Home Hotels Mid-range Where To Stay In Molokai: The BEST Areas

Where To Stay In Molokai: The BEST Areas

Where To Stay In Molokai: The BEST Areas


Welcome to the stunning island of Molokai, one of Hawaii’s best-kept secrets. Known for its natural beauty, rich culture, and remote charm, Molokai offers a unique and unforgettable vacation experience. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing beach getaway or an adventurous exploration of the great outdoors, Molokai has it all.

Before you embark on your Molokai adventure, it’s important to plan your accommodations wisely. The island offers a variety of charming areas to stay, each with its own distinct character and attractions. In this article, we’ll explore the best areas to stay in Molokai, ensuring that you find the perfect spot to make the most of your visit.

Before diving into the specific areas, let’s get familiar with the geography of Molokai. The island is divided into two main regions: the West End and the East End. The West End is known for its stunning beaches, stunning sunsets, and laid-back vibe, while the East End is home to lush forests, dramatic cliffs, and the rugged Halawa Valley.

Now, let’s delve into the best areas to stay in Molokai:


Map of Molokai

Before we explore the best areas to stay in Molokai, let’s take a look at a map of the island. This will give you a visual understanding of the different regions and their proximity to various attractions.

Molokai is the fifth largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago, located in the central Pacific Ocean. It is approximately 38 miles long and 10 miles wide, with a total land area of 260 square miles. Despite its relatively small size, the island offers a diverse range of landscapes, from pristine beaches to lush rainforests and towering sea cliffs.

On the map, you’ll notice that the West End of Molokai is dominated by the town of Kaunakakai. This is the main hub of the island, where you’ll find most of the amenities and services. Kaunakakai is also home to several shops, restaurants, and accommodations, making it a convenient base for exploring the rest of Molokai.

As you move eastward, you’ll come across the stunning Kalaupapa Peninsula. This remote area is known for its historical significance as a former leper colony. Today, it is a National Historical Park and can be accessed by a guided tour.

Continuing along the map, you’ll reach Maunaloa, a small town located on the slopes of the island’s tallest peak, Kamakou. This area offers a peaceful and secluded atmosphere, with breathtaking views of Molokai’s rugged beauty.

Further east, you’ll find Papohaku, home to one of Hawaii’s longest beaches. If you’re seeking a more remote and tranquil setting, Papohaku is the perfect place to unwind and soak up the sun.

Heading southeast, you’ll come across the picturesque Halawa Valley. This lush, tropical valley is rich in Hawaiian cultural heritage and is a popular spot for hiking, waterfalls, and immersing yourself in the beauty of nature.

Lastly, the East End of Molokai offers a unique and untouched experience. This region is characterized by its dramatic sea cliffs, pristine beaches, and untouched wilderness. If you’re an adventure seeker looking to explore nature’s wonders, the East End is the place for you.

Now that you have a better understanding of the geography of Molokai, let’s dive into the best areas to stay in detail.



Kaunakakai is the main town and commercial center of Molokai, making it a convenient and popular area to stay. Located on the central coast of the island, Kaunakakai offers a range of accommodations, restaurants, shops, and services, making it an ideal base for exploring the rest of Molokai.

When staying in Kaunakakai, you’ll have easy access to amenities such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and rental shops, ensuring that you have everything you need for a comfortable stay. The town also boasts a lively atmosphere, with live music, cultural events, and a variety of dining options catering to different tastes.

While Kaunakakai doesn’t have the same level of stunning beaches as other areas on the island, it is situated on the coast, allowing for picturesque views of the ocean and neighboring islands. You can take leisurely strolls along the waterfront or enjoy a relaxing picnic at the nearby Kaunakakai Wharf.

From Kaunakakai, you can easily explore the rest of Molokai. One must-visit attraction is the Molokai Museum and Cultural Center, where you can learn about the island’s rich history, culture, and traditions. You can also embark on a mule ride to the historic Kalaupapa Peninsula, a unique experience that offers breathtaking views and a glimpse into the island’s past.

If you’re a golf enthusiast, the Ironwood Hills Golf Course is located just a short drive away from Kaunakakai. With its stunning views of the ocean, this 9-hole course offers a picturesque backdrop for a round of golf.

