Best Beaches on

With the population of Molokai being limited you won't have to battle the large beach crowds you'll find on the other islands. This is a definite boon as you'll be able to enjoy their beauty in the peace and quiet you were looking for when you booked your vacation to Molokai.

Halawa Beach Park

Resort Area : Halawa Valley

Halawa or "curve" Beach is actually made up of two small bay shorelines - a sandy beach (Kama'alaea) on one side and a more rocky, exposed one (Kawilli) at the mouth of a stream on the other. They sit at the foot of the lush Halawa Valley, where the full and wide Halawa stream pours down mountains that often get heavy rains.

There's an inspiring view of neighboring Maui in the distance and palms swaying on this secluded beach. The swimming is safe, especially in the lagoons near the shore, and winter swells attract surfers near the north side of the bay, but the large rocks can be slippery and you should be particularly careful getting in.

There is a lovely gentle slope starting from the trees and then continuing down the beach to the shoreline. That slope continues in the water so it gets deep relatively quickly.

Halawa Beach is an excellent place to fish, picnic, and wade but there are no lifeguards and limited facilities. Take Hwy. 450 east all the way to the end of Molokai, park at the deadend, and walk to the right to get to this quiet beach.

Kepuhi Beach

Resort Area : Kaluakoi

Kepuhi Beach on Molokai's west coast is not the ideal swimming location when the winter surf is high, but it is a beautiful place to sunbathe, stroll, or beachcomb - for shells and golf balls, in fact. (The Kaluakoi Resort and Golf Course is just inland, and the odd ball ends up closer to the water than intended.)

Hidden grassy dunes, soft golden sand, and stunning ocean views make it a wonderful and relatively secluded vacation spot. Swimmers always need to keep an eye out for large lava rocks and strong currents, but calmer waters usually prevail in summer months when it can be fun to snorkel, dive, and bodysurf in the rolling waves.

A rocky shoreline makes water sports difficult, and there are no lifeguards or facilities. You can grab lunch or use the bathroom at the nearby resort.

You can access the beach through the resort. Take Kaluakoi Rd. off Hwy. 460 and follow signs to the hotel.

One Alii Beach Park

Resort Area : Kaunakakai

Located just east of Kaunakakai, One Alii Beach Park is a slim band of sand by a coconut grove that is the oldest public park on the island.

"Alii" means Hawaiian royalty or chiefs and this beach used to be favored by them and its fishpond used to raise fish for their families. "One" here is pronounced "own-aye," not like the number.

Water can be murky but swimming conditions are safe and there's great coral to explore.

The sandy beach is also somewhat rocky, and it's a wonderful park for picnics and games. There are no lifeguards, but restrooms, showers, drinking water, and playground facilities are provided. There are even picnic and pavilion areas with grills, a ball park, and free parking.

Located in South Molokai at mile marked 4 off Hwy. 450.

Papohaku Beach

Resort Area : Kaluakoi

Papohaku Beach Park is one of the only Molokai beaches with a posted name at its entrance. You might also hear it referred to as "Three Mile Beach," since there are that many miles of golden sand stretching almost 300 feet wide along the coast, making it Hawaii's largest white sand beach. Most spots are fairly private since it's so roomy, and this strip of paradise will often seem deserted.

Strong tradewinds coming from the west can sometimes whip up the sand, so it's not the most comfortable beach during windy weather. But sunset views are always breathtaking, and this beach park is home to the island's biggest cultural festival each May (called the Molokai Ka Hula Piko), when residents celebrate the birth of hula on the sandy shore, near where the goddess of hula taught ancient Hawaiians the dance on a sacred hill.

The water is good for swimming, snorkeling and diving during the summer months but the surf picks up a lot in winter. There are no lifeguards on duty but facilities include restrooms, showers, drinking water, and picnic areas.

Turn right on Kaluakoi Rd. off Hwy. 460 west before you reach Maunaloa. Drive two miles past the Kaluakoi Resort entrance and look for the sign and free parking area. You'll need to walk through lots of trees to reach the sunny beach.

Sandy Beach

Resort Area : Halawa

Sandy Beach is one of Molokai's most popular swimming beaches - it's a small crescent of golden sand with reef protection and a deeper shore bottom (great diving and snorkeling, too).

A hill rises from the sand to the road above, and you can see the islands of Maui and Lanai from your sunbathing or wading location.

There are no facilities or lifeguards but it does get strong currents and some seasonal high surf (though not usually enough to attract large crowds of surfers), so keep an eye out for the conditions.

It's the last sand strip going east before you reach Halawa Beach Park, located after Rock Point between mile markers 21 and 22 off Hwy. 450.

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