"On the Friendly Island"
Molokai’s 106 miles of coastline, with stately sea cliffs running along on one side of the island and shallow fish ponds occupying a large part of the other side, doesn’t have too much room left over for beaches. But, beachgoers will be happy to learn that Molokai does have an ample number, some huge and practically (or actually) deserted, and some that rival the beauty of beaches anywhere.
You won’t find many beaches with all the facilities (and crowds of people) here, but you will find lots of beaches where you can find peaceful seclusion, many times having the whole beach to yourself.
Molokai Beach Descriptions
Kaunakakai Area (south shore)
One Alii Beach Park -
This, the oldest public beach park on Molokai , was once reserved for only
the alii (chiefs), but now even you can enjoy this lovely beach. It is a good
safe swimming area for the entire family. From here there are great views
across the sparkling blue Pacific to the Islands of Lanai and Maui. By the
way, it is pronounced oh-nay, not like the number one.
FACILITIES include showers, restrooms and picnic tables.
LOCATED: Right on the outskirts of Kaunakakai near a coconut grove.
Kiowea Beach Park -
This area is being improved, including replanting of the coconut grove. It is not a great beach for swimming, but for picnics, relaxing, watching the sunset, or all three together, it is great. Be aware there is the danger of falling coconuts in the grove.
FACILITIES include picnic tables, grills, shelters, restrooms, no showers.
LOCATED: Going west out of Kaunakakai, it is about one mile on the left just before the coconut grove.
The West End
Papohaku Beach -
Over three miles long and 100 yards wide with soft golden sand, this is one of the beaches where you can have as much space around you as you wish. You might be the only person in sight on many days, in spite of the beautiful setting. During Summer months swimming can be good here, but during most of the Winter the ocean is too rough with strong waves and currents. Papohaku Beach Park adjoins the beach and has picnicking and camping facilities in an expansive tree shaded area.
FACILITIES include restrooms, showers, picnic tables, shelters, BBQ pits, no lifeguards.
LOCATED: Go toward Maunaloa on Hwy 460, turn right on Kaluakoi Road before reaching the town. Continue down about 2 miles past the entrance to Kaluakoi Resort. You will see the sign to the Beach Park, and there will be many other spots to park along the beach.
Kepuhi Beach -
A nice sandy beach along the Kaluakoi Resort and Golf Course. The view is nice, and there are grassy dunes for sunbathing. The swimming is good during much of the Summer, but during Winter months the sea is usually too rough and currents too strong.
FACILITIES include restrooms, drinking water, showers and concessions at the resort.
LOCATED: Take Hwy 460 west and turn right on Kaluakoi Road, and follow the signs to the Kaluakoi Resort. You can park and walk through the resort to the beach.
Pohaku Mauliuli Beach -
A little bit to the north (right) of Kepuhi Beach (above) are the two Pohaku Mauliuli Beaches. The first beach has little sand and is mostly tide pool, and the second beach with much more sand is over a small bluff which separates them. You will often be able to have this beach all to yourself, or with few others around.
FACILITIES AND DIRECTIONS are the same as for Kepuhi Beach above.
Kanalukaha Beach, Kapukuwahine Beach, Kahalepohaku Beach -
These beautiful secluded beaches are seldom visited, and while not safe for swimming during most of the year, are fun to explore and nice just to hang out.
The western part of Molokai is dominated by the Molokai Ranch, but access to the beach areas through their land is permitted. You might also stop in at the Molokai Ranch Outfitters Center while in the area, where they offer a number of adventure activities.
These beaches are down dirt roads that are quite rough toward the end, and rental cars are not supposed to go on unpaved roads. If in doubt, rent a four wheel drive vehicle.
FACILITIES: There are no facilities nearby, and chances are good you will be the only ones around.
LOCATED: The main access road to this area begins in Maunaloa Town, near the Molokai Ranch Outfitter's Center. Drive down to the shore, and turning right, you will pass along Kanalukaha Beach. From where the road ends at a bluff, you can hike further along to the other beaches.
The East End
Sandy Beach -
Molokai’s best beach for swimming, and ideal for small kids. A fairly small beach of golden sand along the roadside, protected by an outer reef making the waters calm here year round. It is not as pretty as Murphy Beach (below) but offers better swimming.
LOCATED: Along Hwy 450 going east towards Halawa, it is between Mile Markers 21 and 22.
Murphy Beach Park (Kumimi Beach Park) -
One of the prettiest little beach parks you will likely ever see, this Park was created by the Island Jaycees by cleaning up an old dump which used to be located here on the Puu o Hoku Ranch. The Park was then named after the owner of the ranch, George Murphy. This area had originally been called Kumimi Beach, and is often still called that by the locals, and you might also hear some calling it Jaycees Park. Whatever you call it, it is a great spot now, with safe swimming most of the year, shade trees, and very good snorkeling outside of the reef.
FACILITIES include picnic area, BBQ grills, pavilions; but NO restrooms, showers
or drinking water.
LOCATED: Going east on Hwy 450, it is at Mile Marker 20.
Honouli Malo'o Bay -
A small bay with good swimming, snorkeling, and diving most of the year, but not as much sandy area as Honouli Malo’o Beach which is a little further down the road to the east.
LOCATED: Just a little bit past Murphy’s Beach (above) before Mile Marker 21.
Halawa Beach Park -
At the end of Hwy 450 you come to the scenic Halawa Valley and a black sand palm fringed lagoon. The swimming is usually safe for swimming during summer months, but during winter the strong wave action and currents make it too dangerous. Local surfers are usually at the north end of the bay doing their thing.
FACILITIES include shower and restroom at Halawa Beach Park.
LOCATED: Take Hwy 450 East to the end.