Are you visiting Molokai, Hawaii for the first time? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do on the Friendly Isle.
When I have a visitor from out of town, the most authentic Molokai experiences I suggest are the mule ride to Kalaupapa National Historical Park – a former prison where leprosy patients, also known as Hansen’s Disease, were banished and a visit to Halawa Valley. You must have a tour guide to access Halawa Valley as this is private property.
If this is a romantic trip, I recommend Lookout Point or Papohaku beach for kissing with a view.
Good Eats on Molokai
If you are looking for typical island cuisine Molokai Drive Inn or Kaulapuu Cookhouse offer plate lunch type specials.
The best place to go for coffee & a breakfast treat is Coffees of Hawaii – try the Muleskinner dark roast, 100% from Molokai. Stop by Kumu Farms for certified organic papayas and the best apple bananas on island. They also have beautiful flowers and are only five minutes from the airport.
Looking for cheap food on the island, try Molokai Burger. Be warned, there’s no late night dining on island unless you go on a late night “bread run” to Kanemitsu’s Bakery – a must do!
Looking for fine dining on Molokai? You’ll need to head over to Lanai.
Things to do in Molokai
Seeing more locals than tourists on island? Molokai is known for having the most native Hawaiians and offers the slow pace of old Hawaii.
When you come to Molokai, get your picture taken at Lookout Point.
Once on island, outdoor lovers will want to hike Halawa Valley. This is also the place to learn about authentic island culture and how to make poi from the taro plant.
Looking for a little exercise? Kayak or SUP (stand up paddle) along the largest fringing reef in the United States. I recommend Molokai Outdoors Activities, as they keep groups small and personal.
If you are a museum lover, stop by the Sugar Museum.
Looking for exciting night life, take the ferry to Maui. There is live music every Friday at Hotel Molokai 4-6 pm – it’s the elder’s jam (na kapuna). Older residents come poolside and play ukulele and sing/dance. It’s not a nightclub offering loud rock music – it’s more like a family reunion without a cover charge. Paddler’s Inn has live music often. There are many talented local musicians on island.
The Molokai Dispatch is the local newspaper and will keep you posted on what’s happening on island.
In May, Ka Hula Piko celebrates the birthplace of Hula.
In July check out the Molokai2Oahu Paddleboard Race.
The Pailolo Challenge, Maui to Molokai –an outrigger canoe race – takes place in September.
Na Wahine O Ke Kai (women’s 41 mile outrigger canoe paddling competition departs Molokai and ends on Oahu – usually in September and Molokai Hoe the men’s outrigger canoe paddling competition usually happens in October.
For the horse lovers, the Molokai Stampede takes place at Kapualei Ranch in November.
After hiking Halawa Valley, have breakfast or lunch on the way down at Mana’e Goods and Grindz.
What are your favorite things to do on Molokai? For additional insider tips follow Northern California Travel Writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter and Destination Molokai on Twitter @seeMolokai.
Photos and YouTube video by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Molokai Visitors Bureau.