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Things to Do in Lanai
If you’re planning a Hawaii vacation, you probably didn’t consider Lanai. Lanai is one of the least visited of the Hawaiian Islands. Still, there are plenty of things to do in Lanai if you plan a day trip from nearby Maui!
The island of Lanai has two main resorts – both Four Seasons properties – but not as much to offer tourists as Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island.
You can always spend a day on Lanai when visiting Maui. There is a ferry that goes between Maui and Lanai. It is an excellent option for when you want to see multiple islands without a plane ride.
One of the most common questions I get is about Hawaii Interisland Flights and how to travel between islands. Fun fact, the ferry between Maui and Lanai is the only way to travel between islands without a flight!
The ferry ride takes approximately 45 minutes. When you reach Lanai, the ferry will dock at Manele Harbor. The dock is a short distance to the best beach on Lanai.
No matter how you decide to visit the beautiful island of Lanai, you will enjoy every minute. So, let’s talk about the best things to do in Lanai.
Where to stay in Lanai
If you want to stay in Lanai, you’re going to need to pull out your wallets because The Four Seasons Lanai and Sensei Lanai, a Four Seasons Resort, are the main places to say if you don’t have a Four Seasons budget, no worries because you can find some vacation rental properties.
As you probably know, I don’t think Airbnb in Hawaii is a good idea, but if you want to stay in Lanai and can’t afford the Four Seasons, a vacation rental is your only option.
I would choose VRBO over Airbnb, but in an ideal situation, I would stay at one of the resorts in Maui and do a day trip to Lanai!
By the way, you’ll definitely need a rental car in Maui! I recommend Discount Hawaii Car Rental. You’ll find the best prices on rental cars in Hawaii.
Things to Do in Lanai
Here are the best things to do in Lanai. As always, in no particular order.
Take a Sail and Snorkel Tour
One of the best things to do in Lanai is take the sail and snorkel tour. This is a 5-hour adventure everyone will love. A catamaran will take you to all the best snorkeling spots around the island.
You may spot a few dolphins with all the other marine life in the water.
Relax on Hulopoe Beach
If you are trying to have a relaxing vacation in Hawaii, you may want to relax on Hulopoe Beach. As I mentioned, this beach is close to where the ferry docks. So, you can easily arrive on the island, head to the beach, and sit in the sand all day long.
Hulopoe Beach is also perfect for swimming and snorkeling near the reefs. Spinner dolphins can often be seen out in the water. And when you need time away from the sand, you will find picnic tables over at Hulopoe Beach Park.
Another option is to check out the tide pools. Inside those pools, you can see all types of marine life. It is best to explore these pools during low tide.
See Lanai from a private helicopter tour
It’s certainly not the least expensive way to see Lanai, but a private helicopter tour is a unique way for up to 6 guests to explore the island – from the air!
Watch the Sunset Over Kaumalapau Harbor
To watch the sunset over Kaumalapau Harbor, you will need to stay on the island of Lanai for the night. But it is worth it if you want to see gorgeous views of the setting sun without anything getting in your way.
You can check out the sunrise and sunset times here.
Wander Through the Mike Carroll Gallery
Mike Carroll is an artist who originally lived in Chicago. He relocated to Lanai in 2001 and has been creating masterpieces ever since. You can check out all of his art at the Mike Carroll Gallery.
Visit the Ghost Town of Keomuku
The Ghost Town of Keomuku is on the eastern side of Lanai. It was once a fishing village. In the 1800s, it turned into a sugar plantation town. After the sugar plantation failed by the 1900s, the town was abandoned.
Today, you can see many abandoned structures. One of the best structures is the restored Malamalama Church.
Go Scuba Diving
Scuba diving is one of the best things to do in Lanai. There are two dive sites with light-filled caverns in Lanai. Both the First and Second Cathedrals were created from lava tubes.
There are a few different scuba diving tours offered in Lanai. You can choose one and venture out to the dive site of your choice with an experienced guide.
Check Out the Poaiwa Petroglyphs
The Poaiwa Petroglyphs are thought to date back to the 15th century. These primitive rock drawings contain all types of Hawaiian scenes. However, a bird-headed stick figure is portrayed quite often.
To reach these petroglyphs, you must drive out to Shipwreck Beach. From there, you will hike down to the Poaiwa Valley. It is approximately a half-mile hike round trip.
Visit Shipwreck Beach
I just mentioned Shipwreck Beach. You may be wondering exactly why a beach has that name.
Well, this beach has more than 12 different wrecks along the shoreline. A few of those wrecks happened by accident. Others were simply left there when the ships were no longer needed.
One of the most visible wrecks is the YOGN-42. It is a concrete fuel barge constructed in 1942 for the Navy.
