On any list of the best vacation destinations in the world, Hawaii is almost guaranteed to make an appearance. The islands of the Aloha State are some of the prettiest places on Earth. They’re also home to some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet, with many visitors to Hawaii being blown away by the kind nature of the natives, the breathtaking beauty of the scenery, and the rich culture and traditions associated with Hawaiian life.
Another amazing thing about visiting Hawaii is that each island has its own charms and identity, so it can be a lot of fun to hop about from one island to another over the course of your vacation. Non-stop planes and boats connecting the islands make it easy to get from one to another, so even if you decide to spend most of your time on one of the main and most populous islands like Maui or Oahu, you can still visit other islands with ease.
You can do day trips from Maui to many different locations all over Hawaii, and if you're looking to head 'off the beaten path' and see an island that few people actually take the time to visit, you should seriously consider doing a day trip to Molokai. Known as the 'Friendly Isle' by locals, Molokai is the fifth biggest island of Hawaii but is home to a very small population. Here’s how to plan a day trip to Molokai from Maui.
Getting to Molokai from Maui
Usually, when hopping between islands in Hawaii, you can choose to travel either by air or by sea. There are often multiple options to choose between, with some visitors preferring to take the scenic route and catch a ferry, while others want to get their destinations as quickly as possible and choose to fly. Unfortunately, in the case of Maui to Molokai, your options are rather limited.
For several decades, a ferry service was available from Lahaina in Maui direct to Molokai. It was a very scenic and popular crossing, but the ferry has recently ceased operations, so the only way to get to Molokai from Maui is to fly. Molokai has one airport: Molokai Airport (MKK). Direct flights arrive in Molokai Airport from both of the airports on Maui: Kahului Airport (OGG) and Kapalua Airport (JHM).
Kapalua Airport is the smaller and less used of the two, so most flights to Molokai from Maui will be leaving from Kahului Airport. The journey time is about half an hour on average, so it’s quite speedy to get to Molokai by plane. Several local air carriers run flights to this island from Maui, so you can check out the different times and prices, and be sure to book flights in advance to get the best deal.
Important Information and Things to Do on Molokai
- Getting Around - Molokai is smaller than several of the other Hawaiian Islands, but it's still a big place, so if you want to get around with ease, you should probably rent a car. There are limited quantities of rental cars available on Molokai, so it's wise to make a reservation in advance so that you don't miss out. The island has a simple but efficient highway system, but you might need to get a 4-wheel drive vehicle to access certain areas.
- Best Time to Visit - Molokai is always a beautiful island and can be enjoyed at any time of year, but some times are going to be better than others for you, and it all depends on your own personal preferences and needs. Some people don’t mind very hot weather, for example, and are happy to deal with crowds of tourists. In the summer, Molokai can get very warm and quite busy compared to other times of year, but if you don’t mind the crowds then this is a good time to visit. You should generally avoid the winter months, as the island can experience a lot of rainfall from November through to March.
- Things to Do at Molokai - Molokai is one of the best places to go if you're looking to get away from some of the more touristic locations of Hawaii and see a purer, more pristine and authentic side to the Aloha State. This is the place for nature enthusiasts to be, with lots of untouched lands just waiting to be enjoyed. You can do some great fishing and snorkeling at Molokai, as well as scuba diving off areas like Murphy's Beach. You can take a kayaking trip too or head out on a sailboat, or simply stay on dry land, walking along the beaches, hiking through the jungle, playing a round of golf, or simply relaxing and admiring the scenery.