On every corner of the island of Molokai there are delights for the eyes and enchantments for the soul. Explore the wilds of this island and travel back in time to witness the marvels of how Hawaii was meant to be experienced. Whether you are looking for a secluded place to sunbathe in the eastern shore, explore ecologically pristine environments or brave a scenic ocean-kayaking adventure, these are the best-kept secrets and hidden hot-spots that Hawaii’s Molokai has to offer.
Kayaking: Who wouldn’t want to glide across the ocean’s surface viewing the most spectacular waterfalls and tropical plants along the shore or one the country’s largest reef systems? Though paddling out to sea can be a choppy experience on Molokai’s north coast, for calmer waters go in March to April or August to September to see the most stunning views of Molokai right from your kayak. For viewing one of America’s longest continuous fringing reefs while experiencing calmer waters throughout the year, try kayaking along the island’s south coast.
Sunrise and Sunset at Papohaku: On the western end of the island, there lies one of Hawaii’s longest beaches extending nearly 3 miles long. The golden sand melts into the sea and is particularly colorful and resplendent at sunset. For a lovely solitary stroll, arrive early for a seaside sunrise to have the beach all to yourself.
Tasting Molokai: One cannot visit Molokai without sampling some of the most delicious flavors of the island. You can enjoy trying fresh authentic Molokai-grown coffee at the Hawaiian Plantation Store, visit Purdy’s All-Natural Macadamia Nut Farm located in Ho’olehua for scrumptious macadamia nut delicacies or peek in at the Molokai Meli family owned bee-keepers, for some unique Hawaiian kiawe honey.
Halawa Valley: The beaches, glorious tropical flowers, fruit trees and many beautiful views along the way to the island’s secluded and scenic Halawa Valley will make you linger and drive slowly. Along the long and winding road, there is a small cove of glittering white sand, called Sandy Beach by local Molokai residents, which is a relaxing and relatively safe place to go swimming but only when the surf is not up. At road’s end in historic Halawa Valley, the site of some of the earliest known Hawaiian settlements, you can hike and explore to your heart’s content.
Pepe’opae Trail on the Kamakou Preserve: While you will need a four- wheel drive vehicle to get to the trailhead, this is a great place to take a secluded hike to view a rich array of Hawaiian plant life and moss- and fern-covered rainforests that has thrived for thousands of years. At the end of the trail you will be rewarded by an awesome overlook of the verdant and ecologically pristine Pelekunu Valley, which is owned and protected by the Nature Conservancy.
Snorkeling Hot Spot: Kumimi Beach is the perfect destination for marine-life loving divers. Swim along the surface for spectacular views of brightly colored reef fish, such as butterflyfish, convict tangs and a variety of wrasses. These gentle waters are the ideal place to explore and afterward relax for a mid-morning nap on the comforting sand.
Mo’omomi Preserve: This treasured preserve is another area owned and protected by the Nature Conservancy. This rare coastal sand dune area is reputed to be one of the last strongholds of a relatively untouched Hawaiian coastal eco-system. On monthly escorted tours with Nature Conservancy staff, one can find rare and endangered native Hawaiian plants and animals, such as the Hawaiian green sea turtle and the sunflower, Tetramolopium rockii, which is found nowhere else in the world except at Mo`omomi.
Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove: This is fantastic place to watch the sunset. Amid the swaying silhouettes of palm trees, the colors that streak the sky are bold and bright before fading to a velvety blue, revealing thousands of stars. Be wary of sitting directly under the trees to avoid the perils of falling coconuts.
Local Knowledge: One of the benefits of being on a quaint island with a small community is the general friendliness of the population. The people of Molokai are eager to share their stories and offer insights about the best places to dive, swim, fish and more. You will not surrounded by the thousands of other tourists as on other Hawaiian Islands; here, it feels like there is enough time to sit down and enjoy listening to the tales from those who know Molokai best.