Lanai Has Outdoor Activities That Appeal To Everyone
Lanai is known for having a few options for outdoor adventure activities that aren’t typical of the Hawaiian Islands. While Lanai is notorious for its quiet and pristine atmosphere, that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of action and adventure to explore.
There is something that appeals to every type of traveler on Lanai island. Along with amazing outdoor adventures, there is also an art gallery and heritage center for anyone looking to learn more about the Hawaiian culture and traditions.
Grab your water bottle and hiking shoes for some of these incredible trails, coves, and overlooks that will make you marvel at the breathtaking beauty of the island. Once you start exploring Lanai, you’ll see that this remote island has no shortage of fun and exhilarating activities.
Feel Like a Martian and Drive Through the Garden of the Gods
When you think of a remote, tropical island, you probably don’t think of a deserted rocky terrain that looks like it came straight out of photos of Mars.
But the Garden of the Gods or Keahiakawelo is just that. Located about 6 miles north of Lanai City, this incredible landscape makes for the perfect start to exploring Lanai attractions.
The best time to visit the Garden of the Gods is at sunset. This is because the way the light will hit the rocks and dirt create such incredible reds and oranges you’ll seriously feel like you’re on another planet.
Gaze Upon Deserted Ships from World War II at Shipwreck Beach
Learn the Legend of Puupehe Trail
Walk Through The Garden Of The Gods On Lanai
When visiting Lanai, rent a vehicle with four-wheel drive and make the 45-minute drive from Lanai City to see the Garden of the Gods, preferably at sunset. Legend has it that the reason for the lack of vegetation among the park’s rock towers, spires, and formations has a reason: two priests on different islands had to keep their fires burning for the longest, and the priest on Lanai used the vegetation to fuel it. If you’re looking for Lanai activities that show off unique parts of Lanai’s landscape, the Garden of the Gods is the place to go.
Get Adventurous To Kaunolu
An area known for being Kamemeha favorite fishing spot. Here you will find the history of Hawaiians living at this area. They have done well preserving this area with signs throughout historical sites educating the visitors. Make sure you take a short hike to Kahekilis leap. Here you will find a spot where warriors would jump off the cliff into the ocean.
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Explore Kaunolu Village Site
The Kaunolu Village Site is a U.S. National Historic Landmark packed with Hawaiian history. For hundreds of years, this village was a thriving fishing spot. It was even one of King Kamehameha Is favorites!
While at Kaunolu Village Site, you can check out the gorgeous sea cliffs, the town ruins, the remnants of a sacred heiau , and even the ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs. But one of the coolest landmarks at Kaunolu Village Site is Kahekilis Leap, a 60-foot cliff where ancient Hawaiian warriors would prove their courage by diving off the edge.
Maui Lahaina: Lana’i Or Turtle Town Afternoon Snorkel
Quicksilver Maui Deluxe Lanai Snorkeling Tour is now offering an afternoon snorkeling charter to either the beautiful coasts of Lanai island or the magnificent area of Lahaina Turtle Town! Lanai boasts large coral reefs fringe the wild, remote, and sparsely populated island. The waters off Lanai are home to a pod of spinner dolphins made up of more than 100 individuals! Oftentimes, you will see spinners leap from the water while your double-deck catamaran makes her way to the snorkeling site at Manele Bay or Shark Fin Rock . If the weather is too rough or uncomfortable to our guests to cross the channel between Maui & Lanai, we will take our guests to Lahaina Turtle Town where turtles are always seen in the wild amongst a variety of beautiful Hawaiian fish!Enjoy snorkeling the translucent waters of Maui, sure to leave you in awe wit…
Great experience! Lots of open space on the boat with assigned seating to help guests socially distance. Very knowledgeable crew! 🙂
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The Top Things To Do In Lanai
Although we don’t have any property rentals on the island of Lanai here at Hawaii Life Vacations, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a visit. The island is the smallest public access island in Hawaii, but has some interesting landmarks and activities in addition to its secluded beaches. Carve out a day during your trip to Hawaii and check out our top picks for things to do in Lanai!
