Things to Do – Molokai

Molokai is an island that has the opportunity to give visitors the closest experience of what “old” Hawaii was like before Western influence. The Native Hawaiians of the island practice their ancient cultural lifestyle on a daily basis without exceptions. This allows them to share the beauty of Molokai’s land and surrounding waters with visitors.

Sharing Molokai’s beauty, diverse terrain, and natural wonders with visitors is easily done through organized tours to different attractions on the island. Visitors to the island are able to receive a clear understanding of the land’s history and how it continues to provide for its local people.

Although Molokai is a simple island with few business establishments, it does offer its visitors places to dine, shop, and enjoy a day or early evening out exploring the island. The secluded beaches of Molokai and its completely natural surroundings also offer visitors a new way of relaxing, which is through nature.

Tours and Attractions

The most famous tour on Molokai is the mule ride to Kalaupapa National State Park. You are quickly shown how to ride a mule before setting off on your trip down the steepest cliffs on the island. The mules are trained to follow a set trail both down and up the cliffs, but at times the mules can be so close to the edge of the cliff that it can be scary. Once you start to trust the mule and relax, you begin to enjoy the beauty from the high cliffs of the deep blue Pacific Ocean and lush greenery on the cliff’s path. As the whole island is not available by car due to its terrain, you can opt to take an air tour of the island. The tour circles the entire island so you can view all the natural beauty of the island that you could not see from the ground. This is also a great way to get an overview of the island before taking your land adventures. Another popular area to visit on Molokai is the Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove in Kaunakakai. This coconut grove is estimated to have been planted around the 1860s when King Kamehameha V was in rule. There are rows and rows of beautiful coconut trees that line the land and mark its historical reverence. In the East End region, you can take a hike in Halawa Valley. This valley is surrounded by Native Hawaiian plants and beautiful waterfalls. This is a main historical site, due to the findings of several heiau (worship areas) in the valley.

Dining

Dining on Molokai can be and adventure in itself as you will have the opportunity to experience authentic Hawaiian food made with mostly fresh locally grown ingredients. In each region you don’t have to look far for a place to dine. Just take a look around the small town and you will find a nice “mom and pop” type eating establishment that is mostly fast-food type or take-out. Some of the popular places include the Molokai Pizza Café that serves pizza, sub sandwiches, and local foods. This café is in the Kaunakakai town. On Kamiloloa Beach you will find the Hula Shores restaurant at the Aqua Hotel Molokai. It is oceanfront dining while enjoying local foods and the relaxing atmosphere. The Hotel Molokai also offers very simple dining. There is an Outpost Natural Foods store if you want an organic meal. All dining areas on Molokai are casual.

Shopping

You will not find large shopping malls or strip malls on Molokai, but you will find locally owned stores selling unique items from food to casual clothing. In the West End region in Maunaloa town, there are small shops that sell original items, some being one-of-a-kind, and souvenirs of the island. There are many shops in the Central region in the town of Kaunakakai. This is mainly where the locals of the island shop and where you can find many local items. If you need medications or sundries, you can visit Molokai Drugs. Imports and Gifts store includes items that are not found locally on the island. Local art pieces, books, and items for children can be found at the Kalele Bookstore Devine Expressions. Molokai Gifts and Things is a great place to shop for something for your home that will always remind you of your relaxing stay on Molokai. You can find additional locally made items at the Molokai Local Store. These stores are great little places to explore even if you don’t make a purchase.

Beaches

The beaches on Molokai are mostly secluded with no crowds. In the Central region there are two beaches – One Alii Beach Park and Kiowea Beach Park. Both beaches are great to sunbathe, have a picnic, swim, and watch the sunset. In the West End region you can find the famous Papohaku Beach Park that is three miles of white sand beach. It is great for watching the waves and sunbathing, but don’t enter the water during the winter when waves are high and the currents are strong. Another popular beach in this area is Kapukahehu Beach where you can swim and watch the beautiful sunset. This area is also known for high surf during the winter months, so you need to take caution when entering the water. In the East End region you will be astonished to find 20 miles of white sand beach that is great for snorkeling to explore tropic fish in the reefs. Halawa Beach Park is also in this region and is a great place to relax, swim, and have a picnic.

Relaxation

Relaxation is simple on Molokai as it is immediately felt upon your arrival to the island. The small towns and lack of development makes you feel as if you have stepped back in time. The beaches are great places to just sit and enjoy the sound of the waves, the ocean view, and a perfect sunset. Snorkeling is also a great way to relax as you explore the natural reefs of Molokai and exotic, tropical fish native to the area. There is a day spa located in the West End region at the Aqua Hotel Molokai if you want to pamper yourself a little more with a massage or facial.