What to Wear in Hawaii (Our Complete 2024 Guide)

At Hella Wanderlust, our mission is to provide you with insightful guides and honest reviews. To support this goal and keep our site ad-free, we participate in affiliate programs. This means that if you make a purchase through our links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps us continue delivering quality content and guides. See our Affiliate Disclosure for more info.

Planning a trip to Hawaii in 2024 and wondering what to pack?

Look no further! In our complete guide to what to wear in Hawaii, we’ve got you covered from head to toe.

Whether you’re hitting the beach, going on a hike, or exploring the town, we’ll help you navigate the diverse climate and culture of the Hawaiian Islands with style and comfort. From breathable fabrics to stylish swimwear, we’ll show you how to dress like a local while staying cool and protected from the sun.

So whether you’re lounging in Waikiki, snorkeling in Maui, or chasing waterfalls in Kauai, we’ll make sure you’re dressed for every adventure and ready to soak up the beauty of Hawaii in style.

Let’s dive in and discover the ultimate packing list for your Hawaii getaway in 2024!

General Tips: Dressing Appropriately For Hawaii

Before we dive into specific scenarios, let’s establish some general principles for dressing in the Aloha State:

  • Embrace Comfort and Practicality: Hawaii’s warm climate calls for comfortable, breathable clothing. Opt for lightweight fabrics like cotton and linen. Lighter colors will generally absorb less heat than darker colors. If you can, pack versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched.
  • Respect Local Culture: Hawaiians have a rich and diverse culture. Be mindful of cultural sensitivities when choosing your outfits, especially when visiting sacred sites. While an itty-bitty bikini might be perfect for the beach, it won’t fly at the Byodo-In Temple, for example.
  • Embrace Aloha Shirts and Floral Prints: Aloha shirts (known as Hawaiian shirts) are a staple of Hawaiian fashion. Don’t hesitate to incorporate them into your wardrobe for a touch of local flair.

The Plane

Your journey to Hawaii begins on the plane. To ensure a comfortable and stylish flight, consider the following:

  • Comfortable Attire: When it comes to choosing an outfit for a plane ride, comfort should be your top priority. Choose loose-fitting, breathable clothing for long flights. Leggings or joggers paired with a cozy sweater are great choices. Comfortable attire ensures you can relax during the flight and reduces the risk of discomfort.
  • Layering: Airplane cabins can vary in temperature, so it’s a good idea to dress in layers. Start with a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt or blouse as your base layer, which can be comfortable for both warm and cool conditions. Over this, add a cardigan, hoodie, or light jacket that you can easily take off or put on as needed. This way, you can adapt to the changing climate on the plane and stay comfortable throughout your journey. You can even use your jacket as a makeshift pillow if you decide not to wear it!
  • Travel-Friendly Footwear: Choose your footwear wisely for plane rides. Slip-on shoes or sneakers with cushioned insoles are ideal because they are easy to take off during security checks and can be quickly slipped back on when you’re onboard. Avoid wearing shoes with complicated closures, as they can be a hassle. Additionally, opt for socks to keep your feet warm so your bare feet don’t have to touch the dirty airport floor. 😛

The Beach + Pool

The beaches of Hawaii are a paradise, and your beach/pool attire should reflect that:

  • Swimsuits: When heading to the beach or pool, choosing the right swimsuit is key for both comfort and style. Opt for a swimsuit that not only complements your body type but also suits your water activities. A one-piece swimsuit can provide more coverage and support and will not accidentally slip off when swimming. On the other hand, a bikini offers more flexibility and tanning options. Make sure the material is quick-drying, and consider bringing an extra swimsuit for variety or in case one gets wet.
  • Cover-Ups: A stylish cover-up is a versatile addition to your beach or pool outfit. Whether it’s a flowing maxi dress, a sarong, a lightweight tunic, or a casual button-down shirt, a cover-up provides protection from the sun and adds a touch of elegance to your beach attire. It’s also handy for transitioning from the beach or pool to other activities without needing to change completely. Look for cover-ups made from breathable fabrics like cotton or linen for comfort in the sun.
  • Sun Protection: Sun protection is essential to keep your skin safe from harmful UV rays. Along with wearing sunscreen with a high SPF, consider adding a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses with UV protection, and a lightweight, long-sleeved beach shirt to your outfit. These accessories not only shield you from the sun but also enhance your beach or pool look. Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen throughout the day, especially after swimming, to maintain effective protection and enjoy your time in the sun responsibly. Remember to use reef-safe sunscreen if you plan on taking a dip in the ocean.

The Outdoor Hike

Hiking is a popular activity in Hawaii, and dressing right is essential for both comfort and safety:

  • Moisture-Wicking Clothing: When hiking in Hawaii, where the weather can be hot and humid, it’s crucial to wear moisture-wicking clothing to stay comfortable and avoid overheating. Opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics like synthetic blends or merino wool that can efficiently wick away sweat from your skin, keeping you dry and preventing chafing. Choose moisture-wicking base layers, T-shirts, and hiking shorts or pants to ensure your clothing doesn’t become heavy and uncomfortable during your hike. This type of clothing will help regulate your body temperature, making your hiking experience more enjoyable.
  • Sturdy Footwear: Hawaii’s diverse terrain, from lush rainforests to rocky volcanic landscapes, requires sturdy and supportive footwear. Invest in a pair of hiking boots or trail shoes with good arch support and durable soles that offer excellent traction. Make sure they fit well and provide ample ankle support, especially if you plan to tackle more challenging trails. Some hikes can get very wet and muddy, so hiking sandals will allow your feet to dry quickly without sacrificing comfort (nobody likes soggy shoes!). Proper footwear will not only prevent slips and injuries but also enhance your hiking experience by allowing you to explore the beautiful Hawaiian landscapes confidently.
  • Bug Repellant: Do not go on a hike without bug repellant in Hawaii! It’s essential to protect yourself from pesky insects like mosquitoes and ticks. Apply a reliable bug repellent on exposed skin and clothing to minimize the risk of insect bites and potential diseases they may carry. Choose a repellent with an effective active ingredient, such as DEET or picaridin, and follow the product’s instructions for proper application. Additionally, consider wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants to provide an extra layer of protection against insects, particularly during hikes in areas known for higher bug activity. This precaution will help you enjoy your Hawaiian hiking adventure without the annoyance of itchy bug bites.

The Luau

A Hawaiian luau is a festive and cultural experience that requires appropriate attire. You can opt for a more casual vibe or you can choose to dress up a little more for such a fun and special occasion:

  • Aloha Attire: For a Hawaiian luau, embracing the Aloha spirit with traditional Hawaiian attire is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the experience. Men can opt for aloha shirts, commonly known as Hawaiian shirts, in vibrant floral or tropical patterns. Women can choose Hawaiian print dresses or muumuus, which are loose-fitting, colorful dresses often adorned with floral designs. These outfits not only make you look the part but also help you feel the relaxed, festive atmosphere of a luau.
  • Resort Wear: If you prefer a more casual yet elegant look for a luau, resort attire is a great choice. Men can go for lightweight, linen shirts paired with khaki shorts or slacks, while women can choose stylish sundresses or maxi dresses. This attire combines comfort and style, making it suitable for a luau at an upscale resort or beachside location.
  • Leis and Floral Accessories: To complete your luau outfit, consider wearing a lei, a traditional Hawaiian flower garland, and a symbol of aloha. Lei’s come in various styles and can be made from a variety of flowers, including orchids, plumeria, and hibiscus. Wearing a lei not only adds a touch of Hawaiian tradition to your outfit but also serves as a symbol of warmth and hospitality. Many luaus include shell or floral leis with your ticket purchase. You can also enhance your look with other floral accessories like hair clips or jewelry for an extra tropical flair, creating a perfect ensemble for a memorable luau celebration.

The Sightseeing Excursion

When preparing for a sightseeing excursion in Hawaii, it’s all about striking a balance between comfort, practicality, and style. Hawaii’s warm and often humid climate calls for lightweight, breathable clothing, so opt for comfortable linen or cotton shorts, light t-shirts or tank tops, sundresses and comfortable walking shoes or sandals with good arch support. Try to plan your outfits around the same pair of shoes so it’s one less thing to worry about once you’re on vacation.

