Hawaii is a travel destination that is featured on almost everyone’s bucket list. Often known as a luxury destination, the Hawaiian Islands can very much be enjoyed on a budget. This comprehensive guide will show you how to experience the paradise of the Pacific in the month of February without costing you an arm and a leg.
Note on Related Articles: This article is part of a series of articles to help our readers decide which month is best to visit the Hawaiian Islands. If you are thinking of going to Hawaii in a different month, please check out our other articles listed at the end of this one.
February Weather in Hawaii
If you want to avoid the intense summer heat, February is a great month to visit Hawaii. The beaches and waters remain warm enough for swimming and other water sports. The nights can get a bit chilly, in the mid to high 60s. Just add a light sweater or jacket to your Hawaii packing list and you’ll be fine.
It can get colder at higher elevations, such as the Kokee State Park in northwestern Kauai or the Volcano range on the Big Island. Make sure you’re wearing pants and a light jacket while visiting the taller volcanoes and summits.
February is one of the rainy months, but it still sees less rainfall compared to December. If you’re worried about rain, stick to the leeward side of the islands. This includes the Kohala Coast on Big Island, south and southwestern areas of Oahu, and south Maui. Rain showers in February usually occur at night so you’ll have plenty of sunny mornings and afternoons to enjoy your time here.
The average daytime temperatures stay between 73°F and 79°F. After the sun goes down, temperatures reach as low as 68°F, making it perfect for a night out at the local bars and restaurants.
The Pacific waters in February are 74°F – 76°F, so you’ll have a sensational time swimming or surfing or any number of things that are water-related.
Ocean temperatures don’t fluctuate too much from season to season or month to month. You can swim in the ocean in February even though it’s one of the cooler months.
Storms north of Hawaii and trade winds from the east create rough waters with big waves off the northern and eastern shores during this time of year.
Due to the ocean being more unpredictable, it can be unsafe to get in the water on the northern and eastern sides of the islands. Monitor the surf closely if you consider swimming in these parts.
The western shores can also experience high surf due to storms, while the southern shores are usually calm.
Cost to Visit Hawaii in February
The cost of your vacation in Hawaii depends on where you stay, which islands you visit, and what time of year you go. February is one of the least crowded months, except for Valentine’s Day when many couples decide to get away to Hawaii for this occasion. Finally, pricing also depends on whether you prefer luxury, mid-range, or budget hotels, what activities you’d like to do while you’re there, and whether you prefer eating cheap or fine dining.
Let us break it down for you.
The average cost of round-trip flights to Hawaii range from $490 to $950. Flights from East Coast cities like New York and Chicago are much more expensive than flights from West Coast cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles.
If you’re flying in from the west coast in February, you can expect to pay around $400 – $520 for round-trip. Whereas a round-trip ticket from the east coast will set you back upwards of $900.
The average cost of hotels in Hawaii in February is usually $190 – $275 per night. It can be cheaper or more expensive of course depending on whether you choose a budget or luxury option. Alternatively, you can rent an Airbnb or Vrbo on most of the islands. You can easily find a good room to rent for as little as $75 per night.
While you can get around most of the islands on bicycles, mopeds, and public transportation (buses), having your own set of wheels can make the experience much more convenient. Renting a car can cost about $85 – $120 per day. Don’t forget to factor in the parking fees as well, which usually vary from $20 – $45 per day (if you don’t want the hassle that comes with finding free parking).
See also: Do I need to rent a car in Maui?
Best Times to Book Your February Vacation
February is one of the least expensive months to fly, so you don’t need to book your flights or lodging months in advance. 21 to 30 days before your departure is a good enough time to book everything. Just keep in mind that prices may spike around the middle of the month due to Valentine’s Day.
Is February Crowded in Hawaii?
No, it’s actually one of the least crowded times of the year. February in Hawaii only gets busy on Valentine’s Day, but that is to be expected considering the beauty and romance these islands have to offer. For the rest of the month, you’ll rarely see a crowd anywhere, making February an ideal time to visit the most popular sightseeing spots.
Events in February
Here are some of the events you should check out during your February trip to Hawaii:
The Narcissus Festival in Honolulu takes place around the Chinese New Year. This cultural festival includes a good old-fashioned fair, cooking demonstrations, and a queen pageant.
The Surfing tournament season also continues into February as some of the biggest waves attract surfers on the north shores.
The Sand Castle Esquisse at Kailua Beach Park is either held in February or March (it varies each year). You can watch professional architects compete against students from the University of Hawaii School of Architecture to see who can build the best, coolest, and most incredible sand sculpture ever.
The Big Island
The residents of Big Island celebrate the Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival which begins in January and lasts through early February. It takes place at the Ke Ola Mau Loa Church (Church Row Park) in Waimea under the 60+ years old cherry trees that only bloom this time of the year.
