Do you love souvenirs? Do you make a beeline for those stores that carry nothing but?
If you are a lover of the take-home reminder, souvenir shopping is a real thing. T-shirts, bobble-head figurines, or packaged local deliciousness, there is no end to the excitement of picking up something that speaks to your particular souve-style (a new word!).
Maybe it’s the ocean breezes talking, maybe it’s the warm sun or the Mai Tai’s for brunch, but Hawaii souvenirs are ranked high in popularity among visitors.
Some things you may find are more than a souvenir, they will become conversation pieces filled with memories of your trip for years to come.
So, off you go! Make it a mission to bring home the perfect Hawaiian Souvenir….or two….or ten.
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Updated 2023 Hawaii Visitor Guides
If you're visiting Hawaii soon, be sure to download a copy of one of our updated 2023 Hawaii Visitor Guides. We've updated the packets with a lot of new great information for potential visitors (and for those who've been a time or two as well).
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The Shirt Off My Back
It may seem like a stereotype, and a bit kitschy but the traditional Hawaiian shirt is a must-have if you don’t own one. Also known as the Aloha shirt, its specific origins remain a mystery but we do know that this piece of apparel became popular in the 1920s and 1930s.
Hawaii was seen as a place of comfort for mainlanders, and the Aloha shirt played a big part in cementing Hawaii’s place in the hearts and minds of visitors.
For serious Hawaiian shirt lovers, add one more to the collection and start an Aloha shirt tradition of your own.
2. Say Hello with a Lei
A greeting sure to bring that smile back, this Hawaiian traditional symbol of welcome still holds its place today.
Representing the affection of one person to another, the Lei is probably the most recognizable wearable item in the world.
Traditionally made from fresh flowers, visitors can now purchase them at stores all over the islands.
Made from everything from plastic to silk, nuts, and local shells, they are a classic item for your collection of souvenirs.
3. For the Foodies
Indigenous to Australia, Hawaii is now the Pacific’s adoptive home of Macadamia nuts. The Island of Hawaii produces over 95 percent of the state’s nuts, much to everyone’s liking.
They are a delicious treat and covered in chocolate, remain one of the biggest sellers for visitors to take home as gifts and of course for themselves.
For those without a sweet tooth, Hawaiian coffee is known for packing quite a punch. Kona coffee is strong and flavorful, and a popular edible souvenir.
This sea salt is quite popular for those into the culinary arts, and simply as a local source for seasoning. Found on all the islands but not really in the traditional souvenir shops, it’s worth checking the local grocery stores.
Bring some home for the would-be chefs in your life.
Enjoy a NightCap
Locally made spirits make a great souvenir. Take home the flavors of Hawaii in the form of Pineapple Wine, or Sake. For the more serious spirit aficionados, you can’t go past Koloa Rum.
4. Novelties To Bring a Smile
Souvenir shoppers generally don't take themselves too seriously, especially those looking for the ultimate and fun take-home items.
Drinkware, bottle openers, eco-tote bags, and fridge magnets (could we ever live without them?) all share the familiar moniker of brightness and beach scenes that will always remind us of our trip.
Some say they’re tacky, some say they are an icon, but wherever you happen to sit, bobble-head hula dolls, and dashboard dancers, all have their place, and we’re glad of it.
Guaranteed, someone you know will ask you if you brought one back…even for them.
Take an armful home. It should be law.
5. Adorn Yourself
Looking for something a little different? Hawaii has some of the best handmade precious and semi-precious jewelry you can buy. From costume pieces to diamond and gemstone creations.
One of the favorites found in Hawaii is the stunning pearls.
Traditions have pearls bringing wisdom and passion to their wearers, while legends reveal their similarities to the moon bringing about tidal movements and desires.
Local jewelry makers often sell their pieces at markets and in some of the larger shopping centers, or pick-a pearl and have your one-of-a-kind piece created. You’ll find no shortage of pieces to suit your personal preferences.
Do yourself a favor and bring home a piece of Hawaiian jewelry.
6. Choose Local Handicrafts
All the islands of Hawaii are home to some of the most talented visual art creators and craftspeople in the Pacific.
Choose to take home a range from Koa carvings, handmade quilts, and mesmerizing wind chimes all created by a local with a touch of tradition, and Hawaiian love in every piece.
Fancy yourself a four-string superstar? Ukuleles can be found in Hawaii almost everywhere, why not seek out something crafted from local wood by a crafter with a passion for the instrument and its traditions.
7. Take Home Your Own Mementos
Have photos taken with some locals you have met or your favorite place. Some restaurants offer a photo service so you can take home the memory.
Take your own images of the vast and beautiful coastlines or take some candid snaps while no one is watching.
Framed together in a collage or a single image as an everyday reminder of your time in Hawaii.
If your stay in Hawaii is more for a specific reason, a honeymoon, or a family reunion, keep your airline boarding pass, or ticket stubs from an event and frame them.
Not all souvenirs are found in stores.
Where Do I Buy My Souvenirs?
Many items you will want to take home are available at a variety of stores all around these beautiful islands.
These are some of the stores likely to hold your next treasures:
Local Convenience stores
Picking up some snacks and a souvenir? Perfect. ABC stores and local grocery outlets are great places to get one-off purchases.
Market to Market
Check out the local markets for handmade crafts and wood carvings. Flea markets and any craft events will also ensure you are leaving with a smile.
Familiar Shopping Comfort
Walmart stores and everyday discount variety stores can be found in most of the highly populated cities.
Shop til you Drop
Larger shopping malls are a great place to source artworks and higher-end souvenirs. Take a day out to shop at Ala Moana, Princeville Center, International MarketPlace, or centers that are local or convenient.
Some Things to Remember
Shopping for souvenirs is fun, whether they are a one-off find or something you’ve had on your mind since touching down, there is a place to find what you want.
There are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about returning home with a memory, or prized possession:
Check your country or state laws for bringing back certain food or wooden items.
Pack glass items or alcohol well or take them as a part of your carry-on luggage.
Remember to buy local where you can. It helps to support sustainability, local artists, and community self-sufficiency.
Don’t remove indigenous rock or sand. It’s considered a definite no-no.
What’s your favorite souvenir? Do you go for the same or something different every time? Hawaii offers a range of keepsakes and fun items to take home for yourself, family, and friends. Keep the tradition alive and buy plenty when you’re here.
Hmmm…Think you might need a bigger suitcase?
The best souvenir? A ticket to return.
Want Hawaiian souvenirs? Contact us for the best in Hawaiian shopping and places to source the best local arts and crafts. Take a piece of Hawaii home with you.