Last Updated on April 27, 2024

E Komo Mai. This is the official “welcome” greeting of the Hawaiian Islands.

While Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii are the most-visited of the islands, many forget about two others: Molokai and Lanai.

Molokai, known as the “friendly isle” and considered the most Hawaiian Island, lies between Oahu and Mahi covering an area of about 260 square miles. The island is characterized by diverse landscapes including lush valleys, rugged shorelines, pristine beaches, and the world’s tallest sea cliffs along its northern coast.

The island has significant cultural and historical importance in Hawaiian history as it was once home to powerful chiefs and a center of Hawaiian civilization. In the 19th century, it became the site of leper colonies, where individuals afflicted with Hansen’s disease were isolated. Father Damien, a Belgian priest, famously worked with the afflicted on Molokai’s Kalaupapa Peninsula, earning him sainthood in the Catholic Church.

While less developed for tourism compared to some of the other Hawaiian Islands, Molokai offers visitors a more authentic and tranquil experience. Popular activities include hiking, snorkeling, and exploring historical sites. The island’s rural charm and untouched landscapes appeal to those seeking a quieter and more traditional Hawaiian experience. The island is known for its customary Hawaiian practices, such as hula, slack key guitar, and taro farming. Residents are dedicated to preserving their cultural heritage and way of life.

Molokai has a limited number of hotels and resorts compared to other Hawaiian Islands. One of my friends who visited the island in 2024 chose to stay in a vacation rental instead of a hotel and highly recommended this type of accommodation which she said enhanced the experience.

If you’re considering a stay on Molokai (which can easily be combined with another island visit), here are some lovely vacation rentals to consider with exceptional reviews and surprisingly reasonable prices.

Tropical Condo with Wraparound Lanai

Ho’omaluhia Hale with wraparound lanai.
Ho’omaluhia Hale with wraparound lanai. Photo courtesy of VRBO

Here’s a spacious, stylish corner condo located in a tropical oasis on the island’s dry west side. Ho’omaluhia Hale (“to be tranquil home”) is located in the premier, low-density Paniolo Hale property and includes a fully screened wraparound lanai.

The stunning one-bedroom, one-bath vacation rental can accommodate four along with a double sofa bed. Guests have access to a pool and two beaches, and 3-mile Papohaku Beach – Hawaii’s longest beach –just a little over two miles away.

A full kitchen, BBQ grill, washer and dryer and beach chairs are included.

Wavecrest Top Floor Condo with Ocean Views

If having an ocean view is important while you’re on vacation, this one-bedroom, one-bath condo with a double futon in the common area that sleeps four is an ideal choice.

Located in the Wavecrest Resort area, guests have access to a community area with a pool, cabana, BBQ and coin-operated laundry.

The vista from the top floor is impressive and not only includes ocean views, but views of Maui and Lanai as well.

Tennis rackets and balls, shuffleboard and pickleball equipment are also available for use. Of note: other vacation properties are also available at Wavecrest.

King Oceanfront Studio at Kepuhi Beach

This spacious oceanfront studio opens to a screened lanai offering beach views and ocean waves. Located in Paniolo Hale, the one-bedroom, one-bath studio can accommodate two.

The lush and beautifully landscaped property boasts a lovely pool with BBQ grills scattered throughout the grounds, just steps to Kepuhi Beach and a short walk to Make Horse Beach.

Previous guests absolutely raved about the studio, the awe-inspiring sunsets, the secluded beach with monk seals and the considerate and friendly owner. If you need a larger unit, this laid-back beach Paniolo Hale hideaway can sleep five.

Mai Tai Vacation Home with Loft

Mai Tai vacation home with loft.
Mai Tai vacation home with loft. Photo courtesy of VRBO

If you’re looking for more space for your family or friends, this lovely vacation rental will fit the bill. The vaulted-ceiling home can sleep up to six guests with two bedrooms and two baths and an additional loft accessed by a spiral staircase.

You’ll find everything you need in the well-stocked kitchen and alcove that houses a stacked washer/dryer unit. The covered lanai can be accessed from the master bedroom or living area. Guests also have access to a pool, pool towels, spa, boogie boards, a cooler bag and beach chairs.

Two picturesque beaches are only a 10-minute walk away.

Rustic Retreat with Tropical Gardens

Pu’u O Hoku Ranch offers a unique getaway for travelers seeking a more rustic retreat. You can hike, swim, stargaze, surf and see a working ranch in action. The property is one of the few places in the islands where you can experience Hawaii as it once was.

Perched on a hill, surrounded by tropical gardens, with panoramic windows offering views over the ocean bluffs, Sunrise Cottage is perfect for romantic getaways or small groups. The master bedroom has a queen bed, a second bedroom offers two twins along with a spacious living and dining room, a fully-equipped kitchen, two bathrooms, and a shaded lanai.

The cottage was built in the 1930s in a classic Hawaiian ranch style, furnished with Balinese and Hawaiian wood and textiles. It’s off the grid (so no Wi-Fi), runs on renewable energy and the water is from a property well.

Westside Molokai Oceanfront

Westside Molokai Oceanfront townhome.
Westside Molokai Oceanfront townhome. Courtesy

The west side of Molokai is where you’ll find beautiful white sand beaches and tourmaline snorkeling waters.

This stunning two-bedroom, two-bath, Tommy Bahama-inspired vacation townhome invites guests to simply walk a few steps outside to a secluded beach to play in the ocean, watch a magnificent sunset or stargaze from a private balcony. High ceilings and a wraparound lanai allow for seamless indoor/outdoor living. Both upstairs and downstairs bedrooms each have their own baths.

Guests have access to beach towels, snorkel gear (for three people), beach umbrellas, a beach cooler, beach chairs and so much more. This place is a vacation dream come true!

Molokai Shores Condo with Loft

There’s no doubt this amazing one-bedroom, one-bath with a loft vacation suite at Molokai Shores is popular with visitors to Molokai and why once booked, guests book it again.

With its chic island décor and lovely tropical-inspired furniture, the condo offers a lovely place to soak in Molokai’s extraordinary ambiance. But the show-stopper is definitely the garden and ocean views off the private lanai. Those who love to cook (like me) will appreciate the chef’s kitchen with everything needed to prepare a wonderful meal in paradise.

Guests have access to an oceanfront swimming pool, barbeque areas and laundry facilities.

Ready to pack your bags? I know, I am!

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