The Big Island of Hawaii Weather

Weather on the Big Island of Hawaii changes as rapidly as the terrain around it. No other island has the same diversity as the Big Island; not even by a long shot!

In some areas, rainfall can be absolutely zero; not a drop falls all year long and the terrain reflects this- it's dry and barren. In other areas, it can be rainy every day of the year (as in Hilo or Puna), creating a lush paradise for visitors who enjoy that type of environment. Knowing both When to Visit the Big Island of Hawaii and Where to Stay on the Big Island are also important. We encourage you to stop by those pages for more in-depth information.

For the most part, the Big Island is warm and tropical year-round. Average temperatures near the major resort areas (coastline) range from the mid-70's (F) to mid-80's (F) in winter and summer, respectively. At the higher elevations like Volcano and Waimea, temperatures are often much cooler, especially during the night. Hilo can also have lower temperatures depending on how far mauka (inland) you travel. And, of course, the summit of Mauna Kea and flanks of Mauna Loa or Hualalai can be quite chilly, if not downright frigid. Plan for snow if you'll be visiting those areas.

Big Island of Hawaii Weather Patterns

If you're looking to avoid rain altogether on your Hawaiian vacation, then the Big Island is a good choice. A large majority of the accommodations are located in areas that receive very little rainfall. Below we've created a list of the driest to wettest locations on the island. The map below that list may also help you visualize which areas are the rainiest and sunniest. Most of the rain that falls on the Big Island do so in the winter months when the tradewinds bring more moisture to the islands. This occurs primarily from late November through early March.

  1. The Kohala (Gold) Coast is almost always sunny year-round and offers the best chance for dry weather, averaging just 0"-10" annually. Most of the accommodations here are higher-end resorts.
  2. The accommodations in and around the Waikaloa area offer the next best selection for sunny and dry weather at 10"-20" a year. Accommodations here are similar to that of the Kohala Coast.
  3. The accommodations in Kailua-Kona offer fairly consistent and dry weather at 20'-40" annually. More rain is likely if you move mauka (inland) and up the flanks of Hualalai. There is an abundance of accommodations here.
  4. Hawi and Honokaa, on the North Kohala coastline, are wetter at 60"-80" a year. Accommodations are also more limited.
  5. The small inns and B&Bs in Volcano are our next area and average between 60"-120" per year depending on the exact location. Rain is frequent here at night.
  6. The northern Hamakua Coast is a fairly wet region, averaging 80"-160" annually. Accommodations in this area are somewhat limited. 
  7. Hilo is the wettest major city in the United States at 120"-160" annually, so you can expect lush surroundings and lots of rain, especially at night. Accommodations here are also surprisingly limited, though some small hotels and inns do exist.

Big Island of Hawaii Rainfall Map

The map below should also help you visualize which areas are the wettest and driest on the Big Island. More information about Hawaii weather can be found within our Hawaii Weather and Climate Patterns article.

Big Island of Hawaii Annual Precipitation Map

Big Island of Hawaii Annual Precipitation Map

Article Edited/Contributed by: John C. Derrick & Michele Lopez

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