I thought about arranging the items on this page in some sort of order but found that too hard so here they are, arranged randomly, with the exception of the fact that I've saved the best for last!
Many of these items are available before or after your trip. Sometimes shopping before you leave home instead of shopping at your destination can save money plus there is nothing quite like wearing a Hawaiian shirt while you are in Hawaii. It only makes sense, doesn't it? Buying yours in advance is not a bad thing at all and the internet makes doing so fairly easy.
Of course, if you've already had your Hawaiian vacation and are now looking for a great souvenir, these ideas are sure to help you find that piece that you remember from your vacation!
Who Are We?
We are a family of four including myself, my husband and two (then) boys. When we went to Hawaii my boys were nine and seven years of age. They loved Hawaii and my eldest son shared his view of our adventures on the page Hawaii For Kids By A Kid. If you are curious about what we enjoyed doing in Oahu, you might want to check out that page, too. You'll find a link to that post at the end of the page.
Our Top 10 Hawaiian Souvenir Ideas
A Kukui Nut Lei
A lei is a garland or wreath of items put together as a necklace. In Hawaii, that frequently means a wreath of flowers and you will likely be given a lei or two while you are in Hawaii. They are commonly made out of flowers like plumerias, lehua, orchids, pikake, and maile leaves, ferns, and ti leaves and of course, some are plastic.
My boys, being boys, wore the flower ones the is more masculine, the Kukui Nut Lei. These leis cost more. However, I think they are a great choice and worth paying a bit more for because they are a souvenir that is handsome and that will last forever.
For years, my sons kept theirs on their bulletin boards. Now, they are safely packed away as a reminder of their trip to Hawaii.
They used their own savings to buy them and one son chose a lei with all dark nuts, as shown here, and the other son chose a lei with a combination of dark and blonde nuts. You can order yours from Amazon by clicking right here.
Of course, a Hawaiian shirt is the perfect souvenir of your trip to Hawaii and great for parties at home, too. My husband has perhaps one too many Hawaiian shirts. He wears them at slightly unexpected moments and people love it when he does so!
My boys will tell you that real Hawaiian shirts receive a bit of extra attention when they are made and can include little details like pockets that disappear because they exactly match the print background; bamboo buttons; and fabric that includes tropical and floral motifs as well as additional Hawaiian themes like corvettes, planes, tropical drinks and pineapples.
Here's a fun Hawaiian shirt that will have you looking like Magnum P.I. in no time at all...well maybe feeling like Magnum. You can buy Magnum's Jungle Bird shirt on Amazon by clicking right here.
When in Hawaii, I loved the music and I really wanted a CD to bring home. I have to admit that I was lucky. I picked a CD pretty much randomly - The Best of The Brothers Cazimero as shown here and I love it. Whenever I think about Hawaii, or when the weather is warm in the summertime and the breeze is blowing, I put on my Brothers Cazimero CD. It ranks as one of our most used souvenirs so I would definitely recommend this CD or, at least, a Hawaiian CD as a souvenir.
The Brothers Cazimero are a standard in Hawaiian music. Their style is part of Hawaiian history and they have contributed to Hawaiian music and dance for both tourists and natives. This 17-track album is in both Hawaiian and English and is a beautiful tribute to the islands of Hawaii. Amazon says, "Definitely add this album to your collection if you want a taste of the magically and exotic Hawaiian Islands." I agree. You can order yours from Amazon by clicking here.
I'm not sure if our enjoyment of foods with a Hawaiian theme started before or after our trip to Hawaii, but in any case, we do love Hawaiian food, however authentic or inauthentic it might be. I haven't created a complete Hawaiian menu yet, but I expect that one day I will. Our favorites include Hawaiian Potato Salad and Hawaiian Punch. You will find links to my recipes shown at the bottom of this page.
Anyway, I would recommend picking up a Hawaiian cookbook as an excellent and inexpensive souvenir. Mine, shown here, is called Hawaii's Best Tropical Food and Drinks. It is a thin booklet with a few recipes from each food type as well as a few tropical drink recipes. We love the Kalua Pork and the Soy Teriyaki Chicken. One day, we'll try the tropical drinks, too! Find this cookbook on Amazon by clicking here.
