What you need to wear and bring for sightseeing in Hawaii

There are few things more exciting than getting out and about for a day of sightseeing in the Hawaiian Islands. It’s a day filled with amazing views and memorable experiences.

After many, many days of sightseeing in Hawaii, we’ve determined the best clothes to wear and the best supplies to bring. Besides a car or tour bus, sightseeing in Hawaii usually involves short walks/hikes, going to rainforests and other diverse climates. This list will have you prepared for those situations.

What to wear

– T-shirts and shorts are typically fine for most Hawaii sightseeing. If you plan to be outdoors most of the day and taking any short hikes/walks, light-weight, moisture-wicking and quick-drying clothing is ideal. Some specialty fabrics even include sun protection and mosquito repellant. Wearing clothing with lighter colors will keep you cooler.

– Sneakers are usually okay for Hawaii sightseeing. We prefer multi-functional shoes that are good for short or long hikes. We like shoes that are quick-drying in case we need to cross a stream or encounter rain. A hiking sandal like we describe here checks all those boxes.

Sunscreen – due to Hawaii’s proximity to the equator, the sun’s rays are very strong. Many people discover that they burn/tan quicker in Hawaii than they do from most mainland homes.

– Sunglasses – for comfort and to protect your eyes. Polarized sunglasses are best.

– Hat/visor – for additional sun protection for your face.

What to bring

A well-stocked daypack keeps you prepared for fun days of exploring Hawaii.

– Camera

– Drinking water – It’s possible that you could be away from convenience stores and restaurants for hours at a time. So, it’s a good idea to bring lots of water.

– Snacks – As we just mentioned, depending on where you go and what you do, it’s possible that you could be away from convenience stores and restaurants.

– Lightweight backpack – Ideally, use one with padded straps for comfort and pockets for convenience. A daypack that’s waterproof or water resistant is useful if you get caught out in a rain shower. We use and like these inexpensive Zomake backpacks from Amazon.

– Sunscreen – To reapply throughout the day.

– Mosquito repellant – We like the convenience of these pre-moistened, individually wrapped towelettes that we buy from Amazon.

– Portable chargers/equipment to recharge smart phones. With smart phones being used for photos, videos and navigation, battery life can quickly dwindle.

– Wet wipes – Pre-moistened wipe are useful for cleaning your hands when you’re on the go.

– Umbrella, rain poncho or quick-drying clothes – We typically wear quick-drying clothes and don’t bother with a rain jacket or umbrella.

Other considerations

– If you’ll be swimming, bring a towel.

– If you will be visiting higher elevations — such as upcountry Maui, Waimea Canyon, Pali Lookout, Lanai City, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, you may want a light jacket. Warmer wear is recommended for Mauna Kea Visitor Center and Haleakala summit.

About Sheila Beal

Sheila Beal is the founder and editor of Go Visit Hawaii. You can connect with Sheila Beal on Twitter, Go Visit Hawaii on Facebook, or Instagram.

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