Hawaii in September: Discover Paradise in the Off-Peak Season

Imagine feeling the warmth of the Hawaiian sun on your skin, hearing the gentle rustle of palm trees, and tasting a fresh pineapple’s sweet, tangy flavor – all while avoiding the typical tourist crowds.

Sounds like a dream, right?

However, this dream can quickly become a nightmare if you find yourself in Hawaii during its peak tourist season.

The issue is that many travelers unknowingly plan their Hawaiian getaway during the busiest times, resulting in crowded beaches and long lines. This is where visiting Hawaii in September can be your ultimate game-changer.

September in Hawaii offers you the unique opportunity to enjoy the island’s natural beauty and vibrant culture without the usual crowd.

By choosing this off-peak period, you’re granting yourself a serene vacation and making a smart move for your wallet.

Colorful sunset in Hawaii while visiting in September

In this article, you’ll discover why September is the perfect time to plan your Hawaiian escape. I will guide you through the island’s September weather, highlight the best activities, and provide tips on how to make the most of your trip.

So get ready to pack your bags because, by the end of this article, you’ll be brimming with excitement to book your Hawaiian holiday in September.

Hawaii in September Snapshot

  • ????️ September Weather in Hawaii offers warm and humid days in the high-80s F with pleasant nights in the mid-70s F (24 – 31° C).
  • ???? The warmer ocean temperatures in September (80° F/27° C) are perfect for water sports like surfing, swimming, paddleboarding, snorkeling, and scuba diving.
  • ???? Hawaii is less crowded in September, but popular activities and tours may still require reservations in advance.
  • ???? September in Hawaii is filled with cultural events and celebrations, such as the Aloha Festivals, Maui Ukulele Festival, Queen Lili’uokalani Canoe Race, and more.
  • ???? September is an off-peak season, so book your flights and accommodations early to get the best deals.
  • ???? Remember to be mindful of the environment and avoid trespassing on private property for photos.
  • ???? Essential items to pack for a September trip to Hawaii include a swimsuit (duh), reef-safe sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, comfortable walking shoes, water shoes, light jacket, and a camera of course.

Hawaii Weather in September: What to Expect for Your Vacation

The sun in Hawaii in September is a warm embrace, and the inviting ocean beckons with its inviting warmth.

As the islands have a low risk of experiencing extreme hurricanes, hurricane season (June 1st to November 30th) is of little concern.

Each island in Hawaii has its own unique weather patterns, but generally, you can expect warm and humid days (average high 87°F/30°C) with pleasant nights (average low 76°F/24°C), and moderate chances of rainfall.

Don’t worry if you see rain clouds during your trip; they often come and go quickly, leaving everything looking fresher and more vibrant.

Tourists enjoying the beautiful September weather on the beach in Hawaii

The ocean temperatures of around 80°F (27°C) make it perfect for water sports like surfing, swimming, and paddleboarding, or exploring underwater marvels while snorkeling and scuba diving.

For those seeking land-based adventures, or who just want to enjoy nature’s beauty, cooler climates await up in the mountains and volcanoes, so don’t forget to pack a jacket!

No matter which island you choose, September promises an enjoyable experience for all visitors.

How Crowded is Hawaii in September?

If you’re daydreaming about a tropical getaway, you can’t beat the tranquility of Hawaii in September. It’s like discovering a hidden gem; the summertime bustle fades away and the islands are able to take a deep breath.

Kids are back at school, families have gone home, and the usual hustle and bustle on the beaches calms.

But don’t worry–there’s still plenty to do!

With fewer tourists, you can savor those breathtaking sunsets and take a spontaneous hula lesson without fighting for a spot.

Just remember to plan ahead–popular activities and tours fill up quickly, even in the off-season.

Book your reservations early to get the best hotel rates and ensure that you can take that sunrise hike at Haleakala National Park or attend that luau with a view.

Start your day with a peaceful swim in secluded beach coves, have a picnic under the shade of palm trees, or explore the cultural sites of Hawaii with no one rushing you.

Imagine an escape from reality, where time slows down and you can truly enjoy your dream vacation. In September, Hawaii offers a magical experience like no other.

Is It Expensive to Go to Hawaii in September?

