Traveling to Molokai? Check Out Our List of the Best 10 Things to Do in Molokai!

Of all the 8 Hawaiian Islands, not one compares to Molokai. Molokai is unique for many reasons. For starters, there are no major roads on the island. No traffic lights are present either. Compared to Oahu's highly congested roads and cities, Molokai has no heavy traffic. Little tourists visit Molokai, so the island maintains a slow and peaceful lifestyle. You will not find much nightlife, nor major chain restaurants and stores on this Hawaiian Island. What you will find instead is rest, refuge, and plenty of natural scenery to get lost in. From arrival to departure, Molokai will strike travelers with its beauty. From the airplane window, you will know what we mean. If you want a more private vacation, then come to the crowd-less Hawaiian Island of Molokai. Here are the top 10 things to do in Molokai.

1. Hike the Halawa Valley

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Halawa Valley is one of Hawaii's earliest settlements. Travelers can take a cultural hike through the valley, should they be interested in learning the history and seeing the incredible views of the Halawa Valley. A guide is required for the hike because the route passes through private property. Taking roughly 3 hours to complete, we highly recommend putting this activity on your list of things to do in Molokai. The hike ends at the marvelous Mo'oula Waterfalls. Visitors can even swim in the falls when they reach them! Travelers again and again have stated that their hike through the Halawa Valley was the highlight of their trip. In addition to the wondrous views, hikers will receive a greater appreciation for the history of the islands. Be sure to pack comfortable shoes, water bottles, and a snack for the journey.

2. Relax to the Beach

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Credit: Flickr

When in Hawaii, the beaches are constantly calling. With their gentle roar and captivating color, the waves beckon travelers to come near. On your list of things to do in Molokai, you surely need to make it a priority to spend your afternoons on the beach. Being that the island is so quiet, there are amplified opportunities to hear the crash of waves, call of birds, and rustle of palm trees. Molokai invites travelers to disconnect from distractions and tune into the wonder of their natural surroundings. When on the beach, travelers can read a book, tan in the sun, toss a football, or dive beneath waves. The uncrowded beaches of Molokai are breathtaking to behold. Without the noise of others, travelers will find the beaches to be an absolute safe haven during their vacation to the Hawaiian Islands.

3. Take Things Slow

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Credit: Flickr

Everything about the pace of life in Molokai says slow down. There are no major roads on the island. There is only one traffic light. Tourists do not flock to Molokai, so it is less commercialized and more raw in its natural beauty. All that to say, live slowly is a must while on the island. When it comes to your travel itinerary we recommend one thing: Don't have an itinerary. Don't have an agenda. Life on Molokai is calm, leisurely, and very much go-with-the-flow. Be up for spontaneity and be intentional about drinking in the sunset views. One of the best things to do in Molokai is to live as un-rushed as possible.

4. Visit Kalaupapa (By Mule or By Foot)

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Credit: Flickr

Kalaupapa is home to majestic mountains and sea cliffs. The national park has limited access, so it cannot be hiked on your own. However, on a guided tour, travelers can visit either by foot or by mule. This mule ride is commonly found on most people's Hawaii bucket list. And with good reason. The experience is well worth it. Though we must say, this mule ride is not highly recommended for beginners. Experienced riders will have a more comfortable time.

5. Kayak or Stand-Up Paddleboard

To kayak and/or paddleboard on Molokai's pristine water is an unforgettable experience. Travelers can rent kayaks and go out on their own or take a kayaking lesson with a guide. There are many opportunities on the island for travelers to rent equipment and set off on the water. In addition to kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, visitors are welcome to participate in a number of other water activities. Scuba diving and snorkeling are among those activities.

There is a whole new world to discover under the sea. Scuba diving and snorkeling while on your trip to Molokai will allow travelers the opportunity to spot green sea turtles, colorful fish, coral formations, and perhaps even a shark or two! Fishing excursions are another popular activity for travelers visiting the island. If you enjoy adventure, then put these water sports on your list of things to do in Molokai.

6. Satisfy Taste Buds with Molokai Hot Bread

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Famous on the island of Molokai is Molokai Bread. Tucked in an alleyway behind Kanemitsu Bakery is "Hot Bread Lane," as the locals refer to it. From the small window, locals and visitors alike swarm to receive a fresh loaf of bread dripping with cinnamon, blueberries or strawberries. Molokai bread is legendary. There is nothing like doing a "hot bread run" in the middle of the night while on the island. Fun and tasty memories are sure to be made.

