Hawaii’s warm tropical climate, diverse natural scenery, active volcanoes, and an abundance of picture-worthy beaches make it a popular destination for vacationing. From the hidden wonders on Lanai to the extreme surfing on Oahu, Hawaii is the greatest tropical escape for those looking to tour within the US.
Many people wonder when is the best time to visit Hawaii. To be honest, there’s really not a bad time to go to Hawaii. Just about any time is a great time as you’ll always be able to find nice warm weather here. In this post, we are exploring what you can expect from Hawaii in March.
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.
March Weather in Hawaii
Due to the islands’ proximity to the equator, temperatures don’t vary as drastically from season to season as they do in North America. In March, the average daytime high temperatures range from the upper 70s to the lower 80s. You can expect the days to be sunny and nights to be cool, especially by the ocean.
Since the temperature can reach into the middle 60s along the beach, we recommend adding a light sweater or jacket to your Hawaii packing list.
March also marks the beginning of plumeria (or ‘lei flower’) season in Hawaii, where several species of plumeria start to bloom releasing their heady fragrance. For those of you who do not know, plumeria is one of the most popular flowers in Hawaii.
March is technically the winter season in Hawaii, so temperatures range between 68°F and 82°F. The weather tends to be drier on the leeward side of the islands. For example, the Kona side of the Big Island is hot and dry in March compared to Maui, which is a lot cooler and rainier this time of the year.
Going to the Big Island and don’t know which side to stay on? See our article below:
With water temperatures ranging from 75°F to 77°F, swimming in March is very pleasant.
Hawaii is still in the winter season in March, but the surfing waves on the north shores are not as big as in January or February. Be careful though, waves on the northern shores of the islands are still on the rough side. If you’re not an experienced swimmer or snorkeler, we recommend sticking to the south shores where the ocean is much calmer.
Cost to Visit Hawaii in March
March is a pretty popular month among tourists to visit Hawaii so you can expect crowds and higher prices for flight tickets and accommodations. This is mostly because of spring break, which usually begins in mid-March. To avoid these expensive rates, you may want to travel in early March.
Round-trip flights from the mainland start at around $500 and can go up to more than $2,000 depending on where you’re flying from. Flights from the west coast can be about $300-$600 cheaper than flights from the east coast.
Hotels and other accommodations for March book well in advance since it’s the peak season, so try to book as early as you can. You’ll have a hard time finding a hotel for less than $150/night in March in Hawaii – yes, even the “budget-friendly” ones.
If you want the luxury resort experience without spending a small fortune, a good idea is to rent a timeshare from a private owner. Timeshare rentals in Hawaii generally come with full-fledged amenities such as a fully-equipped kitchen, ocean views, and multiple bedrooms.
Car rental rates are also high during March, especially if you book last minute. Usually, you can rent a sedan for around $100 per day (not including the taxes), but expect to pay even more in the peak tourist season.
Best Times to Book Your March Vacation
For a March vacation, it’s best to book your flights, accommodations, and everything else at least 40-60 days before your departure. As we mentioned earlier, March is a popular time of the year in Hawaii so things get booked months in advance. DO NOT wait for last-minute deals on your flights because they are never guaranteed.
Is March Crowded in Hawaii?
Yes, especially the last two weeks. If you want to avoid crowds, schedule your trip for the first or second week of March. The end of the month gets really busy here with people flocking to Hawaii for spring break.
Also, some parts of the islands receive more tourists than the rest. Waikiki is considered the most crowded area in March after Oahu and Maui. Kauai is a salient choice for people who want to explore the island in more solitude.
Events in March
Let’s see what events are awaiting you in Hawaii in March:
The Honolulu Festival is one of the biggest cultural events of the year held in the heart of Waikiki. If live island music, cultural dancing, parades, games, and traditional Hawaiian delicacies sound interesting to you, this is the place to be. It’s a three-day celebration where local musicians, artists, and performers showcase the very best they have to offer.
