(Tripsavvy) – Maui is famous for its multiple micro-climates, ranging from dry and desert-like to humid and verdant. For this reason, the weather on one side of the island may not reflect the weather on another side. If it is raining in Hana, it might be sunny in Lahaina or cold in Paia but dry and warm in Kihei. Each side of the island presents its own unique climate and weather patterns, so deciding where to stay on Maui can be significant for travelers looking for a specific kind of vacation.
The Hawaiian islands truly only have two seasons: summer and winter. On Maui, the dry season occurs during the summer months from April to October, and the rainy season corresponds to the winter months typically from November to March.
Most of the time, Maui’s west coast sees the least amount of rain due to the lower elevation. This is where you’ll find the resort-heavy areas of Kaanapali, Lahaina, and Kihei, and it tends to be sunny and warm almost year-round. In the west Maui mountains, however, it rains quite a bit. The green Iao Valley and botanical gardens thrive here under almost daily rainfall. The eastern side, or windward side, is generally rainier as well. This contributes to the lush landscapes that attract visitors to the Road to Hana.
Central Maui tends to experience colder, drier, and windier weather, sometimes dropping a full 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the island in the wintertime. This especially applies to Haleakala National Park where it can snow on the summit. Even in the summer, a drive up to the Haleakala Visitors Center at almost 10,000 feet above sea level always necessitates warm clothes.
Fast Climate Facts
Hottest Month: August (77 degrees F/61 degrees F)
Coldest Month: February (70 degrees F/55 degrees F)
Wettest Month: December (24.6 inches)
Best Month for Swimming: July (ocean temperature averages 78.6 degrees F)
Hurricane Season on Maui
Hurricane season on Maui runs from June to November, usually peaking from July through September. Full hurricanes rarely hit the islands, especially Maui, but it is always good to be prepared if you are planning a vacation during this time. Consult the FEMA emergency preparedness website before your trip, and be sure to stay updated on the weather while you’re there.
Summer on Maui
Summertime on Maui is the driest season, with average monthly rainfall falling between three to 13 inches. The only exception is when the warm water of the Pacific Ocean helps to form hurricanes that may, though rarely, affect the islands with rain or wind. Temperatures on average range from the mid- to high 80s during the day and only dip below the mid-60s sporadically. While the whole season is known for dry, hot weather, August and September tend to be that warmest months of the year on Maui.
Ocean temperatures are pleasantly hot as well around the mid-80s, making the summer perfect for swimming. Humidity on Maui depends on where you are on the island, but the tourist-heavy areas such as Kihei and Lahaina will be more humid during the summer. Thankfully, the famous trade winds blow frequently during this time to help cool down the island.
What to pack: For those staying in the resort areas in the summer, warm-weather clothes will be all you need. Hawaii is known for being very casual with very few dress codes, and Maui is no exception. If you’re staying in eastern or central Maui, it may be a good idea to pack some light jackets and closed-toe shoes for hiking. Most visitors don’t think of packing winter coats, pants, and sweaters for a summer trip to Hawaii, but if you’re planning on catching the sunrise or sunset on Haleakala, you will need warm layers any time of the year.
Average Temperatures by Month:
- April: 81 F / 67 F
- May: 82 F / 68 F
- June: 84 F / 70 F
- July: 85 F / 71 F
- August: 86 F / 72 F
- September: 86 F / 71 F
- October: 85 F / 70 F
Winter on Maui
December, January, and February typically have the lowest temperatures of the year, as well as the wettest weather. Large North swells create big waves on the North and Northwest sides of the island, attracting surfers and ocean-sport enthusiasts. Temperatures range from the mid-60s to the low 80s depending on the area, and the ocean temperatures level around the mid-70s. Keep in mind that even though the winter season is noticeably colder than the summer, it’s not by much. You will still need to have ample sun protection during this time.
What to pack: Pack similar clothes that you would pack in the summer with the addition of a pair of jeans or a sweater in case it gets cold outside in the evenings. If you’re doing any kind of hiking during these months, make sure to have steady closed-toe shoes with good traction, as the rainy weather will make Maui’s trails and paths more susceptible to mud and flooding. As mentioned before, the winter still packs a punch in terms of sun, so sunglasses and hats will still be necessary.
Average Temperatures by Month:
- November: 82 F / 69 F
- December: 80 F / 67 F
- January: 79 F / 65 F
- February: 79 F / 65 F
- March: 80 F / 65 F
Average Monthly Temperature, Rainfall, and Daylight Hours
- January: 79 F / 65 F; 24.3 inches; 11 hours
- February: 79 F / 65 F; 18.9 inches; 11 hours
- March: 80 F / 65 F; 27 inches; 11.75 hours
- April: 81 F / 67 F; 13.8 inches; 12.3 hours
- May: 82 F / 68 F; 7.4 inches; 13 hours
- June: 84 F / 70 F; 4.3 inches; 13.3 hours
- July: 85 F / 71 F; 7.7 inches; 13.3 hours
- August: 86 F / 72 F; 6.4 inches; 13 hours
- September: 86 F / 71 F; 3.7 inches; 12.5 hours
- November: 82 F / 69 F; 18.3 inches; 11.3 hours
- December: 80 F / 67 F; 24.6 inches; 11 hours
Whale Watching Season on Maui
If you’re lucky enough to be traveling to Maui during whale watching season from November to May, be sure to plan some activities around viewing these majestic visitors. While booking a tour on a whale watching boat is the easiest method, there are also several hikes on the island that offer some great ocean views. Hawaii’s migrating humpbacked whales absolutely love the warm water of the Molokai channel that runs between Maui and Molokai, and there are plenty of boats leaving from Lahaina Harbor for tourists to enjoy.