When you experience Hawaii for the first time, you wish your friends and family could also enjoy this paradise on earth. Bringing them a gift from Hawaii is not a substitute for visiting Hawaii, but it’s certainly a good consolation. Plus, you may like to get yourself a souvenir to remind you of your special vacation. Today we offer some souvenir suggestions — both what to purchase and some recommendations of where to buy them.
Over the years, we have purchased lots of artwork and have never regretted any of it. We’ve purchased prints and original oil paintings of Hawaiian landscapes that adorn our walls. We also once brought back a small, hand-carved Koa wood bowl.
You don’t have to spend a bundle on art, especially if you buy prints. Most of them come with mats which also provides stability and prevents bending in transporting them home. Many of them are small enough to fit easily in your luggage. Most art shops offer shipping so that you don’t have to worry about transporting the art safely home.
In addition to prints and such, “coffee table” books by Hawaii artists also make a good souvenir. Note card collections from artists are also a nice gift for you or for someone else.
As you shop in Hawaii, you’ll likely come across island-inspired jewelry for both women and men. Some examples are:
- Necklaces with Hawaiian fish hook pendants carved from bone or wood
- Jewelry made with sea glass and/or shells
- Leis made with shells or polished and/or painted kukui nuts
As you explore Hawaii, you’ll enjoy the happy tunes on ukuleles. Some hotels and shops offer free ukulele lessons, which may inspire you to learn to play this four-string instrument. See our ukulele buying guide, which offers general buying tips plus a focus on where to buy on Oahu.
Aloha (Hawaiian) shirts and such
Once you arrive in Hawaii, you’re soon immersed in the culture and the Aloha (Hawaiian) style shirts and other garments are certainly a part of the local culture. We would suggest skipping past the Hawaiian-print attire from the ABC Stores and Hilo Hatties and instead invest in a good quality shirt. It’s a much better investment, plus you’ll look less like a tourist and potentially impress the locals with your discerning shirt choice. Look for shops selling Reyn Spooner, Sig Zane, and Tori Richard designs. Also, surprisingly, we’ve found good quality Hawaiian shirts at Costco stores in Hawaii.
As for t-shirts, we recommend Crazy Shirts in Hawaii. Their shirts are good quality and they have many shops throughout Hawaii.
Food and drink
Hawaii is so yummy! It’s nice to share the flavors of Hawaii with your friends and family when you get back home. Some items that are special to Hawaii to bring back home might include:
- Macadamia nuts, of course! In Hawaii, you’ll find many flavors beyond just roasted or chocolate covered. We particularly like the chocolate toffee covered mac nuts and our friends love the macadamia nut Hershey Kisses. Both can easily be found around the islands. If you want to try some gourmet flavors, check out our guide to macadamia nut farms/factories/shops in Hawaii. For the best deals, check out Costco and Walmart stores.
- Hawaii-grown coffee – Hawaii (Big) Island’s Kona coffee is world famous, but you can find coffee grown on Kauai, Maui, Oahu and Molokai as well. On the Big Island, we recommend a free coffee farm tour at Greenwell Farms. In Kauai, check out Kauai Coffee.
- Chocolate farms are slowly growing in popularity. We like the Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory Farm on Hawaii Island.
- Pineapples are a popular fruit to bring home. Be sure you purchase one that’s been cleared/prepared for transporting back home. The incredibly sweet Maui Gold is our favorite pineapple. Some airports have shops and kiosks where you can purchase pineapples. They are quite bulky for flights. Some pineapple shops and farms can provide shipping straight to your home.
- Honey – We have purchased some delicious honey from the Big Island.
- Jellies and jams – You’ll find lovely tropical flavors like guava, lilikoi (passion fruit) and mango. Farmers markets are a great source for jellies and jams. Sometimes, we’ve ordered jellies and jams from the farmer and had them shipped directly home.
Standard souvenirs, but with a Hawaii-spin
Most of the following souvenirs can easily be found in Hawaii-favorites like Hilo Hattie and ABC Stores. If you’re on Oahu, check out the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet.
- Calendars with scenes from Hawaii.
- Picture frames with a Hawaii-theme make a nice accompaniment for your favorite vacation photo.
- Christmas ornaments with surfing Santas, turtles and ukuleles are commonly sold.
- Soaps, lotions and candles – handmade soaps and candles with Hawaii-sourced ingredients make a nice gift. The scented products will remind you of Hawaii long after your vacation.
- Coffee/tea mugs
- Refrigerator magnets
We hope these ideas will help you bring home a very treasured souvenir from Hawaii. What items are you looking forward to purchasing in Hawaii?