter has some warm temperatures, the ‘dry season’ (summer) brings with it warmer weather and less rainfall. With clear skies, gentle breezes and average highs between 29 and 32 during these months, the islands are unlikely to get sweltering, instead providing the perfect weather for sunbathing, swimming and exploring the islands’ varied landscapes. July and August are the hottest months, where average temperatures can hover around 27C and you’ll likely receive around 11 hours of sunshine per day. Unsurprisingly, these months also attract the most visitors, although December is another of the busiest months on the islands despite the weather.

Best time to go

While the weather isn’t as optimal in the winter months, it is still better than much of the rest of the US, so winter in Hawaii can be very busy (and prices rise accordingly). This is the same for the driest islands – Molokai and Lanai – as good weather in winter draws large crowds from the mainland. The peak of summer is also very popular and similarly expensive, as well as bringing hot and humid temperatures.

Instead, stick to shoulder months such as April, May, June and September to find great weather, lower prices and a better range of accommodation options. June and September are best if you want to make the most of exploring, as even the mountainous areas will be comparatively dry. Average temperatures in these months sit at around 26C, while average rainfall is low at between 40mm and 60mm. You can also expect 10 to 11 hours of sunshine per day, providing ideal conditions whether you’re strolling the streets of Honolulu or lying on the white sands of Maui.

The mountainous coast of Kauai

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

January 

Average temperature: 23C

Hours of sunshine per day: 8 hours

Average monthly rainfall: 78 mm

Relative humidity: 74 per cent

February 

Average temperature: 23C

Hours of sunshine per day: 8 hours

Average monthly rainfall: 90 mm

Relative humidity: 64 per cent

March 

Average temperature: 24C

Hours of sunshine per day: 9 hours

Average monthly rainfall: 88 mm

Relative humidity: 69 per cent

April

Average temperature: 24C

Hours of sunshine per day: 9 hours

Average monthly rainfall: 52 mm

Relative humidity: 67 per cent

May 

Average temperature: 25C

Hours of sunshine per day: 11 hours

Average monthly rainfall: 38mm

Relative humidity: 66 per cent

June 

Average temperature: 26C

Hours of sunshine per day: 11 hours

Average monthly rainfall: 43mm

Relative humidity: 64 per cent

July 

Average temperature: 26C

Hours of sunshine per day: 11 hours

Average monthly rainfall: 57mm

Relative humidity: 65 per cent

August 

Average temperature: 27C

Hours of sunshine per day: 10 hours

Average monthly rainfall: 34mm

Relative humidity: 66 per cent

September 

Average temperature: 27C

Hours of sunshine per day: 10 hours

Average monthly rainfall: 61mm

Relative humidity: 65 per cent

October 

Average temperature: 26C

Hours of sunshine per day: 9 hours

Average monthly rainfall: 80mm

Relative humidity: 67 per cent

November 

Average temperature: 25C

Hours of sunshine per day: 9 hours

Average monthly rainfall: 124mm

Relative humidity: 71 per cent

December 

Average temperature: 24C

Hours of sunshine per day: 8 hours

Average monthly rainfall: 87mm

Relative humidity: 73 per cent

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