i thought the only stores in hawaii were the abc's (just kidding). KONA, KONA, KONA! we brought back 11 pounds! yes, we are coffee junkies-but the major selling point is that kona in hawaii is 100% kona whereas kona in california can be a blend of many hawaiian varieties. other ideas: maui onion dip mix (we also bought packets of the seeds to plant in our garden), terriaki burger mix (though i now see this in some specialty markets on the mainland), puka shell necklaces (cheap and they bring back fond memories for those of us growing up in the mid 70's), and the obligatory topless female native postcard (or playing cards) for that special someone at home:>. just don't waste time on buying any produce and trying to get it on board/home-the med fly has caused so much devistation that the penalties for taking produce off the island is swift and heavy.
enjoy your trip-get the best souvineershotos and great memories.
There is also a lot a very beautiful craft work available in the islands, from jewelry to baskets, tapa cloth, Hawaiian quilts and quilted gift items of various kinds (check labels because the less expensive stuff comes in from Asia or the Phillipines), seed, shell, silk, and kukui nut lei, lovely art glass (especially on the Big Island where volcanic glass is a big craft item) and art work of all kinds.
I live on the Big Island, and must admit that most of our visitors do wind up taking home mac nuts and coffee, and chocolates though. Best prices are going to be at Costco, followed by WalMart, for the mac nuts. Coffee (100% Kona) is also available there, although I'd recommend doing the "farm tour" routine and getting direct from the farms.
Depending on which island(s) you are doing, there are also usually shops that specialize in "made in Hawaii" items of various kinds. On the Big Island, there is Made on the Big Island located at the King Kamehameha Hotel in Kona, and Alapaki's in the Keahou Shopping Center.
My friends and family seem to like the Kailua Candy Company's "honu" (turtles) and the solid chocolate rendition of the Big Island, with white chocolate on top of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa (representing the winter snows we get on the mountain tops).
As a resident of Hawaii for over 8 yrs. i have found that most of my friends and family on the mainland like the shell necklaces (puka shell) and kukui nut leis the best. They also really enjoy the things you can find at the flea market at Aloha Stadium. Such things as Flowers that females wear in their hair (made of foam/plastic) to look like real plumeria's, hibiscus and gardenia's (both hawaiian and tahitian) Also the coffees of the islands are very aromatic as well as tasty. There is an artist name Kim Taylor Reese also that does some very powerfull photography that is mass produce of island hula dancer's including some really good ones of children doing hula. These are all great gifts to bring home to your loved ones and friends. For the men there is always the very masculine fishing hook trinkets in various sizes and shapes/designs, called the palaoa
which means fishing hook in hawaiian. Pronounced --paul a o a ( a is pronounced like you would say aaaa at the doctor if he asked you to open your mouth and stick out your tongue. ) Anyway, have fun and Aloha!!!