Hawaii Travel Tips

Iconic Hawaii Souvenir Guide: 16 Best Hawaii Souvenirs you Cannot Miss!

Share this article

Sharing is caring!

Ukulele : Best Hawaii souvenirs
Ukulele : Best Hawaii souvenirs


Nothing spells Aloha like a Hawaii souvenir! Hawaii, with its breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage, offers a variety of souvenirs that capture the essence of the islands. From traditional Hawaiian gifts to iconic items deeply rooted in local culture, this best Hawaii souvenirs guide will delve into the world of the 16 best souvenirs  to buy in Hawaii!

I never leave home without travel insurance that covers travel theft and adventure activities that basic plans don’t. Here’s a trip insurance finder tool  to find a plan that matches your budget. 

16 Best Hawaii Souvenirs to Buy on your Hawaii vacation

1. Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nuts

No Duh. No best Hawaii souvenirs list is complete without the mention of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts. Renowned for its decadent chocolate with a surprise mac nut inside, this treat has long been an icon souvenir. You do not know how many boxes I used to pack when I was returning to college from Christmas break– gifts, gifts, gifts! Pick up a box (or few) of these chocolates before you leave!

Where to Buy: These are ubiquitous and can be found at ABC stores, Longs Drugs, Costco, every grocery store. The brand won’t matter– they’re all pretty similar and taste around the same.  They make great gifts and good snacks.

2. Traditional Hawaiian Lei

Many tourists get lei’d in Hawaii. It’s a tradition. In the past, there used to be lei greeters at the airport to welcome new visitors. The Hawaiian lei is the symbol of Aloha and locals get lei’d often too. It’s part of our culture and every special celebration. Pikake, gardenia, ti leaf, kukui nut… Leis are crafted from various fresh flowers and symbolize love, respect, and the spirit of aloha.

Tip: The floral leis are nice for enjoying, while the kukui nut leis are great for souvenirs and ti leaf leis are great if you want to present something fresh, but you want it to last the flight. Kukui nut and ti leaf leis are a bit more formal and dressy. Hawaii entertainers are known to wear kukui nut leis. A floral lei will last 2-3 days. You can transport it overseas to perfume your home.

3. Ukulele

The ukulele, a small guitar-like instrument, holds a special place in Hawaiian culture and is one of the best souvenirs from Hawaii to buy. A symbol taught to elementary school students, the ukulele is a delightful souvenir. Best of all, it’s small and can fit in a carryon tote.

Where to buy: Explore Waikiki’s tourist shops, ABC stores, Walmart, or Longs Drugs for a variety of ukulele options, ranging from beginner-friendly to finely crafted instruments.

Tip: I use this expandable tote for my trips. It’s cheap, so my inner pocket lining broke on my first trip, but the rest of the bag is pretty durable.

4. Aloha Shirt

The Aloha shirt is a quintessential and iconic symbol of Hawaiian island lifestyles. It comes in various styles catering to both tourists and locals. While Waikiki styles have wild, vibrant prints, the authentic local Aloha wear for Hawaii locals and business men is more subdued with higher quality fabric (that’s like a soft canvas).

Where to buy: As a best Hawaii souvenirs, you will find a spectrum of styles at Duke’s Alley for wild and inexpensive souvenir shirts, and ABC has some tacky fun too!

Explore Tori Richards, Tommy Bahamas, Hilo Hattie, and Reyn Spooner for authentic, high-quality Aloha wear. Ask your concierge, but most of these shops can be found in Ala Moana and Kahala Mall.

Aloha shirt : Best Hawaii souvenirs

5. Waikiki Perfume

Step off the plane and it subtly hits you… the fragrant scent of Hawaii. These days at the airport, it’s mixed with a bit of weed-whacked grass and diesel, but the flowers here still lace the air ever so lightly. I travel a lot through GRRRLTRAVELER. Hawaii’s exotic scents are unique to the islands.

Now you can capture the essence of Hawaii’s floral beauty with Pikake, Gardenia, and Plumeria perfumes.  You’ll smell the actual flowers naturally perfuming the air when they are in season. These sweet flowers are often used for leis, but as perfume fragrances, you can carry the relaxing scents of the islands home with you.

As a local, I used to think they were a cheesy manufactured tourist scent, and they are! But over time, they started to appeal to me as just a fragrance you find in the islands that remind you of the tradewinds and the soothing island lifestyle. I do occasionally buy them and have friends that treat it like aromatherapy in their homes. It’s a nice way to take the floral scent back with you.

Where to buy:  Available in ABC stores and Lawson stations in Waikiki, these perfumes provide a sensory souvenir to cherish.

6. Hawaiian Jewelry (the fun and boho types)

Adorn yourself or a loved one with exquisite Hawaiian jewelry featuring designs inspired by the ocean’s guardians – sharks, dolphins, turtles, plumeria, surfboards, and pineapples. You can get inexpensive island boho jewelry.  Ceramic plumeria flowers or flower hairpieces for women are also popular.

AVOID: shark’s tooth, seashell, tourtose shell and black pearl jewelry. Avoid anything coming from a living being. They are a popular choices found in Waikiki– especially,  the practice where vendors let you choose and string your own pearl necklace from oysters you pick. These are cruel practices which lead to raping, harming and exploiting of the island’s natural marine life.

Read my responsible travel tips for ethical travelers.
Help minimize the negative impact of your travels in Hawaii.


7. Hawaii Coffee

Indulge in the flavors of Hawaii with 100% Kona or macadamia coffee, offering a taste of the islands with every sip. Select from a variety of coffee blends, each capturing the unique terroir of Hawaii’s volcanic soil and tropical climate. Lilikoi-infused coffee adds an extra layer of exotic flavor to your coffee collection. I used to pack a lot of these as gifts for friends in the mainland too, especially if they loved their coffee.

Where to buy:  ABC stores, Longs Drugs, grocery stores. They’re pretty ubiquitous.

8. Koa Wood products

Koa wood products have a distinctive Hawaii charm as souvenirs. Known for its striking grain patterns and warm sunshine wood colors, Koa wood is used to create a range of items, from furniture to jewelry.  Koa can be on the pricier side. There’s no way around it but it has an everlasting quality.

Koa wood is a sustainable wood, as it is adaptive, grows fast, and regenerates easily. There is also a law making it illegal to chop down the trees.

Where to buy: Explore local markets and specialty stores for Koa wood treasures that embody the natural beauty of Hawaii.

9. Hawaii Tropical Jams

While bringing home fresh fruits might pose challenges, Hawaii tropical jams and butters offer a convenient and flavorful alternative. Choose from a variety of exotic flavors, including lilikoi, guava, and passion fruit, to infuse your mornings with the taste of Hawaii.

Where to buy: These are easily found in grocery stores, farmer’s markets and ABC stores in the souvenir section.

The ultimately best jams and butters are found at Oahu farmer’s markets like Saturdays at Ward Warehouse/Kakaako Market  and Kapiolani Community College Market and Sundays at Lokahi Kailua Market. You’ll find quality home spun flavors that get creative. I bought some lilikoi butters to put on toast  from a vendor at the Kailua Market but there were a lot of flavors to choose from .  Check out this listing of Farmer’s Markets on Oahu

10. Dashboard Hula Doll

Add a touch of kitsch to your souvenir collection with a dashboard hula doll. Whether it’s a ceramic bobblehead or a solar-driven dancer, these dolls bring a slice of Hawaiian charm to your car.

Where to buy:  Find them at Duke’s Alley, WalMart or ABC stores and let a little hula accompany you on your drives.

Tip: The ceramic dashboard hulas look sturdy but i’ll be honest– if you’re looking for that kitsch and you want your girl to wiggle even when the car is parked, the cheap solar dolls are the best. Mine lasted for years; whereas my ceramic girl broke and barely wiggled.

Best Places to Buy Cheap Souvenirs in Hawaii
Best Places to Buy Cheap Souvenirs in Hawaii

11. Beach Towel

Transform your beach days into lasting memories with a Hawaiian-themed beach towel. From maps of the Hawaiian Islands to vibrant shaka signs and Aloha phrases, these towels are both practical and stylish souvenirs. Choose one that resonates with your Hawaiian experience for a functional and memorable keepsake.

Where to buy: Walmart, ABC stores, Waikiki surf or beach shops

12. Flip Flop or Jesus Sandals

Embrace the laid-back Hawaiian lifestyle with a pair of Locals Only flip flops or Jesus sandals, the perfect footwear for sandy shores and sunny adventures. Choose from a variety of designs, featuring tropical motifs and vibrant colors, to add a touch of Hawaiian flair to your casual wardrobe.

13. Hawaii Shortbread Cookie Company

Satisfy your sweet tooth with shortbread cookies from a Hawaii Shortbread Cookie Compny. These delicious shortbread treats, are infused with local flavors like macadamia nuts or lilikoi, make for delicious and shareable souvenirs. Teh popular ones are the pineapple cookies that are dipped with either white or milk chocolate!  They come boxed so it’s easy to pack!

Visit a Costco (they have them sometimes around Christmas), or local shop in Ala Moana or Waikiki.  Locations are on Oahu, Maui, Las Vegas and Guam- see here..  One is next to the Outrigger Waikiki which houses Duke’s restaurant. If you miss your chance and want to buy Christmas gifts or you’re just missing that flavor, you can order online, visit their website.

14. Hawaiian Music

Slack key guitar, ukulele, … Hawaiian music is distinct, soothing and a gentle genre of music. It’s warm and relaxing and most locals have a handful of favorite classics.

Check out renowned artists like Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (“Bruddah Iz”) or Keali‘i Reichel. But also ask local artists who play at restaurants if they sell CDs. Buy digital downloads to recreate the enchanting sounds of the islands and relive the magic of your Hawaiian getaway.

15. Hawaiian Jewelry

Another type of jewelry adored by locals and commonly called  “Hawaiian jewelry”. These are gold bracelets, pendants and necklaces that are inscribed with Hawaii calligraphy print. Being gold, they are not cheap but they are loved for anniversaries and anything special.

Explore local jewelry shops for a diverse selection of bangle bracelets crafted with meticulous attention to detail.

16. Li Hing gummy candies and dried fruit.

Hawaii loves its snacks and one favorite taste it’s nailed down is li hing gummy candies. Li Hing powder is a sour plum powder that is red and it’s sprinkled over things from gummy candie to dried fruit (read more about the popular flavors to try in the Hawaiian Islands). The flavor mixes candied or fruity sweetness with a little tinge of sour plum powder and it actually enhances the sugary sweet side to don a unique flavor that spells home to the island lifestyle.  Try the li hing dried mango and the gummy bears- you can’t go wrong with them!

Where to buy: Walmart, ABC stores, grocery stores, 7 Elevens

What should I add to this best Hawaii souvenirs guide? What are the best souvenirs to buy on your Hawaii vacation?

best hawaii souvenirs to buy souvenirs from hawaii
best hawaii souvenirs to buy souvenirs from hawaii
Exploring the Kakaako Mural Art Scene: A Vibrant Kaleidoscope of Urban Artistry
Oahu’s Scenic Drives: Driving Hawaii’s Southeast Coast Route

Hawaii Trip Planning Resources

You May Also Like

Tags: post example 1

©GRRRLTRAVELER LLC 2021  All Rights Limited.