Hawaii is known for its endless summer—sunshine, balmy weather, and glorious beaches. So, is there a best time to visit Kauai?
While you’ll have a great time wherever you go, different times of year are better for other activities.
Don’t worry; I’ve lived in Hawaii for five years and can help you decide the best time to visit Kauai. Keep on reading for the ultimate guide on when to visit Kauai!
What is the Best Time to Visit Kauai?
There’s lots to consider when booking a visit to Kauai. I’ll go into detail below, but you’ll want to think about what activities are most important to you.
👍🏼 The Best Time to Visit Kauai for the Weather
Like the rest of the Hawaiian archipelago, Kauai has wet and dry seasons. Kauai is also home to one of the wettest spots on the planet (the Waialeale).
The extra water is a win, though—Kauai is lush and brimming with tropical flora and fauna, earning it the “Garden Isle” nickname.
The rainy season runs from fall through the winter. Temperatures are stable all year long. In the wintertime, you’ll experience a low of 60’s and highs in the 80’s.
The dry season runs from spring into the beginning of fall. For peak sunny weather perfect for endless beach days, the dry season is for you!
👍🏼 The Best Time to Visit Kauai for Snorkeling
Snorkeling during your Kauai trip is an absolute must. Seeing the coral reef and colorful fish under the water’s surface is an absolute dream.
You can snorkel year-round, but summer is the best time to enter the water. You’ll get the calmest water and the warmest weather.
Chances are you’ll get to see a sea turtle while you’re snorkeling. Watching them elegantly soar through the water near you is super fun! Just remember to stay 10 feet away from turtles.
Check out the snorkeling at Makua (Tunnels) beach. It’s considered one of the best snorkeling spots on Kauai.
👍🏼 Best Time to Visit for Kauai Whale & Wildlife Watching
Humpback whales migrate to Hawaii yearly. They come to mate and give birth and are impressive to see breaching and slapping the water.
During whale season, you can dive underwater and hear them singing in eerie, haunting tones. Whale season is my favorite time of year!
The peak of whale season is from January to February. It’s worth getting out on a boat to see them closer up!
👍🏼 The Best Time to Visit Kauai for Hiking
With its impressive cliffs, famous Napali Coast, and stunning vistas, Kauai has terrific hikes! Even though it’s on the smaller side, this island has dramatic terrain.
There’s also a variety of state parks on the island, with trails for every kind of hikers.
You’ll be able to hike year-round, but the rains can affect access to different trails during the winter. It can also increase some dangers—including flash flooding, mud, and landslides.
If you’re super into hiking, you’ll want to head to the Garden Isle during summer, spring, or fall! That way, the rain won’t affect your trip, and you’ll be able to do more hikes.
👍🏼 Best Time to Visit Kauai for Cheap Prices
Like all the Hawaiian islands, Kauai isn’t the cheapest destination. Considering the shoulder seasons, the best times to find a deal are generally in the spring and fall.
Most tours and food costs will mostly stay the same throughout the year. However, accommodations and rental car prices vary.
You’ll find the highest prices are during the holidays and school breaks—particularly between Christmas and New Year!
Of course, there are always ways to make more budget-friendly options, even during the higher seasons of the year. For example, you can always go tent camping.
👍🏼 The Best Time to Visit Kauai to Avoid Crowds (Off-Season)
If you want to explore Kauai without contending with large crowds of people, you’ll want to avoid summertime.
The daily visitor arrivals to Kauai reveal that September, October, and February are usually the quietest months on the island.
Luckily, these are also part of the shoulder seasons, so you’ll find better deals.
👍🏼 Best Time to Visit for Events and Festivals
Kauai is a quieter island—you won’t find a lot of wild nightlife, nor does it have a party atmosphere. Luckily, though, no matter what time of year you visit, you’ll find events and festivals to enjoy.
Enjoy the Waimea Town Celebration or Kuhio Day with live music and fun activities during the winter months!
Spring has the Spring Fantasy Orchid Show, which showcases the exotic and gorgeous flowers on the island.
Summer has various events, from an international Tahitian dance competition, the Kauai Marathon and half marathon, and Koloa Planting days commemorating the sugar industry.
Fall features some of my favorite things—the Kauai Coffee Company hosts the Kauai Coffee and Chocolate Festival. Yum!
What is the Best Time of the Year to Visit Kauai?
