Molokai

The first thing to do on Molokai is to drive everywhere. It’s a feat you can accomplish comfortably in two days. Depending on where you stay, spend one day exploring the west end and the other day exploring the east end. Basically you have one 40-mile west–east highway (two lanes, no stoplights) with three side trips: the nearly deserted little west-end town of Maunaloa, the Highway 470 drive (just a few miles) to the top of the north shore and the overlook of Kalaupapa Peninsula, and the short stretch of shops in Kaunakakai town. After you learn the general lay of the land, you can return to the places that interest you most. Directions on the island—as throughout Hawaii—are often given as mauka (toward the mountains) and makai (toward the ocean).

Most Molokai establishments cater to the needs of locals, not tourists, so you may need to prepare a bit more than if you were going to a more popular destination. Pick up a disposable cooler in Kaunakakai town, then buy supplies in local markets. Don’t forget to carry some water, and bring sunscreen and mosquito repellent to the island with you.

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  • 1. Halawa Valley

    Trail/Path

    The Solatorio Ohana (family) leads hikes through the valley, the oldest recorded habitation on Molokai. It is home to two sacrificial temples...Read More

  • 2. Kalaupapa Guided Mule Tour

    Scenic Drive/Tour

    Mount a friendly, well-trained mule and wind along a thrilling 3-mile, 26-switchback trail to reach the town of Kalaupapa, which was once home...Read More

  • 3. Papohaku Beach

    Beach–Sight

    One of the most sensational beaches in Hawaii, Papohaku is a 3-mile-long strip of light golden sand, the longest of its kind on the island....Read More

  • 4. Church Row

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Standing together along the highway are several houses of worship with primarily native-Hawaiian congregations. Notice the unadorned, boxlike...Read More

  • 5. Coffees of Hawaii

    Farm/Ranch

    Visit the headquarters of a 500-acre Molokai coffee plantation. There's a small gift shop that sells all things coffee, and live music is performed...Read More

  • 6. Damien Tours

    Tour–Sight

    The only way to explore Kalaupapa once you get there, this four-hour bus tour is operated by a resident family. You must bring your own snacks...Read More

  • 7. Halawa Beach Park

    Beach–Sight

    The vigorous water that gouged the steep, spectacular Halawa Valley also carved out two adjacent bays. Accumulations of coarse sand and river...Read More

  • 8. Kalaupapa National Historical Park

    Park (National/State/Provincial)

    For 100 years, this remote strip of land was "the loneliest place on Earth," a beautiful yet feared place of exile for those suffering from...Read More

  • 9. Kalokoeli Fishpond

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    With its narrow rock walls arching out from the shoreline, Kalokoeli is typical of the numerous fishponds that define southern Molokai. Many...Read More

  • 10. Kaluakoi

    Town/Village

    Although the mid-1970s Kaluakoi Hotel and Golf Club is closed and forlorn, some nice condos and a gift shop are operating nearby. Kepuhi Beach...Read More

  • 11. Kamakou Preserve

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    Tucked away on the slopes of Mt. Kamakou, Molokai's highest peak, this 2,774-acre rain-forest preserve is a dazzling wonderland full of wet...Read More

  • 12. Kamalo

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    A natural harbor used by small cargo ships during the 19th century and a favorite fishing spot for locals, Kamalo is also the location of the...Read More

  • 13. Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove

    Garden/Arboretum

    From far away this spot looks like a sea of coconut trees. Closer up you can see that the tall stately palms are planted in long rows leading...Read More

  • 14. Kapukahehu Bay

    Beach–Sight

    The sandy protected cove is usually completely deserted on weekdays but can fill up when the surf is up. The water in the cove is clear and...Read More

  • 15. Kaunakakai

    Town/Village

    Central Molokai's main town looks like a classic 1940s movie set. Along the one-block main drag is a cultural grab bag of restaurants and shops...Read More

  • 16. Kaunakakai Wharf

    Transportation Site (Airport, Bus, Ferry, Train)

    Once bustling with barges exporting pineapples, these docks now host visiting boats and the twice-weekly barge from Oahu. The wharf is also...Read More

  • 17. Kawakiu Beach

    Beach–Sight

    Seclusion is yours at this remote, beautiful, white-sand beach, accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicle (through a gate that is sometimes locked...Read More

  • 18. Kepuhi Beach

    Beach–Sight

    The Kaluakoi Hotel is closed, but its half mile of ivory sand is still accessible. The beach shines against the turquoise sea, black outcroppings...Read More

  • 19. Maunaloa

    Town/Village

    Built in 1923, this quiet community at the western end of the highway once housed workers for the island's pineapple plantation. Many businesses...Read More

  • 20. Molokai Acupuncture & Massage

    Spa–Sight

    This relaxing retreat offers acupuncture, massage, herbal remedies, wellness treatments, and private yoga sessions by appointment only. ...Read More

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