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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove

    Garden

    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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. Molokai Plumerias

    Garden

    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...Read More

  • 7. One Alii Beach Park

    Beach

    Clear, close views of Maui and Lanai across the Pailolo Channel dominate One Alii Beach Park ( One is pronounced "o-nay," not "won"), the only...Read More

  • 8. Palaau State Park

    Park (National/State/Provincial)

    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...Read More

  • 9. Post-A-Nut at Hoolehua Post Office

    Government Building

    At this small, rural post office you can mail a coconut anywhere in the world. Postmaster Gary Lam provides the coconuts and colored markers...Read More

  • 10. Purdy's Macadamia Nut Farm

    Farm/Ranch

    Molokai's only working macadamia-nut farm is open for educational tours hosted by the knowledgeable and entertaining owner. A family business...Read More

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

    Museum/Gallery

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

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