Maui in May: Why Visiting This Month Steals the Show

Ocean-facing view of the lobby at Andaz Wailea on Maui

If you’re looking for the best time to visit Maui, consider a trip in the month of May. You’re more likely to find perfect weather and smaller crowds on the island, at a lower cost than other times of the year.

There’s a reason that May continues to be one of our favorite months of the year to visit the Valley Isle. The island isn’t sweltering under the heat of summer, and disappointing rain showers aren’t as prevalent as during the winter months. 

And when sidestepping the month’s busy Memorial Day holiday weekend, we’ve found that flight prices, hotel costs, and rental car fees typically dip in the weeks following the spring break crowd crush.    

In this guide, we’ll delve into what makes May an exceptional time of the year to visit Maui, from the pleasant weather and festive local events to the cost-effective travel opportunities and the abundance of activities. 

Why Visit Maui in May?

View of Wailea Beach and the Maui resort buildings

Visiting Maui in May offers several advantages:

A good chance of optimal weather conditions. It’s true that Maui maintains a warm and temperate climate throughout the year. But as a tropical island, Maui also receives its share of rain. The month of May typically enjoys warm, pleasant weather with less rain than the winter months. The average temperature ranges from the mid-70s to mid-80s (Fahrenheit), making it perfect for outdoor activities — from beach days to watching sea turtles to hiking and exploring.

Fewer crowds to contend with. Not quite the low season, May falls in the shoulder season between the busy winter and summer periods, when visitors can enjoy popular attractions with fewer crowds. This means shorter lines for activities, less crowded beaches, and an overall more relaxed atmosphere.

Better travel deals. With fewer tourists on the island, hotels and resorts tend to offer lower rates or special promotions to attract visitors. This can also apply to car rentals and some tours.

Unique cultural experiences. May visitors enjoy several local events and cultural festivals, including Lei Day celebrations on May 1st. The statewide celebration showcases Hawaiian culture through music, dance, and lei-making competitions. 
Comfortable ocean conditions. The ocean temperatures remain warm. The winter’s big waves have calmed down, creating ideal conditions for snorkeling, diving, and swimming. Visibility is often excellent, allowing for ideal underwater experiences.

Drawbacks of visiting Maui in May

A muddy trail at Twin Falls Maui in the month of May

While May can be a great time to visit Maui, there’s no guarantee that everything will align perfectly. These are the potential downsides of visiting Maui during this late spring month: 

Transitional weather patterns mean unpredictable weather. In May, the season shifts from rainy to dry. During that seasonal shift, visitors may encounter slightly cooler temperatures or even brief rain showers, particularly in the early weeks of the month.

Little chance of seeing whales. While you could get lucky and spot humpback whales around the island before the majestic creatures migrate to Alaska, February and March are considered the best months for spotting the whales. By the end of April, the chances of seeing whales are few and far between. 

The island can still feel crowded with other tourists. While you won’t encounter crowds as large as other times of the year, the island is still busy with tourists — particularly toward the end of the month, during the U.S. Memorial Day weekend. 

What the weather is typically like

Ocean view from the infinity pool at the Wailea Resort on Maui, Hawaii

For a general idea of what to expect for Maui weather in November, we looked at the 2023 weather data to compare the month with other times of the year.

In May, Maui experiences warm and pleasant weather with a transition from the wetter winter months to the drier summer season. Here’s what you can typically expect in terms of weather in Maui during this month:


Daytime temperatures in May usually range from the mid-70s to low and mid-80s Fahrenheit (around 24-29°C), providing warm but not overly hot conditions.

Nights are comfortably cool, with temperatures often in the 60s Fahrenheit (around 15-20°C).


May marks the beginning of the dryer season for many parts of the island, especially on the leeward sides of west Maui and south Maui. Average rainfall is generally lower in May than in the winter months.

And while average monthly rainfall is relatively low, brief showers can still occur, particularly in East Maui (Hana) and the Upcountry region (Kula and Haleakala National Park).


Visitors typically enjoy an abundance of sunny days in May, making it a great time for beach activities and outdoor adventures.

During the month of May, Maui receives around 12 to 13 hours of daylight, with sunrise occurring just before 6 a.m. and sunset at around 7 p.m.

Ocean Conditions

Sea temperatures are comfortable, typically around the mid-70s Fahrenheit (around 23-24°C), which is ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. That makes a snorkeling trip to Molokini Crater even better. 

Also, calmer waters on the south and west coasts make for excellent beach conditions, with less wind and wave activity compared to the winter months.


Despite transitioning out of the rainy winter season, the month of May can see variable wind conditions. Trade winds are common but are usually milder compared to other times of the year. However, certain areas, particularly the north and east shores, tend to experience stronger winds.

In 2023, the average wind speed in Maui was neither the highest nor lowest for the year. At an average speed of 12.97 miles per hour, May was higher than the lowest month of 7.25 in January. But the month also saw less wind on average than July’s 16.87 miles per hour.  

Bottom line: Overall, May offers excellent weather conditions in Maui with a mix of sunny days, minimal rainfall, and warm temperatures, making it an excellent time for visiting and touring the island.

Packing for a May trip to Maui

A view of the Maui Gold pineapple field in Hawaii

When visiting Maui in May, packing should account for warm weather, potential rain showers, and the specific activities you’re planning to enjoy. Here’s what we suggest:


Lightweight and breathable fabrics. Pack clothes made from cotton, linen, or moisture-wicking materials to stay comfortable in the warm and humid climate.

Swimwear. Bring multiple swimsuits for beach days, pool lounging, and water activities.

Cover-ups. For transitioning from the beach to restaurants or shops.

Shorts and t-shirts. Ideal for daytime exploring and beach activities.

Light jacket or sweater. For cooler evenings or windy days, especially if visiting higher elevations like Haleakalā.

Long pants and long-sleeved t-shirts. To protect against the sun or for hiking in areas with dense vegetation.

Resort wear. For fine dining or special events. Many places in Maui have a relaxed dress code, but some upscale venues may require smart-casual attire.


Sandals or flip-flops (typically referred to as “slippahs” in Hawaii). Essential for the beach and casual outings.

Water Shoes. Useful for rocky shorelines or water activities. Just be careful not to stand on the precious coral reef.

Comfortable Walking Shoes or hiking boots. For exploring the island and engaging in outdoor adventures.

Pool loungers and cabanas at the Fairmont Wailea


Sun Protection. A wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and high SPF mineral-based sunscreen help protect against UV rays.

Rain gear. A lightweight rain jacket or poncho if you’re planning to spend a lot of time outside. Brief rain showers can occur particularly on the north and east sides of the island.

Beach bag. To carry essentials like towels, sunscreen, and water bottles.

Reusable water bottle. To stay hydrated while exploring. Avoid buying plastic bottles, and look for refillable water stations at your hotel and around the island.

Snorkeling Gear. If you plan to snorkel frequently, consider bringing your own equipment. If you’re a casual snorkeler, save the luggage space. Snorkeling gear rentals are widely available.

Other Essentials

Camera or smartphone. You’ll want to capture the stunning scenery and special moments of your trip.

Daypack. For day trips, hiking, or carrying souvenirs.

Chargers and Adapters. For electronic devices; consider a portable charger for long days out.

Optional items

Binoculars. For bird watching.

Light blanket or sarong. Useful for picnics, beach days, or watching sunsets. I once wore a sarong as a dress to dinner!

Bottom line: Packing for Maui in May should focus on comfort, versatility, and preparedness for both sunny days and occasional rain.

For a complete list of items we recommend when packing for Maui, visit The Ultimate Packing List for Your Hawaii Vacation

How busy it gets in May: Maui tourism trends

Budget and Avis rental car signs inside the Kahului Airport rental car building

Expect moderate tourist activity in May. The month tends to see lower visitor traffic than the peak seasons of winter (December to March) and summer (June to August). May falls during one of the year’s shoulder seasons, offering a balance between the busy peak times and the quietest months. Here’s what you can typically expect in terms of crowds and tourism dynamics:

Tourist Traffic

May sees a noticeable decrease in tourist numbers compared to the winter months, as the peak season for whale watching and winter escapes have ended.

As schools are still in session in many places, family travel isn’t at its annual peak, contributing to fewer visitors.

Accommodation and Rates

With the decrease in demand, accommodations may be more readily available and sometimes at lower rates than during peak seasons. This makes May a good time of year to find deals on hotels and vacation rentals.

Attractions and Activities

Popular sites and attractions are less crowded, allowing for a more relaxed experience. Visitors can enjoy shorter wait times and less crowded tours.

There is still a vibrant array of activities available, from outdoor adventures like hiking and snorkeling to cultural events and festivals.