In the daytime, travelers can check out Kanemitsu's Bakery, located on the other side of the alleyway. With bread varieties including coconut, onion-cheese, and more, all carb lovers will be in heaven here. Indulging in the infamous Molokai hot bread is worth the experience when on the island. Locals agree that if there is one thing you must to in Molokai, it is to satisfy your taste buds with Molokai hot bread.

7. Helicopter or Boat Alongside the Sea Cliffs

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Credit: Flickr

Whether it is by helicopter or by boat, one of the top things to do in Molokai is witness the cliffs that are 3,000 feet above sea level. Dressed in lush greenery, these cliffs stand with vibrant and overwhelming beauty. You will not want to forget to pack your cameras when going to Molokai. From the sea cliffs to the waterfalls to the sunset views, every corner of the island is cloaked in extravagance. Speaking of the sunsets on the island…

8. Watch the Sunset (Every Night)

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Whether you are lounging on the beach, going for an evening boat cruise, or paddling on your kayak, when the sun begins to lower over the horizon, you must stop, slow down, and appreciate the splendor. As the sky transforms into golden hues, you will likely have trouble finding the words to describe the beauty. Molokai sunsets have been known to leave visitors (and locals) speechless. If you want a recommendation as to where to watch the sunset, we advise you to at least catch one sunset at Papohaku Beach. With no light pollution at Papohaku Beach, we also recommend sticking around after the sun sets to count the stars as they emerge against the black sky of night. You may even spot Honolulu in the distance, greeting you with faint lights.

9. Send a Coconut to a Friend

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Number 9 on our list of things to do in Molokai is to send a coconut to a friend. That's right, you can send a real coconut to loved ones from the small town of Ho'olehua. At this US Post Office, visitors are invited to "Post-a-Nut." Travelers get the opportunity to paint, decorate, and design their own coconut however they please. Then, they can send it to any place in the world. Post-a-Nut is like sending a postcard to a friend or family member, only better. It is not every day that you receive a coconut in your mailbox. Kids, in particular, will enjoy this activity when vacationing in Molokai. They can paint images on their coconut that recap their journey on the island thus far. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and neighbors will be very surprised and excited to find such a personal and creative gift in their mailbox.

10. Behold the Waterfalls

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Credit: Flickr

Cascading down from the tall and mighty sea cliffs, Molokai waterfalls are spectacular to see in person. In addition to the waterfalls at the end of the Halawa Valley hike, there are many other falls to behold on the island.  Some of our top waterfall recommendations include Papalaua falls (pictures above) and Hipuapua falls. If you happen to be on the island after a day of rainfall, then the waterfalls will be even more glorious. We simply cannot find the words to describe how incredible the waterfalls on Molokai island are. You will have to come see for yourself to truly understand what we mean.

Have you traveled to Molokai before? If so, what were some of your favorite things to do in Molokai? Let us know in the comments section below!

Related Article: ​Guide to the Hawaiian Islands​​​

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Riley is a creative who is fascinated by the details of life. She feels most at home in an airport and cares most deeply about culture, exploring the world, and global justice. Riley also believes in the power of storytelling and in a love that has no limits. Keep up with Riley on her Instagram page where she contemplates grace and writes her raw thoughts on life, faith, and the world around her.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Just a note: The first picture where you describe Halawa Valley is not from Molokai; it looks to be H3 looking from the Pali Lookout to Kaneohe Bay on the island of Oahu. There is no divided highway on Molokai, especially not in Halawa Valley, which doesn’t even have a road. The fifth picture where you describe kayaking is actually of the ‘Mokes”, again on the island of Oahu, not Molokai. Your descriptions are wonderful; your pictures are beautiful; and I want everyone to go and experience Molokai, but the island is beautiful enough to use photos of it’s actual scenery. My apologies if I come across wrong, I am sure it was an honest mistake, but I just couldn’t help noticing. Yes, I have been to Molokai five times and I love it there! It is serene and peaceful and I consider it my second home.

    • Mark, no apologies necessary! We really appreciate you pointing out these errors. You’re correct — these were a genuine mistake! We’ve fixed them just now. 🙂

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