Picking the best time to visit Maui will depend on a number of factors, like your budget, busy season and the top activities you want to experience while visiting Maui.
In this best time to go to Maui guide I break down in detail about Maui’s seasons, the best time to visit Maui for specific activities, how many days to visit Maui, how to avoid the crowds and the cheapest months to travel Maui.
*NOTE: Due to COVID some of Maui’s tourism has been temporarily shut down or has limited hours. I will keep this post updated as things change unfold during this time.
*I have sprinkled some affiliate links in this post including Amazon that gives me a small commission at no extra cost to you if you decided to make a purchase. All proceeds go to keep Jess traveling, coffee ☕️ and let's be real...probably wine 🍷. I thank you in advance.
There’s never really a bad time to travel to Maui is there? The answer to that question is no but there are better times to visit Maui depending on your preferences.
Do you want to go whale watching or parasail?
Are you here with your family because schools out for summer or are you trying to escaping the cold winter?
Are you traveling Maui on your honeymoon or on a budget looking for the best deals?
This guide goes over all the variables making it easy to decide when to travel to Maui based on your personal preferences. First let’s go over the seasons of Maui.
There are two types of seasons on Maui, low season and high season which implies to how many visitors travel to the island at that time.
High season is referred to the winter months and the summer months when the kids are all on summer break.
Low season or shoulder season is the spring and falls months and also lull that happens the first 2-3 weeks in January. I broke down the months to visit Maui by the seasons below.
Maui High Season
- Holiday Season – the last 2 weeks of December for Christmas and New Years. These are the busiest 2 weeks of the year. Reservations for any restaurant, activity, hotel, rental car etc is a MUST if visiting during this time. Everything and everywhere is packed! I guess everybody wants to experience a Hawaiian Christmas.
- Winter months – Mid January to mid April. This is peak whale season.
- Summer time – Mid June to the end of August. The kids are out of school and a large number of families travel to Maui during this time.
Maui Low Season
- The first two weeks of January following the holidays. There is always a lull right after the busiest 2 weeks of the year. It is a much needed break for all of us working in the tourism industry before things pick back up for the remainder of the winter.
- Spring time – The month of May to mid June.
- Fall months – September through November with the exception of Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Although up until COVID happened the low season seemed to get shorter and shorter as each year passed. High season seemed to be all year round.
Weather & Climate of Maui
Maui or Hawaii in general has the best weather around, there is a reason that everybody around the globe flocks to the islands. Since the Hawaiian Islands sits on the edge of the tropic zone the temperature is warm all year round. You basically have a dry season and a wet season.
The average temperature on Maui in the summer at the beach is 85° and 75° during the winter months. At night the temperature will drop about 10°. This means that the best time to go to Maui weather wise is anytime. And what you pack for Maui regardless of the season will be the same.
Pro tip: If you plan on visiting Haleakala for sunrise dress very, very warm. It gets very cold on the top of the volcano. The top of the summit in August 2020 was 42° during my last visit.
The rainy season in Maui is winter time. The winter months bring more rain, even Lahaina where it seldom rains. As with most tropical climates the rain won’t last more than a few minutes to a couple hours.
If you do happen to be on Maui during those 2 weeks were it rains non stop on the island, check out these 12 things to do on Maui when it rains.
The Maui dry season is during the summer. The summer months are the driest especially in the leeward side of the island (the West Maui and the South Maui). In the north and east sides of the island or the windward side are cooler and wet.
If you want a bright, sunny beach day head to Lahaina or Kihei, there’s almost always guaranteed sun. Maui’s best beaches are in Kaanapali and Wailea which are just North and South of Lahaina and Kihei.
Maui is full of microclimates, you can experience sunrise atop Haleakala in the winter where it is snowing, spend the morning in Haiku swimming under waterfalls in the lush wet, jungle and finish the day in the desertlike beach in Kihei.