Events and Festivals

May hosts unique local events, such as the Lei Day Celebration on May 1st and the Maui Brewers Festival. These events can draw additional visitors but are typically not as crowded as the major festivals in peak months.

Travel and Accessibility

Roads, popular tourist spots, and beaches are more accessible and less congested, making travel around the island easier and more enjoyable.

Rental car availability is generally better, and prices may be more competitive than in the high season.

Bottom line: May offers a sweet spot for visiting Maui, with enough tourist activity to keep the island lively but without the intense crowds of the busier months. This makes it an excellent time for those looking to enjoy the island’s attractions and natural beauty with a bit more peace and space.

Cost considerations for the month of May

A view of the ocean from the Kihei shoreline with a green highway sign that says "To Piilani Highway" with an arrow pointing away. from the water

May is often better for cost savings in Maui compared to the peak tourist months, due to its position in the shoulder season. Here’s how costs for flights, hotels, and rental cars typically compare to other times of the year. Keep in mind that Memorial Day weekend at the end of the month can cause prices to swing upward compared to dates earlier in the month.

Flight Costs

Airfare to Maui in May can be less expensive than during the peak winter and summer months, simply because there tends to be a lull in demand after the winter months. After the spring break period and before the summer crowds, airlines may offer lower prices to attract travelers. 

Booking in advance and being flexible with travel dates can lead to significant savings on flights during the month of May.

Hotel Rates

Hotel prices in May are generally lower than in the peak seasons of December through March and June through August. The decreased demand allows for more competitive pricing and special promotions.

Travelers can often find good deals on accommodations, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly hotels, especially if they book early or take advantage of last-minute deals.

Rental Car Costs

Rental car rates in Maui during May are usually more favorable than during the high season. With fewer tourists on the island, there is less demand for rental vehicles, leading to better availability and lower prices.

However, it’s still advisable to book rental cars in advance to secure the best rates and ensure availability, especially since Maui has experienced rental car shortages in the past.

Comparison with Other Months

Compared to the summer months (June to August), when family travel peaks and the winter months (December to March), when whale watching and holiday travel surge, May often presents a cost-effective alternative.

Prices for travel and accommodations start to rise again in June as the summer vacation period begins. Therefore, May can offer the last chance for lower prices before the summer peak.

Popular Maui events and experiences in May

The Wailea beach path in front of the Four Seasons Maui with a wooden foot sign engraved with "For your sandy toes" with a brush hanging from a hook

Lei Day Heritage Festival Celebrations (May 1st)

Lei Day is a statewide celebration on the Hawaiian islands, and Maui honors this tradition with festivals, lei-making competitions, and cultural performances. It’s a vibrant display of local culture and the artistry of lei making.

Since Hawaii’s first lei contest on May 1, 1928 — lei day celebrations

Maui Brewers Festival

Held annually at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, this festival showcases a wide range of local and national craft beers, along with food from top local restaurants and live music. It’s a must-attend event for beer enthusiasts.

Maui Classical Music Festival

Featuring acclaimed musicians from around the world, this festival offers a series of concerts held in historic venues and churches across Maui, providing a unique cultural and auditory experience.

Nature Experiences

May is a great time of year for outdoor activities like hiking in Iao Valley State Park, visiting Haleakalā National Park, or exploring the Road to Hana. Maui weather in May is conducive to enjoying the natural beauty of the island without the peak season crowds.

Agricultural Tours

May is an excellent time to explore Maui’s farms and agricultural tours, including lavender farms, wineries, and organic farms. These tours often include tastings and farm-to-table experiences.

These events and experiences in May offer a glimpse into the diversity of activities available in Maui, blending cultural festivities, natural exploration, and culinary adventures.

Should you vacation on Maui in May?

Absolutely, especially if you’re looking for a relaxed yet enriching island getaway.

May is an excellent choice for those seeking a harmonious balance of Maui’s delightful weather, cultural festivities, and serene natural landscapes, coupled with the advantage of fewer tourists and more affordable travel options.

Combined with the island’s mild climate and engaging local events like Lei Day and the Maui Brewers Festival, May stands out as an ideal time for a memorable (and less crowded) holiday.

About Author

Hi, I’m Gina — managing editor, Maui enthusiast, and human behind the keyboard here at Maui Trip Guide. When I’m not on the island at my Kihei condo, you can find me planning my next travel adventure from my home in the Pacific Northwest.

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