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Whether you’re a traveler or not, there’s no denying the allure of Hawaii. The beaches, the sun, and the unique culture make it a popular destination for people worldwide. Bringing home (or just buying online) the perfect souvenirs from Hawaii is always a hot topic among visitors.
The anguish I see some visitors express when trying to decide, or trying to find, some of the best souvenirs from Hawaii is matched only by deciding, when is the best time to visit Hawaii. Join a Hawaii social group and you will be surprised by the number of times it comes up in chat rooms and Hawaii travel groups.
With so many authentic Hawaiian souvenirs available, finding the perfect gifts for your family and friends back home is difficult. This is where this list comes in. Trust me, you will be bombarded with gift shops from the moment you step off the plane at the airport. Your hotel will have them, the streets are lined with them, and making that final decision will be tough.
I have rounded up the best gift from Hawaii to make your decision a little bit easier. From coffee and chocolate to unique jewelry and art, there’s something for everyone on this list.
If you’re looking for a unique and memorable gift to bring back from your Hawaii trip, macadamia nuts are the way to go. These delicious nuts are grown throughout Hawaii (mainly on the Big Island) and make a great snack that your friends and family will love. Macadamia nuts are famous for their smooth, creamy texture and delicate flavor.
I recommend Ahualoa Farms from the Big Island of Hawaii, located about 45 minutes from the Mauna Kea Hotel, a great company with amazing people. You can go with the classic macadamia nut or try a unique flavor like Lilikoi Passion Fruit, Maui Onion & Garlic (my favorite), or indulge in a macadamia nut cocoa spread.
Click the images for pricing and detailed information.
They’re often used in baking, but they’re also a delicious snack. You can find them packaged in beautiful boxes or tins, making them perfect for gift-giving. And best of all, macadamia nuts are a healthy snack that your loved ones can enjoy guilt-free.
I think this souvenir snack from Hawaii is a classic gift for those who weren’t able to visit or to remind those of the last time they were here. So next time you plan a trip to Hawaii, don’t forget the nuts.
Next on the list is Hawaiian quilts, which make for a beautiful and unique gift. Hawaiian quilts are made with vibrant, colorful fabrics and patterns inspired by the state’s culture and history. Some Hawaiian quilts may tell a story or have special meaning to a family, taking upwards of 2 years to complete.
These quilts are typically handmade and can cost thousands of dollars, making them even more special. They’re also functional, as they can be used as bedspreads, wall hangings, or tabletops. These quilts make a beautiful and thoughtful gift that your loved ones will cherish for years.
If you are serious about your quilts and want to bring home something that will be cherished for generations I recommend Ric Stark, Hawaiian Quilt Collection, and Catherine Wynne. If you like the style of Hawaiian quilts but want something a bit more budget-friendly look here.
The Hawaiian quilt “style” can be found on many bags, pillows, and other items so take some time to look around to see what is available.
Aloha shirts are famous around the world and are usually made from brightly colored fabric, featuring a floral or Hawaiian-themed print. While men once only wore them, aloha shirts are now worn by people of all genders and ages.
For several reasons, a Hawaiian shirt is always an excellent gift or souvenir.
- They are a reminder of your vacation in Hawaii.
- They are comfortable and stylish, making them perfect for casual wear.
- They can be inexpensive (or of the highest quality), so you can buy a few without breaking the bank or get a special one for special occasions.
I have worn Aloha shirts most of my life and have seen them evolve from touristy to high-end fashion statements. Fun for parties or a board meeting you can always find an Aloha shirt that fits the bill.
For high quality and style, I recommend Reyn Spooner and Tori Richard. The blue Aloha shirt below is from Reyn Spooner and the design is one of the all-time classics. Click the images for more information.
High-quality Aloha shirts are unique – you won’t find them just anywhere, making them all the more special. So if you’re looking for one of the perfect Hawaiian souvenirs to bring home from your Hawaiian vacation, consider giving the gift of an aloha shirt.
If you are looking for something more on the fun side with bright colors that screams “This Is An Aloha Shirt!” then try the swap meet at Aloha Stadium open Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. If you can’t get there during your visit then try these Aloha shirts from Amazon, they range from $30-$100+
Kona coffee is an award-winning morning delight found nowhere else in the world, even the blends are good but definitely try the 100% at least once. In addition, I recommend Ka’u coffee which is also from the Big Island and has won several awards.
For many of you, coffee is an essential part of your morning routine. So what could be better than bringing home a souvenir that you will enjoy over and over? Skip the mug and get what goes “in” the mug.
Kona coffee beans are grown on the slopes of the Big Island in one of the world’s most ideal climates for coffee production. They are the best Hawaiian souvenirs and a great way to make your friends and family remember you when they sip Hawaiian coffee in the morning. This is a gift anyone will be happy to receive, even non-coffee drinkers can enjoy some Kona coffee cookies.
