hawaii in september

Hawaii in September: Everything You Need to Know About Visiting

From The
Blog

Updated: November 1, 2022

Finding the best time to visit Hawaii depends on many factors, but September offers a great option.

Visit Hawaii in September to enjoy the warmest ocean temperatures, declining prices, and a reduction in the summer crowds.

Whether you want to visit the Big Island or another Hawaii island, keep reading to learn what to expect from the weather, events, and more if you visit Hawaii in September.

An Overview of Weather in Hawaii in September

Hawaii weather in September offers pleasant temperatures between 73 and 89 degrees Fahrenheit. Trade winds from the northeast somewhat calm the high humidity.

The rainy season doesn’t begin until November, so September rain tends to be mild-to-moderate with a higher chance on the northernmost islands.

The average rainfall statewide in September is less than four inches.

September falls within Hawaii’s hurricane season, but the islands only face a low risk. A hurricane has not made landfall in Hawaii since 1992, so don’t let hurricane season stop you from visiting.

The ocean reaches its warmest temperature in September, offering surfers, swimmers, sea kayakers, and canoeists the most pleasant water all year.

Hawaii Weather in September, by Island

Six Central Pacific islands make up the U.S. state of Hawaii, all offering beautiful, hot weather during September.

Big Island

The Big Island offers a variety of September weather patterns, depending on where you are. You may be surfing at sea level off the coast with a snow-capped volcano visible in the distance.

If you go on a hike into the hills or drive into the mountains, bring several clothing layers to stay comfortable as you hike higher up and the temperature drops.

Maui

The second-largest island in Hawaii, Maui, also offers a variety of weather depending on what part of the island you visit. Areas closer to the coast tend to be warmer while temperatures cool as you gain elevation.

The average temperatures on Maui in September reach lows of 60˚ F and highs of 77˚ F.

Oahu

Oahu enjoys warm weather in September, averaging in the 80s. The wet season doesn’t begin until the middle of November, so September makes a great month to visit.

Kauai

Kauai, also known as the Garden Island, experiences the same hot temperatures as the other islands. Temperatures average in the 80s, rarely sinking below 75˚ F.

Molokai

If you’re visiting Molokai, September represents an excellent choice. With great weather averaging around 74˚ F, you’ll be able to enjoy everything the island has to offer with little chance of rain.

Lanai

Lanai weather is the warmest in September, averaging between 81˚ and 84˚ F.

The island sees little to no rainfall during the summer months, so your trip won’t be spoiled by unwanted moisture.

Hawaii Crowds in September

Despite the beautiful September weather, crowds in Hawaii tend to decrease after Labor Day weekend.

The end of September is one of the least crowded times to visit Hawaii because summer break has ended for most school-aged kids.

Book your trip to Hawaii in September to enjoy the beaches and lovely Hawaii weather with fewer crowds.

Costs of Visiting Hawaii in September

You must consider several costs before traveling to Hawaii, including airfare, lodging, and the costs of activities like whale watching and snorkeling.

With summer demands decreasing, rates for visiting Hawaii in September tend to be lower.

Plane Tickets to Hawaii

Plane ticket prices tend to drop as U.S. school-aged children return to school in mid-August. Visitors can generally find more affordable tickets to Hawaii starting in July.

Hawaii Hotel Rates

Hawaii hotel rates also decline, allowing for a cheaper visit than you would experience during peak season. Despite these lower hotel rates, you may find a more budget-friendly option by renting an Airbnb or staying at a hostel.

Food Costs in Hawaii

Food represents one of the most significant expenses during a trip. However, you can save some money by eating at food trucks instead of restaurants or opting for accommodations with a kitchen or kitchenette to prepare your own meals.

Cultural Celebrations on the Hawaiian Islands in September

For many people, visiting Hawaii is about experiencing the unique, rich culture and learning about Hawaiian history.

If you want a memorable Hawaiian cultural experience, check out one of these September festivals, which feature traditional food, music, dance, and more.

Aloha Festivals on Oahu

The largest cultural celebration in Hawaii, Aloha Festivals, first began in 1946 to celebrate Hawaii’s history, music, and dance.

