Hawaii Packing List (& other beach vacations)

Aloha! Wondering what to pack for your trip to Hawaii? You have come to the right place for your Hawaii Packing List! I consider Hawaii to be a fairly simple destination to pack for, but there are a few essential items that you absolutely do not want to forget! If you are on a budget, check out our additional Hawaii on a Budget tips here!

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Packing for Hawaii? Lucky you! Use this packing list to make sure that you don't forget any necessities for your tropical beach vacation! #freetotravelmama #hawaii #packinglist

Hawaii Packing List: Clothing

I’ll assume that you already know to pack your underwear and a toothbrush, so I’ll leave out mentioning the obvious. When it comes to clothing, Hawaii is a casual destination and you will be happy packing just the following items. If there is any place that you can get away with packing in a carry-on only, Hawaii it is! The Chester Minima Carry-on is our family favorite for easy streamlined look, strong structure, and easy to roll design.

  • You’ll want one outfit for each day consisting of warm weather tops & shorts (cuter for museum/shopping days and more casual for muddy hiking days).

You will also want to pack:

  • Swimsuit(s)/Rash guard shirts
  • Light sweatshirt or windbreaker for early mornings or mountain hikes
  • Hiking sandals and/or water shoes
  • Flip-flops

We love to buy a few new apparel items at home in preparation for our trip and at a lower price. Check out other Hawaii on a budget ideas here. I check out favorite kids’ clothing stores and type in “pineapple,” “aloha,” “surf,” “beach,” etc. into the search bar. Another option is to shop when you get there as tropical attire is plentiful, but we personally prefer to hit the beach rather than shop!

*If you plan on visiting a high-end restaurant (there are a few), check the dress code as there are a few that require a collared shirt and pants for men and a dress/dress pants for women, however the vast majority do not.

Hawaii Packing List: Must-Haves

Sunscreen

Hawaii Packing List inspiration from reef safe sunscreen to sundresses to gadgets to help you capture beautiful photos while keeping your valuables safe. #freetotravelmama #hawaii

The sun is VERY strong in Hawaii and all of the gorgeous beach time will come to a quick halt if you burn yourself to a crisp on the first day. Even if you never burn, humor me and slather some on anyway. You’ll thank me later. We are huge fans of the Sun Bum Moisturizing Sunscreen. It is reef-safe (which will soon be state law), void of yucky ingredients that I don’t want on my children’s skin, and smells like a dream. We were introduced to it when we stayed at the Grand Hyatt Kauai when they provided it pool-side and we have loved it ever since. Their lip balm sunscreen is also useful (and delicious!).

Insulated Grocery Bag

Hawaii Packing List inspiration from reef safe sunscreen to sundresses to gadgets to help you capture beautiful photos while keeping your valuables safe. #freetotravelmama #hawaii

These insulated grocery bags are time saver, life saver, money saver item! They collapse completely flat and should even fit into a carryon (check your measurements). Once you arrive, they will keep your snacks and breakfast items that you pick up from the grocery store cold until you reach your lodging. Then, you can also use it for keeping lunch, snacks and drinks chilled at the beach and while exploring the island. We couldn’t imagine traveling without them. SO handy.

You might also like:  Travel Gift Ideas for the One you Love

Flytographer Photo Shoot Reservation

Hawaii Packing List inspiration from reef safe sunscreen to sundresses to gadgets to help you capture beautiful photos while keeping your valuables safe. #freetotravelmama #hawaii

What is this, you ask? Have you ever taken an amazing vacation filled with gorgeous landscapes and fun activities, only to come home and realize that you don’t have any family photos or any of you (talking to you behind the camera)?

Flytographer has several talented photographers around all of the islands ready to capture your family’s memories with a fun and amazing photo shoot. They’ll meet you at your favorite beach or garden, or suggest one if you wish, and will work with you to make sure that you are thrilled with the result. They will send your images to you within 5 days of your photo shoot and you will print them for your walls and cover your social media with them because they will really be amazing!

Check Flytographer out with my $25 discount code. I PROMISE you will be glad that you did!

Photo Credit: Tara in Honolulu with Flytographer

Sunglasses

You may already have a favorite pair, but if not, you’ll want to pick some up as that potent sun will affect your eyes too if you don’t protect them.

Reusable Water Bottles

Hawaii Packing List: Reusable Water Bottles

Bringing a reusable water bottle will not only allow you to easily and frugally take advantage of the fresh tap water in Hawaii, but will also cut down on the plastic bottles that would otherwise be left on the island. So I encourage you to do your environmentally friendly part and bring one of these along with you.

Waterproof Phone & Wallet Case

Hawaii Packing List: Waterproof Travel Pouch

There will be many occasions when you will be kayaking, snorkeling, or just stepping into the water for a quick dip. It will not be safe to leave your valuables on the sand under your beach towel as you may just return to find them gone. You could take turns snorkeling and leaving one person the beach, but I personally would rather snorkel with the person that I am vacationing with. This highly rated waterproof pouch would be a great option to keep your valuables on your person and completely dry.

Beach Bag

This all-purpose classic extra large beach tote is perfect for hauling gear for the whole family. If you think you won’t need one, think again! Days out in the sun exploring will wear on you, and easy way to carry your stuff is essential. Beach towels, water bottles, sunscreen, clothing changes, sand toys, and snacks will all fit in this adorable tote. Just packing gear for yourself, check out this smaller version (with the same level of cuteness!).

Hawaii Packing List: Optional but Awesome Items

GoPro

GoPro Hero7

If you are looking for a great camera that is compact and can handle the muddy adventure hike and the underwater snorkeling journey to locate a sea turtle, the GoPro won’t let you down. This one comes with several handy accessories.

Smart Phone/Camera Tripod

Hawaii Packing List inspiration from reef safe sunscreen to sundresses to gadgets to help you capture beautiful photos while keeping your valuables safe. #freetotravelmama #hawaii

Hanging out with the fam on the beach after an epic snorkeling adventure? Pop this handy device around a palm tree and capture the moment easily and effectively. On a sunrise hike and see the opportunity for a gorgeous silhouette image? Set this up securely on a rock and click the remote. It’s cheap and compact and well worth your suitcase space.

You might also like:  Best Things to Do in Kauai with Kids

Beach Towels

You may have rented an Airbnb that provides beach towels which makes for one less item that you need to buy (this is us), but I still think I’ll try to fit this gorgeous Round Peacock Towel into our luggage, because it looks so fun to use and such a great photo prop! This Turkish Pineapple Towel is also a chic choice and was just added to my wish list!

Hawaii Packing List: Children’s Items

Collapsible Sand Bucket

If you give my children a bucket and a shovel, they will literally spend hours digging, creating, and letting their imagination go wild on the beach. The only problem is that sand toys are not a space-efficient item to bring and I would rather not buy them there and then have to leave them to be disposed of. I was so excited to discover these foldable silicone sand pails! My kids are going to LOVE them on this trip.

Life Jackets

As gorgeous as that ocean is, it is also dangerous if its power is not recognized. Chat with your kids about ocean safety and put them in life jackets if it provides peace of mind. It is possible to rent them at at the same place you rent your snorkel gear, or you might find them available at your vacation rental. But I encourage you to plan ahead on this one as you will find times when you want them available. On our last trip to Hawaii, our children practically lived in their life vests so that they could have the freedom to ride the waves freely and safely!

Books about Hawaii

My children love reading about the places we travel. I try to pick them up before we go, but you can always grab them at Costco on the island for some fun island themed bedtime stories. We have several, but there are our VERY favorites.

Too Many Mangos

Twinkle, Twinkle Small Hoku

Good Night Hawaii

Geckos Make a Rainbow

Aloha Kanani (American Girl)

Nanea Trilogy (American Girl)

Airplane Activities

I am going to go out on a limb here and assume that your Hawaii trip will require a plane ride. Check out Travel Gift Ideas for Kids for our favorite entertaining activities for the plane for children of all ages. Tried and true, these suggestions will hopefully allow to you feel the Aloha on your long flight too.

I hope this list has given you some inspiration for your own Hawaii Packing List! We are headed to Oahu in 59 days (but who’s counting?!?) and every one of these items are are going to be in our suitcases. Don’t overthink it, just toss some cute clothes and handy gadgets and sunscreen in your bag and you are all set.

Can you think of anything I missed? Drop a comment below and let me know. Mahalo and Aloha!

Free to Travel Mama | Travel Inspiration for Families

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Hawaii Packing List inspiration from reef safe sunscreen to sundresses to gadgets to help you capture beautiful photos while keeping your valuables safe. #freetotravelmama #hawaii
Packing for Hawaii? Lucky you! Use this packing list to make sure that you don't forget any necessities for your tropical beach vacation! #freetotravelmama #hawaii #packinglist
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Author: Sierra

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29 Comments

  1. Avatar

    I love packing insulated bags because they’re so unique and you can’t always find them in grocery stores!