Visiting Hawaii in September is a great way to experience the beauty of the islands without breaking the bank.

With hotel rates lower than the yearly average and airfare prices dropping as summer demand slows down, you can save money on accommodation and travel.

Moreover, off-peak season adjustments mean that dining and entertainment expenses will also be less expensive.

If you’re considering renting a car to explore the islands at your own pace, you’ll find that rates are lower during this period too.

With these cost-saving considerations in mind, you can enjoy Hawaii without worrying about your budget.

And don’t forget – even with fewer crowds and lower prices, the island is still full of spectacular natural beauty and exciting adventures!

How Much Do Flights Cost to Hawaii in September

Flight costs to Hawaii in September are going to vary depending on the time of year you book your trip. Typically the sooner the better, but sometimes airlines run specials that you may even miss out on.

That’s why we like to let someone else do the heavy lifting of researching flight deals and that’s where Matt’s Flights newsletter comes in. Sign up for a free trial of Matt’s Flights to get an idea of what kind of deals they uncover for you to help reduce one of the most expensive parts of any vacation to Hawaii.

Since I had nothing else to do, on a recent Saturday – July 8, 2023 to be exact – I spent hours looking up the cost of round-trip flights to Hawaii.

I searched flights departing from three major US cities – Los Angeles (LAX), Chicago (ORD and MDW), and New York (airports in NY and NJ depended on airline and arrival city) and flying to the four main Hawaiian airports – Honolulu, Oahu (HNL), Kahalui, Maui (OGG), Lihue, Kauai (LIH), and Kona Big Island (KOA).

I picked the top four airlines most vacationers use and recommend for flying to Hawaii – United, Southwest, Alaska, and of course, Hawaiian airlines.

The same dates were used for all round-trip flights – September 19-25, 2023. There was nothing scientific about how I came up with that date range other than the fact that if you are going to travel all the way to Hawaii you should spend at least six days there.

Even then I guarantee you will be wishing you had more time!

(Note: On mobile you will need to scroll side-to-side to view the entire table)

HNL (Oahu)$321.00$580.00$519.00$468.00$786.00
OGG (Maui)$237.00$580.00$478.00$453.00$780.00
LIH (Kauai)$340.00$494.00$505.00$509.00$780.00
KOA (Big Island)$340.00$580.00$505.00$459.00$740.00

Round-trip Cost of Flights to Hawaii (Sep. 2023) via United and Southwest Airlines

HNL (Oahu)$312.00$519.00$441.00$247.00$831.00
OGG (Maui)$298.00$544.00$557.00$242.00$581.00
LIH (Kauai)$615.00$658.00$695.00$303.00$744.00
KOA (Big Island)$495.00$536.00$503.00$308.00$539.00

Round-trip Cost of Flights to Hawaii (Sep. 2023) via Alaska and Hawaiian airlines

No, your eyes were not deceiving you. There are no Southwest flights to Hawaii leaving from New York or Hawaiian flights leaving from Chicago.

I will also add that in all the cases I wasn’t looking for the cheapest flight, but instead a mix of cost and travel time. Time is money, right! Also, my goal was to not have any day long layovers, because I know you would rather be sitting on a Hawaiian beach instead of a stuffy airport.

What is the Carbon Emissions Cost of Flying to Hawaii in September

Obviously flying anywhere has a big carbon emissions cost and honestly I don’t have a good answer how to reduce that. This isn’t the correct forum for those discussions but I do know that Andrew and I have been more eco-conscious with our travels in recent years.

Because of that I know some of you are also interested in the impact our travels have on the environment. So along with researching the cost of flights to Hawaii above, I looked at the estimated carbon emissions cost per passenger for the corresponding flights.

The same flight dates as those above were used (Sep. 19-25, 2023) and I gathered the data from Google Flights that displays the carbon emission estimates of each leg of the flight – represented in kg CO2.

There is a lot that goes into how these numbers are calculated and here is a link to the Google Flights methodology if you are interested.