The island of Oahu hosts many Aloha Festival events during the celebration to help foster the aloha spirit, including a traditional opening ceremony, a block party, and a parade.

Opening Ceremony

Visit Hawaii in September to witness the opening ceremony, which honors Hawaii’s ruling chiefs with a Royal Court Investiture followed by hula and other performances.

Attend this Aloha Festival event to experience Hawaii’s traditional dress, music, and dance.

Waikiki Ho’olaule’a

The Waikiki Ho’olaule’a transforms Kalakaua avenue into the largest block party of the year. Booths lining the street and live entertainment make this event part fair, part performance.

Visit this epic party to try Hawaiian foods and celebrate local culture.

Floral parade

Aloha Festivals concludes with the Floral Parade, a procession of floats, traditional Pa’u horseback riders, marching bands, hula dancers, and other incredible sights celebrating the aloha spirit.

Festivals of Aloha on Maui

Maui also hosts September celebrations. The Festivals of Aloha include many events offering local cuisine, art, music, and more.

Banyan Tree Ho’olaule’a

The Banyan Tree Ho’olaule’a is a large celebration featuring Hawaiian food, artists, children’s activities, music, and hula. This event is located at Lahaina Banyan Tree Park, which houses the oldest living tree on Maui.

Aloha Friday

Learn about Hawaiian tradition through the cultural exhibits at Aloha Friday. This event also includes local music, hula, and activities for the kids.

Richard Ho’opi’i Leo Ki’eki’e Falsetto Contest

Attend this falsetto singing competition to experience traditional songs of Hawaiian culture. The Festivals of Aloha also hosts a female falsetto contest in the spring.

Mokihana Festival on Kauai

Check out this week-long cultural celebration if you’ll be staying on Kauai during your September visit to Hawaii.

Learn about Hawaiian history and tradition through lectures and workshops, and enjoy hula competitions and traditional music.

Hawaiian Church Service

Kapa’a First Hawaiian Church, founded in 1879 by Queen Deborah Kapule, hosts a Hawaiian church service to kick off the Mokihana Festival. The service features music in Hawaiian and English.

This event may be virtual. Check out The Mokihana Festival website to learn how to attend.

WORKSHOPs

The Mokihana Festival hosts several workshops where you can learn about different aspects of Hawaiian culture and history.

These workshops may include topics like Queen Liliʻuokalani, Kanikapila music, and hula. See the website to find out what workshops the festival will host this year.

Hula Kahiko Nei

Attend this hula competition to see some incredible performances and costumes by both groups of dancers and soloists.

Composers contest

The Mokihana Festival concludes with a contest for music composition. Composers compete in various categories like Hawaiian and Contemporary with free-form hula performances.

Other September Events in Hawaii

Although September doesn’t see as many tourists as the preceding summer months, you can fill your trip with a wide variety of events, including:

  • Queen Liliuokalani’s birthday celebration: Celebrate the birthday of Hawaii’s last sovereign monarch in Honolulu.
  • Queen Liliuokalani Canoe Race: Watch or participate in the world’s biggest outrigger canoe race, a five-day competition in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island.
  • Taste of Lahaina: Sample food from restaurants across Maui at this three-day culinary extravaganza.
  • Maui County Fair: Visit the Maui County Fair for rides, food, and fun.
  • Kauai Marathon: If you’re an athlete, participate in the Kauai Marathon, beginning and ending in Poipu and featuring many amazing views.
  • Slack Key Guitar Festival: Visit the Big Island to watch Hawaii’s best guitarists perform in the “slack-key” style.
  • Battle of the Food Trucks: Enjoy a culinary competition between food trucks using locally-grown ingredients in Kauai.
  • Hawaii Line Dance Festival and Craft Fair: Visit this Kauai event to find wares from more than 30 vendors, sample food trucks, and win prizes. The proceeds from this event support the Kauai Veterans Center and Museum.

Most events are in-person, but always check official website information to be sure.

Places to See on All the Hawaiian Islands

Don’t miss these beautiful sights and unforgettable experiences if you visit Hawaii in September.

Big Island

Enjoy the Hawaiian history and unique landscape of Hawaii’s Big Island.

