Whether you’re off to Oahu, Maui, Kauai, or the Big Island, if you’re trying to get some ideas for Hawaii outfits and figure out what to wear in Hawaii and what to pack for Hawaii, there’s a good chance that you have most of the clothes you need.
What should you wear in Hawaii?
For the beach, if you’ve recently gone to a lake house or a weekend beach trip locally, you have what you need at minimum to wear when snorkeling in Hawaii! — best beaches on oahu — best snorkeling spots on oahu
For hiking, if you’ve recently gone to the gym or even a walk around the neighborhood, you have what you need at minimum to wear when hiking in Hawaii! — best short hikes on oahu
And for a luau, if you’ve recently gone out to eat at a restaurant, you have what you need at minimum to wear to a luau in Hawaii! — luau at polynesian cultural center
But, there is one good reason why you might need to go shopping for new clothes just for Hawaii. So you can look good in your Hawaii vacation photos, of course. 😉
And… also to stay safe! (Think sunburn and slipping down the side of a mountain.)
And also… no better excuse for new clothes because you need it for your next vacation! 😉
Here’s what’s on this page:
- Snorkeling: What to wear when snorkeling
- Hiking: What to wear when hiking
- Luau: What to wear to a luau
- Flight: What to wear on a flight to Hawaii
So, what might you want to wear for your vacation in Hawaii?
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What to wear when snorkeling in Hawaii
If you’ve never been snorkeling before, you might not have snorkeling-specific clothes, but you can get by with a swimsuit and swimwear you already have.
Or, are you in the market for a new swimsuit or cover-up?
Take a look at these! That’s for women.
For men, take a look at these.
Swim shirts with UV protection
There are also clothes that you can wear when snorkeling in Hawaii to protect you from the dangerous UV rays.
In thinking about what to wear in Hawaii when you’re at the beach, the most important thing to think about is… the SUN!
Especially because the sun rays may be stronger than you’re used to. You don’t want to get burned on your first day at the beach, and then end up in pain for the rest of your time in Hawaii!
There are special shirts that have built-in UV protection with up to UPF 50 protection.
Wearing these kinds of shirts means that you also don’t have to worry about constantly reapplying the sunscreen after continuous exposure to water.
Although there is sunscreen that’s better made for lots of time in the water, like some of these types of sunscreen.
But have a look at the shirts with UV protection:
Swim shorts for the surfer look 😉
And if you want to go more for that Hawaii surf wear look to go with your shirt 😉 have a look at some of these shorts:
Even if you’re wearing clothes with the UV protection, you’ll want to make sure to cover the rest of your exposed skin.
There is a certain type of sunscreen that would be considered the best sunscreen for Hawaii.
Suncreen that’s safe for coral reef
There’s a bit of controversy when it comes to wearing sunscreen when snorkeling.
Some scientists firmly believe that ingredients found in sunscreen can be toxic to coral reef, which contributes to the reef dying.
It would seem that the vast majority of the snorkeling and scuba diving community also believes this. This is the popular opinion among avid snorkelers.
As with many scientific studies, you will find other scientists who don’t subscribe to this theory. Read about that here.
If coral reef die, also known as coral bleaching, that means fish go elsewhere.
This means that popular snorkeling destinations can no longer offer the abundance of marine life.
So should you go out of your way to find and wear sunscreen that’s designated as coral reef-safe?
Well, if you wear sunscreen that is reef-safe, no matter which theory is true, you’re not hurting the coral reef!
If you wear sunscreen that’s not reef-safe, if the one theory is wrong, you may be contributing to the dying coral reef.
So what makes sunscreen reef-safe? Again, this is a bit of a controversy. 😉
But generally, if you’re buying reef-safe sunscreen with the goal of saving the coral reef, you’ll want to take a look at the ingredients.
- Go for biodegradable sunscreen
- Go for sunscreen without the ingredient called oxybenzone
- Instead of oxybenzone, look for the ingredient called zinc oxide
Also consider that the more clothes with UV protection you wear when snorkeling, the less sunscreen you have to apply.
More of what to pack for Hawaii snorkeling!
What to wear when hiking in Hawaii
So when you’re snorkeling, you could say one of the most important things is to make sure you get enough sun protection.
For hiking, you also want to protect your skin from the sun. But besides that, one of the most important things to wear hiking in Hawaii would be footwear that gives you good traction.
Many of the hikes in Hawaii have portions that can make it a little slippery even if you are wearing shoes with good traction. This means wearing footwear with very little footwear can make it quite a bit easier to slip.
What can sometimes make the trail slippery is the loose gravel combined with with steep slopes.
If you don’t want to wear full-fledged hiking shoes like these (that would be one of the best choices!), there are hiking sandals that you can wear too.
They can give you that traction you’ll want on the trails while giving your feet a little extra breathing room.
