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A Very Mellow Town on Molokai's Southern Coast, Kaunakakai Boasts Colorful Wooden Buildings, Two Beaches and No Stop Lights
Kaunakakai is a very mellow town nestled along Molokai's southern shore. In the mid-19th century, it was one of King Kamehameha V's favorite summer vacation spots.
The entire island of Molokai only has about 8,000 people, and Kaunakakai is its largest population center. Ala Malama Avenue is the village's main (only) road and has colorful, wooden mom and pop stores. There are no stop lights in town, but there are a few banks, a police station, some groceries, a natural foods store, a liquor store, a popular bakery, several parks and 14 churches (Catholic, Protestant, Bahai and others). Most buildings date from the 1930s. Kaunakakai Wharf is the longest wharf in Hawaii and is where tug boats come to offload supplies. Kaunakakai Community College has classes for all ages, and community events happen throughout the year. Homes run the gamut, from beautiful to tumbledown.
One Aliʻi Park, just east of town, has a beach perfect for picnics and watching the sunset. Kumimi Beach, also next door, is a nice spot for picnics and wading.
Population: 3,100 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 38%
Cost of Living: Meets the the national average
Median Home Price: $400,000
Climate: Temperatures are in the 70s and 80s year round. The area receives approximately 35 inches of rain per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by the Joint Commission? Yes
Public Transit: No
Crime Rate: Well below the national average
Public Library: Yes, the Molokai Public Library
Political Leanings: Very liberal
College Educated: 26%
Is Hawaii Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: The poverty rate is above the national average, as is the case in many small Hawaiian towns.
Notes: There is a ferry to Maui. In general, Molokai is the island with very little traffic and no large stores, fast food joints or crowds. Home prices have increased 12% since last year. The population has gone up and down during the last decade but has essentially remained steady.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although the higher than average poverty rate should be weighed.
The Aloha State is an isolated volcanic archipelago 2,397 miles east of San Francisco. Although it was annexed by the United States in 1900, Hawaii did not become a state until August 21, 1959. It is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands, and it is the northernmost island group in Polynesia.
Hawaii's islands are known for their lush foliage, rugged geography, as well as their gold, red, black, and green sand beaches. Its Kilauea volcano is one of the world's most active. NASA astronauts trained for moon voyages by walking on Mauna Loa's hardened lava fields.
Of the six major islands, Oahu has the only major city - Honolulu. Climate and rainfall can vary depending on altitude and location. Thanks to trade winds, the north and east side receive higher amounts of moisture than the south and west. The islands experience some tropical storms, but the incidence of a true hurricane is rare. The rainiest city, Hilo, in the United States is in Hawaii.
Tourism and defense are a large part of the Hawaii's economy. The state is the only one in the union to grow coffee. It also produces most of the nation's pineapple and sugar cane. Nearly eight million tourists come to visit each year.
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