High schools in Hawaii are a different experience from the mainland, obviously. I grew up in Hawaii for 18 years and although I’ve never experienced high school on the mainland, I now attend college here and I’ve heard a lot of different things from my friends that all show me how different our high school experiences were.

Infrastructure differences for high schools in Hawaii

To start, high schools in Hawaii are just built differently. On the islands, high schools all have open hallways and walkways, instead of enclosed buildings. It’s because of our gorgeous paradise weather all year-round. Warm weather makes for nice open walkways compared to mainland schools that experience cold weather and sometimes severe winters that prompt warm coats and closed windows. For Hawaii, this is obviously never a legitimate concern.

Ocean view

The top of the Koko Head Arch hike has some nice shade.

High schools in Hawaii on Instagram

Hawaii kids are also obsessed with Instagram, or maybe it’s the other way around. Young videographers and photographers take to Instagram to show off their skill, and their beautiful island. Girls show off their bikinis and beach poses while boys show off their surfboards and new gear. If you don’t have a cool Instagram showing off the beach every other day, you’re probably not from Hawaii. Even kids like myself who live on the mainland now are often posting old pictures on Instagram of them back at home, it’s an easy cure for homesickness. Bottomline – if you’re going to high school in Hawaii, be prepared to pump up your Instagram and photography game.

girls running on the beach

This is all from the same photoshoot – we had so much fun.

High schools in Hawaii are about Beach priorities

High schoolers are also obsessed with going to the beach and surfing after school. The 24/7 sunshine is a key driver for this. After we get out of school at 2 pm, it’s still sunny and warm and perfect beach weather. Some kids bring their boards to school and head straight to the beach after school. It’s not possible to understand how important the beach is to Hawaii people until you move there and live there for yourself, honestly. For people on the mainland, the beach is a vacation or a twice-a-year event. In Hawaii, we’re at the beach everyday, even if we can sneak in an hour or two after work.

girls on beach

This is one of my favorite pictures of my girlfriend and I!

Fashion styles in high schools in Hawaii

The style of clothes for high schoolers is always about the skimpiest, tiniest shorts and tank tops. In the fall from August to November it can be really hot, so it makes sense to wear shorts and a tank top. December can get rainy, but never gets colder than 70 degrees, so in other words, people are still wearing shorts and tank tops in December and January and February and March. Girls are also really into shell jewelry and ocean accessories like seashell earrings and bangles.

Overall, people in high school are very active in Hawaii. Kids are really into the beach and showing it off as much as possible through their Instagram and school attire. If you’ve got kids in high school moving to Hawaii, make sure they stay active and tan and they’ll make friends really quick!  

Dos and Don’ts to fit in for high school kids

DO spend time at the beach and outdoors. Like I said, it’s important (and very fun) to take advantage of the new paradise your family has decided to move to, so have fun and enjoy the beach and sunshine and amazing hikes.

DON’T make fun of Hawaiian culture. Whatever ethnicity you may be, it’s important to have respect for locals in the area. So in other words, Hawaiian jokes are a no-go.

DO take up surfing and bodyboarding and snorkeling, because that’s how you make friends with kids quick, by meeting them at the beach.