Aloha! E Komo Mai! (Hi and Welcome)
We did the round the islands to Tahiti and back, and live here as well. I'd suggest a light jacket for on deck even for here, so am pretty sure you'd need coming from LA.
First thing is to do some research on the various islands and decide what you want to do/see on each. Check the internet for the Hawaii Tourism Bureau site and then for the chamber of commerce for each island you are visiting. That will give you a good starting place.
I'd suggest, off the top of my head, the following attractions in no particular order, by island:
Oahu - Arizona Memorial, North Shore, Polynesian Cultural Center, Waikiki - just to say you've seen it, Diamond Head and Koko Head Craters, the Pali lookout, Bishop Museum, Punchbowl.
Kauai - I'd probably do the "movie set" tour - takes you to some really incredibly scenic spots.
Maui - Iao Needle, Lahaina, some of the more famous golf courses and beaches, top of Haleakala, road to Hana
Molokai - the leper colony
Lanai - beaches, the pineapple plantations
Hilo side - Big Island - The Volcano, the Tsunami Museum in downtown Hilo, Nani Mau Gardens, the Rainforest zoo, the botanical gardens on the coast just north of Hilo, the Waipio Valley, Lyman House Museum
Kona side - Big Island - King Kamehameha's heiau right at the pier, Pu'uhonua O Honaunau south of Kona (also called the City of Refuge), Cook Monument at Kealakekua Bay, Hulihe'e Palace in 'downtown' Kona - a few blocks from the pier and the church across the street - oldest one in the State.
About an hour to hour and half or two hours from either side - town of Waimea (also called Kamuela) and Parker Ranch, town of Honoka'a and Waipio Valley, town of Hawi and Kamehameha birthplace and Kamehameha statue in Kapa'au, excursions "Flumin' da ditch" and ATV rides, and mule ride down into Pololu Valley. Heiau at Pu'ukohola in Kawaihae.
Good snorkel/dive boat operators on Kona side:
Fairwinds out of Keahou Bay to Kealakekua
Body Glove out of Kona to Kona Coast
Kohala Divers out of Kawaihae to Kohala Coast
Red Sail Sports out of Anahaehoomalu Bay (A-Bay) by the Marriott Waikoloa Beach Resort - they do a variety of water sports stuff.
Free stuff that's fun to do - go to the Hilton Waikoloa Village and ride around on their monorail and/or lagoon boats and look at how to spend a bunch of money on a hotel. (Not free - they also have a swim with dolphins program - captive dolphins - let you be the judge)
The best guide books on Hawaii are island by island - called (name of island) Revealed, by Wizard Publishers.
You can check on the status of the volcano at Hawaii Volcanos National Park site on-line.
Hope this helps and that you have a wonderful time here in Hawaii Nei.
Sea Princess Alaska 2002
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Coral Princess Panama Canal full transit 2004
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