After exploring the busy Waikiki Beach and active Maui, Hawaii, head to the laid-back island of Molokai. On this island, you'll be able to relax on beaches that are virtually empty. How about spending each day of your vacation on a different beach? There is also deep-sea fishing, a golf course, surfing, and historic tours of the island. Three of the best beaches on West Molokai are Papohaku, Poolau, and Kapukaheku Beach. Since the Lodge at Molokai Ranch closed , there are few accommodation options. Stay at the affordable Hotel Molokai located on the water just outside of town. You can rent a car there too. This island is for romantic couples as well as families who love unspoilt nature.
West Molokai offers secluded beaches, plenty of sun and warm weather year-round. If you want to enjoy your vacation in Hawaii without being surrounded by many other tourists, this island is a good choice. Instead of nightclubs, here you'll find secluded beaches and empty roads.
West Molokai is home to the three-mile Papohaku Beach, one of the largest sandy beaches in Hawaii. There are restrooms, showers, drinking water and picnic facilities. Kapukaheku, located nearby, is smaller and protected from high surf. Photo:
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Poolau is located on West Molokai, Hawaii, between the three-mile-long Papohaku and Kapukaheku. The beach is covered with black rocks and not great for swimming. But if you are exploring this part of the island, you can stop here and enjoy the view.
There are a few parking spaces, but no no public facilities. You'll have to go a few miles back to Papohaku for restrooms and drinking water.
Poolau is located on West Molokai. From Highway 460 turn right on Kaluakoi Road before you reach Maunaloa. Drive to the end of Kaluakoi Road and turn right on Pohakuloa Road. You'll see Poolau Beach on the right side. Photo:
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Kapukaheku Beach is a secluded sandy spot on West Molokai. It's located a few miles down the road from the three-mile-long Papohaku.
Kapukaheku is a good choice for swimming if the waves on Papohaku are too high. There are rocks on both ends of the bay which make the waves smaller. After the swim, you can have lunch in the shade on the wooden bench.
Other than the wooden bench for picnics and a spacious parking lot, there are no public facilities. Kapukaheku is located on West Molokai, Hawaii. From Highway 460 turn right on Kaluakoi Road before you reach Maunaloa. Drive to the end of Kaluakoi Road and turn right on Pohakuloa Road. The beach is located at the end of this road. Photo:
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Papohaku on West Molokai is one of the largest sandy beaches in Hawaii. Over three miles long, the spot is usually quite empty. Facilities include restrooms, showers, drinking water and picnic facilities. There are no lifeguards on duty and sometimes the waves are too big for swimming, especially in the winter.
Papohaku is located along Kaluakoi Road on West Molokai, Hawaii. From Highway 460 turn right on Kaluakoi Road before you reach Maunaloa. Papohaku is situated two miles past the Kaluakoi Resort entrance. Papohaku Beach offers swimming, snorkeling and diving.
The Ka Hula Piko Festival is an annual hula event that takes place at Papohaku Beach Park every May. The festival features a free outdoor concert that lasts all day. The event attracts hula schools from all of Hawaii, comedians, food-sellers and Hawaiian musicians. Papohaku offers a campsite with showers, restrooms and drinking water. Photo:
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»Molokai is for outdoor enthusiasts
Molokai is a destination for outdoor enthusiasts. You'll find a wide selection of vacation activities and very few other tourists to share them with on the island. Vacation activities on Molokai include snorkeling, kayaking, fishing, sailing, hiking in Halawa Valley, mule rides to Kalaupapa peninsula and whale watching during the winter months. Photo:
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»The ferry from Maui to Molokai
The island, surrounded by clear waters of the Pacific Ocean, is an ideal vacation spot for a variety of watersports. Whether you want to fish, snorkel, scuba dive, kayak or sail, there is plenty to do during your stay.
