For such a quiet town, Kaunakakai still has much to offer its visitors and tourists. And perhaps, this cozy atmosphere is its best asset—Kaunakakai is one of the most Hawaiian town in the state as it still has some of the original constructions of native Hawaiians. Aside from that, you can find that the large part of the population is native Hawaiians, and so, the town is also one of the great places for you to learn about Hawaiian culture.
Shopping and dining places
Because of that, the first thing you should explore is the town for shops and dining places. Look at the different shops for native Hawaiian goods and delicacies. You should also find several souvenir items, such as the ever-present Aloha shirt, and Hawaiian jewelry and artworks. There are also several places in town where you can grab a scrumptious Hawaiian meal. Many restaurants also offer cuisines from different regions. For those with finer tastes, you can go the Hotel Molokai and other oceanfront resorts for fine dining. You can also find western food like burgers and pizza, if you want more of the normal fare. But whatever it is you want, dining is well-covered in the town of Kaunakakai.
And speaking of eating, one of the must-trys is the bread at the Kanemitsu Bakery. Fresh from the oven and offering a number of flavors and variants, the bread from this bakery is loved by locals and visitors alike. Once there, you should try the all-time favorite: the onion-cheese bread. You can also pick apricot-pineapple and mango breads, have them spread with jam, cinnamon, or cream cheese, depending on what you like. But what shouldn’t change is that once in Kaunakakai, eating bread from the Kanemitsu Bakery is one of the things a Molokai visit should include.
The beach and the coast
As with any island of Hawaii, you will also be treated to a wonderful view of the ocean, scenic coastlines, and nice sandy beaches. If you want to bring the kids along, the One Ali’I Beach Park should interest you. This nice quiet beach has long stretches of sand, a great view of the coast, and safe, calm waters for wading. It also has convenient facilities, such as showers, restrooms, and a pavilion. If you want to stargaze while on the beach, you can also use the beach as a camping ground. Just make sure to secure the necessary permits from the Parks Department.
Another great beach to visit is the Kakaha’i Beach Park. Like One Ali’i, it also has calm waters that are safe for wading. Just by the roadside, it is easily accessible from the town. There are also picnic areas where you can just sit and relax with a great view of the ocean. The Kakaha’i Beach Park is more natural in the sense that it lacks the facilities of One Ali’i. But if you don’t mind it, the Kakaha’i Beach Park is still a nice beach to bring the family to.
Next on the list is the Kamalo Wharf Beach. Here, you also enjoy a good view of the coast. The main difference of this beach is that it has waters deep enough for swimming. So if you prefer diving into the salty waters instead of just lounging on the beach, then the Kamalo Wharf Beach is the one you should go to. Though it also lacks facilities, that should not be a problem. You didn’t go for the facilities in the first place, right?
Speaking of the wharfs, one place that you should visit is the Kaunakalai Wharf. The Kaunakalai Wharf is the major harbor in Molokai, as this is the place where all commercial and passenger ferries stop to deliver passengers and goods to the islands. But aside from its economic importance, the Kaunakalai Wharf also offers you the best view of the southern coast, and also the nearby islands of Kauai and Maui. You can also ask the local fishermen for the best fishing spots, and you can even get the services of a boat for some charter and deep-sea fishing. But if you’re in it just for the view, then better not forget your camera as you certainly have lots of scenic images to capture in the Wharf. Just take a walk around the wharf and you're sure to find plenty of interesting subjects.
Church Row for a bit of history
Another place in Kaunakakai that you should see is the Church Row. See the old architectural style of the churches still preserved up to this day. There are seven churches to see in the Church Row, and some of them date back to as early as 19th century. Aside from the architecture, also get a glimpse on how Christianity and local Hawaiian culture meshed by listening to church songs translated in the vernacular. Aside from that, you can also listen to Hawaiian hymns or himenis, songs that were first composed using western musical instruments. So, better take some time off and be amazed by these old churches, and be charmed with the original music that the Hawaiians have created using western influence.
Kapuaiwa Coconut Beach Park
Another place that you can visit that has great scenery and an air of history in it is the Kapuaiwa Coconut Beach Park. This coconut grove has hundreds of coconut trees planted in the area, and was established during the reign of Kamehameha V. Aside from going nuts over coconuts, you can also get a great view of the coastline from the park. You may think that seeing a bunch of coconut trees is no special thing, but just go to the Kapuaiwa Coconut Beach Park and it will certainly change your mind.
The island of Molokai
Since you’re in Kaunakakai, you should also visit the other places in Molokai. To the east, you have several other beaches where you can swim, fish, and view whales. Or, you can take a good look at the local wildlife at the Kamakou Nature Preserve. You can also try your hand at cracking macadamia nuts over at Purdy’s Macadamia Farm. You can also send out a coconut in Kulapuu. If you’re looking for golfing action, then you can go to Kalaupapa or in Kaluakoi for a quick round of golf. You can do all of these, or you can just take a leisure drive along the coast on the 450 road. Traveling is a time for exploration and discovery, and though Kaunakakai has a lot to offer, it's nice to visit the other places of interest in the island of Molokai.
With all of these attractions, Kaunakakai offers visitors a great vacation and a unique experience of Hawaii. It’s got all the bases covered: whether you need culture, history, nature, or just simple relaxation, you can find all of these things in Kaunakakai. So, if ever you chose Kaunakakai for your destination, you are sure to be treated to wonderful sights, delicious food, scenic nature, several water activities, and unique taste of Hawaiian culture. You may be taken aback by the laid-back atmosphere of the town, but appearances can be deceiving. The town of Kaunakakai has a lot to offer for pleasure, leisure, and unforgettable memories to its guests and visitors. So, if you haven’t decided on it yet, the town of Kaunakakai is one of the best places to be in Molokai, and even the whole of Hawaii itself.