(Note: On mobile you will need to scroll side-to-side to view the entire table)

HNL (Oahu)63610031244476864
OGG (Maui)470833962464855
LIH (Kauai)65511571463558875
KOA (Big Island)53911251458595858

Est. Carbon Emissions (kg CO2) per passenger of United and Southwest round-trip flights to Hawaii

HNL (Oahu)4828749445721081
OGG (Maui)4988669725821169
LIH (Kauai)81697310946181171
KOA (Big Island)7368949966301193

Est. Carbon Emissions (kg CO2) per passenger of Alaska and Hawaiian round-trip flights to Hawaii

No, your eyes were not deceiving you. There are no Southwest flights to Hawaii leaving from New York or Hawaiian flights leaving from Chicago.

I will also add that in all the cases I wasn’t looking for the cheapest flight, but instead a mix of cost and travel time. Time is money, right!

Also, my goal was to not have any day long layovers, because I know you would rather be sitting on a Hawaiian beach instead of a stuffy airport.

September in Hawaii Accommodation Choices

After a long day of exploring, you’ll want to find a cozy spot to rest your head. September is an off-peak season, so you may be able to score a great deal if you book early.

The Alohilani Resort in Waikiki is a great option for those seeking luxury. Picture yourself gazing out at the glimmering ocean from your modern suite, surrounded by world-class amenities.


If you’re looking for something a bit more laid-back, Kapolei on Oahu’s Leeward side is a great option.

Here you’ll find smaller inns and bed-and-breakfasts offering a more intimate Hawaiian experience without breaking the bank.

Although AirBnBs can be tempting with their homelike feel and budget-friendly rates, they can have a negative effect on the local housing market.

To support sustainable tourism practices, consider staying at a charming inn or bed & breakfast. You’ll enjoy the comfort and authenticity, and your friendly host may have some great insider tips to share.

Amazing view from a hotel swimming pool in Waikiki Beach
Amazing views from a Waikiki Beach hotel

Celebrating Hawaiian Traditions: September Cultural Events

Diving into the heart of local culture, you’re in for a spectacular treat with numerous cultural festivities taking place during your stay. If you’re lucky enough to be in Hawaii in September, you’ll want to check out these celebrations:

Aloha Festivals

The Aloha Festivals are held on each island and serve as vibrant celebrations of Hawaiian heritage. You’ll lose yourself in traditional music, dance performances, and get a chance to savor traditional food. It’s like stepping back in time and living life at its authentic best.

Every Island handles its events independently, so check with the visitor center of the island you plan on visiting for more information.

Okinawan Festival

The Okinawan Festival in Honolulu is a two-day celebration of Japanese heritage and culture, attracting about 50,000 attendees annually.

Visitors can experience Okinawan language and culture, view ceramics and bonsai plants, and enjoy hands-on demonstrations of Japanese arts.

The festival also offers a variety of Okinawan delicacies and lively performances, making it a popular event for both locals and tourists.

Maui Ukulele Festival

Fancy some music? Visit the Maui Arts & Cultural Center for a fun afternoon of hanging out on the lawn listening to ukulele players.

Queen Lili’uokalani Canoe Race

Check out the Queen Lili’uokalani Canoe Race on the Big Island if you yearn for something more adventurous. It’s not just any race but holds pride as being the world’s largest outrigger canoe race!

Held each year on Labor Day Weekend, enjoy a torchlight parade on Saturday night and an awards luau on Sunday.

Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival

This Festival takes place on the Big Island and is a true delight showcasing locally grown agricultural products alongside Hawaii’s thriving ranching industry.

If you plan on going to the main food event, make sure to prepay, as you can save up to 50% on your tickets.

Wailua Bay Creators Fair

The Wailua Bay Creators Fair is a monthly event in Kauai, Hawaii, featuring local vendors who create their products on the island. From artists to jewelry makers, visitors can find various handmade items and enjoy live music and local food vendors.

The fair takes place at the Hilton Garden Inn Kauai at Wailua Bay between 8:30 am and 1:00 pm on the 4th Sunday of each month.

Things to Do in Hawaii in September: Making the Most Out of Your Autumn Getaway

September in Hawaii is a paradise for all kinds of water-lovers. With warm ocean temperatures, it’s ideal for family activities like surfing the waves on North Shore, snorkeling, and scuba diving.

You’ll be amazed by the vibrant marine life! And for land lovers, there’s still plenty to do.

