Deciding on the best time for Maui travel is influenced by numerous things. Many visitors have vacation time that is nonnegotiable, and others have children whose time off is determined by school holidays. A budget can be another reason for enjoying travel to Maui in a slower tourist season. Deciding when to go to Maui can be a challenge for some, but for those who have no obstacles, the best time to go can be determined by what you want to do. If you have nothing holding you back from taking your vacation when you want it, there are a few different times of year that are best for spending time by the ocean and activities such as whale watching.
Depending on the specific things to do in Maui that you might be planning, the seasons might influence your decision. Fairly consistent temperatures make Maui an ideal sun destination. As the weather is generally pleasant and mild, there really isn't an unfavorable time for a trip to Maui. In the last few months of the year to around March, Maui does get some rain, but it's not enough to deter anyone from planning Maui vacations. When it does rain, it's generally only in a specific area, not the entire island, and is swift and brief. If you want to surf, the winter months with their huge swells offer superior conditions.
The ocean water surrounding Maui is warm throughout the year, but that shouldn't be the only aspect considered. During the winter, and also throughout the year, there can be heavy currents and riptides in many offshore areas that make swimming dangerous. The best bet is to check with local weather and ocean current forecasts to make sure you're not heading into a danger zone. If you're planning Maui travel anywhere between December and mid-April, expect the island to be crowded. There are some beaches that are dangerous for swimming throughout the year while others experience dangerous currents at specific times. Always check before going out in the water.
December sees the highest rates for Maui hotels, car rentals, flights, tours, and other amenities. The last couple of weeks of December are peak times for travel to Maui. This is one of the most popular seasons for visitors, when many other places in the Northern Hemisphere experience inclement weather. Make reservations as early as you can. If you're planning on any whale watching in Maui from January through April, when the whales are there, plan as far ahead as possible to avoid missing out on a tour.
Other busy times for travel to Maui include the typical school vacation times. The summer months, spring break, Thanksgiving week, and a couple of weeks over Christmas see a great spike in tourism. Families hit the island, taking advantage of the time they have to vacation together. Island tours and other activities are booked up quickly. Snorkeling and diving tours are especially popular, and beaches fill up fast so head out early. Always make any special dining reservations ahead of time. Maui hotels and resorts, especially in the west around Lahaina and Kapalua, fill up. These are great areas to stay through one of the many Maui vacation packages available where slightly better rates will help save money on accommodations. Summer still has lower rates than winter, but the lowest rates are available during the North American months of spring and fall.
Both Maui seasons of winter and summer—the only distinct seasons the island has—do vary in temperature yet remain in the 80-degree range for the high temperatures throughout the year and down to the mid to high 60s for the lows. The water can be anywhere from 75 degrees in the winter to 82 degrees in the summer. If you're staying on either of the leeward (west and south) sides of the island during Maui travel, hot, dry weather is what you'll get. The windward sides, the east and north regions, are typically cooler and more moist. Leeward areas offer a desert feel while windward areas are lush, green, and wet during both Maui seasons.
Though Maui seasons themselves don't really determine how busy the island gets, it's North America's official holidays and popular vacation times within these seasons that predict the island pace. Also during the last week of April, which has three official Japanese holidays, is bustling with Japanese tourists. When visiting during peak times, South Maui offers the largest number of beaches to choose from where families might find some respite from massive crowds. With only a handful of main beaches, West and Upper West Maui both get quite crowded. If you're staying in a busier island area, rental cars offer the freedom to take a drive around and look for the ideal spot for you and your family. Then you'll have access to many other great attractions and the ability to explore the island at your leisure.