Island time is one thing, but Molokai time is another. This island was the last of the six main Hawaiian islands that Clay and I had the chance to visit and we were so glad that we did! Molokai offers that picturesque, peaceful island paradise. Although our visit was a quick two day-one night trip, the flight alone was reason to go. Soaring above the Hawaiian islands in a 9 passenger propeller plane offers both thrills and scenery. While on Molokai, Clay and I ate breakfast at the famous Kanemitsu Cafe, drove around the Halawa Coast, viewed the infamous Kalaupapa peninsula, toured a macadamia nut farm, and camped on a private, hidden beach beneath dozens of shooting stars – just in time for the Perseid meteor shower. Molokai is the perfect island escape!
When to go?
Minimal planning went into our last-minute trip to Molokai, but luckily enough Clay and I visited when there was not only no moon, but additionally a perseid meteor shower! The nighttime sky was amazing as seen from the comfort of our sleeping bag – tossed upon a private, secluded beach. We saw 10+ shooting stars collectively and enjoyed an amazing view of the Milky Way. If you’re into camping, time your trip to catch a moonless sky and starry night.
What to do?
In Kaunakakai, enjoy breakfast or late-night sweet breads at the famous Kanemitsu bakery! Once Clay and I arrived on Molokai, food was very much on our minds. It was an easy decision to eat at Kanemitsu, and we were so glad that we did. A restaurant and bakery that has been around for 70+ years offers a local environment, delicious food, and the aloha spirit. In planning your trip, remember that they are closed on Tuesdays!
Go for a drive! Traffic is refreshingly non-existent here and you will see some beautiful sights along the way. Fish ponds line the southern shore and display the advanced early aquaculture of ancient Hawaiians. There are endless quaint beaches where you can stop and go for a swim or string up your hammock. Bring a book and a camera along for the ride, and if you’re lucky you might just see something as unique as this!
While driving, continue heading west to visit the Halawa Valley. This part of the island is lush with beautiful cascading waterfalls. The drive to reach Halawa itself takes you through varying terrain, and the bay is a wonderful spot to spend a relaxing afternoon.
Go for a short walk and view the infamous Kalaupapa Beach from Pālāʻau State Park. There is so much history to learn about this peninsula and the events that took place here. Excellent information is provided in plaques should you choose to visit the lookout on your own. Otherwise, tours can be organized through Father Damien Tours. With a short amount of time and last-minute planning, Clay and I opted for the DIY option and we were pleased!
Purdy’s Natural Macadamia Nut Farm was an unexpected highlight of the trip! While driving around Molokai we saw a sign for a macadamia nut farm (close in proximity to the airport) and made the impulsive decision to stop. Tuddie, the owner himself, showed us around the farm and educated us on the stages of growth of a macadamia nut tree and taught us how to crack a mac nut. We were offered samples of macadamia nut honeys, macadamia nut cooking oils, raw macadamia nuts as well as roasted macadamia nuts. What was even more amazing was that Tuddie and his family provide this educational tour and sampling for free. He is a man who has taken it upon himself to keep macadamia nut farms alive, and he wants to share the benefits of mac nuts with everyone. But not to worry – they have anything and everything macadamia nut available for purchase to take home and share with family and friends, and to help support this family.
Walk along Papohaku beach on west Molokai – a beautiful two mile long stretch of sandy coastline. Keep your eyes open – if you’re lucky, you just might find a sunrise shell! These are incredibly special to find as they are endemic to Hawaii and found only in this part of the world. Clay found his first and only sunrise shell at Papohaku on our morning stroll.
Lastly, enjoy your evening’s accommodation. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, Molokai offers wonderful camping. Clay and I found a secluded beach where we slept beneath the stars. Without the light pollution we are accustomed to in Kailua, the sky is amazing. The next evening we spotted the secret beach that we camped on from the seat of our plane! Keep your eyes to the sky – chances are there are shooting stars to be seen.
I hope you enjoy the beautiful scenery, delicious food, and pace of life that Molokai has to offer!