Best Hawaiian Vacation Clothes to Pack


What clothes are best to pack for a great trip to Hawaii? For a Hawaiian Islands vacation, it’s wise to think casual and also buy some local clothing for fun souvenirs.

It can feel overwhelming to pack for a trip to Hawaii. However, the key to packing for a Hawaiian Island vacation is to relax and enjoy. With a few quick tips and a mind open to doing some fun local shopping, anyone can look great and fit in with the locals wearing just the right thing.

Packing Clothing for Fun in the Hawaiian Sun

A swimsuit (or two) is an obvious choice for those who will be hitting the beach and the pool. Co-owner of Franko’s Maps (makers of truly fabulous and detailed Hawaiian Islands maps / trip guides), Cynthia Nielsen recommends bringing board shorts, a cover-up or buying a local island sarong to wear over a bathing suit while going back and forth from hotel room to the pool and beach. This is an especially nice idea for walking through a hotel lobby with a bit of modesty.

Other hot weather sunny weather items to bring or expect to buy for each traveler are:

  • A wide brimmed, comfortable hat or visor
  • Flip-flops or casual sandals (for walking, padded soles are best for comfort)
  • Light, warm weather shirts like t-shirts, tank tops, or Hawaiian print Aloha shirts
  • Shorts, capris, and/or casual skirts
  • Sunglasses (not really clothing, but no fun to forget)

A reminder: Hawaii is closer to the equator than the rest of the United States and the sun may be more intense than one is used to. Travelers may be out in the sun much more as well. Therefore, extra sun protection measures should be taken when on a trip on the Hawaiian Islands.

Cynthia Nielsen also advises bringing socks and (preferably broken-in) quality tennis shoes for simple hikes to see waterfalls and other local nature spots.

Horseback riding will call for jeans and heavier shoes.

For more advanced climbing and sporting, it is advisable to look into appropriate garment needs online.

Evenings and Elevations in Hawaii May Be Cool

If staying at or visiting higher elevations (the mountain areas, for instance) a sweater, sweatshirt, or light jacket will be good to have on hand. In the evenings, above 2500 feet or if there is a breeze, weather can be cool. Checking local weather online for the area and time of year of a visit is helpful.

Casual Clothes are Best for a Hawaiian Vacation

Unless plans include going somewhere very fancy, leave formal wear at home. Dress in Hawaii is generally very casual.

Typical outfits for men include Aloha (Hawaiian print) shirts and plain longer shorts. A suit will generally not be necessary. A sports jacket may be worn at some upscale restaurants, but khaki slacks and a button-down shirt are fine in most cases.

For women, light cotton clothing items with bright Hawaiian prints are popular. A simple floral print dress or top and skirt for women are plenty formal for most business. A Hawaiian print dress and low-heeled dressier sandals are nice for ladies to have on hand for a special evening event (and may be a good item to buy while on vacation). Nylons are not normally worn due to the hot weather.

Other Travel Needs

Many places in Hawaii have discount department stores if something is forgotten or needed. Prices are a little higher in Hawaii, but shopping can be a fun visitor activity, so it’s good to get into the relaxed spirit of the people of Hawaii and hang loose.

Above all, when traveling in tropical paradise, it’s best to be in comfort. Enjoying the trip is much more important than what one wears. Aloha!