Molokai Outdoor Adventures – home of Hawaii’s only true barrier reef

Molokai Outdoor Adventures

Waialua Beach Kayak

The island surprises first-time visitors with its incredible beauty and diversity of outdoor activities. Molokai is the home of Hawaii’s only true barrier reef, as well as near-empty white sand beaches and some of the highest sea cliffs in the world.

To plan your perfect Molokai vacation itinerary, read on for great ideas—including Outdoor Adventures, Cultural Journeys and Scenic Spots. Then visit our list of Perfect Partners below.

On the Water

Kayaking on Molokai is exceptional. Tour guides can take you out on the ocean to either paddle inside the island’s southern reef or along its spectacular northern sea cliffs. We recommend you do both—each is an unforgettable experience.

Additional boating activities include sport fishing, whale-watching, snorkeling and scuba-diving. Experience the thrill of sport fishing for mahi mahi or ahi in Hawaii’s deep waters. Cruise in a catamaran along Molokai’s 30-mile fringe reef, teeming with turtles, tropical fish, rays and coral, to “secret” spots perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving. Or rent snorkel equipment and head to Kumimi Beach (at mile-marker 20) to explore on your own. Between the months of December and March, sign up for a whale-watching excursion to see Hawaii’s amazing, 50-foot winter visitors up close.

On the Land

Hiking Molokai is no walk in the park—each trail is unique, rugged and astounding. The most traveled trail winds you down 26 switchbacks into the remote coastal village of Kalaupapa. As the only land route into the village, the mules that take visitors into Kalaupapa must travel the same narrow sea-cliff trail; the only other way in is by propeller plane. (Advance entry permits for Kalaupapa are absolutely necessary for all visitors, including hikers.)

To view Kalaupapa without heavy hiking,  Palaau State Park offers an easy and short coastal forest walk leading to vistas of the village and Molokai’s famous sea cliffs.

Another amazing hike is the 3-mile Pepeopae Trail, a volunteer-built boardwalk that meanders through ancient bogs in Molokai’s Kamakou Preserve. Or hike through Moomomi Preserve, a stretch of coastal dunes with cultural and historical significance as well as raw beauty. Both of these hikes require a four-wheel-drive to access the trails. We suggest you join the Nature Conservancy, which manages these preserves, on their guided tours.

Molokai’s other classic hiking adventure is into the depths of Halawa Valley. This is private land, so a guided tour is a must. Halawa is not only one of Hawaii’s earliest-inhabited valleys, but also one of its most beautiful, anchored by twin waterfalls and twin beach coves.

Residents of remote Molokai take pride in self-reliance, and hunting (as well as fishing) is a way of life here. There’s at least one outfit on the island that can take you on a local-style hunting excursion. Game may include wild boar, axis deer, goats and birds.

For a tamer outdoor activity, head to Molokai’s 9-hole golf course, with a view overlooking the cliffs. There’s no clubhouse, no tee times—just you and your best game.

In the Air

Most helicopter tours of Molokai actually depart from and return to Maui; however, on-island visitors can book a tour to view the island from above. You’ll soar above southern Molokai’s 30-mile-long fringing reef, over the twin falls of Halawa Valley and along one of Hawaii’s most pristine sights, the sea cliffs of the northern coast.

If you’ll be flying into Kalaupapa from Molokai’s main airport, the short plane ride will give you a bonus view of the coastline.


Cultural Journeys
Scenic Spots



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