A Hawaiian Photo Album
When you come home you are no doubt going to have some fantastic pictures. Another great idea for a souvenir is a themed photo album. My Hawaiian one is the second travel-themed album that I have chosen and filled. It isn't really fancy but it is quite special because it is instantly recognizable as our Hawaii album and because it is full of precious memories.
The album shown here has a rustic, outdoorsy feel and features a large Hawaiian turtle. You can find it here on Amazon. I love the idea of a photo album that feels a little bit vintage. Hawaii does that to me.
There are many great picture books you could choose as your souvenir of Hawaii. We chose Hide & Seek in Hawaii 2 a beautiful picture book 'I Spy' style by Jane Hopkins and Ian Gillespie with photography by Ray Wong. Each two page spread includes items to find with popular Hawaiian themes like shave ice, kitsch, postcards, fruit, lei and so much more. This book series is recommended for children aged 4 to 8 years old and the text and tasks are fairly simple. However, I enjoy the pictures, too. Find it on Amazon here. Any pictures of Hawaii are beautiful!
A Small Watercolor Painting
We chose a small watercolor painting of Diamond Head, the extinct volcano which overlooks Waikiki. It allowed us to have a seemingly unique item without much cost and we chose to frame it ourselves at home. Our painting was sold matted and protected with plastic which helped ensure that it arrived home safely. The eBay results shown below feature pieces of artwork that are available at this moment on eBay.
If your family is like mine, they love t-shirts. When we went to Hawaii, my boys had the cutest little t-shirts with creatures indigenous to the waters of Hawaii on them. They loved them and they wore them for as long as they possibly could. I couldn't find the same shirts to feature here, but I did find this fantastic one from the environmentally friendly company, The Mountain. You can find this shirt on Amazon by clicking right here.
A Hawaiian Teddy Bear or Doll
We searched high and low to find a Hawaiian themed teddy bear for me and we did manage to find one. Mine isn't a Ty Hawaiian teddy bear, but this one by Ty is cute and another great idea as a souvenir for a child, a young lady or a teddy bear collector in your family. Find Ty's Hawaiian bear on Amazon here.
A Professional Photo
This is the best souvenir of Hawaii and is still displayed in our family room many years later. We had the boys' pictures taken twice with parrots. The first time was in the street not far from our hotel when a young man stopped us and asked if we would like to take a picture of our boys with his parrots. He asked for a small sum in return for the privilege and we snapped a few pictures.
Later we were in the marketplace in Oahu where there is a stall where you can have your picture taken with parrots against a lush tropical background. It definitely cost more (sorry I don't remember how much) but today as I look at the pictures they are absolutely, positively the BEST souvenir of our trip to Hawaii so do not begrudge spending a bit more on something you will treasure forever. As far as I am concerned, it is perfect and it will ensure that we never forget how much fun we had with our boys in Hawaii in 2001. If you have a similar photo opportunity while you are in Hawaii, I really highly recommend grabbing it.
Not exactly a souvenir but definitely a must have. When you are spending all that money for the trip of a lifetime, make sure you spend a little on a couple of excellent guidebooks. You may be pleasantly surprised at how inexpensive they are. I always use Fodor's and Frommer's guides. You can see all of Amazon's Hawaii travel guides here.
I hope that I have managed to give you some souvenir ideas and that you manage to pick up a few great items as memories of your time in Hawaii.
Happy travels to you!
Treasures By Brenda
More Hawaiian Reading:
A Vintage Hawaiian Punch Hot Dog Recipe
Looking for a fun, vintage-inspired recipe? Try this 1960s era Hawaiian Punch hot dog recipe.
The Best-Ever Hawaiian Punch Recipe
Yes. We love it. Hawaii AND this Hawaiian punch recipe. You will, too.
The Best-Ever Hawaiian Potato Salad Recipe
Potato salad, made with this recipe, is one of my favorite things to eat in the summer.
Hawaii For Kids By A Kid
My son's record of his trip to Hawaii.