Best Time To Visit Kauai, Hawaii: Events, What To Do In 2023
While any time of year is excellent for this Hawaiian island, the best time to visit Kauai is from April to June and September to November.
In the months leading up to summer, the temperature remains ideal, without the crowds of summer holidays. Similarly, from September to November, the rainy season has yet to start, and there are still many events and festivals throughout the small island.
Known as “The Garden Island,” Kauai’s rain is one of the things that makes it so unique. Rain is responsible for the lush green forests and a host of waterfalls throughout the landscape.
Expect short daily showers no matter where you are on the island. Kauai is one of the quietest islands, so sit back, relax, and take advantage of all that The Garden Isle offers.
1. Weather In Kauai
Kauai is hands down the rainiest island in Hawaii; that’s what gives it its rainforest vibe. On average, Kauai’s hottest months are July through early September, ranging from 80 degrees F during the day to 70 degrees F at night, so a trip in September means catching the end of the weather.
The weather remains hot most of the time. The crowds have gone. The coldest weather occurs from December to January, but it still rarely falls below the middle of 60 F at night.
The months that see the most rain are March, November, and December, but keep in mind that there isn’t a time when it doesn’t rain somewhere on the island at any given time.
Staying 100% dry on Kauai vacations is rare. May, June, and July have less chance of rainy weather. In April 2018, the island set national rainfall records after receiving more than four feet of rain in 24 hours. Note that coastal areas tend to see less rain than inland mountainous areas, and most tourists choose to stay close to the beach.
Hurricane seasons in the Central Pacific generally run from June 1 to November 30, but tropical cyclones have been known to appear unexpectedly throughout the year. It’s essential to prepare if a storm warning is issued while on vacation, although Kauai hasn’t seen a direct hit since Category 4 Hurricane Iniki in 1992.
Thanks to the phenomenal tropical climate that Kauai experiences, the water temperature remain between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year.
2. Peak Season On Kauai
Tourism fluctuates on Kauai depending on the time of year, but not much. The highest numbers are from May to August during school holidays and warmer temperatures, with an occasional increase in March for the Easter holidays. Like the other islands, when the weather turns colder on the mainland, tourism tends to increase on Kauai because people want to escape the snow.
With Southwest Airlines debuting new routes from Hawaii to the mainland in 2019, airline ticket prices are expected to drop due to competition from other airlines.
Many visitors choose to stay on the east side of Kauai, either in Lihue near the airport or higher up in Kapaa and Wailua. Accommodations tend to be less expensive here, and the more central location allows visitors to travel to multiple points on the island more easily.
You’ll find more open space on the North Shore in cities like Princeville and Hanalei, though the area is still recovering from the damage suffered by the 2018 floods. The upside is more lush scenery and lots of waterfalls and more access easy to the famous Na Pali coast.
Much less popular, the west side consists of Waimea Canyon and smaller towns like Hanapepe. Plan to be a little more isolated from the rest of the island if you stay in this area.
In the south, Poipu and Koloa tend to be more saturated with tourists than the other parts of the island due to the drier climate and more restaurants and beaches.
3. Popular Parties, Festivals, And Events
Kauai is one of the most minor and most relaxed islands. You won’t find a lot of wild nightlife here, but that certainly adds to its charm. Due to Kauai’s small-town feel, there are many recurring events such as the Priceville Night Market and the Hanapepe Friday Night Festival & Art Walk, The Tasting Kauai Food Tour, and the Farmer’s Market.
This season is the second wettest and the coldest (we’re talking Hawaii standards, so high in the mid-70s and lows in the mid-60s on average). Kauai’s west and south sides tend to see the least amount of rain, so choosing to stay in Poipu or Waimea are good bets if you want to keep up a little drier. It is also a favorite time for snowbirds to congregate in Hawaii due to the low temperatures elsewhere to get busy.
Events to watch:
- The oldest festival on Kauai (over 40 years), Waimea Town Celebration, is a 9-day event celebrating Hawaiian culture.
- Kuhio Day celebrates across the islands with parades and events, and Kauai is no exception. Enjoy live music, activities, and hula at The Prince Kuhio Celebration at Anahola Beach Park.
One of the best times to visit is just before peak season, just before it gets too hot. Since this is also considered a slower season for the tourism industry, there are greater chances of finding great hotel and airfare deals.
