September is a fantastic month to visit Hawaii. As one of the hottest months, September is when you can enjoy the island at peak temperatures with the lowest amount of rain.
For those who are planning to spend most of their time surfing, snorkeling, bodyboarding, or just lazing around on a white sand beach the whole time, you can’t pick a better month.
In this post, we’ll share everything you need to know for your September vacation in Hawaii.
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.
Hawaii Weather in a Nutshell
Located in the North Pacific around 1,400 miles above the equator, the Hawaiian Islands enjoy beautiful weather throughout the year and pleasant temperatures typically between 73°F and 86°F.
Severe storms are a rare occurrence, and winter is basically nonexistent.
The months between October and February are wetter and marginally cooler, making it possible to see a pristine beach with a snow-capped volcano in the background.
There are fewer visitors from September to November, so this is when you’ll find that sweet mix of fair weather and fair prices.
The ocean is in full swell from January to March, bringing professional surfers from all over the world in search of giant waves.
Overview of Hawaii Weather in September
September sees primarily dry, sunny, and warm weather throughout the islands, although the northernmost islands (like Kauai) get a bit of rain.
High season begins in December, so September falls into the “off-season” category with plenty of deals and discounts abound.
With hurricane weather systems causing humidity in the area, September can be one of the hottest months in this paradise. Temperatures stay in the 80s and don’t dip much below 70°F on most islands.
Hawaii in September
As mentioned before, September is an off-season month, which means it’s the least crowded month to explore Hawaii.
This is mainly because the summer vacation period is over for families with school-aged children. If you have a limited budget, this is the time to book your trip.
But a calm environment and low hotel rates are not all that awaits you in September. The Aloha Festivals also kick off in September and continue into mid-October every year.
This grand celebration is a series of processions, ceremonies, and cultural displays to commemorate the Hawaiian culture.
This year, the festivals will feature multiple major events on the island of Oahu, including a city block-spanning ho’olaule’a and a floral parade in Waikiki.
Another big event in September is the birthday of Queen Liliuokalani, the last living monarch of Hawaii. The celebration will be hosted at the Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu and Hilo Town.
The palace also hosts an outrigger canoe race to mark the event, welcoming paddlers from across the globe for five days of exciting (and the world’s largest) outrigger canoe racing competition.
Oahu in September
Oahu is home to Waikiki and Honolulu, and this is where you will find the most events.
Oahu has all the allure of the islands in one place: cultural sites like Pearl Harbor, knife-edged mountain ranges, white sand beaches, jazz clubs that come alive at midnight, and spectacular restaurants.
Oahu also has more guided tours, staffed historic sites, and museums than you can count.
It’s the only place to experience island-style urbanity since it’s the only true city in Hawaii. And yet, it offers plenty of rural landscapes to get lost in.
With 597 square miles, this is the 3rd largest island in the Hawaiian chain.
The average temperatures in Oahu in September sit in the 80s, and rain showers are less prevalent than in July and August.
Here are some of the best ways to enjoy your time in Oahu:
Waves: Surf or bodyboard at Waikiki Beach, Kailua Beach, or Waimea Beach Park and catch some of the best breaks on the planet.
Visit the Bishop Museum: Interested in studying Hawaii’s past? Head to this captivating museum, followed by a trip to Iolani Palace.
Tour the USS Arizona Memorial: Pay your respects to those who lost their lives in the Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
Diamond Head: Scale the 762-feet-above-sea-level crater that looms over Waikiki.
The North Shore: See Oahu’s countryside, check out the famous north shore beaches from Waimea to Sunset Beach, and hike to the remote tip of the island. Also, don’t forget to try some food from the assortment of North Shore food trucks.
If you are visiting Oahu in September, the following events can make your trip memorable:
Luau: From locals to tourists, everybody should experience a luau at least once.
It offers traditional foods and entertainment with a contemporary, fun flair. Luaus average about $100/person, but you can find cheaper and more expensive ones as well. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
Honolulu Intertribal Powwow: This two-day event celebrates the Alaska Natives, American Indians, and First Nations people living in Hawaii.
Waikiki Ho’olaule’a: This is part of the Aloha Festivals that begin in the first week of September in Waikiki and highlight the Hawaiian culture, crafts, and cuisine.
You can browse the handmade crafts by local artisans and taste the best of local flavors at beachfront Kalakaua Avenue.
Floral Parade: The Annual Floral Parade marks the conclusion of the Aloha Festivals in the last week of September.
It features intricate floats decorated with fresh flowers and locals who showcase the traditional art of pa’u (horse) riding.
See Also: Ka’ena Point Hike
Maui in September
When you are in Hawaii, there’s one phrase you might hear everywhere you go: Maui no ka oi. It means Maui is the best, the most, the tops.
The superlatives don’t lie, as Maui has got a little bit of everything: laid-back island style, action-packed fun, and unspoiled natural beauty.
Why else would the readers of Condé Nast Traveler vote Maui as one of the “Best Islands in the World” pretty much every single year?!
Maui has several microclimates, so the weather patterns change dramatically depending on where you are on the island.
The average rainfall can change by several inches quickly within a few miles. The temperature in September can get as low as 60°F and as high as 77°F.
Below are some of the best things to do in Maui:
Whale Watching: Visit the Pacific Whale Foundation, a non-profit committed to protecting whales in Hawaii. You can take a boat to go whale-watching in Maui no matter where you are.
Explore Haleakalā on Horseback: Visit the Haleakalā National Park to see the otherworldly canyon painted in red, green, and blue hues.
Dive in the Molokini: Ever wonder what a sunken volcanic crater looks like? Molokini is where you want to go for a dive, even if you are a first-timer.
Take the Heavenly Road to Hana: This 52-mile long highway offers the most spectacular drive in Hawaii, with views of ocean vistas, waterfalls, and flowering gardens.
Here’s what’s going on in Maui in September:
Taste of Lahaina: Every September, dozens of restaurants across Maui come together to celebrate this culinary event. This is a 3-day event full of delicious flavors and loads of fun.
Maui County Fair: This has been the largest event on the island for almost 100 years. Delicious local food, colorful booths, and exciting rides are sure to delight children and adults alike.
The Big Island in September
Travelers with a passion for adventure and a taste for unusual luxuries will love the Big Island.
The Kona side has vibrant lava-strewn lowlands, while the eastern Hilo features beautiful waterfalls and lush flower farms.
See Also: Hilo vs Kona
Don’t be surprised if you see snow lying atop the nearly 14,000-foot peaks as you are deep-sea fishing off the Kona Coast.
Temperatures on the Big Island remain constant throughout the year, but in September the temperature tends to be between 73 and 87F.
Here are some things to do on the Big Island in September:
Snorkel the Kealakekua Bay: You can’t miss this magical marine life preserve if you love snorkeling.
The calm waters here are teeming with dolphins, sea turtles, octopuses, and reef fish.
Visit the Volcanoes National Park: This is the only US national park where you can actually see a live, lava-pumping volcano.
Explore the Real Island: We recommend going on a tour hosted by a nature guide company to see the real beauty of the Big Island. The guides know their way into the remote valleys of the rainforest and can help you burrow through hidden lava tunnels and scale the star-studded crest of Mauna Kea.
Visit the Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park: You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more compelling historic site in Hawaii. This ancient “city of refuge” is a great place to let your inner Indiana Jones out (too bad the 4th one was disappointing) and explore the excavations and restorations.
While you’re there, go snorkel at Two Step Beach. This is one of the best places on the Big Island to snorkel.
Here are the events scheduled for September:
Queen Liliuokalani Canoe Race: This race features double hull, single hull, and individual races, as well as a luau awards ceremony and torchlight parade.
Slack Key Guitar Festival: A free music festival where the state’s best “slack-key” guitarists will perform.
Ka’u Coffee Trail Run: From moderate to incredibly challenging, these marathon races run through coffee and macadamia nut fields along with the stunning sloped rural Ka’u Coffee Mill in Pahala.
Kauai in September
There is a reason why Kauai is known as Hawaii’s “Garden Island”. This is where you will find the colorful Waimea Canyon, lush sea cliffs of Napali Coast, and more beaches per mile of coastline than any other island in the region.
You can expect the temperatures to be in the mid-to-low 80s. It typically doesn’t go below 75°F in Kauai in September.
Let’s see what you can do in Kauai:
Explore the Allerton and McBryde Gardens: These two are national tropical botanical gardens, stretched over 259 acres, and home to the world’s largest collection of native flora.
Visit the Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park: On the northwest shore of Kauai, you’ll find the most majestic 22-mile long coastline with velvety-green fluted cliffs. It’s only accessible by hiking in, flying over, or sailing by, but it’s well worth the effort.
Learn to Surf: If you have always wanted to learn how to surf, you can join one of the many surfing schools in Kauai for a two-hour session or more.
Go for a Helicopter Ride: Get a bird’s eye view of a bubbling volcano or desolate mountain peaks if it’s within budget.
See Also: Queen’s Bath Kauai
Here are the events you can enjoy in Kauai in September:
The Kauai Marathon & Half Marathon: It’s usually scheduled in the first week of September. You’ll pass Taiko drum troupes and hula dancers along the course while taking in striking mountain views.
Battle of the Food Trucks: This is a one-day event where food trucks from all over Kauai showcase their culinary talent with locally grown, fresh ingredients.
Hawaii Line Dance Festival and Craft Fair: 30-40 vendors offer handmade goodies and unique snacks at the fair. All proceeds are donated to the Kauai Veteran Center.
Pupu O Niihau “Jewels of the Pacific”: Hosted by the Kauai Museum, this event features an extensive collection of jewelry you won’t find anywhere else. The pieces are handcrafted from Ni’ihau shells.
Lanai in September
For years, there was nothing here except for red-dirt roads and pineapples.
Then Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison bought nearly 98% of the island in 2012. This still-unspoiled island attracts travelers looking for privacy, scuba diving, 4-wheel drive excursions, and archery and shooting.
In September, the daily temperatures stay around 81°F, rarely exceeding 84°F or falling below 78°F. This month is the warmest in Lanai, with little to no rain to boot.
There’s a lot to do on this sparsely inhabited island:
Dive the Cathedrals of Lanai: These lava tubes make one of the best diving spots where you can see a variety of octopi, dolphins, eels, and multicolored fish.
Test Your Mettle at Lopa Beach: Even the most experienced surfers have a hard time catching a wave at Lopa; the currents are too strong for beginner surfers and swimmers, so be careful.
Visit Keahiakawelo “Garden of the Gods”: This gorgeous plateau is home to boulders of different colors, shapes, and sizes, created by wind erosion over a million years. We recommend going around the sunset; that’s when the rocks start to glow.
Like all the other islands in Hawaii, Lanai also gets its turn hosting the Aloha Festival in September.
This is the best way to immerse yourself in the local culture and experience the best of what Hawaii has to offer.
Molokai in September
Molokai is considered the most laid-back and least-changed of the islands. Tourism has been held at bay by the region’s rich history and the pride of its mostly Native Hawaiian population.
Barely 10 miles wide and 38 miles long, Molokai is what the locals call the last bit of “real” Hawaii.
There are no traffic lights, no tall buildings, no streetlights, no big box stores, and no exclusive resorts here – only a pristine shoreline and lush parks.
September is the best time to go to Molokai; the weather is dry and it doesn’t rain often. The temperature this time of year stays around 78°F, with typical highs of 84°F.
Here’s the best way to spend your time in Molokai:
Go to the Kalaupapa Peninsula: Take a mule ride or hike down the tallest sea cliffs in the world. You can also take a plane to an intriguing historic community that’s still home to a few former Hansen’s disease (leprosy) patients.
Go Deep-Sea Fishing: Sportfish are in abundance in these waters, as are dazzling views of several islands.
A Waterfall Hike in Halawa: Take a guided hike through private property to watch a sparkling cascade, restored taro patches, and ancient ruins.
Visit Papohaku Beach: This 3-mile stretch of golden sand is ideal for a romantic picnic or a barbeque.
Cost to Travel to Hawaii in September
September is the absolute cheapest time to take a vacation in Hawaii.
As the summer demands are slowed and children return to school, the airfare drops as well.
Make sure you don’t book your flights before July or August because the rates can get even lower.
Depending on where you’re flying in from, you can get a round-trip ticket for as little as $450-$500 per person.
The Honolulu International Airport (HNL) is typically the cheapest airport to fly into.
It’s tough to say which island is the best, as they all offer something unique for potential travelers.
Since September is off-season, you are likely to get good deals and discounts on accommodations across all islands.
While average hotel prices may not fall below $150-$200 per night, you can find Airbnbs and homestays offering even cheaper rates.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Hawaii crowded in September?
No, it’s not. September is one of the least-crowded times to visit Hawaii.
Is it possible to visit Hawaii on a Budget?
Absolutely! With a little bit of ingenuity, you can vacation in Hawaii on a tight budget. For example:
- Instead of staying in hotels, stay in a dorm or hostel. This can cost as low as $35-$45 per night per person.
- Instead of renting a car, take group tours and opt for public transportation when you can.
- Eating out in Hawaii is expensive, especially in Maui, where you’ll easily spend $10-$30 per meal. Instead of eating out at restaurants, choose food trucks (you’ve seen Hawaii Five-0, right?) or shop at Farmer’s Markets and cook your own food.
- We recommend looking for accommodations that offer free breakfasts or a basic kitchenette where you can cook your own meals.
Is September hurricane season in Hawaii?
Yes, it is. Hurricane season in Hawaii begins in June and lasts until the end of November.
However, hurricanes usually pass by at a distance or dwindle before reaching the shores. The most recent hurricane to hit any of the Hawaiian Islands was in 1992.
Does It rain a lot in Hawaii in September?
Not really. Rainfall in Hawaii around this time is generally very low, especially compared to the wetter winter months.
The weather in September is hot and humid with a mild to moderate chance of rain.
No matter where you’re from, everybody can feel like royalty in Hawaii. September is one of the best months to visit this tropical paradise. The weather is perfect and there are fewer crowds.
Start your day with a fresh papaya and a cup of real Kona coffee, stay at a simple condo by the beach, dive into the breathtaking Lanai Cathedrals, and visit the Iolani Palace.
You can find it all in Hawaii, from island luxury at its finest to life’s simple pleasures.
We hope this guide will help you plan your travels and explore everything that Hawaii has to offer.
Mahalo for reading our post! Until next time, aloha!