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Hawaii - First Time - HELP!

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I don't even know where to start! DH and I and have been to all the other 49 states in the US and it's time we visit Hawaii. I've read many Hawaii posts her on the forums but I get so lost.

When is the best time to go for least crowds but best weather? We can go pretty much any time of the year but I was hoping to go soon, like sometime between Feb - May of this year. I'd like to do between 2 - 3 weeks. I doubt I'll get DH to fly there again. LOL We are coming from California if that makes any difference.

Which Islands? Keep in mind we want to see scenery and don't want to shop, see big cities or eat at fancy restaurants. Want to see active volcano, waterfalls and beautiful secluded beaches. We like hiking and can do up to 5 miles round trip. Our favorite destinations in the US are National Parks.

If you were going for the first time, which Islands would you pick and why? What are your favorites and why?

Where to stay? I'd rather have a little cottage on the beach instead of a high rise resort. Want to keep this in the mid range of costs. Has anyone booked though Costco? They have some nice packages but have no experience booking though them.

How easy is it to jump between Islands? DH hates to fly but I think I can get him to do one island hop. Are there other ways to get from one island to the other? Ferry?

Thanks in advance,

Utahtea

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