Maui is small enough to drive around in one day, no matter what you’re looking for you can find. Another reason why everyone wants to go to Maui.
Hurricane Season for Hawaii:
Hurricane Season runs June through November for Hawaii. Most hurricanes pass by the islands so this isn’t something I would cancel a vacation over. The last hurricane that hit the islands was Hurricane Iniki in 1992. The island of Kauai suffered the most damage.
In July 2020, Hurricane Douglas was suppose to make landfall but thankfully passed by the islands. All Maui experienced was a few days of non stop rain and higher surf.
Cheapest Time to go to Maui
If you’re traveling Maui on a budget and looking to save a few dollars then the best time to go to Maui is in the low season. You can get better deals on air travel, hotels, rental cars and Maui vacation packages. Especially if you’re booking last minute.
I personally think the best time of year to visit Maui is during the low season. It’s actually an anomaly. 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. This is one of the best things to do in Kaanapali.
Accommodation will be your biggest expense when traveling to Maui. The average hotel costs upwards of $200, a small cost to explore paradise. Traveling in the off season will allow you to get better deals and not have to book as far in advance as you would if you were traveling during high season.
Find out the best places to stay in Maui on a budget to assist in booking your Maui hotels.
Another expense for your Hawaiian vacation will be eating and drinking. Food at the grocery store and in restaurants are expensive. Stick to happy hours and food trucks if you are on a budget. Check out the guides below for ideas on where to eat on Maui.
How to Avoid the Crowds
Visiting Maui in the months of May and September will give you the best opportunity to avoid the crowds. As I mentioned above costs for Maui accommodations, car rentals and activities are generally cheaper during these months as well.
Like most places, getting an early start to the day is one of the best ways to avoid crowds. You’ll be happy you did especially the day you drive the infamous road to Hana. The road is narrows and at points only one lane. Trust me you’ll be thanking yourself that you started this adventure early.
Stay a few nights in Hana. Most people only experience Hana as a day trip. Staying the night allows you to have the mornings to yourself before the day trippers arrive. Hana is magical and full of adventures. This will be one of the best decisions you make on Maui vacation.
The best time to Visit Maui for?
Official whale season is mid December to mid May. The best time to visit Maui for whales is during the peak months of February and March. The whales are super active and a whale watch costs around $40, a cheaper excursion while traveling Maui.
Visiting during whale season are the best times to visit Maui in my opinion, I mean who doesn’t want to witness the magic of the whales. Chance of rain is more common but I think it’s worth the gamble as it never lasts that long.
The best time to visit Maui for snorkeling is in the summertime, May through September. This is perfect if you’re traveling to Maui with a family. Snorkeling is a great activity suitable for all ages and all fitness levels.
Low tide is the best time to go snorkeling which is usually late mornings or early afternoons. Many species of fish and marine life are most active in the mornings and the ocean is calmer. Taking a tour to snorkel Molokini is one of the best water excursions in Maui and one of the top things to do in Kihei.
If you’re an avid surfer and you’re looking for the bigger waves, the best time to visit Maui for surfing is during the winter. Winter months bring the bigger waves to the North Shore. You may even get lucky and be able to witness Jaws going off, which is one of the best things to do in Paia.
If you’re a beginner, summer months bring waves to some great beginner spots. Opt for a lesson to get down the fundamentals and learn the etiquette.
If you keep watching Jurassic Park and want to experience parasailing in the islands you must come in the summer time. Parasailing and jet skis only operate during the summer when its not whale season. This is a excellent way to experience Maui on the water.
For the most part you can hike year round in Maui. Winter brings more rain therefore some trails may be closed due to flash floods. Always check the local weather before going out for a hike. For some hiking inspiration
How Many Days Should I Visit Maui?
In summary when is the best time to visit Maui? Anytime! Maui is a paradise all year round and whichever month you choose to visit I can almost guarantee that you’re in for a trip of a lifetime.