Destination guide

Kaunakakai – your passport to the Friendly Isle

With clapboard buildings, steepled churches and not a traffic light in sight, Kaunakakai could be one of Hawaii's most authentic destinations. The town sits on Molokai, an off the beaten track island known for sandy beaches, soaring sea cliffs and laidback locals. In fact, it's so easygoing that Molokai markets itself as the "Friendly Isle". Want to embrace Molokai's aloha spirit? Championing a barefoot luxury approach, Kaunakakai vacation rentals unlock access to this slice of Pacific paradise. All you need to bring is good company.

Things to do

Soak up Kaunakakai's royal roots

Just out of town you'll find the postcard-perfect Kapuaʻiwa Coconut Grove. Back in the 1800s, Molokai served as an island retreat for King Kamehameha V, who planted the grove next to his favorite bathing pools. It's especially beautiful at sunset, when the fronds acquire a golden glow. Just across the way is Church Row, where you'll find a cluster of pretty steepled churches, surrounded by emerald-green grass and swaying coconut palms.


Outdoor adventures in Kaunakakai

Every Saturday Kaunakakai throws a lively market that attracts vendors from across Molokai. Expect tropical fruits, organic veg, freshly caught seafood, local honey and more. For a quintessential taste of Kaunakakai get up early and stock up on treats from the famous Kanemitsu's Bakery. Coupled with freshly brewed coffee on the deck of your Kaunakakai vacation rental villa, it's a guaranteed way to elevate your breakfast to the next level.


Winter whale watching in Kaunakakai

Molokai enjoys a sultry tropical climate, with highs hovering around the 70s and 80s throughout the year. Spring, summer and fall are all gorgeous times to visit, with clear skies and calm water. From family-sized estates to beachfront condos, Kaunakakai vacation rentals make it easy to slip into island time with your loved ones. Winters usher in most of the island's rainfall, though there's also every chance of sunshine and it's always warm enough to swim. You'll also catch peak whale-watching season, with 1000s of humpbacks migrating along the Molokai coast.

Natural features

Cliffs and coconut palms in Kaunakakai

With a rich indigenous heritage and an untouched landscape, locals boast that Molokai is the most authentic Hawaiian island. In fact, by law, no building is allowed to be taller than a coconut palm. Kaunakakai is Molokai's biggest town and is a great base for exploring the island's lush rainforests, rainbow-hued reefs and soaring sea cliffs. Intrepid travelers will jump at the chance to visit the dramatic Kalaupapa Peninsula, one of Hawaii's best kept secrets. Hemmed in by 2000-foot high cliffs, it's accessible only by air, mule or on foot.

How to get there

Traveling to and around Kaunakakai

Fly into Kalaupapa, HI (LUP), the closest airport, located 9.3 mi (15 km) from the city center. If you can't find a flight that's convenient for your trip, you can also fly into Hoolehua, HI (MKK-Molokai), which is 14.5 mi (23.3 km) away.

Where to stay around Kaunakakai?

Our 2019 property listings offer a large selection of 545 vacation rentals near Kaunakakai. From 50 Houses to 8 Cottages, find a unique house rental for you to enjoy a memorable stay with your family and friends. The best places to stay near Kaunakakai for a holiday or a weekend are on HomeAway.

What is the best area to stay when traveling to Kaunakakai?

Whether you're traveling with family or friends, here are the areas with the largest selection of vacation rentals for a holiday trip or just for a weekend in Kaunakakai:

  • Historic Lahaina Front Street: 528 vacation rentals
  • Montage Kapalua Bay (Residences at Kapalua Bay): 470 vacation rentals
  • Kaanapali Hillside: 303 vacation rentals
  • Downtown Lahaina: 418 vacation rentals
  • Plantation Estates: 28 vacation rentals

For other neighborhoods, please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available.

What are the popular points of interest near where I can stay when traveling to Kaunakakai?

HomeAway offers a large selection of vacation rentals near lovely places in Kaunakakai. From HomeAway travelers, the most popular points of interest to stay for a holiday trip or just for a weekend are:

  • Halawa Bay Beach: 4,400 vacation rentals
  • Honouli Maloo Bay Beach: 4,797 vacation rentals
  • Wailau Beach: 4,015 vacation rentals
  • Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove: 205 vacation rentals
  • Pelekunu Valley Overlook: 3,919 vacation rentals

But there are many other points of interest around Kaunakakai listed on HomeAway where you can find your place to stay. Please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available near the point of interest of your choice.

Can I rent Houses in Kaunakakai?

Yes, of course. HomeAway has 50 Houses in Kaunakakai. Our other popular types of vacation rentals in Kaunakakai include:

  • Cottages: 8 rentals available
  • Bungalows: 8 rentals available
  • Condos/Apartments: 391 rentals available

But you can also enjoy a great stay in one of our other vacation rentals including Villas and more.

Can I find a vacation rental with pool in Kaunakakai?

Yes, you can select your preferred vacation rental with pool among our 437 vacation rentals with pool available in Kaunakakai. Please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available.

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