Overall, Kaunakakai provides a convenient and vibrant place to stay on Molokai. Its central location, range of amenities, and access to cultural and recreational activities make it an excellent choice for visitors looking for a well-rounded experience on the island.



Kalaupapa is a unique and historically significant area located on the northern coast of Molokai. It holds great cultural and historical importance as it was once a leper colony during the 19th and 20th centuries. Today, Kalaupapa is a National Historical Park and offers a serene and remote environment for those seeking a peaceful getaway.

Visiting Kalaupapa requires a guided tour due to its protected status. The tour takes you through the stunning landscapes of the peninsula, allowing you to learn about the history and significance of this place. As you explore the area, you will see the historic buildings, churches, and even the relics of St. Damien’s work, who cared for the leper patients.

Staying in Kalaupapa provides a truly unique experience. There are limited accommodations available for overnight stays, including cottages that offer stunning views of the ocean and cliffs. Being surrounded by nature and removed from the main tourist areas allows you to fully immerse yourself in the tranquility and beauty of Molokai.

Aside from the historical aspects, Kalaupapa offers incredible natural beauty. The cliffs rising dramatically from the ocean create a breathtaking backdrop, and the secluded beaches provide the perfect setting for relaxation or enjoying a peaceful stroll. Keep in mind that swimming is not allowed due to strong currents, but the mesmerizing views and calming atmosphere make it worth a visit.

It’s important to note that due to the historical significance and sensitive nature of the area, visitors must respect the rules and regulations set by the National Historical Park. This ensures the preservation of the site and allows for a meaningful and respectful experience for all.

If you’re seeking a remote and peaceful retreat with a deep sense of history, Kalaupapa is the ideal place to stay on Molokai. Its unparalleled beauty and cultural richness will leave a lasting impression and provide an unforgettable experience.



Located on the slopes of Kamakou, the highest peak on Molokai, Maunaloa offers a peaceful and secluded retreat for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. This small town is surrounded by lush greenery and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the island’s rugged beauty.

Staying in Maunaloa allows you to immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature. Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply appreciate the serenity of the outdoors, this area provides ample opportunities to explore the island’s natural wonders. From challenging hikes to scenic trails, you can discover hidden waterfalls, pristine valleys, and diverse flora and fauna.

In addition to its natural beauty, Maunaloa offers a taste of local life on the island. The small town is home to a close-knit community, where you can experience the warm aloha spirit and local culture. Visit the local shops and dining establishments to savor delicious Hawaiian cuisine and interact with friendly residents.

For golf enthusiasts, the Maunaloa Golf Course provides a stunning 18-hole course nestled amidst the island’s picturesque landscape. Playing a round of golf here offers not only a challenging game but also breathtaking views of Molokai’s rugged coastline.

Though Maunaloa may not have the same range of amenities as the larger towns on the island, its peaceful and secluded atmosphere makes it the perfect place to relax and recharge. A limited number of accommodations are available in Maunaloa, such as vacation rentals or cottages, providing a cozy and intimate setting for your stay.

If you’re seeking a tranquil and off-the-beaten-path experience on Molokai, Maunaloa is a great choice. Its natural beauty, opportunities for outdoor activities, and the chance to connect with the local community make it a hidden gem worth exploring.



If you’re searching for a remote and peaceful area with stunning natural beauty, Papohaku is the perfect place to stay in Molokai. Located on the island’s west coast, Papohaku is famous for being home to one of Hawaii’s longest beaches, Papohaku Beach.

Papohaku Beach stretches for three miles, offering an expansive and uncrowded setting for beach lovers. The sparkling blue waters, soft white sand, and gentle ocean breezes create a serene and idyllic atmosphere. Whether you’re looking to relax under the sun, take long walks along the shoreline, or enjoy a refreshing swim, Papohaku Beach has it all.

Staying in Papohaku allows you to embark on a true seaside retreat. You can wake up to the sound of crashing waves and step outside to take in the breathtaking ocean views. While there are limited accommodations available in this area, you’ll find vacation rentals and cottages that provide a peaceful and private setting for your stay.

One of the highlights of staying in Papohaku is experiencing the incredible sunsets. As the day comes to an end, the sky transforms into a magnificent canvas of vibrant colors, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. Watching the sunset on Papohaku Beach is a magical experience that will leave you in awe of nature’s beauty.

While Papohaku is known for its stunning beach, there are other attractions to explore in the area as well. Just a short drive away, you’ll find the Kukui O Lono archaeological site, where you can learn about ancient Hawaiian history and culture. The site features ancient petroglyphs and other cultural remnants, providing a glimpse into the island’s past.

When it comes to dining options, Papohaku may not have as many choices as larger towns, but you can find a handful of local eateries nearby. Indulge in delicious Hawaiian cuisine and fresh seafood, savoring the flavors of the island.

If you’re seeking a secluded and picturesque beach getaway, Papohaku is the ideal place to stay on Molokai. Its stunning beach, breathtaking sunsets, and serene atmosphere will create lasting memories of your vacation.


Halawa Valley

Nestled on the eastern end of Molokai, Halawa Valley is a hidden gem that offers a glimpse into the island’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. This lush, tropical valley is a paradise for nature lovers and those seeking a unique and authentic Hawaiian experience.

As you make your way to Halawa Valley, you’ll be greeted by stunning landscapes of lush greenery, cascading waterfalls, and towering cliffs. It’s like stepping into a postcard-perfect paradise. The valley is home to some of the island’s most breathtaking waterfalls, including the iconic Mooula Falls. Embark on a guided hike to these majestic falls and witness the power and beauty of nature up close.

Halawa Valley is not only a feast for the eyes but also a place of significant cultural importance. It is one of the oldest inhabited places in Hawaii, and its residents proudly preserve their traditional customs and way of life. When visiting the valley, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the rich Hawaiian history and experience authentic cultural practices firsthand.

When it comes to accommodation, there are limited options within the valley itself. However, you can find charming vacation rentals and cottages nearby that offer a peaceful and secluded stay. Waking up surrounded by the lush greenery and the tranquil sounds of nature in Halawa Valley is a truly rejuvenating experience.

While in the area, take the time to explore the Halawa Bay, where you can relax on the secluded beach or try your hand at snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters. The bay is known for its vibrant marine life, making it a perfect spot for underwater exploration.

Visiting Halawa Valley requires some planning as a guided tour is necessary to fully immerse yourself in the cultural and natural wonders of the area. These tours offer insights into the valley’s history, legends, and ecological significance, providing a deeper understanding of the place.

If you’re looking for a truly unique and immersive experience on Molokai, staying in or near Halawa Valley is a must. Its breathtaking landscapes, cultural significance, and opportunities for outdoor activities will leave you with lasting memories of your visit to this enchanting place.


East End

The East End of Molokai offers a raw and untouched beauty that is truly captivating. This rugged and remote region is perfect for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers looking to immerse themselves in the island’s natural wonders.

One of the main attractions of the East End is its dramatic sea cliffs. These soaring cliffs, some reaching up to 3,000 feet, create a jaw-dropping backdrop against the deep blue ocean. One of the most famous sights is the iconic Pelekunu Valley, where you can witness the sheer magnificence of Molokai’s untouched landscape.

The East End is also home to some of the most secluded and pristine beaches on the island. The lack of crowds and development allows for a peaceful and tranquil beach experience. Whether you’re looking to relax and sunbathe or explore the vibrant underwater world through snorkeling, the East End has it all.

For those seeking adventure, the East End is a playground of outdoor activities. Hiking enthusiasts can explore the Halawa Valley, where trails lead to stunning waterfalls and lush forests. The Papalaua Falls hike, in particular, rewards hikers with breathtaking views and a refreshing dip in natural pools.

The Kalaupapa National Historical Park is also located in the East End, providing visitors with a rich history lesson. This park was once a leper colony and now serves as a memorial to those who lived there. Take a guided tour to learn about the history and stories of the people who resided in this community.

While accommodations in the East End may be limited, there are vacation rentals and cottages available for those who wish to stay in this secluded area. Imagine waking up to the sound of crashing waves and enjoying a cup of coffee while taking in the awe-inspiring views of the cliffs and ocean.

