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What to Wear in Hawaii

what to wear in hawaii

Whether you’re traveling solo or with your family, a Hawaii vacation is the perfect way to escape and reset. It’s one of the best vacation destinations in the world because it’s not only stunning but it also offers a well rounded experience for every type of traveler.

From active adventures like surfing and paddle boarding to relaxing activities like lounging poolside, frequent travelers to Hawaii know that the mix of entertainment on the island makes it a standout spot. And if you’re coming from across the U.S., just know that island living (even if it’s temporary) is totally worth the trek.

While the weather in Hawaii is consistently beautiful, the temperature at night can certainly dip. During certain seasons, it can also be quite rainy. March through September is considered the busy season for Hawaii, with the months of April, May, and September being the best from a weather standpoint. Those months are known to not be too hot, too cold, or too wet.

Before you visit Hawaii, it’s important that you properly plan out your vacation outfits. No matter what your preferred activities upon arrival are, there are some wardrobe essentials that everyone needs to pack—swimsuits, sunglasses, shorts, tank tops, and flip flops are at the top of the list.

However, making the most out of your travel outfits means packing strategically and making a checklist so you don’t forget anything. Trust me, you don’t want to end up on an island feeling unprepared and under-packed. This destination is undoubtedly known to have a relaxed and laid back vibe, so it’s nice that you don’t have to pack your entire closet to look great during your trip to Hawaii.

What to Wear In Hawaii

Regardless of which island you’re visiting (check out my Maui itinerary), I put together this list of what to wear in Hawaii so you can have a smooth, comfortable, and successful trip. These suitcase staples will help you comfortably and stylishly make a statement during your getaway.

Hawaii outfit idea - white swimsuit and a straw hat
floral dress

10+ Hawaii Vacation Outfits

A Matching Set
couple in Hawaii

On my latest trip to Hawaii (and Matt’s first time visiting!) I wore this pink knit set and got so many questions about it. A matching set is always a cute outfit idea but it’s especially practical when you’re traveling/vacationing because it takes the guesswork out of getting ready—no need to spend a lot of time picking what you’ll wear.

If you want to dress things up, you could always add a fun clutch or some earrings. And as far as shoes go, you could either go with comfy sandals or some heels.

Floral Maxi Dress
floral dress and a straw hat

A good go-to while visiting Hawaii? A simple maxi dress.

They’re perfect for wearing on the beach, to dinner, and out and about town. They can also be thrown on over a swimsuit and they go with pretty much any type of sandals or flip flops. Another perk is that they’re really comfortable to wear but they make you look and feel so put together.

Regardless of the weather on the island, I think it’s always a good idea to bring a cardigan or a denim jacket to wear after the sun goes down. Even if the temps are warm and humid during the day, things can certainly cool off at night.

As far as accessories go, I’d recommend adding a sun hat (which will double up as extra sun protection) and a basic pair of sunglasses. Beach bags are another must-bring!

Pink Bikini
pink bikini

Is it just me or does a bright bikini seem like a must-wear while visiting Hawaii? I practically lived in the swimsuit pictured above during my own trip (this exact bikini is sadly sold out but this one is similar.)

During my trip, I always just slipped into some denim shorts or put a kimono or cover-up on over my bikini when I wasn’t lounging on the beach. If you don’t love pink but still want to add some liveliness to your Hawaiian wardrobe, opt for a bright blue, green, or yellow bikini—anything goes!

Bright Athleisure
what to wear in hawaii - Bright Athleisure

Whether it’s your first time visiting the island or your fourth, it’s a fairly safe assumption that you’ll spend some time walking or hiking during your trip. Hawaii has such an active lifestyle which means that packing athleisure and comfortable shoes is essential—don’t forget a belt bag and baseball cap!

Again, depending on the time of year you’re visiting the big island, the mornings and evenings can get kind of chilly, so I’d recommend bringing layers. Try wearing a white t-shirt, half-zip jacket (I love the ones from Vuori), or crew neck over your workout top—you can always tie your extra layer around your waist if you get too hot.

Silk Slip Dress
what to wear in hawaii

While most of your time on a Hawaiian island will likely be spent in a bathing suit, be sure to also pack some nice dresses that you can wear out.

I loved wearing silk slip dresses during my visit but any dress would do. If you’re going during a time that’s particularly hot and sticky, silk probably wouldn’t be the best option. In the warmer months, opt for cotton or linen fabrics instead.

These dresses pair well with flat sandals, wedges, or little heels. They aren’t overly fancy but they bring things up a notch, making them perfect for a special dinner or a night out for drinks.

Comfy Kimono
what to wear in hawaii - Comfy Kimono

When you pack for Hawaii, cover-ups are an obvious must-include on your checklist. They’re great for wearing to the beach, around the pool, and to and from your hotel room. If you’re looking for another practical addition to your suitcase that’s even more stylish, try a kimono.

When thrown over a swimsuit, a kimono can make for one of the most chic and easy Hawaii outfit ideas. They’re so pretty and feel highly appropriate for island living. Wear one over your one piece with flip flops or pair it with denim shorts and a white tank for a casual but cute daytime look.

Striped Swimsuit
what to wear in hawaii - Striped Swimsuit
Striped Swimsuit beach outfit

Yes, any style bathing suit will work in Hawaii but there’s something about striped swimwear that pops in photos. If you plan to have some Instagram-worthy moments on the island, a striped bikini is the way to go. Add a wide-brimmed hat to not only accessorize your look but also to protect your skin from the sun (a win-win!)

Floral Dresses
what to wear in hawaii
Floral Dress beach outfit

One non-negotiable on your Hawaii packing list? Floral dresses. They’re so versatile, keep you cool, and look just as stylish poolside as they do at a fancy dinner. Just swap out your footwear to make the dress more appropriate for wherever you’re going (wear sandals to the beach and low heels to dinner.)

Floral dresses are also a good closet staple that can be reworn after you get back from your vacation. You can wear them throughout the spring and summer months and style them a variety of ways—with white sneakers, a denim jacket, heels, or a cardigan.

what to wear in hawaii
Workout Set
what to wear in hawaii - Workout Set

Frequent travelers to Hawaii know that the lifestyle on the island is very active. From hiking and rafting to casual morning strolls, a workout set is one of the best outfits you can wear on the Big Island (aside from a swimsuit.)

Make a statement with a set that’s bright and cheerful then pair it with your go-to tennis shoes or hiking sneakers. I’d also recommend wearing a baseball hat and sunglasses to keep your skin and eyes protected from the sun.

When hiking in Hawaii, I’d also suggest bringing a rain jacket because you never know when a storm can hit (honestly, Hawaiian rain storms are so much fun to experience.) And in general, layers are smart to bring when hiking, especially when considering that higher elevations can equal some cooler temps.

White One-Piece
what to wear in hawaii

When packing light is a priority, it’s important that you try to score multiple outfits from one single item in your suitcase.

One clever way to do that is to bring a white one-piece that not only works on the beach but also pairs nicely with denim shorts, linen pants, and skirts. A white one-piece swimsuit can easily turn into a full outfit if you slide some bottoms and shoes on.

Also, there’s no denying that a white one piece makes you look more tan—an added benefit!


I hope that this list of what to wear in Hawaii helps you plan and pack for your trip! It’s such a dreamy place to visit any time of the year and for any occasion, whether you’re celebrating your honeymoon or unwinding on a girls trip.

I’ll leave you with one last piece of advice as you pack for Hawaii: Try to have fun with your outfits and mix things up. Reach for bright colors, unique fabrics, lively prints, and varying textures. Sure, Hawaii is casual, but it’s still a great place to showcase your taste and personal style.

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