Best Hawaiian Souvenirs to Bring Back Home

From ancient cultures and exciting cities to finding your bliss on the beach, traveling to Hawaii is a dream come true. While on a cruise to Hawaii, you’ll stand at the base of mighty volcanoes, sunbathe on pristine beaches, stare at misty waterfalls and hopefully bring home some special souvenirs to remember it all.

Whether a treat for yourself or a gift for a loved one, nobody should visit Hawaii without bringing back a few mementos. Local Hawaiian products are one of the best ways to bring a piece of the islands home with you. Here are our suggestions for the best things to buy in Hawaii.

1. Ukulele

A ukulele is the quintessential Hawaiian gift to bring home to a friend or family member. This four-stringed musical instrument made famous by Hawaiian performers looks like a mini-guitar. They are actually made from island woods and the light, airy sound will remind you of those easygoing days cruising the islands. A ukulele is light and easy to carry onto the cruise ship in a hard or soft case.

hawaiian man holding a ukulele as he shows the shaka sign

2. Koa Wood Products

Koa wood is a beautiful and rare wood that can only be found naturally in Hawaii. The hardwood is prized by craftsman for its strength and its special grain that makes every piece unique. A hand-carved koa wood bowl, plate, picture frame, flower vase or other artwork deserves an important place in your home.

3. Macadamia Nuts

Although the macadamia nut tree originated in Australia, this tree has been grown on the islands since around 1882. Since then, the macadamia nut has become a major part of Hawaiian culture and commerce. Now, almost all of Hawaii’s macadamia nuts come from the Big Island.

Macadamia nuts are harvested and processed year-round, which means they are always fresh! You’ll find everything from macadamia nut candies and brittles to packs of dry roasted nuts, nut butters, pestos, coffees and more. Nutritious and delicious!

macadamia nuts from hawaii placed on a wooden table

4. Hawaiian Quilt

Aside from its incredible biodiversity and exciting tourist destinations, Hawaii is rich with beautiful and meaningful artwork. Quilts and comforters came to Hawaii with the New England missionaries of the 19th century, but the locals have since created a style of their own.

When it comes to a handmade Hawaiian “kapa” (quilt), tropical flower, plant and island themes abound. So it’s the perfect reminder of your sunny seaside vacation. If a quilt is too big, take home a placemat, framed scrap or a pillowcase.

5. Hawaiian Shirt

The Hawaiian shirt, also known as an Aloha shirt, has been a fashion staple for over 75 years. The Hawaiian “dress shirt” is both comfy and cool, and perfect to relax in at an island luau. Bright tropical prints in every size will beckon to you from stores and stands everywhere. You’ll have no trouble rolling a few into your suitcase to take home as the perfect Hawaiian souvenirs.

aloha shirts with floral designs and colors being sold in hawaii

6. Hawaiian Music

Hawaiian music is so soothing, magical and rich that a single song can instantly transport you back to the islands. Spanning genres from surf and folk to rock, Hawaiian music use ukuleles, acoustic guitars, mandolins and slack key guitars to create some seriously dreamy sounds. Supporting a local artist is a great way to celebrate your incredible trip to Hawaii, and a great way to add to your music collection.

7. Lei Necklaces

The lei is a classic welcoming symbol of Hawaii. These flower necklaces were introduced by early Polynesian voyagers and might have included seeds, leaves, and feathers. Today they are simply garlands of lush blossoms that instantly beautify and bring a feeling of peace. Since the lei is meant to be a celebration of affection to one another, we can’t think of a more perfect Hawaiian gift for your favorite people.

woman wearing lei necklace made with pink flowers on top of a dark blue shirt

8. Kona Coffee

For a gift that’s truly unique to your cruise destination, Kona coffee is as elegant as it is delicious. Hawaii is one of the few U.S. states where coffee is grown and harvested, and Kona coffee from Hawaii is world-renowned. This specialty coffee comes direct from the slopes of two volcanoes on the Big Island.

Much like macadamia nuts, Kona coffee beans thrive in the environmental conditions that are unique to Hawaii — an optimum combination of volcanic soil, tropical temperatures and rainfall.

Whether you are shopping for Kona coffee at the supermarket near the port of Kona or straight from the plantation, choose from a budget-friendly 10-percent blend or splurge on the 100-percent Kona variety.

jute bag holding 100% kona coffee from hawaii

9. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil made in Hawaii has long been praised for its nutritional benefits and medicinal properties. Packed with healthy fatty acids, coconut oil is great for cooking Hawaiian food. The tropical native fruit is plentiful in Hawaii, so be sure to sip on a fresh one while in your port of call, and then take some luxurious coconut oil, lotion or butter home as a gift for yourself.

In a land as lush, fertile, and utterly enchanting as Hawaii, there is no shortage of wonderful authentic Hawaiian products to spoil yourself with. Return from your Hawaiian cruise with incredible memories, a tan and some of the best souvenirs from the Aloha State.