With the excitement of summer vacation long past and the busyness of Christmas and New Year still a couple of months away, November is a great time to visit Hawaii. If that’s your plan, considering all the aspects of your upcoming trip – travel rates, weather, and local events – will help you get the most out of your time in this paradise.
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.
November Weather in Hawaii
Since November inches towards winter, expect a dip in the evenings to the high 60s or low 70s, which make it comfortably-chilly to stroll along the beach after the sun goes down. Winter is the rainy season in Hawaii, so November sees higher than average rainfall, with most showers occurring at night. The daytime showers are short and sudden, nothing a jacket or an umbrella can’t handle. Make sure to add these items to your Hawaii packing list.
If you’re not a fan of the rain, consider booking your stay on the south or west sides of the islands, i.e., the leeward side, as they usually receive less rain. The Kona side of the Big Island sees the lowest levels of rain in November.
The weather also varies from island to island. You can swim and sunbathe on a black sand beach or white sand beach on the Big Island (even during winter months, from November to February), and then possibly go for a walk in the snow on Mauna Kea mountain, located about 190 miles from Honolulu.
Technically, November is a winter month in Hawaii, but the daytime temperatures still remain cozy-warm at around 80°F on average. Nighttime lows can drop to around 70°F. Remember, most of the rain in November falls in the late evenings, so you’ll still be able to enjoy plenty of sunny vacation days. This could be the best month to be in Hawaii.
The average rainfall in November in Hawaii is around 4-5 inches, making it the 3rd rainiest month after January and December. The water temperatures hover around 78°F – 80°F, and most people find it quite comfortable to swim, snorkel, and surf. One word of warning, do check the surf conditions online before you go into the water, as it is storm season.
The Hawaiian islands are surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, which remains warm enough for swimming all year round. However, November is hurricane season in Hawaii, so again, we recommend checking the ocean conditions before you plan a day out in the water.
While the probability of you coming across a hurricane is pretty low – the last one was in 1992 – you might experience storms and high winds because the climate is unpredictable and Mother Nature follows her own tune.
Cost to Visit Hawaii in November
This is one of the cheapest months to head for Hawaii, with lower hotel rates and airfare compared to the summer and winter. If you’re on a budget, you’ll be delighted to find plenty of deals on accommodations and flight tickets this time of the year.
The cost of flying into Hawaii in November is also cheaper compared to peak-season months. The Honolulu Airport (in Oahu) and Kahului Airport (in Maui) are the cheapest to fly to, with $550 – $600 for a round-trip ticket. The Kapalua Airport (on the west side of Maui) and the Hilo Airport (Big Island) are the most expensive, with a round-trip ticket costing upwards of $870 in November.
Hotel prices this month stay affordable – generally $250-$275 per night. And if you’re looking to save even more, hostels and Airbnbs or other private rentals are your best bet. You can easily get a room in a dorm or in an Airbnb for $50-$56 per night.
Renting a car can cost you anywhere from $100 to $220, depending on the model and size of the vehicle. Some of the most popular car rental services in Hawaii are Alamo, Enterprise, Sixt, Thrifty, and Hertz.
Best Times to Book Your November Vacation
When it comes to determining the best time to book your vacation in November in Hawaii, there are as many opinions as there are experts. So, we decided to look towards actual research to give you the best information regarding this.
According to Expedia’s 2022 Travel Hacks report, prices for domestic flights typically start to increase 21 days before departure, while for international flights, the duration is 28 days. The report indicates if you’re flying to Hawaii from the US mainland, 28-35 days in advance is the sweetest spot to book your flight. If you’re flying in from another country, booking 3-4 months in advance will give you the lowest prices.
Is November Crowded in Hawaii?
No, it’s not. November is actually one of the slowest months in Hawaii. Since most families decide to visit between December and February, you can enjoy an affordable and peaceful time during your stay with fewer people around.
However, the week of Thanksgiving is the only exception. This time tends to attract a large wave of tourists, so hotel and airline prices also go up during this week. For a cheaper and quieter November vacation, plan your trip during the first two or three weeks of the month.
Events in November
If you’re a coffee lover, the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival on the Big Island is not to be missed. It’s the island’s oldest food festival and is solely dedicated to delicious, world-renowned coffee. The festival is held for 10 days and is an excellent way to experience the coffee, art scene, food events, dance, music, and several other cultural events.
Let’s see what other events are awaiting you in November:
Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF): This festival showcases shorts, features, and series from across the world, specifically from Asia and the Pacific region. You can also attend talks by filmmakers and industry professionals with topics ranging from pop culture to film festival submission strategy.
Hawaii Food & Wine Festival: Over 150 internationally renowned chefs, mixologists, winemakers, and culinary celebrities come together to display their talent and tickle the taste buds! Taking place over 3 weekends in a row on multiple islands, this event also contributes to local non-profit organizations to support educational and food sustainability programs.
The Big Island
Free Music & Hula Show: Every Friday at the Keauhou Shopping Center in Kona, you can go to the central courtyard in the evening and mingle with the locals over lively music and dance.
Block Party in the Holualoa Village: The entire village comes together in and outside the town’s art boutiques and galleries for an exciting celebration filled with gourmet food stalls and live music. If you enjoy connecting with fellow art and culture lovers, this is the place to be.
