Kaunakakai, Molokai: The Coolest Small Town?.
Bay St. Louis, Mississippi ; Watkins Glen, New York; Shepherdstown, West Virginia; any of these sound familiar? How about Kaunakakai, Molokai?
Well, the first three were voted by Budget Travel magazine as its picks for the Coolest Small Towns 2013. As for Kaunakakai, it didn’t even get nominated–nada, nothing, zilch. For god’s sake even Sewickley, PA, got a nod.
Look I get it. Kaunakakai, and Molokai for that matter, aren’t exactly on the nation’s radar. Sure, Molokai may be Hawaii’s fifth largest island and have some of the world’s highest sea cliffs. But it’s also nearly 2,500 miles from the coast of California–not exactly ideal for the great American road trip. In fact it’s pretty far from it. And while I don’t think anyone who lives or has visited this Hawaiian island would want it any other way, sometimes it’s nice when a place and its people get a little love for being awesome. Especially, since Budget Travel describes its criteria for its coolest small towns as such:
The town must have a population under 10,000. It also needs that indescribable something: independent shops, a sense of energy, an epic backyard, culture, delicious coffee. In other words, cool doesn’t necessarily mean quaint: We want towns with an edge and a heart.”
Now if that doesn’t scream Kaunakakai, then I don’t know what does. You know all of those “indescribable somethings” Budget Travel mentions, well this dusty cowboy town not only has them but does them better than most of the small towns on the magazine’s list, including Sewickley, PA.
Beth and I fell madly in love with Molokai. The land is majestic–King Kamehameha V used to have a summer home near Kaunakakai in the 19th century. Hawaiian traditions are rich and run deep, possibly more than any other island in the archipelago. And the white sand beaches are plentiful and empty. I’m not entirely sure how Kaunakakai missed Budget Travel’s cut this year, but I’m hoping that we can change that in 2014.
Alright, I’ve laid out my evidence and I’m excited to hear what you think about this American paradise. Should Kaunakakai be recognized as one of Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns?