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What to Wear on Vacation in Hawaii
As a Hawaii Travel Agent, I’m often asked what to wear on vacation to Hawaii. Now, Hawaii is a pretty laid-back destination, but I thought I should write a blog post about this since it is a frequently asked question.
Do I need a rental car in Hawaii?
First, let’s go over another common question, do I need a rental car in Hawaii? The answer is YES!
I recommend Discount Hawaii Car Rental. My #1 recommendation is to get a rental car to explore the islands! Discount Hawaii Car Rental has the best rates and free cancellation. Also, you don’t have to pay until you pick up your car.
What to wear during a Hawaii vacation
Now, let’s get to what to wear during a Hawaii vacation. I have similar tips in my post on The Ultimate Hawaii packing list.
The first thing you should know is that, overall, Hawaii is a very casual destination. Even at some of the nicer restaurants, the dress code is typically more relaxed than you might expect. Still, it’s good to know what to wear during a Hawaii vacation beforehand.
So, let’s discuss what to wear during a Hawaii vacation, from what you’ll wear on the plane to what to wear during hiking and what to wear at the places you’ll visit in Hawaii.
What to Wear During Your Flight to Hawaii
Flying to Hawaii takes a few hours, no matter where you live. It’s the most isolated place in the world (at least the most isolated place where people live.) The last thing you want to do is wear shorts and a t-shirt, especially if you are always cold. Planes do tend to feel cold to some people (including me), and like to dress in layers when I fly.
I also choose comfortable clothing that allows me to breathe the entire flight.
I recommend wearing a pair of comfortable, light pants or shorts. Then, pair them with a short sleeve shirt and a sweatshirt or sweater. This way, you can easily take one layer off before you walk out of the airport. I recommend light pants vs. something heavy otherwise; you’ll get very hot as soon as you walk off the plane.
I like to bring a towel that doubles as a “plane blanket” to keep me extra warm. Plus, it helps for that long flight home! For more tips on how to survive to flight to Hawaii, check out how to survive the flight to Hawaii & how to fight jet lag in Hawaii.
What to Wear to the Beach While on Vacation in Hawaii
You won’t want to vacation in Hawaii and not spend at least one day on the beach. Well, you can, but why would you want to skip out on a beach day?
Anyway, a day at the beach calls for a bathing suit. You can choose to throw shorts and a shirt over your suit. Or you can use a coverup or sundress. Add a pair of cute sandals, and you are ready for a day in the sand and water!
I recommend bringing at least two bathing suits to Hawaii. One to wear and one to dry! If you hang your bathing suits on your lanai (balcony), use these towel clips to keep them from blowing away.
Check out some of my favorite blog posts about beaches in Hawaii, including the 16 best beaches in Kauai for swimming, the best beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii, and where to find a black sand beach in Maui.
What to Wear to a Luau During Your Vacation in Hawaii
Luaus are a lot of fun, and you don’t really need to dress a particular way to attend them. However, it’s an excuse to dress up a bit, and since Hawaii is so casual, why not take advantage of it?
Guys often wear dress shorts with Hawaiian-style shirts. Ladies choose dresses or jumpsuits in bright colors and pair them with sandals.
Dressing up at a luau is entirely optional, but if you enjoy dressing up, go ahead and wear whatever you’d like.
Check out my favorite luau here: What is the best luau in Hawaii?
What to Wear on Vacation in Hawaii While Hiking
One of the best ways to see panoramic views of Hawaii is by hiking. You need to be prepared when you head out on the trails,
Shorts, tank tops, t-shirts, and a good pair of sneakers are best for hikes in Hawaii. You can pack hiking boots if you prefer to hike in those. Personally, I like hiking sandals. I will hike just about anywhere in my Tevas, but some prefer real shoes or boots.
I wear my Teva Sandals, shorts, tank top, and a light jacket or long-sleeve shirt for early mornings.
It does rain in some parts of Hawaii. I don’t recommend bringing a raincoat (I am a big proponent of packing light), but you can always get a small emergency rain poncho.
What to Wear During a Boat Cruise
Boat cruises in Hawaii are an excellent way to relax. However, the type of boat cruise you take will determine what you should wear. Snorkeling boat cruises will require swimsuits, sandals, and a coverup.
Sunset cruises will require shorts and shirts for the guys. The ladies can wear the same or wear a sundress or jumpsuit. If you’re enjoying a sunset dinner or cocktail cruise, you can dress up a little, although it is certainly not required.
Pants are rarely worn in Hawaii and are typically reserved for funerals and court. So hopefully, you don’t have to go to either of those during your vacation!
Here are my favorite snorkel trips and sunset dinner cruises on each island:
Sail and snorkel – Na Pali Coast Sail and Snorkel with Holo Holo Charters
Sunset cruise – Na Pali Sunset and Sightsee tour with Holo Holo Charters
Sail and snorkel – Waianae Coast Snorkel Cruise with Dolphin and Seasonal Whale Watching from Oahu.
Sunset cruise – Waikiki Sunset Cocktail Cruise
Sail and snorkel – Four Winds II Molokini Sail and Snorkel
You can learn more about Molokini Crater here: Snorkeling Molokini Crater. Is it worth it?
Sunset cruise – Original sunset cruise with an open bar from Kaanapali
Sail and snorkel – Morning Kealakekua Snorkel with Fair Wind Cruises
Sunset cruise – Historical sunset dinner cruise of Kealakekua Bay
What to Wear for Dinner on the Hawaiian Islands
Hawaii tends to be more casual than the mainland. However, some restaurants will have a dress code. You should always check to see if the restaurants you plan to visit have a dress code. Just know that it’s likely more casual than you expect!
What to wear in Hawaii on Mauna Kea or Haleakala
The one time you might truly need pants, and a jacket is if you plan to visit Mauna Kea or Haleakala. With the high altitude, it can be pretty cold. In fact, it can even snow!
You won’t be on the mountain long, so you might not need full cold-weather gear. I tough it out in shorts and a jacket, but if you want to pack warmer clothes, you certainly can.
What to Wear Each Month During a Vacation in Hawaii
The weather in Hawaii is generally mild and warm year-round. When I mention “cooler” weather, I am talking about the high 60s, so it’s never truly cold. It’s rare that it won’t feel warm enough to swim during the day, and temperatures in the 60s are not common on most parts of the island.
While it gets hot in Hawaii, it’s not as humid as most places on the mainland, so it won’t feel too hot. It’s rare for the temperatures to get over 90 degrees. Most of the time, you’ll find yourself in comfortable temperatures in the 70s or low 80s.
So yes, you likely won’t feel cold even in the winter. However, if you get cold easily (and I do), bring a pair of leggings or a sweater, just in case.
What to Wear on Vacation in Hawaii
I hope this post on what to wear on vacation in Hawaii helped you. If you want more Hawaii travel tips, why not join my free Facebook group? I also have over 200 blog posts about Hawaii; you can check some of them below.
- 30 free things to do in Oahu
- The best island to visit in Hawaii in December
- 50 things to do on the Big Island
- 50 things to do on Kauai
- 100 things to do in Hawaii (Hawaii Bucket List)
- The 12 best scenic drives in Hawaii
- How to be a better tourist in Hawaii
Earlier, you probably say that I am a Hawaii Travel Agent. So if you’re looking for a Hawaii honeymoon or vacation personalized just for you, let’s chat! I specialize in working with clients to create the perfect vacation for you. That means no packages; everything is personalized. Contact me, and I’ll get back to you to start planning ASAP!
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