23 Best Gifts & Souvenirs To Bring Back From Hawaii
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If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting Hawaii, you know there’s something truly magical about the islands.
From the warm sunshine and crystal-clear waters to the vibrant culture and welcoming locals, it’s hard not to fall in love with this paradise on earth.
However, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and eventually, it’s time to say goodbye to the Aloha State.
That’s why bringing back a piece of Hawaii with you in the form of souvenirs is so important.
Not only do they serve as a reminder of your time in paradise, but they also make great gifts for loved ones back home.
Whether you’re looking for something small and affordable or high-quality and precious, there’s a uniquely Hawaiian souvenir that’s perfect for you.
1. Hawaiian Quilts
One of the best and most traditional gifts to Hawaii is a Hawaiian Quilt. There is so much history in the craft of making these quilts, as they date back well before westerners arrived on the islands.
The quilts are actually made from the inner bark of a Wauke, or Mulberry Tree. From this, a fine cloth called Kapa is created and this is what is used for the quilts.
They symbolise an attachment and adoration for these islands. Traditionally, a new quilt is made when a child is born or when two people come together in marriage.
You may know of people that have a much-treasured Hawaiian quilt collection. They really are the most perfect gift and you will find unique quilts and lots more in souvenir shops.
2. Hawaiian Shirt
The Hawaiian shirt is actually called the aloha shirt and is a short-sleeved dress shirt from the Hawaiian Islands.
They come in a whole range of different printed fabrics and epitomise the weather, culture and vibe of these glorious islands. You might be thinking that these shirts are just for tourists.
Some sort of gimmick to get visitors to spend their money. However, these shirts are in fact worn by locals too.
Whilst they are designed to be casual and untucked, a buttoned-up aloha shirt is seen as formal wear at many places on the islands.
3. Hula Girl Figure
When you think of Hawaii, you think of Hula girls. Is it any wonder that this has perhaps become the number one symbol of tourism in the country?
Early figurines were often made of a clay-like material before plastic entered the market and this started to be used.
There are differently posed Hula girls, usually wearing a faux grass skirt, and colourful top, with a lei around their neck.
Sometimes they are holding a ukulele or have their hands in a hula position. Some of the recent models use solar power to cause the Hula girl to move.
If you are looking for a Hula girl figure, you will find a vast array of options to purchase in gift shops on the island. This is maybe one of the best gifts to remind you of your fantastic holiday in Hawaii.
4. Hawaiian Sea Salt
If your holiday in Hawaii has given some flavour to your life, taking home some of the incredible sea salts made on the islands is a must.
There is actually a couple of different varieties for you to bring home as gifts or pop in your pantry. The main one is Alaea salt, which is red in colour.
It is vibrant and unusual and the Alaea is naturally occurring, which gives the product its colour. This is actually from volcanic Hawaiian clay, with a high iron content being the cause of the shade.
Kauai is the main area for this salt and it is one of the most preferred salts in the world. You can also find an authentic black salt, where the colour comes from purified Hawaiian volcanic charcoal.
An absolute treat for chefs back home and something to help you think about your holiday memories every time you cook.
5. Hawaiian Honey
Did you know that Hawaii has some of the best-tasting honey you will ever try? This is in part due to the abundance of macadamia trees, as the bees love the blossoms.
The incredible and diverse range of nectar and pollen available to the bees in Hawaii makes for some of the most unique honey on earth.
The distinctive taste is sweet but not overpowering. You will notice it is on the side of floral rather than herbal, with undertones of salted caramel.
You will often find flavourings added to the Hawaiian honey, but only from traditional things that you will find on the islands.
These include Christmas berries, lehua and macadamia nuts. Give the gift of Hawaiian honey to offer a tantalising taste of the islands.
6. Fresh Flower Leis
Perhaps the most authentic Hawaiian souvenirs are fresh flower leis.
Once upon a time, leis were worn to show royalty, rank and wealth. However, these days they are a symbol of greetings. Showing love, celebration, honour and friendship.
