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Your Guide To The Mokulua Islands: The Mokes


If you’re looking for an amazing and secluded beach getaway, look no further than the Mokulua Islands. Also known as the “Mokes,” these two small islands are located just off the coast of Kailua Beach on Oahu’s windward shore. They are a popular destination for locals and tourists alike and offer some of the best swimming and snorkeling on Oahu. In this article, we will provide all the information you need to know about visiting the Mokes!

Getting To Know The Mokes

The Mokulua islands are a pair of islands located about a mile offshore from Lanikai Beach and Kailua Beach and are accessible only by boat, kayak, or even stand up paddleboard. The larger of the two islands is called Moku Nui, and the smaller is called Moku Iki.

The Mokes are a perfect visit for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Hawaii and explore the waters and nature of the islands.

A special highlight of the Mokes is that both islands are part of the Hawaii State Seabird Sanctuary, so you are sure to see some native Hawaiian birds while you’re there!

Moku Nui

Moku Nui in Hawaiian means “big island” and as you can guess this is the larger of the two islands. This island is open for visiting and has many tide pools to relax in and beaches to enjoy.

Moku Iki

The smaller of the two islands, Moku Iki is unfortunately off-limits for visiting, but still makes for a fantastic view from the shore of Moku Nui.

Visiting The Mokes

With the Mokes being about a mile off the coast of Kailua, how do people end up visiting? There are a few ways. The most common way is by kayaking or paddle boarding to the island. Not only is this a nice leisurely paddle, but you can get a great view as you come in and see the marine life on the way.

If you feel like getting some extra activity in and you happen to be a great swimmer, you can always dive in as well, just keep in mind that it’s just a little under a mile each way (if you start from the closest point of Lanikai beach) so it can be exhausting.

Kayak Tours of “The Mokes”

For those that really want to experience the Mokes through the eyes of a local, guided kayak tours of the Mokes that take you up to Moku Nui are a perfect option.

Your guide will share information on Hawaiian history, marine life, and our island’s geological formations. You will learn thought-provoking information about Hawaii that most visitors would love to hear about.

Planning Your Kayak To The Mokes

If you’re going to visit the Mokes during your visit to Kailua, there are a few things you will want to figure out first:

  1. Do you want to visit solo, or with a guide?
  2. What are you bringing along with you?
  3. Where should you get your kayak?

Self-Guided or Guided Trip To The Mokes

Whether you plan to visit the Mokes with or without a guide, you are sure to have a great time regardless. We recommend going with a guide if you want to learn more about the history and culture of Hawaii, as they are sure to provide an enlightening experience. If you’re planning on going solo, you can easily enjoy a whole day on the island before returning back.

If you plan on spending a whole day, just make sure you are prepared with everything you’ll need for the day.

What To Bring

Since Moku Nui is an uninhabited island, there are no facilities or stores on the island. This means you will need to bring everything you need for the day with you, including:

  • Snacks
  • Water (in a reusable bottle)
  • Sunscreen
  • Beach towel
  • Snorkeling gear (if you plan on snorkeling around the island)
  • Camera (You won’t want to miss the views)

Kayak Rentals for Your Trip to Moku Nui

If you decide to take a guided tour to Moku Nui, your kayak will be provided for the trip, but if you decide to explore Moku Nui on your own you’ll need a kayak rental. At Sun and Salt Hawaii, we’ve got the best prices and quality kayaks available for rent during your Kailua just down the street from Kailua beach!

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