Take advantage of the beautiful weather and explore the diverse landscapes on each Hawaiian island.

Viewing a smoldering volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii
  • Don’t miss the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Big Island, with its incredible formations caused by active volcanoes.
  • For something completely different, head to Maui and discover the wonders of Haleakalā or explore the crystal clear waters of Molokini.
  • On Kauai, take a horseback ride around the botanical gardens or soar over the Nāpali Coast by helicopter.
  • For the shoppers, Oahu has it all – from high-end malls to local boutiques. And don’t forget Lanai and Molokai!
  • On Lanai, dive into Cathedrals (for the experienced divers) or learn to surf at Lopa Beach before checking out the food trucks.
  • On Molokai, trek down waterfall hikes in Halawa for some stunning views and a taste of the island’s laid-back vibes.
  • For a real adventure, why not try shark diving off Oahu’s coast? Picture yourself returning home with stories of swimming with these majestic creatures!

With so much to do in Hawaii this September, all that’s left is packing your bags and heading out the door!

Discovering Hawaii with Grace and Respect

As you embark on your journey, it’s essential to remember that exploring these idyllic islands respectfully will protect their beauty and allow you to forge a deeper connection with the Hawaiian culture.

The Hawaiian traditions and customs are deeply rooted in the land and sea, so it’s important to be mindful of your interaction with nature during your adventure.

Refrain from trespassing on private land for that ‘perfect’ picture and instead, find beauty in public places like beaches, parks, and trails.

Remember the native saying Mālama ka ‘aina when visiting Hawaii in September or any other month. This phrase, meaning ‘care for the land’, is not only about picking up your litter after a beach picnic, but also respecting marine life, as well as local flora and fauna.

Being respectful doesn’t end there. It seeps into every aspect of your Hawaiian journey.

Small gestures like removing shoes before entering a home or saying Mahalo after receiving services show understanding and appreciation for the local culture.

By embracing this spirit of respectful exploration in Hawaii, we can enhance our travel experience and contribute positively towards preserving this paradise on Earth for future generations.

What to Pack for Hawaii in September

Packing for your tropical getaway can be a breeze if you know what essential items to bring along. Use the below items as a starting point:

  • First things first, a swimsuit is an absolute must. Whether you plan on taking a refreshing dip in the Pacific Ocean or just lounging around on one of Hawaii’s stunning beaches, a swimsuit is handy.
  • Don’t forget to bring a light cover-up or shirt when you step out of the water. Look into UPF fabric that will protect you from the sun’s harmful rays.
  • Reef-safe sunscreen. Trust me when I say nothing kills vacation vibes faster than a nasty sunburn – our favorite is from Kokua Sun Care. Other sun protection like sunglasses and a hat are a great idea, too.
  • Comfortable walking shoes are essential if you want to fully immerse yourself in the beauty and culture of Hawaii. There’s so much more than just sunbathing here; from hiking through lush rainforests and exploring vibrant city streets, your feet will thank you for thinking ahead.
  • Water shoes can come in handy if you plan to go on kayak tours where walking is involved.
  • It wouldn’t hurt to throw in a light jacket or sweater into your suitcase. Though September is generally warm in Hawaii, occasional rain showers can be expected, and nights can get surprisingly cool, especially if you’re venturing up into higher elevations for stargazing or sunrise viewing sessions!
  • A camera. Most of us use our phones these days to capture special moments, but if you plan on enlarging any photos, a handheld camera will provide better-quality pictures. Or better yet, the GoPro 11 will capture 4k video AND some amazing still photos!
  • Dry bag to take to the beach and one to protect your phone.

Wrapping It Up…

So folks, if you’re asking me, September is a fantastic time to visit Hawaii. You’ll enjoy pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and some wonderful cultural celebrations.

Plus, with thoughtful planning, you can make it cost-effective too!

Remember, though, respect the environment and local customs wherever you choose to stay or explore in this paradise. And pack smartly for the weather and activities you have planned.

Enjoy your Hawaiian adventure in September – I’m sure it will be an unforgettable experience!

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Check out our Google Web Story – Visiting Hawaii in September: Discover the Island’s Fall Charms