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    we spent three weeks in Hawaii and this is a great list! I love the collapsable grocery bags – insulated too! We also brought disposable under water cameras, since a go pro wasnt in our budget.

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      The grocery bags are so incredibly helpful! Great thought on the underwater camera!

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      Thank for stopping by and letting me know!

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  3. Avatar

    This Hawaii packing list is such a great one! I’d also add a beach bag to the list, so that way you don’t end up trying to carry all of your items in a paper bag that could rip at any moment!

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    THANK YOU. This is the only post I’ve seen that does a packing list RIGHT. Thank you for mentioning that we all know how to pack a toothbrush, nothing is more insulting than when a blogger puts the obvious on the list! I love the idea of bringing an insulated grocery bag, I didn’t even know about these and I’ve already since ordered them on Amazon! The collapsible sand bucket is a great idea as it takes up less space. Good tip on hiring a photographer to do family photos in advance. We welcome our first little one in May, so I’ll be following your blog!

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      Thank you SO much for the wonderful compliment! I try to only suggest items that are truly helpful and that people may not think of on their own. No need to waste your time with the obvious 🙂 Thanks for signing up on our site! We look forward to sharing more adventures to come with you! Congratulations on your pregnancy! That is truly the very best adventure. <3

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    This is a very useful packing guide for first time visitors to Hawaii. I’ve been to the islands so many times, yet I always tend to overpack. Never thought of packing towels and life jackets because they always have them at the hotel and on the boats. However, if you travel with kids you may need the life jackets on a daily basis when they go in the water.

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      Yes! We packed an extra carryon just with life jackets on our last trip and it was so worth having them with all of our time spent in the water!

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    I can’t wait to get back to Hawaii! I’ve only ever stayed in AirBnBs while on the islands, so I love the ideas of the insulated grocery bags! Such a novel idea that I never would have considered. And I’ve only ever heard about Flytographer once before, but love the idea. I’m definitely going to checking out that service!

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      The grocery bags are sooo handy! We never travel without them anymore! We LOVE our Flytographer photo shoots too! They keep our travel memories alive every time we look at them. Highly recommended splurge 🙂

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    What a great packing list for the islands of Hawaii. I had never thought of using insulated bags that is such a great tip. It is always hard to pack for holidays, I always take too much and never end up wearing half of it.

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    This is a great list! We are heading to Hawaii again in a few months, and I definitely need to get those buckets for my toddler! How awesome!

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    You’ve put me in the mood to go to Hawaii right now! It’s one of my dream destinations and I’d love to visit one day. Sunscreen with a high factor is so important in strong sun, as it keeping hydrated. I’ve never heard of flytographer but I’m intrigued to know more!

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    To bring an insulated grocery bag is really a smart tip! I never thought about it, especially since everything is expensive in Hawaii. The collapsible sand bucket is also a smart idea when you travel with kids. I don’t even know its existence. And the smart phone tripod. Thank you for a reminder. We don’t always see someone around to ask to take our family picture. 🙂

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    I think booking a photographer while on vacation is so sweet! I hadn’t thought about that, but that would make for some great family photos. I want to incorporate this in future solo trips as well so I don’t only have selfies!

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      Yes! A photo shoot is great for solo travel too. They are such a gorgeous reminder of a great trip!

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        So very true! I don’t think that there is any trip that a photo shoot wouldn’t be amazing to include!

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  12. Avatar

    I’ve never heard of the Flytographer, but next time I go I will definitely look into it! Super cute pics btw!

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  13. Avatar

    Thank you for the great ideas! We are hoping to take a vacation there next year!

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    Oh mate this is what exactly I am looking for, In next month I have a trip over there. I hope your packing list will work for me. Thank you so much sierra for this post. I really appreciate.

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    Helpful post to Sienna! Thanks for sharing. I love that you give your children books to read about your upcoming destination- a lovely idea! I will be stealing this when I have my own kids!

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  16. Avatar

    That phone and wallet waterproof case is suuuuch a good idea! Not just for Hawaii but for any beach location!

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  17. Avatar

    No matter how many times I’ve been to Hawaii, I am always dreaming of my next trip back! Great Post!

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    You know what’s dumb? I ALWAYS forget to pack flip flops 🤦🏽‍♀️🤦🏽‍♀️ Thanks for the suggestions! I can’t wait to go back!

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    Ooh such a great list! I love your focus on reusable items and reef safe sunscreen – we all have our part to play in preserving the environment.

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