Updated: September 1, 2023
If you’re trying to decide the best time to visit Hawaii, March could be the month you’re looking for. With fantastic weather all year long, you can’t go wrong visiting Hawaii any month, but the time of year can affect travel costs, crowds, and things to see and do.
Your island vacation can be quite different depending on whether you visit Hawaii in the first half of March or the later half. The last two weeks of the month are peak times to visit Hawaii because most schools have spring break then, and it gets more crowded for Easter.
In Hawaii in March, you can expect warm temperatures and a little rain, but cooler evenings than in the summertime. Notable things to see during the month are humpback whales flocking to Hawaiian waters for mating season and the first plumeria blooms of the year.
Hawaii Weather in March
All the islands of Hawaii have great weather year-round, and it’s no different in March. Coming at the tail end of winter, March temperatures are mild in Hawaii, mostly hovering in the 70s.
You can expect sunny days and cool nights. If you decide to visit the beach in the evening, you might need a light jacket as the temperature dips into the 60s. Otherwise, you can pack for beautiful, warm Hawaii weather.
The weather changes depending on which island (and which side of the island) you’re on, so here’s a list of the average highs and lows (in degrees Fahrenheit) for major regions of the Hawaiian islands during March:
- Oahu: High 81/Low 69
- Maui: High 81/Low 65
- Big Island (Kona side): High 82/Low 69
- Big Island (Hilo side): High 79/Low 64
- Kauai: High 78/Low 68
- Molokai: High 78/Low 65
- Lanai: High 76/Low 61
As you can see, the average temperatures range from a high of 82° to a low of 61° depending on where you are. The air tends to be hotter and drier on the south shores of the islands, while the north shores are cooler and wetter because of trade winds sweeping down from the northern hemisphere.
High-elevation areas like Kōkeʻe State Park on Kauai and the volcanoes on Hawaii’s Big Island are colder, so be sure to dress with that in mind if you go on any outdoor adventures well above sea level.
Average ocean temperatures throughout Hawaii stay around 75°F during this final winter month, meaning you’ll always have pleasant temperatures for swimming, snorkeling, and other fun activities in the water.
North shore waves get massive during the winter in Hawaii, but they start to die down in March. If you’re a good surfer, you might catch some huge swells early in the month. By the end of March, you should find more calm days for swimming and low-key surfing even on the north shore beaches.
While it’s technically still the rainy season, the average rainfall in Hawaii in March is around 2 inches in most places. It can reach up to 6 inches in wetter regions, such as the Hilo side of Hawaii Island. The average chance of rain during March is 20 to 30%.
It’s less rainy in March than in the other winter months, and the sudden showers are typically short-lived. Hurricane season in Hawaii runs from June to November, so you don’t have to worry about big storms.
While it’s not the wettest month, you still might prefer to avoid the humid areas of Hawaii in March. If that’s the case, try staying in one of these Hawaii locations that see less rainfall, according to weather data:
- South and West Maui
- South Shore of Oahu
- Big Island’s Kohala Coast
Average Costs of Visiting Hawaii in March
March is a part of Hawaii’s peak season when visitors flock to the islands for spring break fun. Prices for plane tickets, hotels, and car rentals are moderate to high, especially if you try to book them at the last minute.
Late February to early March still has good weather and is less busy, which means you could find lower prices if you avoid going to Hawaii later in the month.
Flights to Hawaii in March average around $500 round trip from the mainland, but the price depends on your originating airport location. West Coast visitors can find cheaper flights than people taking off from the East Coast.
If you schedule your flight for early in the month, you might have better luck finding a lower price since tourism tends to peak in mid- to late March. Flights to Hawaii are typically the priciest in December, June, and July but cheapest in September and October.
Hotel rates are high during peak season, especially around spring break and Easter (if it happens to fall in March). The average rate is $250 to $300 per night, and that’s assuming you book your room well before your trip.
The best places to stay in Hawaii include:
- Iconic Hawaii vibe: The Kona region on the Big Island or Waikiki on Oahu
- Fewer tourists: The Hilo region of the Big Island, Kauai, Lanai
- Most expensive: Maui, Lanai
- Best nightlife: Waikiki, Kahului
- Deep in nature: Kauai, Lanai, Big Island’s upcountry
If you rent a car during the busy season, you might spend anywhere from $50 to $150 per day. The prices depend on the type of car, how far you book in advance, and the rental company’s demand at the time.
You can find rideshare services like Uber and Lyft on Maui, Oahu, the Big Island, and Kauai. If you aren’t going very far from where you’re staying, you could save money on rentals, gas, and parking fees by sticking with rideshare.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Hawaii During March?
March gets busy starting in the middle of the month. School holidays give tourists the chance to swarm the Hawaii beaches for spring vacation, so you can expect the islands to have large crowds during this time.
If you want to avoid the hustle and bustle, try planning your trip dates for early March. Book your flights and accommodations at least a month or two ahead to avoid higher prices and unavailability.
Not sure if March is the best time to visit? Check out our guide on deciding the best time to visit Hawaii.
Most schools have spring holidays in late or mid-March, so the hotels and beaches will quickly fill up during those last couple of weeks. If you’re planning to spend your spring vacation in Hawaii, prepare for higher prices and lots more people.
Crowds in the High Season
Though the summer months are always the most hectic, late December through March is also a popular time to visit Hawaii. The low-season months are April to mid-June (Spring) and September to mid-December (Autumn).
It might not be as chaotic as the summer crowds, but the spring holidays bring in a flood of tourists in March. If Easter falls during the month, expect even more congested beaches.
Which Islands Are the Most Crowded?
If you’re looking for a party, Oahu and Maui are Hawaii’s most crowded islands. Those two islands typically account for over half of all visitors to Hawaii each year. For more peace and quiet on your tropical vacation, try Hawaii’s least crowded island: Kauai.
Things To Do When You Go to Hawaii in March
Whether you want sunny beach vibes or tropical paradise hikes, there’s plenty to find in Hawaii year-round. March highlights are whale-watching, surfing, snorkeling, cultural events, and seeing the plumeria bloom.
Events Happening in March
- Honolulu Festival. This festival of “Pacific Harmony” takes place in the center of Honolulu every March, celebrating the mix of Asian, Pacific, and Hawaiian cultures. Tourists and locals can enjoy cultural dances, live music, educational programs, and a magnificent parade on Waikiki’s main avenue.
- Marathons. If you’re a fitness fiend and want to run, bike, or swim through Hawaii’s gorgeous scenery, The Lavaman Triathlon Marathon and Big Island International Marathon take place in March.
- Kona Brewers Festival. The Ke Kai Ala Foundation hosts this festival every March to raise funds for Hawaii’s conservation, youth, and culture. You can show your support while tasting handcrafted brews and delicious local cuisine.
- Ukulele Festival at Waikoloa. Celebrate Hawaii’s iconic instrument at the Waikoloa Beach Resort. Whether you’re a ukulele master or never even held one, you can have fun, get lessons, and bond over your love of music and Hawaii.
- Anahola Prince Kuhio Day Celebration. This event honors the lasting legacy of Prince Kuhio and his positive impact on the lives of native Hawaiians. Join locals and tourists in celebrating Hawaiian culture through exhibits, hula performances, and live music.
Catch a Glimpse of the Humpback Whales
The koholā (humpback whale) has a lot of cultural significance in Hawaii, appearing in creation stories and ancient Hawaiian art. When the humpback whales come to Hawaii during mating season, the locals view it as a homecoming because the whales were born in Hawaiian waters.
If you want to try your luck at spotting one of these spectacular creatures while you’re in Hawaii, the best place to go whale-watching is the ‘Au’au Channel between Maui’s western shores and the islands of Molokai and Lanai.
Surfing in March
If you’re savvy with a surfboard and looking for giant waves, you can find them during early March when winter winds are still blasting the northern shores. By mid-March, the waves start to calm, which is perfect for beginners still learning how to surf.
Surfing lessons are abundant on the beaches of Hawaii, but Waikiki Beach is the most famous spot in Hawaii for getting your feet on the board for the first time.
Maybe you would rather watch the experienced surfers carve the waves while you watch safely from the beach. In that case, you should take a day trip to Waimea Bay, a hot spot for expert surfers on the north shore of Oahu.
Since the waves start to settle in March, surfing might not be as thrilling as it is in the winter. Come back in November or December to watch Hawaii’s exhilarating surfing competitions on the North Shore, like the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
Best Places to Go Snorkeling
Typically, Hawaii’s southern shores have the best weather and calmest waters for checking out underwater marine life. The northern shores can be too rough for swimming during March, especially early in the month.
For the best snorkeling spots on every island, check out these locations:
- Big Island: Kealakekua Bay in Kailua-Kona, home to diverse marine life and the historical location where westerners first made contact with Native Hawaiians
- Oahu: Shark’s Cove on the North Shore, a rocky bay famous for diving and snorkeling, with shallow, bright blue waters (and no actual sharks)
- Maui: Molokini Crater, a small, crescent-shaped island popular for its coral reef with over 250 types of tropical fish
- Molokai: Molokai reef, the longest barrier reef in Hawaii at 28 miles
- Lanai: Hulopoe Bay, featuring large tide pools surrounded by volcanic rock and full of hermit crabs, sea stars, and other ocean life
Deep-Sea Fishing in March
Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just like to relax on the ocean, Hawaii has fantastic opportunities for deep-sea fishing. The Kona Coast is one of the best spots for fishing because of its deep drop-off just off the shore of the Big Island, home to the legendary 1,000-pound marlins.
You can find charters in Honokohau Harbor near Kona Airport, but it gets unusually busy during spring vacation. Book ahead to save your spot! Alternative deep-sea fishing spots include Nawiliwili Harbor in Lihue, Kewalo Basin in Honolulu, or Maalaea Harbor in Maui.
During March, you have the best chance of catching these fish in deep Hawaiian waters:
- Striped Marlin
- Shortbill Spearfish
- Mahi Mahi
Where to Admire the Plumeria Blooms
Plumeria are a popular lei flower in Hawaii, and you can see the tree’s vibrant blooms appear in March. The flowers come in many colors, including red, pink, yellow, and white. Many visitors feel that plumerias represent the lively, colorful vibe of Hawaii.
To see this fragrant flower up close, visit the plumeria grove in Koko Crater Botanical Garden in Honolulu. The garden has a 2-mile trail that weaves through hundreds of blooming plumeria trees. If you’re closer to Maui, you could visit the Maui Garden of Eden to see the blooms.
Find Your Perfect Beach Day When You Visit Hawaii in March
Sunny weather, cozy ocean temperatures, heavy waves, majestic whale-watching, and an explosion of colorful plumeria flowers are the highlights of going to Hawaii in March. If you’re considering escaping to the islands during spring vacation, we hope these tips help make your getaway memorable!