Ride a bike, take a hike, shoot a clay pigeon


MAUNALOA, Hawaii -- Although sitting around with a good book and an unparalleled view of the ocean is usually the order of the day, boredom as a state of being is not possible at the Sheraton Molokai Beach Village, where my extended family recently celebrated a reunion.

Part of our group rented bicycles for the day, and some of us chose lessons in cattle-rustling, skeet-shooting and archery. Kayaking, guided hikes and paintball also are available.

Most of the activities are run by Molokai Fish & Dive (wwwlokaifishanddive.com). For the less physically inclined, a cultural beach walk might be all the stimulation needed.


I chose not to rent bicycles ($30 all day), but I have mountain-biked some of the numerous trails on the island and can safely say that even the most fit and skilled will love the variety in the terrain, from wide-open Jeep trails to soft, red sand and technical single track.

Maps and stakes with arrows make it fairly simple for riders to be their own guide, but they must be prepared to be their own mechanic, as well, should a kiawe thorn puncture a tire.

Some members of our family made the trek from the beach village to Kaupoa Beach, a mostly downhill, dirt-road ride of about seven miles, one with his 5-year-old attached to a mini-tandem and his 7-year-old riding alongside.


An image of my daughter riding on horseback into the middle of a herd of cattle to extract a cow and drive it into the arena is one I will not soon forget.

The paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) roundup, a three-hour adventure, started in a rodeo ring with some basic instruction. Once in the open field, we rounded up about 20 head of cattle in 15 minutes.

Back in the ring, we took turns driving the cattle. We learned to separate cows from the group, which transformed the ride from little more than sitting in the saddle to an experience that required the use of many skills for a tangible purpose.

Throughout what felt like an authentic Hawaiian cowboy experience, we admired views of the west side of the island all the way to the ocean.

Cost: $80 per person for about two hours. The minimum age is 10, but exceptions are made for small groups or children with riding experience.


I hate to admit I love to shoot things. Not living things. But there's nothing better than blowing up an inanimate, biodegradable clay disk.

During our stay at the Sheraton Molokai, we hopped on the free shuttle to the isolated sporting clay area about 20 minutes from Kaupoa Beach, where we stayed in canvas, ecofriendly tentalows.

With my 11-year-old son eager to try his hand at shooting, I found myself hesitant and on high alert, but our instructor put me at ease.

Two stations gave us four types of clay animals to shoot. These included two flight patterns simulating birds and two running patterns mimicking rabbits. A 20-gauge shotgun proved manageable for my son; however, the "rabbits" might test even experienced shooters.

Cost: $65 for 50 rounds, which last about three hours.


There is something so ancient and so pure about archery. A bow. An arrow. A target. Your hands. Your aim. Instant failure or gratification. No noise. No excuses.

Located in the same isolated meadow as the sporting clays course, it's one of the most accessible activities at the beach village as well as one of the cheapest.

After basic instructions, we were led into a wooded area where we took aim at wooden animals, including a wild boar and a deer, both common prey on Molokai.

Even children as young as 5 let fly the arrow in hopes of hitting the bull's-eye.

Tip: The afternoon session can get hot during summer months. Try the morning session. Cost: $35 per person; about three hours.

Cultural beach walk

Young children unable to ride horses or bicycles -- or shoot arrows -- tagged along for what proved to be the most educational excursion of all.

Our guide on the Cultural Beach Walk wove the history of the Hawaiian people and his own family into simple concepts the children could grasp.

He chanted for us at a fishing shrine, showed us his wife's Niihau shell necklace (valued at $19,000) and told us about his brother, who earns his living making and selling jewelry on Molokai.

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For more details on this article, see Sheraton Molokai Village: No TVs, lots of remote.

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