🗓️ Kauai in January
Kauai in January is usually pretty busy. You’ll probably see some whales, and even though it’s wetter than at other times of the year, there are plenty of fun activities to do.
The temperature in Kauai in January typically sees highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the 50’s. If you’re like me, you’ll want to pack a light jacket.
You’ll also experience sudden but short rain showers. It’s a warm rain, though, and typically, you’ll still get sun.
January isn’t the best month for snorkeling, but there can be fun waves to play in! Plus, you can visit the old town historical center or the Anara Spa whenever you’re rained out.
🗓️ Kauai in February
February has similar weather to January and is also when the Waimea Town Celebration occurs. Tourism also starts to dwindle in February as families go back to school.
You’ll find February has plenty of warm temperatures and sweet rain showers. This is towards the end of the rainy season, so you’ll get more picture-perfect sunny days than earlier in the year.
February often sees the peak of whale activity and is a fantastic time to watch! Head out on a boat and see the majestic creatures up close.
🗓️ Kauai in March
March is the last month of the rainy season in Kauai. It’s a great month to go hiking.
March is a bit warmer than the first two months of the year. The daily high is 71 degrees F. That sounds like ideal hiking to me!
It’s still wet, so you’ll want to prepare for some rain. More interested in the beach? Check out the southern shore, where the weather is typically sunnier.
Prince Kuhio day, on March 26, is celebrated every year. Check out the parades, events, and live music for a fun day.
🗓️ Kauai in April
The beginning of the low season, April, is a peaceful and relaxing time to be on the island.
April is a great month to visit Kauai. You may still experience some rain (It is the wettest island for a reason). Temperatures reach the upper 70s, and the lows are typically around 69 degrees.
April is a great time to go snorkeling, check out the local farmer’s markets, and (if you’re not afraid to sweat) go hiking.
Check out the North Shore Kauai caves. There are dry and wet caves located along the north shore. They’re super cool and unique to experience, so I’d highly recommend it.
🗓️ Kauai in May
May is considered one of the best times of year to visit Kauai. The weather is dry and warm. Highs typically go up to 81 degrees F, and lows stay around 70’s.
Even the ocean is a bit warmer during April, and you’ll get some nice clear weather for snorkeling. One of the most fun things to participate in is May 1’s—Lei Day!
You can make your own lei, watch live entertainment, and try delicious food.
🗓️ Kauai in June
The beginning of summer—and summer crowds—June is the perfect time to come for a beach vacation.
June has temperatures in the 80’s, and the lows rarely go below 74, even at night. The balmy weather and longer summer days make it the best time of year to enjoy sunsets and star gazing!
Summer in Kauai is the perfect time to go hiking. Explore the Napali coast, snorkel on the south shore, and soak up the sun on the Garden Isle!
You should also try shaving ice, the delicious Hawaiian version of a snow cone. (Spoiler alert: it’s better than a snow cone).
🗓️ Kauai in July
A Peak season to visit Kauai, the island is pretty busy in the summer. Of course, Kauai is a calm island, so that’s all relative!
July sees highs typically around 84 and lows around 74 degrees. It’s warm and generally dry. The weather is excellent for spending time outdoors and exploring everything the Garden Isle offers!
The warm weather in July is perfect for spending your time in the water swimming, snorkeling, diving, and soaking up the sunshine on the beach. In July, the Koloa Plantation Days Festival takes place.
This 10-day festival offers an excellent opportunity to learn more about the island’s history and see a big parade.
🗓️ Kauai in August
August is the sunniest month in Kauai and one of the island’s busiest months. It’s in the middle of hurricane season, but the chance of a severe storm is low.
August sees highs of 85 and up and lows only a few degrees below. Rain is unlikely to affect your plans, and you’ll want to book a place with air-conditioning if you’re used to cooler weather.
This is the perfect month to head out to the beaches and hiking trails. Go scuba diving, snorkel, and check out the plentiful farmer’s markets around the island.
🗓️ Kauai in September
September is considered one of the best months to visit Kauai. The crowds have died down, the weather is still lovely, and you’re more likely to score a deal or two on accommodations.
The average high in September is 85F, and the average low is 75 degrees, so you’ll still feel warm all day.
September sees the Kauai Mokihana Festival. This Hawaiian cultural celebration is a fantastic way to enjoy learning about the rich culture on the islands. Watch hula competitions, watch educational lectures, and listen to live music!