The Big Island
The Lavaman Triathlon Marathon and the Big Island International Marathon are held in March as well. Thousands of people come to the Big Island every year to run, bike, and swim here, and to unite over their love of fitness.
The Kona Brewers Festival is another great event you’ll want to attend. It’s a good opportunity to mingle with the locals over handcrafted beers, authentic Hawaiian and Polynesian cuisine, and several other cultural traditions.
Several ukulele festivals are held all across Hawaii throughout the year, but the Ukulele Festival at Waikoloa occurs in March.
The Anahola Prince Kuhio Day Celebration takes place in March to commemorate the vision, leadership, and legacy of Prince Jonah Kuhio. Both locals and visitors gather to partake in arts and crafts, performances, wellness exhibits, and food booths. There are a ton of activities for kids too.
The biggest attraction in March is the humpback whale mating season. You can see these majestic sea creatures from up close around Big Island, Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. The whale watching season begins in November and runs through April, with March being the peak season to encounter these gigantic species.
Many surfing competitions are also held in Hawaii throughout March. You can watch experienced surfers glide on the big waves on the northern shores in early March.
These massive waves tend to die down by mid to late March though. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to surf, this is a good time to do so.
As we said before, March is the plumeria blooming season in Hawaii. The best place to see thousands of plumerias bloom is at the plumeria grove in Koko Crater Botanical Garden in Honolulu. The garden is situated inside the crater and features a 2.3-mile-long trail that’s lined with hundreds of plumeria trees in different colors. Another good spot is at Maui’s Garden of Eden Arboretum, located in the town of Hana.
Word of caution – plumeria leaves and flowers are considered toxic. While we have never heard of anyone getting poisoned by them, animals chewing on these leaves will likely end up with a stomach ache, and no one wants their fur baby dealing with that.
Other Activities Worth Mentioning
If you want to do something truly adventurous – and have the heart for it – you may try scuba diving or snorkeling with manta rays at night. On the Big Island, just north of Kailua-Kona, there is a bay where manta rays come every night to feed.
Local snorkel operators here have installed spotlights on the ocean floor or on rafts to attract sea plankton, which is the main food source for these majestic rays. As the sun goes down and the ocean becomes completely dark, only the light from these spotlights is visible. This draws in the plankton, and in turn, the massive manta rays. Watching multiple manta rays swim right next to you is an exhilarating and once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Is March a good time to go to Hawaii?
Yes, absolutely. Although, if you don’t like crowds, try booking your trip in the first or second week of March. Weather-wise, March is great to visit because it’s not as hot and humid as the summer months (from May to July). There’s still a little chill in the weather in the evening which feels really nice.
Is it rainy season in Hawaii in March?
Yes. But compared to December and January, March is not as rainy. You can still expect sudden showers but they rarely last more than 10 minutes.
Is March hurricane season in Hawaii?
No. Hawaii’s hurricane season runs from June to November.
Is March one of the cheapest times of the year to go to Hawaii?
Unfortunately, no. March is actually one of the peak months, but you can still plan a budget trip if you schedule it for the first week of the month.
Can you swim in Hawaii in March?
Definitely. The water temperature in March stays around 75°F -77°F so you can easily spend your day in the water. You may feel chilly in the evenings or on cloudy days though. Still, the water never gets cold enough for you to need a wetsuit.
What should I wear in Hawaii in March?
In addition to your usual summer attire – shorts, t-shirts, skirts, and flip-flops – you should pack a light sweater or jacket, a pair of pants, sneakers, a rashguard, and an umbrella.
Hawaii is an incredible place to visit, and going in March is never a bad idea. Although it’s considered peak season, you can still avoid the large crowds as much as possible by booking your trip for the first two weeks of the month.
Although March is during the rainy season, it should not rain enough to spoil an entire vacation. Overall, the weather should be sunny and perfect for a day at the beach.
We hope this guide helped you gain valuable insights regarding what to expect from the islands in March. In the words of our Hawaiian brethren – he huakaʻi palekana (have a safe trip)!
If you’re thinking of going to Hawaii during a different month, check out the below travel guides we have created for you: