What to Do In Molokai

Molokai is not your ordinary Hawaiian island. There are no high-rise buildings on the island or thick tourist crowds fighting for beach space. The night scene is peaceful, with no upscale bars and entertainment venues that block your view of the star-studded night skies. No loud automobiles line up in traffic queues and no high-end shops dominate the main boulevard. With such a simple way of life, what are the things to do in Molokai?

Although Molokai appears unobtrusive to the first-time visitor, it is actually an island of surprises. Molokai offers beyond the usual stretch of crowded beaches found in many Hawaiian Islands. It offers more than the usual nature hikes or the typical crowd-pleasing festivals. Molokai is the best reflection of old Hawaii, perfect for travelers who want an authentic taste of the traditional Hawaiian lifestyle.

If you’re planning a visit to Molokai, here are just a few of the things you can do:

Get to Know about Molokai’s history

Every place in Molokai, from its towns to its mountain peaks, tells a story. By visiting the landmarks that served a testament to Molokai’s rich past, you will get to discover more on the history of the island as well as the culture of its people. Visit the beautiful Halawa Valley, which used to be the settlement of the early Polynesians on the island during 650 AD. Take one of the guided tours at the Kalaupapa National Historic Park and get to know more about the heroism of Father Damien. Visit any of the two Molokai ancient fishponds and discover a place built by ancient Hawaiian ingenuity.

Molokai is an island replete with historical accounts, old legends, and breathtaking landmarks. The island has remained the same for the past 50 years or so, making it one of the most authentic among the islands of Hawaii. If you love visiting places which boast of history and culture, Molokai is the island for you.

Get to know the beaches

One of the best things to do on Molokai is to discover its beaches. The beaches on the island are actually diverse, yet generally unpopulated. Those who have harbored fantasies of having an entire beach to themselves will surely find nirvana in Molokai. At the island, you can choose from white-sand beached, pebbled alcoves, as well as black-sand shores. Papohaku or the three-mile beach is one of the most visited in Molokai. You can spend a day of swimming, riding waves, or getting an early-morning jog on its fine shores. A deserted paradise on the west end of Molokai, the place boasts of beautiful, shady trees, fine sand, and picnic facilities.

Kepuhi beach is great for sunbathing or spending a relaxing afternoon watching the waves. The One Alii Beach Park can get crowded during the weekends, but during the weekdays, the beach is often deserted. If you wish to visit a black-sand beach for a change, you can head to the Halawa Beach Park, situated at the base of the Halawa Valley. The Murphy Beach Park is perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Tourists traveling with families and children can enjoy its calm waters and the column of beautiful ironwood trees on the beach.

Take pleasure in the outdoors

With the stunning open-air scenery of Molokai, one of the best things to do on the island is to explore its outdoors. A visit to Kalaupapa will afford you a spectacular view of the majestic sea cliffs and mountain rocks which you can traverse either by foot or by a mule ride. The Damien Tours of Kalaupapa offers guided excursions through this national historic site, although visitors and hikers must be at least 16 years of age. A place both blessed and cursed, any visitor will not merely be awed by its breathtaking vistas, but by its historical significance as well.

Hiking to Halawa Falls is a travel back in time, where you will find two waterfalls at the top of the Halawa Valley. The entire hike covers 2 miles, and along the way you will encounter plants and flowers endemic in Hawaii. The Moalua Falls has a 250-ft drop, and at its bottom is a clear pool perfect for swimming and relaxation. The falls is located in Halawa Valley, and as the hike progresses, tour guides will also share ancient stories and point out old temple walls and taro patches along the way.

Another must-see in Molokai is the Kamakou Preserve, a 3,000-acre site located in the east part of Kaunakakai. This secluded preserve offers an otherworldly charm to visitors, with its untamed forests and vegetation and rare species of birds, the Olomao and Kawawahie. Other features of the Kamakou hike are the Waikolu Valley and the famous Sandalwood Pit.

Other outdoor activities in Molokai include horseback riding, mule riding, or biking. You may also rent a car and visit Purdy’s Natural Macadamia Nut Farm or the Big Wind Kite Factory. If you love playing golf, Molokai has several golf courses where you can spend hours enjoying your hobby without spending a fortune. At Kalae you will find the Ironwood Hills which features a nine-hole golf course.

Experience cozy dining

Although Molokai does not boast of many restaurants, entertainment bars, and cafes compared to Maui and Oahu, you can still find an assortment of eateries on the island. Whether you are craving for traditional Hawaiian fares, Italian cuisine, or grilled fresh sea foods, Molokai will satisfy your discriminating taste buds. The restaurants are cozy and fuss-free, with comfortable indoor or al-fresco settings.

You can head to Mana’e Goods and Grindz at Pukoo for comfort food choices like mahi-mahi plates and burgers. The Paddler’s Inn at Kaunakakai offers excellent American Cuisine, such as seasoned burgers and succulent steaks. Huge portion meals are offered here, making it an easy favorite among the locals and tourists. For a quiet retreat, you can have your caffeine fix and some delicious waffles at Stanley’s Coffee Shop and Gallery. They offer Internet connection as well, and you can visit the shop’s small gallery on the second floor.

Wanting to taste the legendary Molokai bread? Head to Kanemitsu’s Bakery and Restaurant and get a taste of Molokai bread, first created in 1935 using cast-iron ovens. The breads are available in mouthwatering varieties such as cheese, coconut, strawberry, and onion-cheese.

Engage in water sports

The beaches of Molokai are pristine and unpolluted, stretching for miles, and shaded by trees. Ideal for swimming and a range of water activities, there is no room for boredom at the Friendly Isle. At Kaunakakai, you can go kayaking or get kayaking lessons from expert guides. You can also go snorkeling after your kayak adventure. There are many snorkel sites on the island such as the fringing reef and the snorkel areas where green sea turtles and Hawksbill turtles can be sighted.

If you are fond of diving and exploring underwater life, Molokai is an excellent destination, especially since the south area of the island boasts the longest fringing reef in all of Hawaii. PADI dive experts and guides will accompany you in your scuba diving trip, where you can witness rare species of fish, as well as sharks and magnificent coral formations. Sport fishing is also famous on the island, as well as whale watching. Catch mahi-mahi or ono during your game fishing excursions or witness the awe-inspiring humpback whales on the Kaiwi and Kalohi Channels on board a cabin cruiser.

Pitch a tent and be a happy camper

Have you ever wondered what would it be like to witness the sunrise or sunset on a deserted Hawaiian beach? At Molokai, your cast-away fantasies will surely come to life. The island is an excellent place for camping, as the beaches are none too crowded and the parks have picturesque scenery and well-maintained facilities. There are beach parks that allow overnight tent camping for a fee, such as the Papohaku Beach Park and the One Ali’i Beach Park. Advance reservations are recommended, and getting the necessary camping permits is a must.

Witness the best traditional festivals

There are many festivals and events in Molokai, which you can witness all throughout January to December. The Makahiki Festival is held to celebrate the harvesting season. You may attend lectures, witness sporting competitions, or take part in traditional Hawaiian ceremonies. The Molokai Earth Day, on the other hand, is an annual celebration that seeks to preserve the natural resources and cultural treasures of the land.

The Ka Hula Piko Hula Festival is an annual celebration of the birth of the hula dance, known to have taken place on Molokai. Here you can witness traditional Hawaiian entertainment, sample authentic food, and check out the arts and crafts which are all handmade by the locals. There are also sporting competitions on the island, such as canoe races, paddleboard racing competitions, and kayak races.

An island that has remained unspoiled and untouched by most of today’s modern conveniences, it is considered to be a reflection of the old and true Hawaii. A visit to Molokai will definitely be an experience of pleasure, recreation, and self-discovery.