Whilst there is quite a bit of etiquette surrounding fresh flower leis, they are a true symbol of Aloha.
Fresh flower leis are sold in stores across the Hawaiian Islands. For example, the photo above was taken in the Walmart in Waikiki, Oahu.
Keep in mind that fresh flower leis will be examined at the airport for any prohibited items. Most flowers used are fine however they will be inspected for such things as fresh botanical fruits like berries. Even orange leaves are not allowed.
7. Natural Hawaiian Body Products
Relaxing and unwinding in the Hawaiian Islands is a holiday like no other.
Self-care and well-being are so important in life and if you have discovered incredible Hawaiian body products during your vacation, they are fantastic and can be purchased to bring home as gifts.
These nourishing natural products are handcrafted on the islands, often plant based and richly scented with unique and tropical elements of the island.
Give your skin a youthful look and gorgeous glow and feel better than you ever have as you indulge in locally sourced products for every part of your body.
From lotions and oils to scrubs and balms, there is something handmade for everyone. Allow the islands to pamper you with beauty and wellness.
8. Hawaii Keychain
One of the things you check that you have with you when you leave the house is your keys. We use them every day, numerous times a day and have different sets for various locks and ignitions.
A Hawaii keychain hooked onto your keys will remind you of the fantastic time you had on your holidays. They also make fantastic gifts for loved ones and family members because they are small and fairly lightweight.
You will find them in gift shops and on markets across the islands, with beautiful designs.
These might include maps, sayings, fruit, the yellow hibiscus (the flower of the island) and other elements of the history and culture of Hawaii. You can even find them made out of koa wood.
9. Old Lahaina Rum
Many incredible cocktails are created with a mixture of juices, sodas and rum. A holiday in Hawaii is not complete without a taste of Old Lahaina Rum.
This tasty spirit reflects the early history of the drink on the islands. Rum was introduced to Hawaii by British sailors when they discovered the islands in the late 1780s.
It is said that the mixture of sailors, locals and rum was the makings of a perfect party! These days, Old Lahaina Rum is made by hand in small batches, with a focus on high quality.
This craft-style Rum is created by Kolani Distillers in Maui, with 100% Maui Grown Molasses. There are three versions of Old Lahaina Rum available, silver, gold and dark.
The bottle label shows an iconic local girl with fresh flower leis, waving at sailors coming ashore at the old Lahaina town. There is history in every glass!
Taking home a bottle or two will allow you to continue your holiday from your own sofa!
10. Hawaiian Coffee
If you know someone who needs a cup of coffee to kickstart the day, Hawaiian coffee is the most perfect gift to bring back from your tropical trip.
Hawaii is an incredible place to grow coffee beans, because of the high elevation, near-perfect temperatures, and of course, that rich volcanic earth.
You will typically find Kona coffee beans, which are bright, clean, and crisp and have flavours of milk chocolate, honey and brown sugar.
However, there are lots of varieties available from different regions. These include floral notes and tend to be slightly sweeter.
Buy the whole roasted beans or have them ground and ready to use. You might even get a taste for a special Honolulu Coffee which is a latte made with espresso, coconut, macadamia, and milk. Sounds delicious!
11. Tropical Fruit Jams
Hawaii has so many different types of fruit growing across the islands. These are grown with love and picked at the peak of ripeness for the very best flavour.
Lots of these are eaten fresh but many are turned into tropical fruit jams. These are the perfect Hawaiian sovenir to bring home with you at the end of your time in this paradise.
Perfect if you are making a little gift basket of edible treats from your trip too!
The variety of flavors available includes guava, mango, and lilikoi (which is another word for passionfruit.) You can enjoy these delicious products on toast, spread on pancakes or mixed in yogurt.
You will find these tropical fruit jams, jellies and butters (or fruit curds) at farmer’s markets and local grocery stores across the country.
12. Hawaiian Jewellery
In Hawaii, you will find some of the most unique jewellery you have perhaps ever seen. Intricate and incredible pieces that you simply fall in love with.