Take a look at hiking sandals:
For popular hiking trails in Hawaii, wearing hiking sandals can work out well. Regular flip flops are just not a good idea because of that risk of slipping.
And while we’re at it, because it is that important to carry with you when hiking… WATER!
- This water bottle is a popular water bottle in Hawaii because it really keeps your water cold, although it’s expensive and heavy
- This water bottle is travel-friendly, allowing you to roll it up and pack it away in your suitcase when you’re not using it
- This backpack with a water pack can be a perfect way to wear your water for day hikes in Hawaii
More of what to pack for Hawaii hiking!
For a more in-depth look at packing for hiking in Hawaii, have a look at what to wear hiking.
What to wear to a luau in Hawaii
If you’re off to a luau in Hawaii to take in a bit of Hawaiian culture in the form of music and dancing, you have probably also wondered what to wear to a luau.
For kids and teens, the types of clothes that they wear to school would work out just fine.
For adults, the types of clothes you wear when you eat out at a casual restaurant will likely work out just fine.
Now, if you want to actually see what people wear to a luau, take a look at some of these pictures below.
It will require a little bit of squinting maybe 😉 but you can see that people are generally wearing normal street clothes.
These are pictures at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
See the visitors like you 😉 (not performers) in the canoe, and you can also see what people are wearing in the background.
The vast majority of these people attended the luau here in the evening, so it’s what they wore to the luau.
They are also at the same place.
But these ones are at the actual luau or buffet dinner, and you can look for the pictures of people sitting at the tables to see what they are wearing.
You may also see a picture of some people on stage to see what they are wearing. Oh, and you’ll get the lei flower necklace when you arrive. 😉
Also be sure to take a look at things to do with Polynesian Cultural Center tickets!
Of course, if you want to show more of the aloha spirit when you go to this traditional Hawaiian event, there will be no problem doing so!
If you just can’t wait until you get to Hawaii to shop for Hawaiian clothes 😉 have a look:
- Hawaiian dresses for women here and here
- Hawaiian shirts for men here
- Cute Hawaiian dresses for girls here
- Cute Hawaiian shirts for boys here
- Matching Hawaiian outfits for couples here
What to wear on a flight to Hawaii
What to wear on a flight to Hawaii is quite the dilemma, because you’re traveling to a warm weather destination, but it’s not so warm when you’re flying!
Although it depends on your tolerance for the cold, it can get a little chilly on the plane, especially if you’re just wearing a sundress and flip flops!
So instead of packing your warmest clothes in your suitcase, wear them!
If you’re already planning on taking jeans, then those would be a good item to wear on your flight to Hawaii.
If you’re not planning on taking jeans, it can be a good idea to wear them or some other form of long pants that you have. These are comfortable capris.
If you’re planning on taking a light jacket with you to Hawaii, that would also be good to wear on your flight. If you’re not planning on taking a light jacket… well, consider it! 😉
Evenings in Hawaii can get chilly with a light breeze even in June or July, although not always.
If you’ll be flying to Hawaii from cold weather in the winter months like in December, January, or February, you may consider getting a packable down jacket like one of these.
This will get you to the airport from your home without freezing, and you won’t have to carry a heavy jacket and lug it around once you land in Hawaii in the 80 degree weather!
It will also make it so you won’t have to worry so much about being cold on the plane.
Packable jackets are space savers and can be packed down to a pretty small size when you’re not using them.
These things will also help you pack your suitcase better so you can find all of your packed items once you reach Hawaii!
If you’re not planning on taking shoes with you to Hawaii, consider packing a pair (or two!) of socks in your carry-on bag.
This way, if you’re wearing sandals on the plane, you can keep your feet warm! Wool socks like these could be good to wear to keep your toes comfortable.
HAPPY HAWAII PACKING!
Best shoes for your active vacationHit search at the top for any of these items to get more variety on Amazon through these affiliate links!
- Walking: These types of hiking sandals. For walking in hot weather, they are more breathable than shoes, while still giving you necessary traction on the trails. Also see these travel sandals.
- Beach: These types of beach shoes. For beach walking, wading in the water, and rocky shorelines, they can prevent cuts from hidden rocks or when bumping into coral reef.
- What to wear hiking
- What to wear snorkeling
- What to wear on a cruise formal night
Best things to pack for active travel- First-time snorkelers love full-face snorkeling masks.
- These UV protection shirts are a hit so you don't have to keep re-applying sunscreen and don't have to worry as much about getting sunburn!
- These types of small backpacks are perfect for a day out so you can carry essentials... and snacks!
- And these popular packing cubes can be a life-saver when you're traveling!
Don't get your valuables stolen when you travel- On city excursions: This neck pouch that tons of people love. It makes it harder for money to be stolen, and RFID-blocking feature stops thieves from scanning your credit card info when they are close to you.
- At the beach: This type of pouch that you can easily take your wallet in the water with you, instead of leaving on the beach.