When you think about living on a tropical island throughout the year, you probably envision warm breezes, beautiful landscaping, and plenty of sunshine year round. If you come from snow country, that can be a very pleasing thought.
But while you may be used to four distinct seasons in a place like Chicago or New York, don’t expect to live in Hawaii and not have your share of seasonal weather as well. The Big Island is home to 11 of the world’s 13 climate zones. And while you may live in a neighborhood without drastic temperature variations or weather patterns, you will experience seasons just like the rest of the world. You’ll find beauty in every phase, and find something to love about each month of the year. (And if you want a different climate, its only a short drive away.)
The Big Island is diverse in so many ways. And while the Big Island’s weather is pleasantly warm and tropical year round, its also a place where you can drive and find any weather condition you choose. The amount of rainfall varies depending on what side of the island you are on. On the east side, rainfall averages 130 inches per year, mostly falling at night. On the west side, you’ll find only 10 inches of rain per year in the Kohala Coast region, with most of the rain coming in the winter months.
Temperatures will hover in the 70s and 80s all year long in the daytime, with temperatures falling off more at night in the winter months. While you’ll see only a few degrees of separation during the summer, winter can bring night time temperatures down into the 60s. Which gives you ample reason to snuggle under an extra blanket or throw an extra log into the fireplace on those chilly nights.
The most significant change on the Big Island is it’s the only Hawaiian Island that receives snow. There is nothing like walking along the beach or enjoying a drink poolside and looking up at the wondrous snow covered Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa off in the distance. And if you’re missing snow, you can head up to the mountains for a day of fun in the snow, knowing full well you can return to your 80 degree paradise later that day.
While most people think temperature change when they think of the different seasons, to me, one of the most significant changes occurs with each season is the landscape changes. Just before Thanksgiving, you’ll find hedges of poinsettias going into full bloom. I also love driving by coffee fields with their distinctive white coffee flowers in abundance as far as the eye can see.
Its not just the Big Island that changes, water conditions change as well. Water temperatures cool slightly, and the calm, flat water you’ve grown used to in the summer months will bring in exciting wave powered energy into the winter months. The humpback whales return to give birth to their young. Nothing can exhilarate you more than watching all of that life and energy taking place right before your eyes.
While the seasons might not change as drastically as you experienced back home on the Mainland, Hawaii puts on a brilliant show year round, with seasonal changes that can provide a change of spirit all year through. If buying a retirement home on the Big Island is in your plans, you’ll soon grow to love the distinction between each season here on Hawaii as much as I do.