🗓️ Kauai in October
The weather begins to cool down a bit in October. You’ll see highs of 83 degrees and might encounter a few rain showers—but not enough to put a damper on your vacation!
This is part of shoulder season, so you’ll see fewer crowds.
October sees the annual Kauai Coffee and Chocolate Festival. Try all the delicious samples of Hawaiian-grown treats. Yes, please!
Head out to the beach, take a helicopter tour, and explore the cute town of Hanalei while you’re on Kauai!
🗓️ Kauai in November
November is one of the quietest months on the island. It’s also typically one of the wettest months as well! For peak relaxation, November is the best month to go to Kauai.
While rainfall in November is relatively constant, you’ll be pleased to know that warm weather persists. Highs are typically around 80 degrees, and lows are around 71.
The rainy weather means November isn’t the best month for hiking. Still, you can enjoy fewer crowds and the most popular tourist attractions.
Check out the Smith’s Family Luau for an authentic experience! This family-run affair has been going on for over 50 years.
🗓️ Kauai in December
Many people come to Kauai in December to escape the cold of the mainland and other parts of the year.
You’ll want to book everything well in advance if you plan on coming at this time of year. It’s considered high season for a reason.
Compared to many places, Kauai is still warm in the winter. The average highs are around 71 degrees, and the lows can drop into the 50s.
Whale watching is one of the absolute best activities to do during December! Head out on a boat tour to see the humpbacks up close or just for a fantastic view of the Napali Coast from the water.
Every December, there’s also the Waimea Lighted Christmas Parade. It’s a fun way to ring in the holiday and see Christmas decorations!
Is There a Bad Time to Visit Kauai?
Kauai is gorgeous all year long! Some times of the year are a lot better for different activities. No matter when you go, you’ll find the weather warm. There’s always plenty of adventures to be had.
How Many Days Do You Need in Kauai?
I recommend spending 5-7 days on Kauai to explore and have some downtime between adventures.
You can easily spend more time on the island, but any less, and you probably won’t get to see much. Take it from me: three days is not enough!
Kauai Hawaii Travel Tips
My top tip for a trip to Kauai is to rent a car! There is so much to see you’ll want to explore more than just the town you end up staying in.
Make your reservations early. If you decide you want to go camping or hiking (the iconic Kalalau trail requires permits), you should look into it right away.
Buy reef-safe sunscreen once you arrive in Hawaii! Coral reefs are a vital part of the ecosystem, and something as simple as the type of sunscreen you wear can help protect them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Month to Travel to Kauai?
The best time of year to visit Kauai is between September and early December (barring Thanksgiving week), and the shoulder season is between April and early June.
What is the Rainy Season for Kauai?
Kauai experiences the most rainfall from November to March, with December and January seeing the most water.
What is the High Season in Kauai?
The holidays in Kauai are considered the high season as people escape the bitter cold of their homes for a sunny beach holiday instead.
What is the Coldest Month in Kauai?
The coldest month is typically January or February, but the wettest month is almost always December.
What Month is the Hottest in Kauai?
You’ll see the highest temperatures in Kauai in August. It’s the perfect month to go to the Garden Isle and hit the beaches!
What is the Cheapest Month in Kauai?
While Kauai sees high prices all year long, the cheapest month to visit is either September or May. Considered part of the shoulder seasons, you’ll likely find a good deal in these months.
What is Kauai Most Known for?
Kauai is known for its glorious flora and fauna and the awe-inspiring canyons and sea cliffs that make up the Garden Isle. Check out Waimea Canyon and the Napali coast for stunning views!
Where is the Best Weather in Kauai?
If you want the most sunshine and the hottest weather in Kauai, you’ll want to check out the South Shore. It only gets 35 inches of rain yearly (instead of 85 inches like the north shore).
Final Thoughts: Best Time to Visit Kauai
Kauai is truly one of the most stunning islands in the Hawaiian Archipelago. The Garden Isle, while small, has tons of adventures and things to do and see.
If you’re interested in hiking and exploring the Napali Coast or spending lots of time on the beach, the summer months are your best bet.
Are you more interested in a relaxing vacation away from the crowds? The spring and fall months see fewer people on the island, more rain, and some of the best deals each year.
Honestly, there’s no wrong time to visit Kauai. The best time to visit Kauai is whenever you can!
Before You Go…
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