December - March; June - August
It might be subtle—or completely indiscernible to non-residents—but winter does come to Hawaii. It begins at the end of November and lasts through March. This is when the whales arrive and give birth to their calves, and when the storms that originate in the Aleutians create ocean swells that travel thousands of miles and unleash their fury on Hawaiian shores in the form of colossal waves. During these months, Honolulu weather is stormier and slightly cooler (with average temperatures in the mid-70s) than it is the rest of the year, but it’s positively balmy for those who have been shoveling snow out of their driveways. The desire to defrost makes this a peak travel time, particularly when everyone goes on Christmas vacation. Likewise, summer vacation—when the kids are out of school—is the getaway time for families, so hotel occupancies and rates are up between June and August, too. There truly isn't a bad time to visit, and the best time to visit Honolulu depends on your taste. If you're looking to escape the snow in winter or complete your summer with one last beach vacation Honolulu will always be waiting.
April - May
In between spring break and summer vacation, there’s a lull in tourism to the islands. These are some of the best times to visit Honolulu, weather-wise, because the high temperatures, hovering in the low 80s, don’t approach the extreme highs of summer, and you avoid the consecutive gloomy, cold, rainy days that tend to put a damper on winter vacations. Surfers appreciate the less crowded line-ups, honeymooners take advantage of more secluded pockets of beach, and most hotels offer discounts and package deals. If you’re visiting in spring, May is when to go to Honolulu to catch a high school graduation, one of the most festive occasions in Hawaii, where you’ll find every graduate drowning in gorgeous, colorful lei.
Call it the calm before the storm. During these months, people are readying themselves for the holiday season and waiting for their year-end bonuses before they go on vacation. (Even Santa Claus doesn’t make it over until December, but when he finally does show up, it’s in slippers and board shorts.) Summer tends to linger, and autumn days are still long and warm, offering a few extra hours to squeeze in a sunset activity like a cocktail cruise or a romantic stroll on the beach without having to rush back from a full day’s pursuits. Towards the end of the year, when you are just wanting to get away, can be the best time to visit Honolulu for rest, relaxation and shoulder season sun. Visitor attractions are less crowded this time of year, car rentals and room rates are more affordable, and you can go home and sport a tan at Thanksgiving dinner.