  • Practicality & Comfort: When embarking on a sightseeing excursion in Hawaii, prioritize practicality and comfort in your outfit. Opt for lightweight, breathable clothing, such as moisture-wicking fabrics and comfortable walking shoes with good arch support. Dressing in layers can be beneficial, as you can adjust to changing temperatures throughout the day. A comfortable outfit ensures you can fully enjoy the sights and activities without feeling restricted or uncomfortable.
  • Varying Weather Conditions: Hawaii’s weather can greatly vary depending on what side of the island you are on, so it’s essential to prepare for anything and everything. Generally, the eastern (Windward) side tends to be wetter and more jungle-like than the western (Leeward) side, which can be hotter and drier. Consider packing a light, foldable rain jacket or a windbreaker. Bringing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses for sun protection is also a good idea. By layering and having weather-appropriate accessories, you can stay comfortable and enjoy your sightseeing excursion regardless of the weather.
  • Bag or Backpack: A bag or backpack is a handy accessory for a day of sightseeing in Hawaii. Choose one that is comfortable to carry and has enough room to store essentials like sunscreen, water, snacks, a camera, and any souvenirs you may pick up along the way. Having a backpack allows you to keep your hands free while exploring, and it’s a practical way to ensure you have everything you need readily available. We prefer something that is lightweight and small but roomy enough for all of our essentials – too large of a bag can be cumbersome and might not be allowed at some sites. Brownie points if the bag is water-resistant and folds up, like the Le Pliage M Backpack by Longchamp!
  • Culturally Appropriate Clothing: Hawaii is rich in cultural heritage, so it’s important to dress modestly and respectfully when visiting cultural sites, such as temples, historic sites, or museums. Avoid wearing revealing or beachwear-like clothing in these areas, and consider covering your shoulders and knees out of respect. Some sites may also require specific dress codes, so it’s a good idea to research and follow any guidelines provided to show respect for the local culture and traditions.

Our Final Thoughts

Your Hawaii vacation is a chance to relax, explore, and immerse yourself in the beauty of the islands. By following our guide to Hawaii vacation outfits, you’ll not only feel comfortable but also look the part. Remember to respect the local culture and have fun with your fashion choices. Hawaii is a paradise, so embrace the Aloha spirit and make the most of your tropical adventure. Aloha!

*FREE* Hawaii Vacation Packing Checklist

To help you start planning for your Hawaii vacation outfits, we have created a FREE in-depth packing list just for our readers! We use this list every time we travel to Hawaii to save time and to ensure we don’t forget the essentials. Once you enter your email address below, you will receive an email from us with the PDF. We promise we will not spam your inbox. Thank you!

What are some outfit ideas for a Hawaiian vacation?

We recommend packing sundresses, shorts and tank tops, sandals, and comfortable clothing for the warm and humid weather in Hawaii.

What should I wear when I arrive in Hawaii in 2024?

When you arrive in Hawaii in 2024, it’s a good idea to bring outfits suitable for warm weather, such as lightweight clothing, flip-flops, and beach attire.

How should I dress for a Hawaiian vacation?

Make sure to wear comfortable and breathable clothing that aligns with the Hawaiian style, such as flowy dresses, Hawaiian prints, and casual wear suitable for beach activities.

What clothing items are important to pack for a trip to Hawaii?

It’s important to pack items like swimsuits, cover-ups, sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and comfortable shoes for walking or hiking in Hawaii.

What is the weather like in Hawaii, and how should I dress accordingly?

Hawaii is warm and humid throughout the year, so wear lightweight and breathable clothing, such as shorts, tank tops, and fabrics that keep you cool.

What are some outfit options to wear in Hawaii for both summer and winter months?

For the summer months, opt for light and airy outfits like sundresses and shorts. In winter, consider layering with cardigans or light jackets over your outfits to stay warm but comfortable.

Is it a good idea to bring denim when packing for Hawaii?

While denim can be versatile, it may not be the most comfortable choice for Hawaii’s warm and humid weather. Consider packing lightweight alternatives like linen or cotton fabrics.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply