How to Spend a Perfect Day on Molokai, Hawaii

Skip the resorts and crowds of tourists and opt for unfussy local cuisine and miles of untouched coastline on Molokai.
 

Halawa Cultural Waterfall Hike, photograph by Bethany Salvon.

With just one main town (Kaunakakai), no streetlights and only 7,500 residents—about 40 per cent of whom are native Hawaiian—Molokai offers a less-hectic side of island life. Instead of resorts, you’ll find miles of untouched coastline, dense forests marked by stunning waterfalls and 
unfussy local cuisine.

6:30 a.m.

To experience one of the state’s epic sunrises, drive along the Halawa Valley Scenic Drive on the island’s east shore. There will be places to pull over so you can stop to snap photos and really appreciate the view.

7:30 a.m.

Mana’e Goods & Grindz, photograph by Regula Heeb-Zweifel/Alamy.

Stop at Mana’e Goods & Grindz, a family-run market and eatery in Pukoo. Opt for for an American-style breakfast or a traditional plate combo—think rice, chicken and salad.

8:45 a.m.

Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove, photograph courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA).

Check out the hundreds of coconut trees at nearby Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove (a landmark on the island) that were planted in the 1860s.

9:30 a.m.

Ierusalema Hou Church, photograph by Bethany Salvon.

Across the street from the coconut grove, look for Church Row. This group of seven, tiny 19th-century churches was founded by missionaries.

10 a.m.

Walk Kaunakakai’s Ala Malama Avenue, checking out local crafts at Kalele Bookstore & Divine Expressions and fashions at Imports Gift Shop.

11:30 a.m.

Kalaupapa Lookout, photograph courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA).

Visit Palaau State Park and take a short walk to the Kalaupapa Lookout for dramatic cliff-top views of the peninsula.

1:15 p.m.

Sample fresh macadamia nuts and see the trees at Purdy’s All-Natural Macadamia Nut Farm. After, head to the Coffees of Hawaii planation to pick up some beans and other picnic supplies from the café.

3 p.m.

Papohaku Beach, photograph by David Fleetham/Alamy.

Stroll the golden sands of three-mile-long Papohaku Beach, which are perfect for wave-watching. The area also offers some of the island’s best sunset views.

7 p.m.

Dine on honey lemon shrimp and spicy haole crab—two of the reasons Paddlers Restaurant and Bar is Molokai’s new dining hot spot. There’s live music most nights, too.

9:30 p.m.

Molokai Hot Bread, photograph by Bethany Salvon.

Line up at the night window of Kanemitsu’s Bakery & Coffee Shop for straight-from-the-oven Molokai Hot Bread, which comes filled in a variety of flavours including cream cheese, jelly or cinnamon. This creation made baker George Kanemitsu a James Beard Award semi-finalist in 2018.

[This story appears in the November 2019 edition of WestJet Magazine.]

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