Hawaii August 25, 2019
Enjoy A Lovely Hawaiian Day With A Driving Tour Of Molokai
The fifth-largest Hawaiian Island at just 260 square miles located east of Oahu and north of Lanai, Molokai has been recognized as one of the most wild and beautiful places in the world by National Geographic. Measuring in at just ten miles wide, Molokai is home to more than 100 miles of shoreline, breathtaking waterfalls, beaches that stretch on for miles, culturally-significant historic sites, and the world’s tallest sea cliffs. If you want to see the best of this small Hawaiian island, we suggest embarking on
this wonderful driving tour, measuring in at 72 miles and just three hours of drive time. Ready to hit the road? Let’s go!
1. Papohaku Beach
Measuring in at nearly three miles long — and 100 yards wide — Papohaku is not only the largest beach on Molokai but it is easily one of Hawaii’s longest, uninterrupted white sand beaches. Also known as "Three Mile Beach" for obvious reasons, Papohaku is relatively secluded, despite its well-known status. Truthfully, this Molokai beach is probably the closest you will ever get to the deserted tropical island paradise you’ve been dreaming of.
2. Mo’omomi Preserve
Located on the isolated northeast corner of Molokai, this sprawling 921-acre preserve protects one of the state’s last intact coastal regions, a holdover from an ancient era. Steady and strong northeast trade winds have shaped the linear sand dunes, which measure in at nearly a mile long and hundreds of feet wide.
3. Kalaupapa National Historic Park
In order to prevent the transmission of leprosy, the Kingdom of Hawaii passed a law in 1965 to send leprosy patients to an isolation settlement on Molokai. At its peak occupation in 1890, approximately 1,100 individuals who suffered from leprosy lived in the colony. Operations seized in 1969, and in 1980, the Kalaupapa National Historical Park was established in order to preserve the culture and physical settings of this former leper colony.
The largest town on the small island of Molokai, Kaunakakai is full of history. When pineapple and sugar exports were huge in Hawaii, Kaunakakai was a bustling port town. King Kamehameha V’s royal summer residence was once in this ancient canoe landing, and now the Old Western-style storefronts paint the picture of a town stuck in time.
5. Kanemitsu Bakery
Walking up to the back door of a closed bakery after dark might not seem like a wise idea… unless you’re visiting the famous Kanemitsu Bakery, of course. After dark, this humble bakery offers the sleepy island’s only "nightlife." You see, a sign taped to the window of the shuttered storefront directs visitors to a poorly lit back alley off the main street where locals and tourists alike line up to purchase — and then devour — some of the most scrumptious hot bread you’ve ever tasted.
6. Kaunakakai Harbor
Nestled along Molokai’s southern shore, Kaunakakai Harbor is home to the state’s longest pier, stretching 1,900 feet into the Pacific Ocean, well past the reef. This commercial and recreational harbor is home to 29 boat slips and mooring spaces, two docks, and a boat launching ramp. It is also the docking spot of the Molokai Princess, the passenger ferry that travels between Maui and Molokai.
7. Molokai Forest Reserve
Unlike most forest reserves throughout Hawaii, the Molokai forest reserve comprises multiple different non-contiguous geographic areas, totaling more than 11,000 acres of public land on this small Hawaiian Island. What a beautiful oasis!
8. Halawa Valley
The largest of four Windward valleys carved into the famous Molokai sea cliffs, Halawa Valley is, to put it quite simply, jaw-dropping. Half a mile wide, and three to four miles deep, Halawa Valley has been blessed with beautiful vistas, towering waterfalls, and a lush, verdant landscape. There is no cell phone reception, no roads, no earmarks of modern humanity. Halawa Valley is quiet, calm, untamed: the few who have visited this Eden might even say that it is the pure embodiment of Molokai or old Hawaii.
Have you ever explored the wild and beautiful island of Molokai? Share your experiences and opinions in the comments below!