The rich volcanic soil and warm, sunny days create perfect conditions for the coffee plants to thrive. As a result, Kona coffee is prized for its unique flavor and aroma. And because they can only be sourced from a limited number of growers, they are also quite rare and expensive.
Click the images for pricing and additional information.
Wait, the USDA says you cannot bring fresh fruits from Hawaii! This is a hot topic with lots of bad information out there. The bottom line is pineapple and coconuts are allowed to be taken out of Hawaii after inspection. Let’s look at the most common questions about taking pineapples from Hawaii.
Can I take pineapples on the plane as a carry-on from Hawaii?
Yes, the USDA has a list of items you are not allowed to take from Hawaii and fresh fruits are one of them, this creates a lot of confusion because pineapple is fresh fruit (so are coconuts!). BUT, there is a list of exemptions that are allowed to be taken out, pineapples and coconuts are both included on the list. Verify this by going directly to the USDA website and clicking on the dropdown section labeled “Common Items from Hawaii ALLOWED into the U.S. Mainland, Alaska, and Guam (after passing USDA inspection)”. You will see both coconuts and fresh pineapple on the list.
Can I take pineapples in my checked luggage from Hawaii?
Yes, see the answer above for details.
What about that section “after passing USDA inspection”?
All fresh fruits, and many other items, need to be inspected before leaving Hawaii. Pineapples and coconuts are allowed to be taken but must be inspected first. See the detailed explanation regarding baggage inspection from the USDA when leaving Hawaii.
How many pineapples can I take?
As many as you are willing to pay for and that pass inspection. If you are thinking about taking hundreds you are on the wrong website 🙂
Can I buy pineapples from Costco to take on the plane home from Hawaii?
Yes, declare them during check-in or bag scan at the airport for inspection.
Do the pineapples need to be pre-packaged and pre-inspected to take on the plane home from Hawaii?
No, you have probably seen many pre-packaged pineapples at the airport, Dole Plantation, or other popular spots to buy pineapples. This makes it convenient but it is not required. Declare your pineapples during the agriculture inspection and if they pass you will be allowed to bring them with you.
Where can I get fresh pineapple in Hawaii to take home?
Tropical Fruit Jams & Jellies
If you think fruits aren’t a great option, or you are looking for something that will last a bit longer than a few days you should consider jams and jellies for souvenirs from Hawaii.
Tropical fruit jams are the perfect way to do just that. Made from fresh fruits grown in Hawaii, these jams burst with flavor. They make a great addition to breakfast foods like toast and pancakes or can be enjoyed on their own as a sweet treat.
My personal favorite is anything lilikoi, it carries a punch of flavor and is very distinct in taste. I know many others who love guava jam as their favorite so be sure to sample some flavors while you are in Hawaii.
Click on the images for pricing and additional information.
So if you’re looking for a delicious and unique way to enjoy the taste of Hawaii, pick up a jar of tropical jellies and jams before heading home.
Hawaiian music is some of the most beautiful and unique in the world. It’s perfect for any occasion, whether you’re looking for a relaxing background soundtrack or something to get your toes tapping. I will share with you some of my personal favorites that are available on streaming services and other platforms.
My personal favorites
If you find yourself enjoying a cocktail at the House Without A Key, Halekulani Hotel, during sunset and hear a song you love, don’t hesitate to ask the musicians between sets while dropping a tip. Memories of that moment can last forever with the right music.
Koa Wood Products
Koa is a type of hardwood endemic to Hawaii and is prized for its strength and beauty, it is often used to make furniture, musical instruments, and other wood products.
Koa wood products make great gifts for friends and family because they are unique to the Hawaiian Islands and can be cherished for years to come. Koa wood products can be found in various styles, from traditional Hawaiian koa bowls to modern jewelry boxes.
You can find koa wood products in a variety of gift shops and high-end retailers throughout Hawaii. Here are a few ideas of what can be done with koa wood to bring home as a souvenir.
Click on the images for pricing and additional information.
Hawaiian Sea Salt
If you’re looking for a unique, delicious, and healthy gift to bring home from your Hawaiian vacation, look no further than Hawaiian sea salt. This unique salt is made from the evaporated water of the Pacific Ocean and delivers a one-of-a-kind flavor that is perfect for seasoning food.
The clear bag with orange and brown branding color from Hawaiian Pa’akai is the one I grew up with and can be found in most local grocery stores. A small bag will last a long time. There are now several varieties of Hawaiian sea salt that are produced on multiple islands throughout Hawaii. Here are a few that I have personally tried.
Click on the images for pricing and additional information.
Hawaiian Tote Bags
Tote bags are always great, but Hawaiian tote bags are extra special. These colorful bags are perfect for carrying all your beach essentials, making a great souvenir or gift for friends and family.
Hawaiian tote bags come in various designs, from traditional Hawaiian prints to modern and funky patterns. No matter what your style, you’re sure to find a tote bag that you’ll love. And because they’re so versatile, tote bags make an excellent gift for just about anyone. They can be purchased from gift shops in any market.
Here are 3 you can order online but I would recommend checking out the Swap Meet (on Oahu) and ABC stores a first-hand look.
Fresh Flower Leis
A fresh flower lei is an excellent gift for many occasions, especially when visiting Hawaii. The flowers are usually strung together with a needle and thread and can be made to just about any length.
As a gift, it shows you have thought about the person you are giving the gift to and what they would like. It also shows that you are aware of the Hawaiian culture and look to reflect that in your gift choice.
If you are taking leis from Hawaii to the US mainland be sure to know about the USDA rules and regulations before heading out. Here are a few recommended places to order your fresh, live leis, to wear during your visit or to have shipped directly to you. Buy Hawaii Lei, Hawaii Flower Lei, and Aloha Hawaiian Flowers.
If you are looking for an artificial lei that will last for many years here are a couple of suggestions.
Hawaiian jewelry is more than just pretty baubles – it reflects the culture and history of the Hawaiian people. From traditional heirloom pieces to modern designs, Hawaiian jewelry celebrates the unique heritage of the islands. There is no better way to remember your Hawaiian vacation than with a beautiful piece of Hawaiian jewelry.
Hawaiian bracelets, necklaces, and earrings are often made from shells, pearls, and semi-precious stones. Traditional Hawaiian heirloom pieces often feature intricate carvings and symbolic designs, making them one-of-a-kind works of art.
Whether you’re looking for a traditional or contemporary piece, these will add a touch of island flair to your wardrobe. If you are on Oahu visit Na Hoku and Honolulu Jewelry Company. There is also a wide selection available online, below are a few suggestions.
Click on the images for pricing and additional information.
They are one of the best Hawaiian souvenirs you can bring back from a Hawaiian vacation is a bottle of Pineapple wine. This delicious wine is made from 100% pure Hawaiian pineapples and has a refreshingly sweet taste. It’s the perfect way to show your family and friends how much you enjoyed your trip to Hawaii.
Pineapple wine makes a great Hawaiian gift for any occasion. Birthdays, holidays, anniversaries – any excuse is a good excuse to give someone a bottle of this exceptional wine. So next time you plan a trip to Hawaii, pick up a few bottles of pineapple wine.
I have tasted several of these wines in upcountry Maui and there were some I loved and others passed on. If you are traveling in Kula Maui make sure to stop in and get a tasting.
The ukulele is an extraordinary instrument with a lot of history behind it. It is originally from Portugal and was brought over by Portuguese immigrants in the late 1800s. The word “ukulele” means “jumping flea,” which is fitting because your finger jump from string to string while playing.
Ukuleles are perfect for beginners because they are relatively easy to learn how to play. They are also great for people who already know how to play guitar or another stringed instrument because the four strings on a ukulele are tuned to the same note as the top four strings on a guitar.
If you are looking for something more budget-friendly or to test out before getting serious here are a couple of options from Amazon.
Hawaiian History Books
The history of Hawaii is not all sunshine and flowers. Visiting a place helps you to understand it, and knowing the history opens you up to a whole new perspective of what a place is about.
If you really want to understand this place then reading (or listening) to its history is a must. It’s a long flight to Hawaii so consider an audible book to pass the time.
Here are 3 books I recommend for anyone trying to reach a deeper understanding of Hawaii.
Click on the images for pricing, shipping, and additional information.
Hawaiian License Plates
Collecting license plates of places you have been popular and a great way to remember where you have traveled. I wish I would have saved my old ones as the license plates here in Hawaii have changed the design a couple of times. Now with new printing techniques, you can get a license plate souvenir that says almost anything.
Here are 6 Hawaii license plates with different wording that would make a great souvenir. You can find these in the standard license plate size as well as a mini version in just about every tourist area. ABC stores and nearby sundries have these and dozens of other “chachkees” available for purchase.
These souvenirs from Hawaii are inexpensive, and you can find them at almost every gift shop in Hawaii. So next time you’re looking for that perfect Hawaiian gift, don’t forget about license plates – they make the ideal present for any occasion.
Li Hing Mui Powder
Li Hing Mui is a popular snack in Hawaii, known for its distinctive sweet, sour, and salty flavor profile. The term “Li Hing Mui” translates to “traveling plum” in Chinese, and it refers to dried, salted plums. It is a type of preserved fruit that has been a favorite in China and other parts of Asia for centuries.
Li Hing Mui Seed refers to the actual dried plum seed, which is often coated with a mixture of licorice, red food coloring, salt, and sugar. It’s commonly enjoyed as a snack on its own, or it can be used to flavor other foods and drinks.
Li Hing Mui Powder is made by grinding up the dried plums, including the seed, into a fine powder. This powder is then used as a seasoning for a variety of foods, ranging from fruits like pineapple and mango to gummy candies and even the rims of cocktail glasses for an added flavor kick.
Honolulu Cookie Company Cookies
The Honolulu Cookie Company is a gourmet cookie brand that has become synonymous with the flavors and spirit of Hawaii. Founded in 1998 in Honolulu, the company has built a reputation for its premium shortbread cookies, which are distinctly shaped like pineapples to symbolize hospitality, an important value in Hawaiian culture.
The popularity of the Honolulu Cookie Company in Hawaii can be attributed to its successful fusion of local flavors with a universally loved product—cookies. The brand has become a fixture in Hawaiian gift shops and is often sought after by tourists as the perfect edible souvenir to take back from their island vacation. Their cookies are not just popular among visitors; locals also enjoy them for their high-quality ingredients and the company’s dedication to capturing the essence of the Aloha spirit in each product.
Phone Cases w/Hawaiian Designs
Phone cases with Hawaiian designs offer a unique blend of functionality and island flair, making them a popular and distinctive gift choice. These cases often feature vibrant patterns and imagery that are emblematic of Hawaii’s rich culture and breathtaking natural beauty.
Phone cases with Hawaiian designs are popular in Hawaii for several reasons. They resonate with both locals who take pride in their heritage and tourists who wish to carry a piece of the islands with them. The designs often capture the laid-back, tropical vibe of Hawaii, making them a fashionable accessory that’s also a conversation starter. Additionally, as smartphones are ubiquitous, a Hawaiian-themed phone case is a practical way to keep a little bit of Hawaii close no matter where one is in the world.
Hawaiian honey is a unique and exquisite product that embodies the essence of Hawaii’s pristine environment. The honey is sourced from the nectar of the islands’ diverse flora, including rare flowers that are unique to the region. This results in a variety of honey with distinct flavors, colors, and aromas that are as rich and varied as the islands themselves.
Hawaiian honey’s popularity is due to its direct connection to the islands’ biodiversity. The untouched and lush landscapes of Hawaii provide an ideal environment for bees to produce honey that’s not only delicious but also tells the story of Hawaii’s unique ecosystem. For locals, Hawaiian honey is a staple that supports local agriculture and beekeeping traditions. For visitors, it’s a sought-after souvenir that captures the sweet essence of the islands. Its popularity is also bolstered by the growing interest in artisanal and locally-sourced foods among consumers worldwide.
There are many great Hawaii souvenirs that you can find in Hawaii. These are just a few of the ones I recommend you may find something else that fits your definition of best souvenirs from Hawaii. If you think something should be included on this list, leave a comment below and I will do my best to add it.
10What traditional Hawaiian souvenirs are available?
Traditional Hawaiian souvenirs include items like leis, ukuleles, hula skirts, and Koa wood carvings. It is important to note that things like the ukulele are often associated with “traditional” but are brought in from the Portuguese. Many things that are associated with being Hawaiian have just been popularized by the multi-ethnic population here and are accepted as being traditional.
9Where is the best place to purchase souvenirs in Hawaii?
You can find a wide range of souvenirs at local markets, gift shops, and even some tourist attractions in Hawaii.
8Are there any unique souvenirs that can only be found in Hawaii?
Yes, there are many unique souvenirs that are specific to Hawaii, such as carvings, Hawaiian quilts, and locally made jewelry.
7What are some budget-friendly souvenir options in Hawaii?
Budget-friendly souvenirs include keychains, postcards, and small trinkets that can be found at local markets and gift shops.
6Can I bring back food items as souvenirs from Hawaii?
Yes, you can bring back food items as souvenirs, but be sure to check regulations of your home country first.
5What are some popular Hawaiian souvenirs for children?
Popular souvenirs for children include stuffed animals, t-shirts, and small toys that represent Hawaiian culture.
4Are there eco-friendly souvenir options available in Hawaii?
Yes, there are many eco-friendly souvenir options available, such as reusable bags, bamboo utensils, and locally made products that support sustainable practices.
3What cultural considerations should I keep in mind when purchasing souvenirs in Hawaii?
When purchasing souvenirs in Hawaii, it’s important to be respectful of the local culture and traditions. Avoid buying items that may be considered culturally insensitive or inappropriate. If you are unsure check with your hotel concierge or skip the item.
2Can I find souvenirs that support local Hawaiian businesses and artisans?
Yes, there are many souvenirs that support local Hawaiian businesses and artisans. Look for products that are made locally and support the local economy.
1Do you have any tips for packing and bringing home souvenirs from Hawaii?
When packing souvenirs, be sure to wrap fragile items securely and consider the customs regulations of your home country. It’s also a good idea to keep receipts for any items that may need to be declared at customs.