A town that's hardly changed since the early 1900s
Kaunakakai hasn't changed much since the early 1900s. It's a typical Hawaiian cowboy town – locally, cowboys are called paniolo – and it's also the main harbour for the island. Locals still fish here and it's the site of Hawaii's longest pier, which takes you out to sea way beyond the island's protective reef. It's laid back and friendly here, chilled and fun, full of mellow small town charm.
You won't find any traffic lights in this town, a sleepy place with an early 1900s vibe.
There are lots of interesting shops and boutiques in the small yet perfectly formed business district.
Onion and cheese bread is a speciality, eaten locally with lots of butter and either jam, cream cheese or cinnamon
Visit the lovely Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove, one of the last-remaining royal coconut groves
Explore Church Row's seven tiny missionary-style churches, some dating back to the late 1800s
Friendly Market and Mrs. K’s Lunch Counter are popular with locals, as are Pascua’s General Store, Kalele Bookstore and the island's excellent Pizza Café. There's also an outdoor market on Saturdays.
Sample delicious local island cuisine at the excellent Hula Sahores restaurant in the Hotel Molokai. Or hire a bicycle and see the island in a whole different light, taking life nice and slowly.
Experience deep sea sportfishing off of Molokai
Take a round-the-island trip
Visit Pu'u O Hoku Ranch, AKA 'Hill of Stars'
Love solitude? Rent a car locally to explore the entire island at your leisure.
Kalaupapa National Historical Park and Palaau State Park are both breathtakingly beautiful, your key to the island's plentiful natural wonders. Head for Skyline Eco-Adventures Kaanapali to sample thrilling ziplining tours through the stunning jungly landscapes.
In the mid nineteenth century the Hawaiian King Kamehameha V occasionally spent summers on Molokai at his Kaunakakai home. The main street Ala Malama Avenue still bears his summer home's name.
Take a guided tour courtesy of Shoreline Snuba, with the possibility of hearing whales singing underwater, a humbling and touching experience loved by visitors. Enjoy the Kalaupapa Mule Tour, an unusual and quirky way to experience the gorgeous isand countryside and discover the formerly-forbidden village of Kalaupapa. Experience the remarkable views at Kalaupapa Overlook. Explore the forested trail to the Sacred Rock and marvel at the strange phallic rocks formations in Palaau State Park.
Visit Murphy's Beach, just to the east of Kaunakakai and home to the State's only barrier reef, a 20 mile stretch perfect for snorkelling with colourful fish, turtles and corals. Go kayaking in the clear blue waters or hire a sailing boat, with or without crew. Beachcombing is fab here too, with miles and miles of perfect white sands. There are plenty of opportunities to play golf, go mountain biking and enjoy hiking.
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