  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Get a close look at an active volcano.
  • Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Park: Visit this spiritual sanctuary to learn some fascinating history.
  • Akaka Falls State Park: Walk this footpath for some stunning waterfall views.
  • Hapuna Beach: This state recreation area on the Big Island’s Kohala Coast is one of Hawaii’s most extensive white sand beaches.

Maui

Whether you want to see a few sea turtles or enjoy the natural landscape, Maui makes an excellent option for your visit.

Many organizations, including the Pacific Whale Foundation, host snorkeling tours, whale watching tours, and more from the island.

  • Haleakala National Park: Check out group tours of this beautiful park.
  • Iao Valley State Monument Hike: Go on a hike to see the unique land feature called Kuka’emoku, or the Iao Needle.
  • Molokini Crater: Go snorkeling or diving to enjoy the beauty of the Molokini reef.
  • Road to Hana: Take the family on a scenic drive along this 52-mile highway.

Oahu

Visit Oahu to surf the waves preferred by local surfers, see Pearl Harbor, or enjoy dozens of beautiful beaches.

  • USS Arizona Memorial: This memorial honors the thousands of U.S. soldiers killed during the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack.
  • Iolani Palace: Book your tour to visit this royal residence, first built in 1882.
  • Diamond Head State Monument: Hike this unique landscape to enjoy stunning coastal views.
  • North Shore: Warm ocean temperatures and dozens of beaches make the North Shore famous for surfing and snorkeling.
  • Waikiki Beach: This South Shore beach offers another popular surf spot. Bring your beach chairs, or schedule surfing lessons.

Kauai

Visit the Garden Island to see Hawaii’s native flora and enjoy other stunning views. Many visitors consider Kauai the best island for a helicopter tour because of the beautiful landscape.

  • Napali Coast State Wilderness Park: Visit this state park to view the stunning cliffs and waterfalls of the Napali Coast.
  • McBryde Garden: Discover native Hawaiian flora at this tropical botanical garden.
  • Allerton Garden: Another Kauai botanical garden is Allerton Garden, featuring unique plants, water features, and more.
  • Tunnels Beach: No trip to Kauai is complete without snorkeling or diving at Tunnels Beach.
  • Hanalei Bay: Visit the largest Bay on Kauai’s northern coast for some swimming, paddle boarding, and snorkeling.

Molokai

This small island remains largely unaffected by tourism and is called “real” Hawaii by locals.

You won’t find any resorts on Molokai, but visitors wanting to experience the “real” Hawaii enjoy the beautiful landscape.

  • Kalaupapa National Historical Park: Visit the isolated small-town community of Kalaupapa to learn about the community’s strength in facing adversity.
  • Papohaku Beach: Watch the sunset at Papokaku beach with that special someone.

Lanai

The smallest of the Hawaiian Islands,Lanai offers visitors a landscape unspoiled by tourism. Visitors love the offroading 4×4 adventures and the beaches made private by far fewer visitors.

  • Keahiakawelo: This “Garden of the Gods” offers visitors gorgeous views of a unique landscape created by more than a million years of erosion.
  • Lanai Cathedrals: These lava tubes create a unique and gorgeous underwater structure. If you’re a scuba diver, don’t miss this unforgettable dive.

September Activities in Hawaii

Surfing

Hawaii’s giant waves show up between January and March, but September offers warm temperatures in the water, making it an ideal month for surfing.

Visit Oahu to surf breaks loved by beginners and experienced surfers alike. The waves on the island’s north shore prove tricky, bringing professional surfers out while beginners enjoy smaller waves on the south shores.

If you’re visiting Hawaii for the surf, choose Oahu over all the other islands to experience the best waves or get professional lessons from one of the dozens of surf schools.

Learning how to surf with your family may end up being the highlight of your trip.

Swimming

September visitors love to swim in the oceans around Hawaii thanks to the warm water temperature.

If you go for a swim during your Hawaii trip, you must keep a few things in mind, especially if you’ve never swum in an ocean before.

Oceanic currents prove dangerously strong in some places around Hawaii. For example, we encourage only experienced swimmers and surfers to visit Lopa Beach on Lanai because rip currents can pull even strong swimmers out to sea.

Stay safe, swim in a group, and always watch your little ones carefully.

Swimmers in Hawaii must also make sure to use only reef-safe sunscreen to help protect the natural ecosystem.

Paddleboarding

Stand-up paddleboarding provides another great way to enjoy the ocean in Hawaii. Rent a paddleboard from a local shop, or join a tour to enjoy some unique views.

You can find guided paddleboard tours on the Big Island, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, and Kauai, and rental shops throughout the islands.

Snorkeling

No matter which island you stay on, you’ll find amazing snorkeling opportunities.

Hawaii boasts dazzling marine life, beautiful reefs, and other underwater formations you must see if you enjoy snorkeling.

Book your reservation ahead of time to ensure you don’t miss out on your snorkeling adventure. Hawaii in September sees fewer tourists than in other months, but it’s still a good idea to reserve what you can early.

Scuba Diving

Are you scuba certified? Do you find the life below the ocean’s surface more interesting than the landscape above?

Diving tours take place all over Hawaii. Explore the underwater volcano at Molokini Crater, or take in the spectacular beauty at the Cathedrals of Lanai.

Wherever you decide to dive, reserve your spot early to ensure that you don’t miss out on your Hawaii diving adventure.

Hiking

This tropical paradise houses land formations and plants you can’t see anywhere else in the world.

Whether you take the trail to the summit of Le’ahi at Diamond Head on Oahu or hike up to see the Iao Needle on Maui, you’ll enjoy the beautiful Hawaiian landscape.

Be sure to pack a jacket for your hike, even if the temperature is hot when you leave your hotel. Temperatures cool down as you move higher into the hills and mountains, so be prepared.

Horseback Riding

The only thing better than enjoying the stunning Hawaiian landscape is doing so on horseback. Hawaii offers many horseback riding tours on trails throughout the islands.

Visit the canyons of Haleakala via a horseback riding tour, or find another trail ride close to where you’re staying. These tours provide fun for both adults and children.

Outrigger Canoeing

If you’re like us, you’ve wanted to get into an outrigger canoe since seeing Disney’s Moana for the first time.

Hawaii offers opportunities to experience outrigger canoeing in Maui and Oahu.

Whether you have experience with outrigger canoes or have never seen one in person, you’ll enjoy a guided outrigger tour off the Hawaiian coast.

On your tour, you may even see some local wildlife like whales and turtles.

Shopping at Collections of Waikiki

For many visitors, a vacation to Hawaii remains incomplete without at least one shopping day. Oahu provides the best shopping with many malls, shopping centers, and local boutiques.

If you’re spending your shopping day in Waikiki, be sure to check out these essential brands:

  • ABC Stores has offered its wares to Hawaii since 1949. Shop for Hawaii clothing, jewelry, fragrances, and even coffee.
  • Angels by the Sea Hawaii offers locally-designed, handmade dresses and jewelry in the island style.
  • Find beachwear, surfwear, and more at Hawaiian Island Creations (HIC).
  • Get your aloha shirt from Kahala, the company that created the first ones.
  • LeaLea Market Originals lets customers customize their own sandals and hydro-flasks. Visit to create your perfect pair of beach sandals.
  • Not done customizing? Find personalized gold and silver jewelry at Na Pua II. Shop for bracelets, necklaces, and other fine jewelry.
  • Tori Richard offers resort wear for men and women, including hand-painted designs.
  • Need some swimsuits? Find beachwear for the whole family at the popular shop Waikiki Beachboy.

If you need a pick-me-up while shopping, stop by Honolulu Coffee at the Sheraton or Moana Surfrider for some caffeine. You might also hit The Cookie Corner at the Sheraton or Princess Kaiulani for a sweet treat.

Is September a Good Time to Visit Hawaii?

Yes! With lower hotel rates, dozens of events, and great weather for outdoor tours and activities, September makes an excellent month to visit the state of Hawaii. Be sure to find your plane tickets starting in July for the cheapest rates on airfare.

If you’re still unsure if September is the best month for your Hawaii visit, read our other guides on visiting Hawaii throughout the year. We’ll help you decide the best month for your Hawaiian vacation.

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