In the winter, don't miss whale watching. You can sign up for a boat tour or observe whales right from the shore with a pair of binoculars. Photo:
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»Sunrise from the ferry to Molokai
One of the most popular tours on the island are the mule rides to Kalaupapa peninsula. The park, maintained by the national park service, can only be visited by authorized tour groups. Visitors must have a permit and be 16 or older.
The east end of Molokai, with its lush vegetation and scenic waterfalls, is a popular hiking destination. You can head there on your own, but it may be easier to sign up for a tour which has permits to visit some of the waterfalls which require private land access.
Molokai Outdoors (877-553-4477, www.molokai-outdoors.com) and Molokai Fish and Dive (808-553-5926, www.molokaifishanddive.com) offer a choice of land tours and watersports. Photo:
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»The Lodge at Molokai Ranch
The Lodge at Molokai Ranch, located on 65,000 secluded acres overlooking West Molokai and the Pacific Ocean, is currently closed. Photo:
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Hotel Molokai is an oceanfront getaway on Molokai where guests enjoy snorkeling, swimming, surfing, historic tours and whale watching during the winter months. The hotel is situated right on Kamiloloa Beach. It offers a freshwater swimming pool, sun deck and casual Polynesian-style ambiance. The Activities Desk rents bikes, ocean kayaks and other equipment.
If you are taking the ferry from Maui, the hotel is only a few minutes by car from the harbor. Alternatively, you can fly to Hoolehua Airport which is about 30 minutes away. Molokai Outdoors, headquartered here, offers can rentals and will pick you up at the ferry landing (877-553-4477, molokai-outdoors.com). Rooms range from $90 to $150 per night plus tax. Deluxe accommodations with a kitchenette will give you the flexibility to prepare some of your own meals. The honeymoon suite costs $249 per night (hotelmolokai.com). Photo:
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»Colorful romantic sunset on Molokai
Beach Village is also currently closed. The Beach Village is located on a secluded spot, about 30 minutes by car from the Lodge at Molokai Ranch. Activities include swimming, stargazing and tidal pool exploration. Guests used to stay in canvas tentalows on wooden platforms featuring hot showers and electricity provided by solar energy. Photo:
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»Unique Island Scenery
Explore this unique island. Rent a car once you reach the island. You will need a car of your own in order to explore many of the beaches on the island. There is only one gas station on the island so check your fuel tanks before you head out to explore Molokai. Vacation on Molokai at any time of the year. Since the island is so small, with few hotels, the island is never crowded. Photo:
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10 Great Molokai Trip Ideas
Getting to Molokai
Getting to Molokai involves a ride on either an airplane or a boat. The ferry
ride from Maui to Molokai leaves very early in the morning, but it is well worth
watching the sunrise from the upper deck of the boat.
What to Bring
A good pair of beach sandals will make it easier for you to walk on the paths down to the beaches, as well as over the rocks at the waters' edge. If you decide to travel to Molokai by ferry, be sure to grab a seat on the upper deck and watch for whales and other marine life. The whale watching season runs from November to April with some sightings still possible into the month of May. To see a map of the Hawaiian islands visit our Hawaii map page. Also, browse information about other Hawaiian islands.
The island of Molokai in Hawaii can be reached by ferry from Maui, or by plane from Oahu and Maui.
Travel to Molokai by Ferry
The ferry from the Lahaina harbor on Maui to Molokai takes about 90 minutes. It departs twice daily from Maui and twice daily from Molokai (except on Sundays).
Tickets cost $42.40 for adults and $21.20 for children, each way. The boat ride can get quite bumpy on windy days, especially in the winter.
The farry lands in Kaunakakai harbor on Molokai, a 45 minute drive from the Molokai Ranch and West Molokai.
For travel schedule and reservations, go to www.molokaiferry.com or call 866-307-6524.
Flying to Molokai
Daily flights land at Hoolehua Molokai Airport from Oahu and Maui. Car rentals are available at the airport, but there are no taxis. Airlines that fly there include Aloha Island Air, Commercial Flyer, Inc.,Hawaiian Airlines, Molokai Air Shuttle, Pacific Wings and Paragon Air.