February is officially the peak humpback whale season. Over 10,000 of these whales tend to hang around Molokai, Lanai, Big Island, and Maui. You can attend the Maui Whale Festival at the Kalama Park; it’s a month-long celebration of these majestic creatures with harbor parties, benefit galas, film festivals, whale-watching tours with experts, and of course, the “great whale count”.
The Waimea Town Celebration is the most notable event happening in February in Kauai. It takes place in mid-February every year and lasts about a week. The whole town comes together to commemorate the Hawaiian and multiethnic local history of the island where Captain Cook first set foot. More than 10,000 people gather to enjoy the rodeo, sporting events, live entertainment, and hat lei and ice cream-eating contests.
If you’re into quilts, you may want to attend the Kauai Quilt Show at the Kauai Society of Artists Gallery inside the Kukui Grove Center. The unique display of intricately-designed and locally made quilts features hundreds of submissions of all sizes, styles, and techniques.
Snorkeling at Anini Beach (Kauai): This north shore coastline has the longest stretch of coral reef, making it a year-round haven for snorkelers. If you’re a beginner, the shallow waters are perfect for you to master the craft. More advanced swimmers can go up to a half-mile out to the ocean where white-tipped reef sharks tend to gather at times.
Swimming at Lydgate Beach Park (Kauai): Located on the Coconut Coast, this is a tree-lined beach protected from the open sea by a man-made rock barrier. There are two pools; the shallow one is perfect for newbie swimmers. Moreover, keep in mind that the ocean here is at its calmest during morning hours.
Bodyboarding at Hapuna White Sand Beach (Big Island): Often called one of the world’s best beaches, Hapuna Beach is located on the Kohala Coast. It’s a salient choice for all kinds of fun activities, including bodyboarding.
Attend a Luau Feast: Going to a Polynesian or Hawaiian style luau feast is a must no matter which Hawaiian island you’re on. Each island has several luaus that take place almost every night, so you can choose the one that’s best for your budget and style. The Polynesian Culture Center Luau (Oahu), Paradise Cove Luau (Oahu), Royal Lahaina Luau (Maui), and Mauna Kea Luau (Big Island) are the most popular ones.
Go on a Hiking Excursion: You can find a variety of adventurous hiking expeditions on each of the islands, ranging from easy trail walks to challenging excursions that last over three days.
Take a Helicopter Tour: Several helicopter tour companies are located throughout the Hawaiian Islands and all offer memorable aerial experiences. While such a tour is sure to be nice no matter which island you’re on, we personally prefer Kauai’s helicopter tour because of the views of the Napali Coast, Waimea Canyon, and seeing the distant waterfalls at the Waialeale Crater.
Other Activities Worth Mentioning
We highly recommend taking a whale-watching tour if you’re visiting Hawaii in February. Thousands of humpback whales come to vacation in Pacific waters surrounding Hawaii to breed, calve, and nurse baby whales after a long trip through the sea to the Gulf of Alaska and back. You can see these marine beauties from all of the Hawaiian Islands, but the shallow Au’au Channel between Lanai, Molokai, and Maui is one of the best spots to see them up close.
You can also see them from the southern shores of Oahu, particularly along the overlooks near Leahi Crater (Diamond Head) and Makapu’u Lighthouse. If you’re on Kauai, you can take a whale watching tour from the Kilauea Lighthouse on the north shore, Poipu Beach on the south shore, or Kapaa Overlook on the Coconut Coast.
The Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site on the Big Island is another great place to spot whales; the word “pu’ukohola” literally means “hill of the whale” in the Hawaiian language.
Is February a good time to go to Hawaii?
Definitely. Considering it’s one of the least crowded and least expensive months to visit Hawaii, February is a great time to enjoy these beautiful islands.
Is February hurricane season in Hawaii?
No. Hawaii’s hurricane season is from June 1st to November 30th.
Is it rainy season in Hawaii in February?
Yes. Hawaii’s rainy season begins in November and lasts through March. That being said, rainfall in February is lower compared to the peak rainy month, which is December. Still, you should pack an umbrella and a waterproof rain jacket to better handle the weather. Not everyone likes to get wet like Aquaman.
Is February the cheapest time of the year to go to Hawaii?
Yes! Well, to be more precise, February and March are the cheapest months for flights and lodging. If you want to explore all of the Hawaiian Islands on a budget, February is your time.
Make it Happen!
Hawaii’s rich history and culture are like a magnet for travel enthusiasts all around the world. And the best part is, unlike most tourist destinations, Hawaii has all-year-round great weather so you can experience the same fun and beauty no matter when you go. If you want more help planning your Hawaii trip, check out our other articles we’ve created for our readers.