Hula O Na Keiki: If you missed the Lei Day in May, the Hula O Na Keiki festival in November can help you make up for it. While not as elaborate as Lei Day, it’s still a lot of fun with modern and traditional music, dance, and art throughout the two-day celebration.
Maui Jim Maui Invitational: Raise your hand if you’re a basketball fan! Just because you’re far away from the mainland doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favorite sports. This is a college-level basketball tournament held in Lahaina, and is usually scheduled during Thanksgiving week.
Slack Key Guitar Festival: Head over to the Royal Sonesta Kauai Resort on Kalapaki Beach in Lihue and see some of the finest artists in the slack key guitar genre make some magic over a period of four hours. There are also food vendors and native crafters to add to the charm.
The Hawaii International Film Festival comes to Molokai in November. Filmmakers from the US, Pacific Islands, and Asia are invited to showcase their works.
Water sports are to Hawaii what the Queen is to the British Empire; you can’t imagine one without the other. With that said, here’s how you can spend your November vacation in Hawaiian waters:
Snorkel Through Hawaii’s Reefs: The pristine coral reefs of Hawaii are famous for their beauty and aquatic wildlife. While summer is obviously the best time to swim and snorkel in Hawaii, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy it in wintery November too. In fact, you may find snorkeling even more enjoyable this month because of the lack of usual crowds.
Go Boating and Fishing on Hawaii’s Coast: Enjoying a boat ride through the archipelago’s stunning blue waves is something else. No matter which island you’re on, you can book a ride to take in some truly magnificent waves. And once you’re out in the deep water, consider trying your hand at catching mahi-mahi, tuna, or snapper, which are a) the most delicious fish species and b) plentiful in November!
Kayak Across a Tropical Lagoon: Hawaii is one of the most popular destinations in the world for ocean kayaking. You can paddle to the uninhabited islets off Lanikai Beach (Oahu) or Napali Coast (Kauai). If you’re not an experienced kayaker, however, be careful of the Napali Coast as it has some pretty strong currents.
Go Hiking in a National Park: Since November sits right between the fall and winter season in Hawaii, you will get to enjoy the cool and drier weather during your hikes. If you are on the Big Island, go on a nature hike in the Volcanoes National park, while the Haleakala National Park on the island of Maui is perfect for observing some of the most exotic flora and fauna in the US.
Windsurf at the Hookipa Beach: Pro windsurfers from across the world come to Hookipa Beach, where the windsurfing conditions are at their best. If you’re driving along the Hana Highway in Maui, you can see many bravehearts flip off the lip of 10-foot waves and achieve hang time in the air. If you’re a newbie, we recommend setting your sail for Anini Beach (Kauai) or Kailua Bay (Oahu) where the breeze is gentler.
Other Activities Worth Mentioning
The best time to spot humpback whales in Hawaii is between January and April, but the season’s first whale is usually seen in November. You can book a whale-watching cruise from any island to see these mammoth mammals up close.
Money-saving tip: We recommend booking a snorkeling package in November; the boat captain will often take you through the best whale-watching areas on the way, so you’ll get to enjoy two activities for the price of one.
Is November a good time to go to Hawaii?
Well, it depends on what you want from your vacation. For example, if you just want to spend a few peaceful days with your friends or family without the crowds or expensive hotel rates, November is an excellent time to visit Hawaii. On the other hand, most of the larger events and festivals happen during the summer months or around winter holidays (December to February), so you’ll miss out on them.
Is it rainy season in Hawaii in November?
Yes. November marks the beginning of winter in Hawaii, and winter is the rainiest season here. November receives around 4-5 inches of rainfall on average and is the 3rd rainiest month after January and December.
Can you swim in Hawaii in November?
Absolutely. The water temperatures in November are ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and all the other fun water activities. The temperature stays between 78°F and 81°F on average, so you won’t get too chilly. That being said, everyone is different – some folks can’t bear even the slightest amount of cold, so you may want to rent a wetsuit if you’re planning to go deep underwater.
Is it warm in Hawaii in November?
Compared to the rest of the country? Definitely. The daytime temperatures usually range from mid to low 80s. The evenings can get colder though – nothing a lightweight jacket can’t handle.
What to wear in Hawaii in November
For your daytime adventures, you can wear whatever you want. Loose clothes and comfortable footwear is encouraged since you may need to walk around quite a bit. And as we said above, evenings can get chilly, so do bring a light sweater, jacket, sweatshirt, and full-sleeve clothes. Oh, and don’t forget to pack some rain gear!
Can you snorkel in Hawaii in November?
Yes! You can snorkel in November even though the summer months (May to September) are the best for snorkeling. Keep in mind that some islands are better than others when it comes to this adventurous watersport. For example, in November, the Big Island, specifically the Kohala Coast (north of Kailua-Kona) is the best place to snorkel. The Hilo side is also a good spot.
One For The Ages
With a coffee lover’s dream event and near-perfect temperatures, November offers many memorable experiences in Hawaii. Lower prices for airfare, hotels, and other rentals make it even more attractive for value-conscious travelers. We hope this guide helps you get the most out of your holiday! Mahalo for reading our post! Until next time, Aloha!
If you’re thinking of going to Hawaii during a different month, check out the below travel guides we have created for you: