Looking to bring home a piece of Hawaii’s vibrant culture and natural beauty? Look no further than the unique souvenirs you can find on the islands. From intricately carved koa wood crafts to traditional Hawaiian quilts, shopping in Hawaii offers a treasure trove of one-of-a-kind items that will serve as a lasting reminder of your unforgettable vacation in paradise. So, pack your curiosity and get ready to explore the local shops and markets, where you’ll discover an array of authentic souvenirs that will captivate your heart and leave you with cherished memories of your Hawaiian adventure.
1. Popular Souvenir Shops in Hawaii
Hawaii is known for its beautiful beaches, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture. It’s no wonder that many visitors want to bring a piece of the islands home with them. When it comes to finding unique, high-quality souvenirs, there are several popular shops in Hawaii that should be on your radar. Here are five of the most renowned souvenir shops in the Aloha State:
1.1. ABC Stores
ABC Stores is a beloved fixture in Hawaii. With more than 70 locations across the islands, you’re never too far away from an ABC Store. What makes ABC Stores so popular among tourists is their wide range of products. From snacks and beverages to beach gear and souvenirs, you can find just about everything at an ABC Store. The convenience and affordability of ABC Stores make them a go-to option for many travelers looking for souvenirs to take home.
1.2. Hilo Hattie
If you’re in search of authentic Hawaiian clothing and accessories, Hilo Hattie is the place to go. Known as the “Home of the Hawaiian Shirt,” Hilo Hattie offers a wide selection of aloha shirts, muumuu dresses, hula skirts, and more. You’ll also find Hawaiian-inspired jewelry, gifts, and even delicious macadamia nut treats. Hilo Hattie is a true Hawaiian institution and a must-visit for anyone wanting to bring a bit of Hawaii’s vibrant fashion scene back home.
1.3. Maui Divers Jewelry
For those looking for a truly unique souvenir, Maui Divers Jewelry is the perfect destination. This renowned jewelry store specializes in stunning pieces made with Hawaii’s own precious coral, pearls, and other Hawaiian-inspired gemstones. Whether you’re looking for a delicate pendant, a statement ring, or a pair of elegant earrings, Maui Divers Jewelry offers a wide range of options to suit all tastes. Each piece is a work of art, representing the natural beauty of Hawaii.
1.4. Martin & MacArthur
If you’re looking for beautifully handcrafted Koa wood products, Martin & MacArthur is the place to go. Koa wood is native to Hawaii and is known for its incredible strength and unique grain pattern. At Martin & MacArthur, you’ll find a wide range of Koa wood items, including furniture, home decor, and personal accessories like watches and pens. Each piece is made with the utmost care, ensuring that you’re taking home a truly one-of-a-kind souvenir.
1.5. Big Island Candies
No trip to Hawaii is complete without indulging in some delicious local treats, and Big Island Candies is the perfect place to satisfy your sweet tooth. This iconic candy store offers a mouthwatering assortment of chocolates, cookies, and other confections. From their famous chocolate-dipped shortbread cookies to their delectable chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, Big Island Candies has something for everyone. These delectable treats make for excellent gifts or personal indulgences to remind you of your time in Hawaii.
2. Unique Hawaiian Crafts and Artifacts
When it comes to Hawaiian crafts and artifacts, you’ll find an impressive array of traditional and contemporary creations. These unique items are perfect for adding a touch of Hawaii’s rich cultural heritage to your home. Here are five categories of Hawaiian crafts and artifacts that you should explore:
2.1. Koa Wood Products
Koa wood is highly valued in Hawaiian culture, and it’s used to create a wide range of products. From intricately carved sculptures to functional items like bowls, canoes, and surfboards, Koa wood products are not only beautiful but also represent the rich history and traditions of Hawaii. A piece made from Koa wood is a truly special souvenir that will be cherished for generations to come.
2.2. Lauhala Weaving
Lauhala weaving is a traditional Hawaiian craft that involves weaving pandanus leaves into various useful and decorative items. Lauhala products can include hats, bags, mats, and even jewelry. Each piece is meticulously woven by skilled artisans, often using techniques passed down through generations. The intricate patterns and natural colors of the pandanus leaves make lauhala products truly unique and evocative of Hawaiian culture.
2.3. Hawaiian Quilts
Hawaiian quilts are an iconic part of the islands’ cultural heritage. These quilts often feature intricate, symmetrical designs inspired by nature, such as flowers, plants, and animals. Traditionally, Hawaiian quilts are made by hand and passed down as treasured family heirlooms. Bringing home a Hawaiian quilt allows you to showcase the artistry and craftsmanship of the islands while adding a touch of warmth and beauty to your home.
2.4. Ni’ihau Shell Jewelry
Ni’ihau shell jewelry is some of the most unique and coveted jewelry in Hawaii. It is made from shells found only on the uninhabited island of Ni’ihau, and the art of shell lei-making has been passed down through generations. Each piece of Ni’ihau shell jewelry is a carefully crafted work of art, showcasing the beauty of the shells and the skill of the artisans. Owning a piece of Ni’ihau shell jewelry is like owning a small piece of Hawaii’s history and natural beauty.
2.5. Hawaiian Feather Work
Hawaiian feather work, known as “lei hulu,” is a traditional art form that involves creating intricate patterns and images using feathers from endemic Hawaiian birds. These feathers are meticulously gathered, cleaned, and dyed before being woven into stunning designs. Hawaiian feather work is a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of the Hawaiian people, and owning a piece of feather work allows you to appreciate the rich cultural and artistic traditions of the islands.
3. Traditional Hawaiian Clothing and Accessories
Hawaii is famous for its vibrant and distinctive clothing and accessories. From the iconic aloha shirt to the flowing muumuu dresses, these traditional garments embrace the spirit of the islands. Here are five essential items of traditional Hawaiian clothing and accessories you can consider:
3.1. Aloha Shirts
The aloha shirt is perhaps the most recognizable symbol of Hawaii. These colorful, floral-printed shirts are a staple in Hawaiian fashion and are celebrated for their relaxed and cheerful style. Whether you prefer a classic design or a modern twist, there’s an aloha shirt for everyone. Wearing an aloha shirt not only adds a touch of tropical flair to your wardrobe but also serves as a reminder of the laid-back and welcoming spirit of the islands.
3.2. Muumuu Dresses
Muumuu dresses are flowing, loose-fitting dresses that are perfect for keeping cool in the Hawaiian climate. Traditionally made from vibrant, floral fabrics, muumuu dresses are as comfortable as they are stylish. Whether you’re strolling along the beach or attending a luau, a muumuu dress will make you feel elegant and at ease. With their bright patterns and breezy silhouettes, these dresses capture the essence of Hawaii’s relaxed lifestyle.
3.3. Hula Skirts
The hula skirt is an iconic piece of Hawaiian attire often associated with the graceful and rhythmic dance form known as hula. Hula skirts are traditionally made from natural fibers like dried leaves or grass, but modern versions are often crafted from synthetic materials. Whether you’re looking for an authentic grass skirt to practice your hula moves or a fun and colorful hula-inspired skirt to wear casually, adding a hula skirt to your collection will bring a touch of Hawaiian culture to your wardrobe.
3.4. Kukui Nut Leis
Leis are a symbol of welcome and affection in Hawaiian culture, and the kukui nut lei is a popular variation. Made from polished kukui nuts strung together, these leis are not only beautiful but also carry cultural significance. The kukui nut, also known as the candlenut, holds great value in Hawaiian traditions and is said to bring good luck and protection to wearers. Adding a kukui nut lei to your collection is a wonderful way to embrace Hawaiian customs and adorn yourself with a piece of the islands.
3.5. Maile Lei
The maile lei is a highly prized and revered lei made from the leaves of the maile plant. Traditionally worn by Hawaiian chiefs and used in sacred ceremonies, the maile lei represents prestige and honor. Nowadays, the maile lei is often worn on special occasions such as weddings and graduations and is considered a symbol of love and respect. Owning a maile lei allows you to connect with Hawaii’s rich history and traditions and add an elegant touch to your jewelry collection.
4. Local Food and Beverages to Take Home
No visit to Hawaii would be complete without experiencing the diverse and delectable cuisine that the islands have to offer. From tropical fruits to unique snacks, there’s a wide range of local food and beverages that make for excellent souvenirs. Here are five tasty treats to take home with you:
4.1. Kona Coffee
Hawaii is famous for its coffee, and Kona coffee is considered one of the best in the world. Grown on the slopes of the Big Island’s Mauna Loa volcano, Kona coffee boasts a smooth and full-bodied flavor. Whether you prefer whole beans or ground coffee, bringing home a bag of Kona coffee allows you to start your day with a taste of the islands and indulge in a truly exceptional brew.
4.2. Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia nuts are another iconic Hawaiian treat. These buttery and crunchy nuts are a versatile ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. From chocolate-covered macadamia nuts to salted versions, there’s a variety of flavors to choose from. Macadamia nuts are also packed with nutrients and healthy fats, making them a guilt-free indulgence that you can enjoy long after your vacation ends.
4.3. Chocolate Covered Treats
Hawaii is home to many delectable chocolate-covered treats. From chocolate-dipped macadamia nuts to chocolate-covered pineapple and coconut candies, there’s a sweet treat to satisfy every craving. These delightful and indulgent treats make for great gifts or personal treats to enjoy as you reminisce about your time in Hawaii.
4.4. Pineapple Products
Pineapple is synonymous with Hawaii, and the islands produce some of the sweetest and juiciest pineapples in the world. While fresh pineapples may not be practical to take home, there are plenty of pineapple products that make for unique souvenirs. From pineapple jams and preserves to pineapple-flavored snacks and candies, these pineapple-infused products capture the vibrant and tropical flavors of the islands.
4.5. Hawaiian Flavored Salt and Spices
Hawaii offers a wide range of unique salts and spices that add a burst of flavor to your dishes. From alaea salt, which gets its distinctive red color from volcanic clay, to Hawaiian chili pepper and kiawe smoked sea salt, there’s a seasoning to suit any palate. Taking home a selection of Hawaiian salts and spices allows you to infuse your cooking with the incredible tastes of the islands and add a touch of aloha to your meals.
5. Hawaiian Music and Instruments
Hawaiian music is known for its soothing melodies, beautiful harmonies, and evocative lyrics. Bringing home some Hawaiian music or a traditional Hawaiian instrument allows you to immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Hawaiian music even after your vacation ends. Here are five musical items to consider:
The ukulele is synonymous with Hawaii and has become one of the most popular musical instruments worldwide. Known for its cheerful and melodic sound, the ukulele is relatively easy to learn and provides hours of musical enjoyment. Whether you’re a seasoned musician or a beginner, owning a ukulele allows you to strum the tunes of Hawaii’s rich musical history and bring a touch of aloha to any gathering.
5.2. Steel Guitars
The steel guitar is another iconic instrument associated with Hawaiian music. Its distinctly smooth and haunting sound has captivated audiences for decades. Adding a steel guitar to your musical instrument collection not only enables you to explore the unique sounds of Hawaiian music but also allows you to experiment with different playing styles and genres.
5.3. Hawaiian Music CDs
For those who prefer to listen to Hawaiian music rather than play it themselves, there is a wealth of Hawaiian music CDs available. From traditional chants and hula music to contemporary island tunes, there’s a vast selection to choose from. Whether you’re looking for songs to relax to or dance along with, owning a collection of Hawaiian music CDs allows you to transport yourself back to the islands anytime you want.
5.4. Traditional Musical Instruments
In addition to the ukulele and steel guitar, there are several other traditional Hawaiian musical instruments worth exploring. These include the ipu, a gourd drum; the pu’ili, bamboo rattles; and the pahu, a traditional drum made from a hollowed-out tree trunk. Owning one or more of these traditional instruments allows you to engage with Hawaiian music and immerse yourself in the rhythmic and melodic traditions of the islands.
5.5. Hula Implements
Hula, the traditional dance form of Hawaii, often involves the use of various implements to enhance the storytelling aspect of the dance. Some popular hula implements include the ‘uli’uli (feathered gourd rattles), ipu heke (double gourd drums), and pu’ili (bamboo rattles). Owning these hula implements enables you to learn and appreciate the artistry of hula and participate in this vibrant and cultural dance form.
6. Hawaiian Bath and Body Products
Bringing home some Hawaiian bath and body products allows you to pamper yourself and bring a touch of the islands to your self-care routine. Here are five essential Hawaiian bath and body products to consider:
6.1. Kukui Nut Oil
Kukui nut oil, derived from the candlenut tree, is highly prized for its moisturizing and nourishing properties. It is rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants, making it an excellent choice for hydrating and revitalizing the skin. Using kukui nut oil-based products such as body lotions, oils, and soaps allows you to enjoy the numerous benefits of this traditional Hawaiian ingredient.
6.2. Coconut Oil Products
Coconut oil is another staple in Hawaiian bath and body products. Known for its soothing and moisturizing properties, coconut oil is often used in skincare items like lotions, body butters, and lip balms. Coconut oil also has antimicrobial properties, making it an excellent option for maintaining healthy skin. Including coconut oil products in your personal care routine allows you to enjoy the tropical scent and nourishing benefits of this versatile ingredient.
6.3. Plumeria and Pikake Perfumes
The fragrances of plumeria and pikake are synonymous with the islands of Hawaii. These delicate and floral scents evoke images of tropical gardens and gentle sea breezes. Plumeria and pikake perfumes are popular choices for those wanting to carry a slice of Hawaii’s floral paradise with them. Applying one of these fragrances enables you to immerse yourself in the scents of the islands and enjoy a daily reminder of your time in Hawaii.
6.4. Natural Soaps and Lotions
Hawaii is home to many local artisans who create natural and handmade soaps and lotions using high-quality ingredients. These products often feature island-inspired scents and botanical extracts that provide a luxurious and soothing experience. Using natural soaps and lotions not only nourishes your skin but also supports local businesses and artisans. Bringing home a selection of these products allows you to indulge in a little bit of self-care while supporting the local community.
6.5. Hawaiian Sea Salt Scrubs
Hawaiian sea salt scrubs are a delightful way to exfoliate and rejuvenate your skin. Made with natural sea salt harvested from the pristine waters surrounding the islands, these scrubs gently remove dead skin cells, leaving your skin soft, smooth, and glowing. Hawaiian sea salt scrubs often come in a variety of scents, including tropical fruit flavors like mango and papaya. Incorporating these scrubs into your skincare routine provides an invigorating and aromatic spa-like experience at home.
7. Local Artisan and Designer Brands
Supporting local artisans and designers is a wonderful way to celebrate the creativity and talent found in Hawaii. These brands offer unique and high-quality products that serve as both souvenirs and works of art. Here are five local artisan and designer brands to explore:
Manuheali’i is a family-owned brand known for its vibrant and contemporary designs. From clothing to home decor items, Manuheali’i blends traditional Hawaiian aesthetics with modern styles. Their patterns and prints often draw inspiration from the islands’ flora, fauna, and cultural motifs. Bringing home a piece from Manuheali’i allows you to showcase Hawaiian artistry and support a local brand deeply rooted in the island community.
7.2. Sig Zane Designs
Sig Zane Designs is an iconic Hawaiian fashion and lifestyle brand that celebrates the culture and natural beauty of the islands. Led by master designer Sig Zane, the brand creates unique patterns and prints inspired by Hawaiian traditions and the environment. From clothing and accessories to home decor and artwork, Sig Zane Designs offers a wide range of products that embody the spirit of Hawaii. Owning a piece from this brand allows you to wear or display a wearable work of art while supporting a brand committed to preserving and promoting Hawaiian culture.
7.3. Salvage Public
Salvage Public is a sustainable brand specializing in handmade leather and cork goods. Each piece is meticulously crafted, and the brand emphasizes using eco-friendly and responsibly sourced materials. From wallets and bags to journals and accessories, Salvage Public offers a range of unique and durable products that showcase the craftsmanship and commitment to sustainability. Owning a Salvage Public item allows you to embrace ethical fashion and support a brand that values both style and environmental consciousness.
7.4. Fighting Eel
Fighting Eel is a Hawaiian fashion brand that combines easy elegance with island-inspired designs. With a focus on versatility and comfort, Fighting Eel creates clothing that can effortlessly transition from day to night. Their timeless pieces celebrate the free-spirited nature of Hawaii, featuring flowing silhouettes and bold prints. Bringing home an item from Fighting Eel allows you to embrace the laid-back yet fashionable vibe of the islands and enjoy clothing that can be worn for any occasion.
7.5. Andy South
Andy South is a renowned Hawaiian fashion designer known for his edgy and artistic creations. Formerly a contestant on the reality TV show “Project Runway,” Andy South has since established himself as a prominent figure in the fashion industry. His designs often feature cutting-edge silhouettes, unique textures, and unexpected details. Owning an Andy South piece allows you to showcase a distinctive and fashion-forward aesthetic while supporting a talented local designer.
8. Indigenous Hawaiian Cultural Gifts
For those interested in delving deeper into Hawaiian culture, there’s a wide range of indigenous cultural gifts available. These gifts celebrate the language, history, traditions, and healing practices of the Hawaiian people. Here are five cultural gifts worth considering:
8.1. Hawaiian Language Books
Learning the Hawaiian language is a wonderful way to connect with the rich cultural heritage of the islands. There are several books available that provide an introduction to the language, allowing you to learn basic vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. Owning a Hawaiian language book enables you to learn at your own pace and gain a deeper understanding of the meanings and significance behind Hawaiian words and phrases.
8.2. Historical and Mythical Artworks
Hawaii has a rich history and mythology, and owning artworks that depict these stories is a fascinating way to immerse yourself in the island’s lore. Paintings, sculptures, and prints that feature historical or mythical figures and events allow you to appreciate the ancient legends and historical events that have shaped Hawaii. These cultural artworks serve as a reminder of the deep connection between the people of Hawaii and their vibrant past.
8.3. Traditional Healing Practices
The indigenous Hawaiian people have a deep understanding of the healing power of nature and have developed various traditional healing practices. Books, herbal remedies, and other resources provide insights into traditional Hawaiian healing arts like lomilomi massage, la’au lapa’au (herbal medicine), and ho’oponopono (spiritual healing and reconciliation). Incorporating these practices into your wellness routine allows you to explore alternative approaches to health and connect with the ancestral wisdom of Hawaii.
8.4. Native Plants and Seeds
Hawaii’s unique ecosystem is home to numerous endemic plants, many of which have cultural and medicinal significance. Supporting conservation efforts by growing native plants or seeds in your own garden can help preserve Hawaii’s diverse flora. Additionally, these plants provide a constant reminder of the islands’ natural beauty and the importance of protecting the environment for future generations.
8.5. Hawaiian Cultural Workshops
For a more immersive cultural experience, consider participating in a Hawaiian cultural workshop. These workshops offer opportunities to learn traditional Hawaiian practices such as hula, lei-making, lauhala weaving, and more. Whether you’re a beginner or already have some experience, these workshops provide hands-on learning and foster an appreciation for the artistry and expertise of Hawaiian cultural practices. Participating in a cultural workshop allows you to deepen your understanding of Hawaii’s rich cultural heritage while connecting with local practitioners.
9. Vintage and Handmade Jewelry
Hawaii is home to a vibrant jewelry scene that includes vintage treasures and unique handmade pieces. From heirloom jewelry to upcycled vintage designs, here are five types of jewelry that make for exceptional souvenirs:
9.1. Hawaiian Heirloom Jewelry
Hawaiian heirloom jewelry is a cherished and treasured tradition that has been passed down through generations. These elegant and personalized pieces often feature intricate engravings of names, initials, or meaningful Hawaiian phrases. Hawaiian heirloom jewelry is typically made from precious metals like gold and silver, and each piece tells a story and carries a deep connection to the islands’ cultural heritage.
9.2. Shell and Coral Jewelry
Hawaii’s beaches are teeming with beautiful shells and corals, making them popular materials for handmade jewelry. Shell jewelry, including necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, showcases the natural beauty of seashells found in Hawaiian waters. Coral jewelry uses pieces of coral to create striking and unique designs that capture the colors and textures of the ocean. These pieces of jewelry allow you to carry a piece of Hawaii’s coastal beauty with you wherever you go.
9.3. Beach Glass Jewelry
Beach glass, also known as sea glass, is created when shards of glass are naturally tumbled and polished by the ocean waves. Hawaii’s coastline is a treasure trove of beach glass in various colors and sizes, and local artisans transform these unique finds into stunning jewelry. From delicate earrings to bold pendants, beach glass jewelry is a beautiful and eco-friendly choice that celebrates the natural wonders of the islands.
9.4. Handcrafted Silver Jewelry
Hawaii is home to many talented silversmiths who create intricate and eye-catching jewelry designs. From delicate earrings and stacking rings to statement necklaces and cuff bracelets, handcrafted silver jewelry showcases the artistry and creativity of these skilled artisans. Each piece is unique, often featuring Hawaiian-inspired motifs or natural elements like waves, flowers, or marine life.
9.5. Upcycled Vintage Designs
Upcycled vintage jewelry combines the timeless beauty of vintage pieces with modern design techniques. Local artisans repurpose vintage materials like antique buttons, coins, and beads to create one-of-a-kind jewelry designs that are both stylish and sustainable. Owning a piece of upcycled vintage jewelry allows you to wear a unique conversation starter that connects you to the past while promoting a more eco-conscious approach to fashion.
10. Local Art Galleries and Markets
Exploring local art galleries and markets is an excellent way to discover unique and authentic works of art made by talented local artists. Whether you’re looking for paintings, sculptures, ceramics, or other forms of art, Hawaii’s galleries and markets offer a diverse range of artwork to suit various tastes. Here are five art galleries and markets in Hawaii worth visiting:
10.1. Hawai’i Craftsmen
Hawai’i Craftsmen is an organization dedicated to promoting and supporting the work of local artists and artisans. They hold regular exhibitions and events that showcase a wide range of artistic mediums, including pottery, glass art, fiber art, and more. Visiting a Hawai’i Craftsmen exhibition allows you to immerse yourself in the local art scene and appreciate the creativity and skill of Hawaii’s artists.
10.2. First Friday Art Walk
First Friday Art Walk is a popular monthly event that takes place in the downtown art district of Honolulu. On the first Friday of each month, galleries, shops, and cafes open their doors to showcase the work of local artists. This vibrant and lively event allows visitors to explore various art exhibits, meet artists, and enjoy live music and street performances.
10.3. Aloha Stadium Swap Meet
The Aloha Stadium Swap Meet is a must-visit for those looking for affordable souvenirs and local crafts. Held every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, this open-air market features over 400 vendors selling a wide variety of products, including arts and crafts, clothing, jewelry, and more. Exploring the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet is a fun and bustling experience where you can find unique treasures at bargain prices.
10.4. Na Mea Hawai’i
Na Mea Hawai’i is a cultural center and store dedicated to promoting Hawaiian arts and culture. Located in Honolulu’s Ward Village, Na Mea Hawai’i offers a curated collection of books, music, art, and special gifts that celebrate the islands’ indigenous culture. Visiting Na Mea Hawai’i allows you to immerse yourself in the stories, traditions, and art of the Hawaiian people while supporting local artisans and cultural preservation.
10.5. Haleiwa Art Walk
The Haleiwa Art Walk takes place in the historic surf town of Haleiwa on Oahu’s North Shore. This monthly event showcases the work of local artists and artisans through various galleries, shops, and cafes. Strolling through the Haleiwa Art Walk allows you to admire a diverse range of artistic styles and interpretations while taking in the laid-back and creative atmosphere of this charming coastal town.
In conclusion, Hawaii offers a wide range of unique and memorable souvenirs that can be enjoyed long after your vacation ends. From popular souvenir shops to local artisan brands, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for clothing and accessories, handmade crafts, local delicacies, or cultural treasures, Hawaii’s shopping scene has it all. Remember to take your time exploring each category and enjoy the journey of finding the perfect souvenirs to bring a piece of Hawaii’s beauty and culture back home with you.