From rings, to necklaces, to pendants, there is an item Hawaiian jewelry for everyone and this is perhaps one of the most romantic ways to symbolise your time on the islands.
At Hilo Hattie you will find ear rings and bracelets that are ideal for gifts. Take a look at Maui Divers jewelry, which is inspired by the Hawaiian culture and the sea surrounding the islands.
For traditional gold and silver pieces, Royal Hawaiian Heritage jewelry is great and will engrave your items for you for extra personalisation. Perhaps Hawaii’s finest jewellery comes from Na Hoku, which means The Stars.
The pieces in their signature collections shine as bright as the twinkle in the night sky. They have been operating for almost 100 years and are regarded as the best jewelry store on the islands.
13. Macadamia Nuts
Did you know that most of the world’s macadamia nuts are grown in Hawaii?
They are rich, buttery and on the palette have a slight sweetness. Even though these nuts are actually indigenous to Australia, they have become synonymous with the Hawaiian islands.
This is where the world’s first commercial macadamia nut farm was built and most of the Hawaiian macadamia nuts come from the big island.
Each tree will produce about 30kg of nuts every year, but they are not harvested directly from the tree. Instead, they are picked from the ground when they have fallen, ensuring they are fully ripe.
The nuts should then be husked within 24 hours. For the creamiest produce with the best bite, take home some of these macadamia nuts from the islands of Hawaii.
14. Koa Wood Products
For something that is completely genuine to Hawaii, you have to look at Koa Wood products. The Koa Wood only grows on the Hawaiian islands and is a huge part of the history and culture.
Originally the tools used to carve these items were made of koa wood itself, with shark teeth! These wood carvings are one of the most unique gifts and are traditionally crafted by local artisans.
You will notice the distinctive grain patterns and range of colours. There are some amazing gifts that you can buy for yourself and for loved ones, created in this genuine style.
You will find fantastic dishware and early years cutlery, including Koa Wood bowls called “umeke.” The wood is perfect for food as it is toxic and allergen-free.
Other gift ideas made of koa wood include trinket boxes, sunglasses, candle holders, wine stoppers, coasters and model canoes.
15. Pineapple Wine
There is nothing quite like relaxing in Hawaii, looking out at some incredible views as the sun sets, whilst you sip on something made on the islands.
Perhaps one of the best drinks for some summer sipping is pineapple wine. This is a white wine, made from 100% pineapple juice and has a hint of sweetness.
It is also light and fruity, with a lower alcohol content than most wines. There are plenty of health benefits of fruit wine, including being a good source of antioxidants.
Pineapple wines also do not have any added sugar. If you get the taste for pineapple wine during your vacation time, why not bring back a couple of bottles and gift some to your loved ones as well?
Many people love scouring the beach to find incredible seashells. With 750 miles of coastline on the Hawaiian Islands, it is perhaps the most perfect place to discover wonderful seashells.
Tunnels beach is maybe the best stretch of sand to find super seashells, with a two-mile golden stretch to explore.
Despite the fact that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will allow you to bring home rocks or lava rocks from a volcano, you actually should not!
According to the legend, Pele – the Hawaiian goddess of fire – curses anyone who removes anything from the Islands. The jealous and arrogant goddess views rocks as her own children.
Therefore, removing them is like stealing from Pele, which will incur years of bad luck. That said, there are gift shops on the island so you can buy souvenirs without that bad luck being cast upon you.
Seashell necklaces are also great gifts as they are given for good luck and protection.
17. Hawaiian Music
You will have heard Hawaiian music already, especially if you have watched any Hollywood movies that have been filmed on the island, such as 50 First Dates and Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
One of the traditional Hawaiian musical instruments is the Ukulele, made famous by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole who sang “Somewhere over the Rainbow”.
Blue Hawaii is also a popular song, taken from the 1961 film of the same name. Music from the island these days also includes modern rock and hip hop, alongside popular Hawaiian folk.
If you fall in love with the soundtrack of your holiday, make sure to ring home an album full of those wonderful songs. Every time you listen to it, you will be transported back to those memories.
