If you are planning a vacation on Molokai you are likely looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of the typical tourist destinations. Here you won’t find shopping malls, night clubs and other types of entertainment. Instead you will find a place that offers peace and tranquility providing the ideal conditions for relaxation and rejuvenation.
But you also don’t have to worry about feeling bored on this island. There are quite a few things to do here, most of them out in nature. Molokai’s Kalaupapa Peninsula for example is one of the most scenic places on the island. Located at the base of the world’s highest sea cliffs, the Kalaupapa Peninsula was once a leprosy settlement where people who had this disease were forced to live in exile. The peninsula is very difficult to access and can only be done if you join a guided tour. A steep trail leads down to it and you can either walk down or ride a mule. There is a local company that offers mule riding tours to the peninsula. Alternatively, you can see the peninsula from the Kalaupapa Lookout, located within the Pala’au State Park.
The drive to the lookout is very scenic and reveals amazing panoramic views of Molokai’s south shore and the neighbor island of Lanai. Shortly before you reach the lookout the road leads through a forest where you will find a couple of small roadside parks with picnic tables. Pala’au State Park has several hiking trails and the most popular one leads to the Phallic Rock, also known as the Fertility Rock (you will know why when you see its shape).
If you love coffee, you will be happy to hear that one of the largest coffee plantations in Hawaii is located on Molokai. Coffees of Molokai in Kualapu’u has a gift shop and café that sells a variety of coffees, sandwiches, pastries and shakes. While you are still in the mood of trying local food products, hop over to Purdy’s Natural Macadamia Nut Farm, located less than 2 miles away from here. Purdy will let you crack some macadamia nuts and you can try them with a slice of coconut or Hawaiian honey. At his farm you can see how the nuts are grown and harvested.
While you’re on Molokai you’ll surely also want to visit Kaunakakai, the largest town on the island where you can stock up on groceries and supplies. While in town take a walk along Ala Malama Street where you will find a few gift shops, a pizza café and a public library. Two other nearby attractions are Kaunakakai Wharf, the longest wharf in the state of Hawaii, and Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove, a large picturesque palm tree grove next to the ocean.
If you like narrow and winding roads, take Highway 450 east to Halawa Valley on the island’s east shore. The “highway” which turns into a narrow one-lane road for the last 9 miles of the way, features beautiful views of the ocean, lush valleys, waterfalls and tropical vegetation. If you prefer an easier drive on a wider road head west on Maunaloa Highway (Hwy 460), which leads through Molokai’s central plateau to the upcountry town of Maunaloa. You will find many scenic lookouts along the way boasting spectacular views of Molokai’s south and west shore, scenic hills and valleys, tall mountains and open grasslands.
When you have done all the things above and you just want to sit back, relax, read a book, or just be alone with your loved one, visit one of Molokai’s west shore beaches, which are the finest on the island. Even though swimming here is not recommended due to strong currents, these beaches are great for a quiet day on the beach. Two-mile long Papohaku Beach for example is ideal for a long beach stroll. Or you can enjoy a picnic here. The spacious beach park is equipped with picnic tables.