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. Alii Fishpond

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

  • 2. Halawa Valley

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

  • 3. Kalaupapa Guided Mule 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 to patients...Read More

  • 4. Palaau State Park

    One of the Island's few formal recreation areas, this 233-acre retreat sits at a 1,000-foot elevation. A short path through an ironwood forest leads to...Read More

  • 5. Papohaku Beach

    One of the most sensational beaches in Hawaii, Papohaku is a three-mile-long strip of white sand, the longest of its kind on the Island. There's...Read More

  • 6. R. W. Meyer Sugar Mill and Molokai Museum

    Built in 1877, the fully restored, three-room sugar mill has been reconstructed as a testament to Molokai's agricultural history. It is located next to the...Read More

  • 7. Church Row

    Standing together along the highway are seven houses of worship with primarily native-Hawaiian congregations. Notice the unadorned, boxlike architecture so similar to missionary homes....Read More

  • 8. Halawa Beach Park

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

  • 9. Kalaupapa National Historical Park

    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

  • 10. Kaluakoi

    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, the...Read More

  • 11. Kamalo Harbor

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

  • 12. Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove

    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...Read More

  • 13. Kapukahehu Bay

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

  • 14. Kaunakakai

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

  • 15. Kaunakakai Harbor

    Once bustling with barges exporting pineapples, these docks now host visiting boats and the regular barge from Oahu. The wharf, the longest in the state,...Read More

  • 16. Kawakiu Beach

    Seclusion is yours at this remote, beautiful, white-sand beach, accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicle (through a gate that is sometimes locked) or a 45-minute walk (wear...Read More

  • 17. Kepuhi Beach

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

  • 18. Maunaloa

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

  • 19. Molokai Plumerias

    The sweet smell of plumeria surrounds you at this 10-acre orchard containing thousands of these fragrant trees. Purchase a lei to go, or for $25...Read More

  • 20. Molokai Vacation Rentals

    Vacasa Vacation Rentals handles condo rentals across the Island. There is a two-night minimum on all properties. Contactless check-in is available at most properties....Read More

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