You have seen a pareo before but you might not have heard the name. These are the colourful, bright and patterned wrap-around skirts, worn on the beach and to cover up after being in the water.
Available from a range of gift shops as well as dedicated fashion outlets, they can be worn in a variety of ways including as a scarf or shawl.
These historic garments are ideal wherever there is sand and sea, so you can see how perfectly suited they are in Hawaii.
Choose the perfect Pareo for you and select one for a friend back home as well. Browse through unique, vibrant and beautiful prints that look fantastic when you wear them.
You will feel like a gorgeous Hawaiian goddess walking across those beautiful shimmering beaches.
19. Hawaiian Spices
Traditionally, Hawaiian cuisine was fairly simple using what was grown on the island. However, it is now influenced by ethnic cultures that have been brought to the island, including herbs and spices.
You will often see ginger, garlic and five spice, which is a blend of cloves, cinnamon, fennel seeds, star anise and Sichuan pepper.
Li Hing Mui is also now part of Hawaiian culture. This powder is used on a huge range of fruit to preserve it and even sprinkled on gummy bears.
Whilst you might not think it is going to be tasty, give it a go and you w will not regret it! These are some of Hawaii’s favourite snacks and are well worth a try.
20. Tropical Flavour Cookies
Everyone loves a sweet treat and you will be pleased to know there are plenty to be had when you visit Hawaii.
The Honolulu Cookie Company is Hawaii’s largest cookie manufacturer and has been sharing the spirit of Aloha since 1998.
The iconic cookie shape being a pineapple is intentional due to them being the international symbol of hospitality. The cookies are made to a strict recipe, using the finest ingredients.
They are also designed to be given as gifts which are perfect when you are looking for something from the island to bring back for friends and family.
These premium shortbread cookies are available in a range of Hawaii-inspired flavours including guava and macadamia.
The chocolate-dipped ones use premium white, dark and milk chocolate. They are all individually wrapped so are fresh and crispy when you want them to be.
21. Nautical Wind Chimes
The gentle breeze blowing onto the Hawaiian Islands lends itself to creating wonderful music. Nautical wind chimes are the most perfect presents to bring home for your loved ones, as well as yourself.
They will remind you of the relaxing time you spent in Hawaii. The atmosphere and ambience that they help create with the soft and mellow wind.
You will find these wind chimes made from a range of materials, including bamboo, crystal, sea shell, glass and metal.
The decorative elements make them look incredible, however, the music they make is what it is all about. The variety of tones is relaxing, can aid sleep and will help lower your stress levels.
These are gifts that will last and actually impact your life.
Hawaii is known for a lot of traditional artwork. You will find local artists all over the islands developing their pieces, honing their crafts and selling their works.
Of course, there are wonderful views that can be transitioned into paintings and drawings, allowing visitors to take home a unique take on those sofa sands, bright flowers and crystal clear oceans.
Lava rock carvings and wood carvings also come under the artwork category. There are fantastic photographers on the island as well.
You will find feather work, pictographs, and works on kapa, which is a bark cloth. The great thing about the Hawaiian culture is that artists are available to talk to and see in action.
You might just fall in love with a piece that you must have in your living room back home.
23. Tropical Fruits
The fresh fruits available on the Hawaiian Islands are second to none. During your time on the islands, you will no doubt indulge in some of the delicious fruits including jackfruit, mango, noni and star apple.
In order to bring some of these incredible fruits home with you, especially if you want friends to try them, the fruit needs to be treated and properly packaged.
You can find treated fruit, such as fresh pineapple, papaya, banana, dragon fruit, Logan, lychee, and starfruit in grocery stores on the islands.
It is worth noting though, that these fruits must be treated at a USDA-approved facility and packed in sealed and stamped boxes. Allowing you to enjoy those tropical flavours back home.
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Thanks for stopping by! Do you have experience with this trip or want to share some of your own tips? We’d love to hear about it! Comment below and let’s chat!