Visiting the East End of Molokai is not just about experiencing its natural beauty; it’s also about appreciating its untouched charm and remote allure. If you’re seeking an off-the-grid escape and a chance to reconnect with nature in all its splendor, the East End is the ideal place to stay on Molokai.


South Coast

The South Coast of Molokai is known for its enchanting beaches, laid-back atmosphere, and breathtaking coastal views. It offers a perfect blend of relaxation, natural beauty, and opportunities for outdoor activities, making it a popular choice for visitors.

One of the highlights of the South Coast is the stunning Murdock Beach. This secluded beach is known for its calm waters, making it ideal for swimming and snorkeling. The turquoise hues of the ocean and the soft white sand create a picturesque setting for a day of sunbathing and relaxation.

Another must-visit spot on the South Coast is the Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove. This historic grove showcases a line of majestic coconut trees, some of which are over a hundred years old. Take a leisurely stroll through the grove and learn about the significance of coconuts in Hawaiian culture.

Staying on the South Coast also offers easy access to other nearby attractions. The Kapuaokoolau Forest Reserve is a short drive away, where you can embark on scenic hikes and immerse yourself in the island’s natural beauty. Keep an eye out for native flora and fauna along the trails.

Food lovers will be delighted by the local dining options available along the South Coast. From small eateries serving traditional Hawaiian plate lunches to seafood shacks dishing out the freshest catches of the day, there’s something to satisfy every palate.

Accommodation options on the South Coast range from vacation rentals and cottages to beachfront resorts. Whether you choose a cozy cottage overlooking the ocean or a resort with luxurious amenities, you’ll be treated to stunning views and a laid-back island vibe.

The South Coast is also a great base for exploring the rest of Molokai. It’s within a short driving distance of other popular attractions, such as Halawa Valley on the East End and the town of Kaunakakai in the central part of the island. This means you can easily venture out and discover more of Molokai’s wonders while still enjoying the serene ambiance of the South Coast.

If you’re looking for a picturesque coastal retreat with a relaxed atmosphere and a range of activities to enjoy, staying on the South Coast of Molokai is a fantastic choice. You can soak up the sun, explore the natural beauty, and create lasting memories of your island getaway.



Molokai offers a unique and authentic Hawaiian experience, and choosing the right area to stay can greatly enhance your visit. From the bustling town of Kaunakakai to the secluded beauty of Papohaku, each area has its own charm and attractions.

Kaunakakai serves as the main hub of the island, providing convenient access to amenities, shops, and restaurants. It is an ideal base for exploring Molokai and offers a lively atmosphere with a range of activities to enjoy.

Kalaupapa, with its historical significance and remote setting, is perfect for those seeking a unique and meaningful experience. Its guided tours and breathtaking landscapes provide a glimpse into the island’s past and an opportunity to connect with the local culture.

Maunaloa, nestled on the slopes of Kamakou, offers a peaceful and secluded retreat amidst stunning natural beauty. It is a serene paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and offers a glimpse into the local community’s way of life.

Papohaku is a remote area known for its pristine beach and tranquil atmosphere. It provides a secluded beach getaway where you can unwind and marvel at the natural beauty, especially during the breathtaking sunsets that grace the horizon.

Halawa Valley, with its lush landscapes and cultural richness, offers a unique glimpse into Hawaii’s history and breathtaking natural wonders. It provides an immersive experience surrounded by stunning waterfalls and the spirit of the island’s indigenous heritage.

The East End showcases the untouched and rugged beauty of Molokai, with its dramatic sea cliffs and hidden treasures waiting to be explored. It is the perfect destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers looking to escape the crowds.

The South Coast offers a blend of relaxation and natural beauty, with stunning beaches and a laid-back island vibe. It provides a range of activities, from beach outings to exploring nearby attractions, and is a great base for exploring the rest of the island.

Whatever area you choose to stay in Molokai, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable experience. Whether you seek adventure, relaxation, cultural enrichment, or simply a chance to reconnect with nature, Molokai has something for everyone. So pack your bags and embark on a journey to this hidden gem in the Hawaiian archipelago.


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