Events to watch:
- In March, the Color Run is a 1-3 mile run that benefits the island’s Special Olympics program. Soak up colorful powders as you help raise money for an important cause.
- The Spring Fantasy Orchid Show showcases the tropical flowers that thrive in Kauai’s garden climate. Can’t make it to the festival? Head to Orchid Alley in Old Town Kapaa, open all year.
- Taste of Hawaii Ultimate Sunday Brunch, Kauai’s premier food, and wine tasting event, features chefs from across the state, beverage vendors, live music, and even a silent auction.
Since this is the peak time for Hawaii’s warm weather, it means large crowds and higher reserve prices. Mainlanders flock to the islands for summer vacations, and while most come to Oahu, many tourists also choose Kauai for their holidays.
Events to watch:
- Koloa Planting Days commemorate Kauai’s historical days when the sugar industry flourished in the city of Koloa. It is a historical event that begins with a parade and entertainment.
- Swimmers from around the world travel to Kauai in the summer to enjoy the warm waters of the North Shore for the Hanalei Bay Swim Challenge. The event aims at all ages and abilities.
- Heiva Kauai is an international Tahitian dance competition held in Kapaa Beach Park on Kauai’s northwest shore. Open to all, and there will also be more than 40 vendors offering art, food, and culture demonstrations on the Pacific Island.
- The Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon begin in Poipu and follow the scenic Kauai coastline and the tropical forests around the island.
The summer crowds have started to disperse, and while this season is known for having the coldest temperatures, it is rare to see high temperatures below 80 during the day. You will still get plenty of suns and take advantage of the smaller crowds at the same time.
Events to watch:
- In September, the island celebrates the week-long Kauai Mokihana Festival with a hula competition, Hawaiian music, and cultural performances in Kapaa.
- Hosted by the Kauai Coffee Company, the Kauai Coffee and Chocolate Festival celebrates some of Hawaii’s favorite crops. The festival helds in Hanapepe, with free samples, live music, and presentations on sustainable agriculture.
- The NTBG Holiday Craft Fair is the perfect place to shop for Kauai-made Christmas gifts or souvenirs while enjoying local food and music.
8. What to see and do in Kauai (Hawaii)?
Waimea CanyonWaimea canyon is known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Its 16 km long and 900 meters deep make this place one of the most impressive in Hawaii.
You can get there by car and enjoy the views from its viewpoints. It is a very cloudy place, so you may have to wait for the right moment to appreciate it in all its splendor. We recommend that you bring a jacket because it can get cold.
There are many hiking trails in the area that you can do to get even deeper into nature.
9. Kokee State Park
Following Waimea Canyon Highway 550, you will arrive at Kokee State Park. The park is full of forests and trails for the best hikes in Hawaii. Some of these trails offer views of the Waimea Canyon and others of the north coast of the island and the Na Pali coast.
The trails are liable to disappear after heavy rains, so we advise you to go to the Natural History Museum of the park to ask which ones are open and to walk them does not pose any danger.
The Kalalau Lookouts and Puu O Kila Lookout overlook the Kauai Valley, and if you’re lucky and the day is clear, you can see the Napali Coast.
The day we visited the Canyon and the park, it was raining, and there was a lot of fog, so we could not see practically anything, so we decided to book in the helicopter to see the landscape.
The best trails to enjoy the views of the coast are:
- Awa’awapuhi Trail
- Kalalau Trail
10. Na Pali Coast
The jewel is Hawaii’s crown. We are speechless to describe the beauty of this coast, a wonder of nature, as Jose said when we got off the helicopter. The summit of our traveling life¨, hahaha.
The natural park does not have road access, so there are only three options to see those sharp 1,200-meter-high cliffs. Flying over the coast from the air with a helicopter, sailing on a boat or sailboat, or from land after doing the s enduro Awa’awapuhi Trail that we told you about in the previous section.
The only way to get a good view of the Napali Coast is to make the Awa’awapuhi Trail on a clear day. We had already told you that it had disappeared due to the rains when we visited Hawaii, so we only had to do a boat or helicopter excursion to see the Napali Coast.
Friends, we gave ourselves the luxury, and we did it by helicopter, and it was a total success. We could not only see this coast but the entire island of Kauai from the air, one of the best experiences of our lives without a doubt.
Yes, it is a whim, and it is not cheap, but we recommend it 100%, we will never forget it. If you also want to do the helicopter tour and see the Waimea Canyon, Jurassic Falls, the Napali Coast and enter the crater of the volcano that formed Kauai, here is the link so you can book your flight.
11. East Coast of the island of Kauai
The east coast of Costa Real del Coco, as this area of Kauai is known, is the most populated region of the island and where most of the hotels locate. In part of the island, you can visit waterfalls, go on hiking trails, kayak along the Wailua River, and enjoy the beaches in the area.
On the map, we have pointed out the places we liked the most on the east coast of Kauai:
- Wailua Beach
- Opaeka’a Falls
- Keālia Beach
- Sleeping Giant Trail Head
- Lydgate Beach
12. Luau Kalamau
Another essential trip to Hawaii is to see a Luau to enjoy traditional Hawaiian dances and food. We were doing research, and one of the best Luau in Hawaii is the Kalamau Luau found in Kauai.
13. Where To Stay On Kauai?
There are several areas with hotels on the island despite not being so developed.
Each one has its particular characteristics. Choosing a good location is essential if you are going to spend several days on the garden island. Otherwise, it is not so relevant since you will be moving all the time, going from one attraction to the other.
In summary, the zones could be classified into:
14. South Coast: Koloa, Lawai, and Poipu
Most of the year, it is sunny, and it does not rain. There are good restaurants in the area, and the beaches are lovely, but they are the most popular, so it is not the best place if you are looking for privacy.
Best Time To Visit Kauai
15. North Coast: Princeville, Hanalei and Kilauea
The views in this area are spectacular; it is where the largest waterfalls are, the vegetation is lush, and the beaches are white sand and massive, with few people.
There are luxury and medium-budget accommodations as well. The only downside is that it usually rains a lot in winter (between November and March).
16. East Coast: Kapaa, Lihue and Wailua
It is where I stayed on my trip. The location is convenient for visiting the entire island (close to the north and west), and there are more accessible hotel options.
The only thing is that the nearest beaches are not as beautiful as those on the north coast or as convenient and developed as those in the south.
Best Time To Visit Kauai
17. West Side: Waimea and Hanapepe
This area is close to the most remote beach on the island, Kokee, and the Canon but is very far from the rest. The island is circular, but you cannot go all the way around the Na Pali Coast. It is the most remote place, and reaching the North Coast takes 2 hours. It is a relatively dry area most of the year.
When the Na Pali Coast tour ended, I went straight to the airport. The last island of my trip and the best known and most visited was Oahu waiting for me.
Kauai was by far the best island in Hawaii, the best of all. Green everywhere. The vegetation is incredible, the natural landscapes are amazing. I still had to make the fantastic Kalalau Trail; I hope I can come back one day and do it.
Frequently Asked Questions: Best Time To Visit Kauai
What is the rainiest month in Kauai?
With 2.3 inches of rain or less, the driest months range from April through September. The rainiest month is December, at 5.2 inches of rain.
Where is the best weather in Kauai?
Poipu and Waimea on the South is by far your best bet for dry, sunny days, as it averages around 35 inches of rain per year. Kapaa and Lihue on the eastern side of Kauai would be your second best choice, with an average rainfall of 48 inches per year.
How many days do you need in Kauai?
How many days do you need in Kauai? If you’re visiting multiple islands in Hawaii and trying to decide where to spend your time, I’d recommend a minimum of three days in Kauai. Spend more time here if you like the idea of tropical wilderness and remote beaches.
Is it better to stay in Princeville or Poipu?
The significant difference is most of Poipu proper has accessible beaches and places to dine within walking distance. Princeville mainly involves a short drive to one of the beautiful north shore beaches. Restaurants are lacking in Princeville. Princeville has fabulous views of the lush, verdant mountains and Bali Hai.
Is Kauai more expensive than Maui?
In terms of accommodation, there isn’t a massive difference between both islands but when it comes to shopping and eating Maui can be slightly more expensive as it’s more touristy. Considering accommodation, food, and activities, you can expect to spend between $150 and $250 in Maui and a bit less in Kauai.
Related Searches: Best Time To Visit Kauai
- What Is The Rainy Season In Kauai?
- Best Time To Visit Kauai For Snorkeling
- Weather In Kauai In October
- Weather In Kauai In December
- The Weather In Kauai In April
- Weather In Kauai In November
- Weather In Kauai In March
- The Weather In Kauai In July
Best Time To Visit Kauai