How To Get To Lanai Hawaii
First off Lanai City, is not actually what you would think city. Lanai city is far from a city, population of about 3,000 is rural Hawaii. To get to the island you have two choices. Either by plane via Mokulele Airlines a small air craft or by a passenger ferry from Lahaina Harbor. I prefer the later, go to Lanai via the ferry. Here you will be able to bring larger suitcase or more of your belongings for a visit.
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Sweetheart Rock Overlook Via The Puupehe Trail
Down by Hulopoe Beach is the Puupehe Trail that offers a scenic hike along the coastline, at the end of which you will catch a glimpse of iconic Sweetheart Rock, one of Lanais most picturesque natural landmarks.
This 20-minute hike allows you to take in the full majestic beauty of the ocean the entire way, offering the perfect spot for an early morning walk to admire the breathtaking sunrise, which makes it one of the most scenic hikes on Lanai.
Nestled between Hulopoe Bay and Manele Bay, this impressive rock formation rises impressively 80 feet out of the sea and has a tragic Hawaiian legend behind it.
According to the Lanai legend, Maka, a warrior from the island, fell in love with Pehe and hid her in a sea cave out of jealousy. One day a violent storm made her drown in a cave, and grief-stricken Maka, climbing to the top of the rock, buried her there and then jumped to his death.
This legend surely adds to the mysterious splendor of this towering red rock pinnacle. It is one of the top attractions in Lanai !
How Do You Get Around Lanai
Lanai is small there is no Uber or public transportation. If you want to explore the island, the best way to do that is with a rental car.
If youre staying at one of the Four Seasons resorts, theyll have cars available that will shuttle you to various destinations on the island. There are also island tours that will show you all of the main points of interest.
And, you can always take a taxi, though they can be quite expensive.
You wont need a rental car for the entire trip just on the days you want to get out and explore. Rent a 4×4 so you can make the most of driving around the island.
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Things To Do In Lanai
There is no doubt that the beaches and clear waters of Hawaii are the top draw to the islands and Lanai is no different, but there are a lot of attractions in Lanai that are unique to the island. A trip to Lanai involves the perfect mix of watersports, cultural experiences, and pampering that will make this a trip to remember. So lets get started!
Free Things To Do In Lanai
Leave your purse in the hotel. It’s a cinch to occupy yourself in Lanai without surrendering a cent.
Lanai Animal Rescue Center – If you adore animals, don’t head home without exploring this place.
Lanai Culture & Heritage Center – Make room in your itinerary to have a look at this place of local importance.
Hawaiian Church – Gain an understanding of local religious beliefs at this holy site.
Shipwreck Beach – Go for a stroll along the water’s edge and maybe even stick a toe in.
Munro Trail – Relax and let nature’s rugged beauty ease your soul.
Kanepuu Preserve – Cultivate your green thumb and enjoy admiring the beautiful and diverse plants on show.
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See The Staggering Napali Coast
I conquered my cliff-edge fears to take in the sight of the Napali coast and I dont regret it. This 17-mile stretch of green-cloaked cliffs and inversely dramatic valleys is one of the most photographed sights in the whole of Hawaii. Only the toughest trekkers tackle the entire trail but sea-level sailings at sunset are a popular alternative.
How to do it: I hiked it independently without a tour, which is easy enough but if you really want to get the best view, get in a plane. You can book a sightseeing tour that takes in the coast and the canyon .
Bask On Hulopoe Beach
Of course, youre going to want to spend some time relaxing on beautiful Hulopoe Beach.
This is one of the things you can do on Lanai without a car, because the beach is walking distance from the Lanai ferry dock.
The white sand beach is absolutely idyllic!
Keep your eyes peeled for spinner dolphins that play in the bay.
Hulopoe Beach is public. If you take a Lanai snorkeling excursion from Maui , this is the beach you get to enjoy lazing about on.
