The island of Molokai is in a place to visit for cultural immersion and relaxation. If you want to unplug, unwind, and enjoy beautiful beaches and a true Hawaiian getaway, Molokai could be the island for you. The best way to see Molokai is without a plan because it allows you to freely explore the island without obligations and have a laid back mindset. If you visit the island of Molokai, then you can still have an idea of what to expect, what to look for, and what not to miss.
Here is a visitor’s guide to Molokai featuring top things to do:
1. Eating at a local spot
Molokai is limited in its options for restaurants, with only 3 restaurants in town, but with authentic and delicious Hawaiian cuisine at each, you really don’t need much more. If you’re staying in someone’s home, a are offered a home cooked meal, you don’t want to miss it. The Hawaiian cuisine is an art and tradition in Hawaii that is all. There is a farmer’s market on Saturdays if you are staying at a place with a kitchen and would like to cook for yourself. Dave’s Ice Cream features a delicious and refreshing treat, and is one of the rare spots on the island with Wi-Fi. Sundown Deli is a great place to go for lunch. Paddlers Inn is one of the couple spots on the island with a liquor license, visit paddlers for drinks and dinner.
2. Where to Stay
There are a few options for accommodation on the island of Molokai. Hotel Molokai is a great spot on Kamehameha V Hwy, with a luscious landscape, nice accommodation, and is close to the coast. Hotel Molokai is considered the hub where most stay when they visit. Another option is Molokai Shores, which is the only condo complex. Of course, there is the option to stay with a family if you have the opportunity to be invited into someone’s home, and some people post their homes on Airbnb.
3. Visiting the National Parks
Kalau Papai National Historical Park is located in the northern part of the Kalaupapa Peninsula. The park used to house the Hansen’s disease community; people with leprosy. You can also view the park from the cliff top Kalaupapa Lookout in Palau State Park, but visiting the park for yourself is a top thing to do when in Molokai.
4. Roam the island freely
The reason it’s great to visit Molokai without a plan is because much of the best things are unmapped, photographed or advertised. Molokai has a very traditional and authentic way of life, so the best way to have the best experiences is through personal discovery and asking locals. You can find little pockets of life wherever you go, for example, on the East side through a small hidden trail towards the ocean there’s a little patch of grass ocean side where they used a washed up boat to make small wooden huts where people go and stay and practice yoga
5. Hit the beaches
Keeping in the theme of all Hawaiian islands, Molokai has many must-see beaches to visit. If you’re a swimmer or surfer, though, you’re going to have to choose wisely as not all beaches are swimmable. Kumimi beach is one of the swimmable beaches, but it can be an arduous time. Papohaku beach is the beach I considered the best for sitting and swimming, but if you’re not looking to do more than just lounge on the shore side and maybe dip your toes in the water, then any beach that you stumble upon will do the trick.
6. Visit the Puu o Hoku ranch
Everything in Molokai is done with a mindfulness and respect for tradition. The ranch is located on 14k acres, is all organic, bio-intensive gardens, uses renewable energy, and has cow-calf to finished beef. You can even rent a cottage on the ranch with all inclusive food and lodging if you’d prefer to stay on the ground amidst the luscious green landscape and gardens. The ranch promotes sustainability, so if you’re planning a trip and love the idea of an educational retreat, be sure to reserve a minimum 14- max 30 persons. Also featuring bee hives and organic honey, Molokai is one of the only places where you can find truly organic honey.
7. Visit a Plumeria farm
Plumerias are a classic and beautiful Hawaiian flower with white center and pink and orange ombrèd peals. You can visit the farm, smell the fresh and beautiful scent or take a lei making class, your lei will last 2-3 days, but the experience and memories a lifetime.
8. Visit the Macadamia nut factory
Macadamias are so healthy and tasty and more popularly known for being covered in chocolate. Eating a macadamia nut fresh out of the shell has less than 50% the calories. It takes a week to dry the shell so you can loosen the nut before you crack it, and the flowers even produce their own macadamia nut honey. This nut farm produces 350 lbs of nuts a year, so take a stop by and crack your own for an educational, fun and tasty experience in Molokai.
9. Visit St. Josephs Church
Visit St. Josephs church is a Catholic Parish built by Saint Damien in 1876. The site is free to visitors and shows the importance of tradition and religion on the island.