This is one of the best things to do in Lanai when looking for historical sites.
Experience the Beauty of Shark’s Bay
Shark’s Bay is one of the best places to visit in Lanai. You can see spectacular views from the red lava cliffs that surround the bay.
There is a private cove area down by the water. It is perfect for relaxing on the sand. You should never enter the water because the currents are too strong.
Keahiakawelo is also known as the Garden of the Gods. Feel free to call it that when referring to this rock garden!
There are a couple different legends of how this area came to be. The first states the gods dropped these rocks from the sky while caring for their gardens.
The other legend says a priest from Lanai and another from Molokai created this magical garden. The Lanai priest won a contest where he had to keep a fire burning the longest. He used all the bushes and trees on the island to win.
A 4WD vehicle is needed to reach this area. The best time to visit is either just before sunrise or sunset.
Visit the Cats at the Lanai Cat Sanctuary
One of the most calming things to do in Lanai is visiting the cats at the Lanai Cat Sanctuary. Over the last few years, more than 600 cats have called this sanctuary home. They are affectionately called the Lanai Lions.
Most of these cats were abandoned or feral with nowhere to call home. In Lanai, there is no animal shelter and no vets, so the cat sanctuary provides housing that is very needed. Feral cats are dangerous to native birds, so the Lanai Cat Sanctuary solves two problems!
Photo property of Lanai Cat Sanctuary.
Furthermore, you can sponsor a kitty at the Lanai Cat Sanctuary, or you can even adopt a kitty and bring it home with you! If you don’t find your way to the sanctuary, you can still support them by donating or purchasing merch online!
Take a Walk Along the Fisherman’s Trail
The Fisherman’s Trail is located near the shoreline. The trail begins at Hulopoe Beach and continues to the Manele Golf Course.
This is one of the best things to do in Lanai when you want to spend time outside near the water. The path is easy with minimal elevation.
There are blowholes in the area. So, keep your eyes open to see the water spraying up in the air.
Play a Round of Golf
Speaking of the Mandele Golf Course, you can play a round of golf there if you stay at one of the Four Seasons Resorts.
Jack Nicklaus designed this golf course. You can see the ocean from every hole.
Visit the Lanai Culture and Heritage Center
Learning about Hawaiian culture is easy when you take the time to visit the Lanai Culture and Heritage Center. This center is filled with maps, old pictures, and artifacts.
Wander Around Lanai City
When you are in Lanai, one of the best things to do is wander around Lanai City. This small town is perfect for grabbing a bite to eat or doing a little souvenir shopping.
Dole Park is right in the middle of town. It is a fantastic spot for people watching or enjoying a picnic.
Venture Up to Sweetheart Rock
Sweetheart Rock, or Puu Pehe in Hawaiian, is one of the best things to see in Lanai. According to the legend, a young warrior fell in love with Pehe. She was from Maui. The warrior hid Pehe in a sea cave.
A storm came and flooded the cave. Pehe drowned. The warrior buried Pehe at the top of this rock before leaping to his death in the water below.
It takes approximately 40 minutes to walk to Sweetheart Rock and back again.
Hike Along the Koloiki Ridge Trail
Hiking is one of the best things to do in Lanai. And the Koloiki Ridge Trail is one of the better trails on the island.
This is a 5-mile hiking trail. You will go through pine forests before you reach the opening with magnificent ocean views.
Another hiking option involves taking the Munro Trail. This is an almost 13-mile trail. If you want to see all 6 Hawaiian Islands at the same time, you can do it from this hiking trail. Well, as long as it is a clear day!
You can reach the Koloiki Ridge Trail from the Munro Trail. Feel free to combine them both for a hiking adventure of a lifetime!
One of the best ways to see the sights in Lanai is by offroading. There are a few different offroading tours you can choose from when you are visiting Lanai.
As you are out in the wilderness, you may have the chance to see wild turkeys, sheep, goats, and axis deer.
Visit Kaunolu Village
Kaunolu Village was another fishing village years ago. It is now a US National Historic Landmark.
During your visit, you can check out the ruins and the Hawaiian temple. However, the 60-foot cliff, known as Kahekili’s Leap, may capture your attention the most. This cliff is where warriors used to dive off the edge to prove they were courageous.
These are the best things to do in Lanai. You can visit this island for a day or a week. No matter how long you stay there, your time will be spent doing some of the most amazing things Lanai has to offer!
Things to do in Lanai
Those are some of the best things to do in Lanai. What do you think? Have you visited the Pineapple Isle?
If you need some help planning your Maui or Lanai vacation, reach out! I am a Hawaii Travel Agent, and that is what I do. I am selective about how many clients I work with, so reach out as soon as possible for the best availability. You can contact me to learn more.
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