If youre a guest at either of the Four Seasons resorts on Lanai, you also get to enjoy their beach club services like being treated to Evian spritzes and chilled facecloths delivered to you, while youre lounging on your beach chair.
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Splurge At The Four Seasons
If you are a foodie, you can dine at Nobu Lanai, which is a restaurant by Nobu Matsuhisa chef which showcases Japanese cuisine. The restaurant offers a variety of sushi selections made with locally grown ingredients.
Manele Bay where the Four Seasons is located is the best beach that Lanai has to offer. The beach is perfect for swimming, snorkeling and its not uncommon to see dolphins frolicking around in the bay.
Sweetheart rock is about a 20 minute hike from the resort. This is the best thing to do in Lanai for style, luxury and seclusion.
Experience More Of Hawaii
Read our posts on:
Kauai | From SUP boarding on a tranquil river to hiking the Kalalau Trail, there are lots of great things to do in Kauai!
Water sports | Whale watching? Surfing? Snorkeling? Check out these super fun Hawaii water activities and the best places in Hawaii to do them.
Which Hawaiian island? | How do you choose between Maui and Kauai? Which island is better?
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Hike Out To Shipwreck Beach
This is one of the most unique things to do in Lanai, because there are no other Hawaiian islands with major shipwrecks onshore. Way over on a deserted northeast beach, lies a massive 365 foot WWII tanker beached on the reef just 200 meters offshore. The YOGN-42, a WWII U.S. Navy fuel tanker made of iron and cement, was intentionally scuttled here in 1954. It was taking up space in Pearl Harbor, so the Navy hired a contractor to tow it to the empty coast of Lanai and leave it. 65 years later, it sits still slowly rusting away. And, this is just one of several wrecks along this six-mile long beach. Further along lies the YO-21, a Navy oiler that was present in Pearl Harbor the day of the Japanese attack.
It takes 30 minutes to get here from Lanai City. Take highway 430 out of town. At the sign, turn left onto the dirt road. Park at the end of the dirt road, then walk heading left on the beach. Walk about 10 minutes on the beach and you can view the YOGN-42. A jeep will get you right to the beach. A car will have to be left on the highway, and adds to your hike.
Stroll Around Lanai City
The best cultural experience of all the things to do in Lanai is to simply visit its only town, and see how people live. Located in the center of the island, Lanai City is a cool reprieve from the scorching beach. It sits among the shade of towering Cook pines, at 1700 feet of elevation, and feels more like a small town in the Pacific Northwest than a tropical island. It seldom gets much over 80 degrees here, and 50s are common on winter nights. With only 3000 people, all of its sights are within walking distance, clustered around the grassy open space of Dole Park. While you are there, be sure to:
- Learn about the history of this island at theLanai Culture and Heritage Center. Open 8:30-3:30 Mon-Fri.
- Do some Hawaiian-style clothes shopping in The Local Gentry. Open 10-6.
- Create something new, or buy a local artists work at the Lanai Art Center
- Get all your gifts for back home at Lanai Hula Hut.
- Sit under a majestic Cook Pine in Dole Park and watch the clouds drift by.
- Catch a movie at the Hale Keaka Lanai Theater The historic theater had been shut down since the 1970s and was just recently restored.
- And beyond all these shops, there are also wonderful athletic facilities open to the public just next to Dole Park. Youll find a swimming pool, basketball court, volleyball court, baseball field, soccer/football field, and tennis courts. Everything is in like-new condition.
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Hulopoe Bay Tide Pools
Shortly after you start the sweetheart rock trail from the beach, you might notice a set of stairs that lead to the ocean. This will take you to the Hulopoe Bay tide pools!
As long as the ocean conditions permit, you can actually walk all along the coast right along the ocean, with the lava rocks and tide pools being the trail! This can take you all the way to the beach at Sharks Bay!
Hulopoe Bay tide pools: See more about this Lanai activity.
Suntan In The Buff At Polihua Beach
Yes, because Polihua Beach is so remote, you can strip off and sunbathe in the nude here!
But dont tell too many people about this wed like to keep it one of those secret things to do in Lanai.
Like Keahiakawalo , this two-mile arc of pristine gold sand beach is also found on the northern part of Lanai, so you can combine visiting both in the same four-wheel drive outing.
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Learn The History Of Puu Pehe
The most popular landmark on the island of Lanai is Puu Pehe, also known as Sweetheart Rock. With its turquoise waters and red-orange ocean cliffs, its an absolutely gorgeous scene.
But the most interesting part of Puu Pehe is the Hawaiian legend behind it. Once upon a time, a young warrior from Lanai popped on over to Maui. While on the neighboring island, he saw a beautiful princess, whom he captured and made his wife. But because this warrior was worried about other men getting jealous, he hid his newlywed wife in a sea cave. But, one day, during a particularly violent storm, the princess drowned. Due to his heartbreak, the warrior jumped off the cliff and to his death.
Its a short hike from Hulopoe Bay Beach Park to Sweetheart Rock, which we did at the end of our day on Lanai during our Hawaii cruise. If I had more time, it would definitely be a go-to sunrise spot on the island.
Maui To Lanai Ferry Schedule:
- Ferry from Maui to Lanai at: 6:45am, 9:15am, 12:45pm, 3:15pm, 5:45pm. Tickets are $28.85 adults, $19.23 kids 2-11.
- Ferry from Lanai to Maui at: 8:00am, 10:30am, 2:00pm, 4:30pm, 6:45pm. Tickets are $28.85 adults, $19.23 kids 2-11.
From Manele harbor on Lanai it is 15 minutes by car to Lanai City, and only 3 minutes to the Four Seasons Lanai. You can easily walk to Hulopoe Bay for the beach or the campground.
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Honolulu: Pearl Habor Tour With Arizona Memorial
Hear fascinating stories on this tour of Pearl Harbor and downtown Honolulu. Witness the key sites and memorials to the 1941 attack, and experience the island’s wartime history.Begin this tour with pickup in Waikiki. Travel first to Pearl Harbor and ride the navy launch to the USS Arizona Memorial.Visit the sombre monument above a sunken battleship from the day of the attack. Explore the memorials to the many groups who lost their lives, and pause to reflect at the wall of remembrance.Return to your waiting van for a historic tour of downtown Honolulu. Your expert guide will explain what it was like to live on the island during wartime.See sights including Iolani Palace, the State Capitol, King Kamehameha Statue and Aloha Tower as you learn about the fascinating history of this historic place.
A must see. Enjoyed our visit very much. Wished we ha a little more time to guided audio tour.
Places To Go In Lanai
Welcome, traveler, to Lanai. Your journey has landed you here, and new adventures are calling your name. Now that youve arrived, you can stay in the safety and comfort of your hotel and watch the world spin pastor you can embrace this new place youve come to. Learn its streets. Meet its people. Learn its history. Your hand is already on the doorknob, isnt it?
Things to Do in Lanai
Youll not be wanting for things to do in Lanai. Explore the downtown area in search of museums and boutiquesor that next delicious meal. What tickles your fancy? A delectable five-course supper at the restaurant youve been hearing about? Or perhaps youd rather read the paper while sipping hot coffee at one of the cafes scattered throughout town. Take in a show at the theatre, or just walk along down the main thoroughfare, watching people wander past.
Why spend hours ruminating over what to do in Lanai? Let the possibilities wash over you as you explore this new region. Move out on foot and get to know the area on a more personal level. Find that perfect souvenir at one of the smaller shops, or reinvent your entire artistic aesthetic at your new favorite gallery.
When you book your journey with Travelocity, youre never far from Lanai attractions. After all, the money you save when you plan a trip with us is best spent along the way. Whether its the roar of the city you crave, or the quiet solitude that comes with a simpler getaway, everything you need to get started is right here.
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