Hawaii is renowned for having ideal weather year-round, so the answer to when is the best time to visit Hawaii is truly any time. However, the Big Island tends to experience an influx of visitors during the winter months, for those looking to escape the cold and spend a holiday vacation in tropical paradise. There are also several special events and annual occurrences you may want to keep in mind when picking trip dates.
October – Ironman World Championship
October is a very busy time for Kona as athletes from around the world fly to the Big Island for this annual triathlon. The race involves swimming 24 miles, biking 112 miles, and running a marathon in under 17 hours. In anticipation, many special events are planned by local businesses in the week leading up to the big race. The finish line of the race itself is something to behold, combining music, big jumbotron screens, and an intense energy as athletes cross, crawl, and cry across the finish line to the announcer yelling, “YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!” To witness this championship is a one-of-a-kind experience, but plan to book your rental car and accommodations very far in advance to secure your trip. We also recommend spending at least one of your evenings away from the Ironman crowds and above the clouds, stargazing and watching the sunset atop the dormant volcano, Mauna Kea.
November – Kona Coffee Fest
The annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is 10 days of a coffee lover’s paradise with more than 40 hosted events. The festival is packed with local coffee tastings, coffee-related workshops, contests, performances, and even its own pageant to crown Miss Kona Coffee. A $3 souvenir button is your admission to the main event. More information and a schedule of events can be found at konacoffeefest.com. We also recommend the Segway Mamalahoa Tour for a unique view of the region’s coffee farms while zipping around on a Segway.
January – Mitsubishi Electric PGA Tour Golf Championship
Avid golfers may want to coordinate their Hawaii vacation to coincide with the Mitsubishi Electric Championship taking place every year in January at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. Attend the three-day event as a spectator or perhaps consider dining in the Four Seasons restaurants during those days for an increased chance of running into your favorite PGA Tour Champions. Don’t forget to also make time to experience the active volcano on the island during your trip. For more information or to purchase championship tickets, visit pgatour.com/mec.
November to April – Whale Season
Large pods of humpback whales – numbering over 10,000 total – visit the Hawaiian islands every year beginning in November and sticking around through April. This endangered species averages about 45 feet long and are a sight to behold when breaching the water. The best spots for sighting are on the northwest side of the island, north of Kona. During this time, several whale watching tours will be available. Scuba diving or snorkeling guided tours in nearby waters may even give you a chance to hear the whales singing underwater.
June to September – Hawaii Marlin Fishing Tournament Series
The Hawaii Marlin Tournament (HMT) series made up of mostly 2-3 day fishing tournaments can add an element of friendly competition (and possible cash prize) to your Hawaii fishing adventures. The annual Kewalo Big Fish Chase continues to honor Captain Cornelius Choy for his longstanding record for largest marlin in the world caught on rod and reel on June 10, 1970 and weighing 1,805 pounds. What will your biggest catch be? More information at konatournaments.com. The annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament is also held in July/August.
Regardless of what month you choose to travel to Hawaii, your trip will no doubt be filled with warm, sunny days; marine wildlife sightings; and the aloha spirit typical of island life year-round.