Updated July 25, 2020.
When I first said I wanted to visit Molokai, my husband said, “Really? What is there to do?” Well, the answer is: a lot! Molokai is known as the “Friendly Isle” and “the most Hawaiian island.” It’s the 5th largest and one of the least visited Hawaiian Islands, and the locals like it that way.
10. Have the Beach to Yourself
Where else in Hawaii could you have a whole beach to yourself? Nowhere! But on Molokai, it’s easy. Papohaku Beach on the west side is one of the largest beaches in Hawaii, and there are several secluded beaches on the south and east coasts as well! Take your pick and bring a towel!
More here: Fascinating Facts about Molokai
9. Snorkel at the Largest Fringing Reef in the USA
If you think the other islands have beautiful reefs, just wait until you take a look “under the sea” at Molokai! It’s far less visited, so it has incurred far less damage. Whether you take a guided tour or swim out yourself, you’re in for a treat!
Get more: Hawaii’s Best Adventures
8. Eat Really Well
We were very pleasantly surprised at the incredible food we ate on Molokai! Everything we ate was fresh, delicious, and made onsite! From an amazing bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich at a simple food window to fresh poke from a food truck, you will not be disappointed by the food on Molokai!
Read on: What to Eat on Molokai
7. Shop Local
I love to support local entrpreneurs wherever I travel (and at home, too!), and since there are so few national companies on Molokai (not even Hawaiian-based ABC convenience stores!), it’s easy to shop local! I picked up some beautiful, hand-carved salad hands at a little shop in Kaunakakai, and there are plenty of other locally-made items for sale as well. Tours are operated by locals on the island, and most of the restaurants are also owned and operated by locals. So shop local!
Read on: The Best Hawaiian Souvenirs
6. Drive the Road to Halawa
Did you like Maui’s Road to Hana? You’ll love Molokai’s Road to Halawa! While there are not as many scenic waterfalls, there are certainly some beautiful scenic lookouts, deserted beaches, and a calm, secluded bay at the end! We actually drove it all the way through and back twice, and we were absolutely in awe both times. From the mountain covered in greenery on one side to the stunning blue waters on the other, you will be amazed. You’ll also love the fact that there are far fewer cars on the Road to Halawa than on the often congested Road to Hana!
More here: Hawaii for History Lovers
5. Make Leis at Molokai Plumeria Farm
This was so much fun! Our new friend Dick showed us how to pick the perfect plumeria blossoms and then turned us loose in the orchard to pick our own! Then he taught us how to make leis and chatted with us while we made them. It was such a unique experience, and they smelled so wonderful!
Read on: Lei Making on Molokai
4. Crack Your Own Macadamia Nuts at Purdy’s
This is certainly something we’d like to go back for! We had really bad timing and missed the tour, but they were kind enough to show us how to crack the macadamias, how to know whether it’s a good or bad one, and even let us sample a few! This is definitely at the top of my list for our next trip to Molokai!
More ideas here: What to Eat on the Hawaiian Islands
3. Mail a Coconut
It’s true! It’s called “Post-a-Nut,” and you can mail one from Molokai to anywhere in the world. It’s quick, easy, and you can decorate one yourself (they even provide pre-inspected coconuts for you!), or you can pick out one that’s already decorated in exchange for a donation to the local artist!
Read on: How to Mail a Coconut
2. Experience Hawaiian Culture in Halawa Valley
There is exactly one family left in Halawa Valley who is preserving their culture, and they offer guided tours of the private property. They’ll take you on a hike to gorgeous waterfall, teach you how Hawaiians greet one another, and if there are ripe bananas, you can have some! It was truly a cultural experience with people whose philosophy is “culture is sacred, not secret.”
1. Visit the Kalaupapa Peninsula
This was the primary reason Molokai was on my list. I read the book Molokai by Alan Brennert, and I just needed to know more. The more I learned, the more unbelievable it was that I’d never even heard of this place: a former leper colony in the Hawaiian islands. From the towering sea cliffs to learning the stories of survival and perseverence of the parients and residents, visiting the settlement was undeniably one of the most impactful experiences of my life.
Want more? Check out my Pacific Islands Page!
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