During their journey to Hawaii, many visitors don’t spend much time in Lanai. This is a list of the finest things to do in Lanai, demonstrating that the island is more than just a day trip from Maui!
This list of things to do in Lanai includes hikes, beaches, and activities, with the hopes of inspiring you to visit the lesser-known island in an active manner. Just stay tuned to see a lot of wonderful places for you in your special occupation.
See more: The Ultimate Guide To The Best Hikes In Maui
Are you a beach bum who enjoys snorkeling? If that’s the case, Hulopoe Beach, Lanai’s premier snorkeling destination, is here to help!
On this beautiful Lanai beach, you may swim in calm seas, relax on a golden sand beach, or go snorkeling to see the rich life beneath the waves.
It has something for everyone in every season, so prepare to swim securely in the calmest waters in the summer while watching spinner dolphins and humpback whales perform offshore in the winter. If you don’t feel like swimming or snorkeling, take a picturesque stroll nearby to see Puu Pehe (Sweetheart Rock) or Shark’s Bay.
Remember to bring your reef shoes because a series of stairs at the end of the walk will lead you to lava tidal pools where you may see limpets, starfish, sea cucumbers, Barber Pole shrimp, and other aquatic species during low tide.
- Location: Lanai’s southern coast
- Opening hours: 24 hours
If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you’re in the middle of a real-life Pirates of the Caribbean scene, then Shipwreck Beach (Kaiolohia) is the place to go for its once-in-a-lifetime rusty ship sights.
This 6-mile-long beach was originally the ultimate resting place for over a dozen shipwrecks, some of which were purposely sunk while others were stranded by chance.
The YOGN-42, a WWII US Navy concrete gasoline tanker built in 1942 when the Navy deliberately destroyed her in 1954 following a failed mission, is the main (and most creepy!) shipwreck.
As you may have guessed, there are lots of shipwrecks beneath the waves, but don’t even consider diving below the ocean to see them since the beach may be incredibly powerful and hazardous!
- Location: Lanai’s southern coast
- Price: Free
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Another gorgeous hiking track (along the coastal side of the Four Seasons) begins on the other side of Hulopoe Beach and provides access to breathtaking coastline vistas. Hiking along the gorgeous shore, through the ruins of historic house buildings and temples, and taking in the breathtaking views of the ocean, crashing waves, and rocky coastline is what Fisherman’s Trail is all about.
By providing informative markers along the path, the Lanai trail helps you to learn more about Hawaii’s distinct culture.
Your educational adventure will help you learn about the Hulopoe Beach residents as you read about their everyday lives, and explore their community, including the homes they lived in, the stone tools they used, and other intriguing information about Hawaiian life.
Ending your trekking day by admiring the spectacular landscape of a flaming sunset reflected in blue seas from the majestic cliffs is a terrific way to relax.
- Location: 525 Hulopo’e Drive, Wailuku, HI 96793, US
Garden of the Gods / Keahiakawelo
The Garden of the Gods, also known as Keahiakawelo by locals, is an unearthly location with a bizarre lunar environment. As you read about the Hulopoe Beach folks’ daily lives, explore their community, including the dwellings they lived in, the stone tools they used, and other fascinating details about Hawaiian life, you’ll gain a better understanding of them.
Ending your day of trekking with a breathtaking view of a blazing sunset mirrored in azure oceans from the towering cliffs is a fantastic way to unwind.
According to tradition, the gods dropped those stones from the sky to defend their gardens, while another tale claims that the barren terrain was formed as a result of a battle between two Lanai and Molokai priests.
Each of them had to maintain a fire going on their own islands, with the winner being the one who could keep it running the longest. Lanai’s priest triumphed by fueling his fire with all of the island’s greenery.
So get in a four-wheel drive and embark on an exciting journey to discover this wild and windswept region for a truly unforgettable experience!
- Location: roughly 45 minutes from Lanai City on the northwest side of the island
May you need to know: The 12 Best Things To Do In Kihei Maui
Golf at Manele Golf Course
Enjoy the beauty of Lanai’s southern shore while playing golf at the world-famous Manele Golf Course, which was created by golf legend Jack Nicklaus. Advanced golfers will be pleased by the demanding position and unusual construction of this course, which is located at the Four Seasons Manele Bay. Staying at Lana’s Four Seasons is the best way to practice your swing while taking in the breathtaking surroundings.
You’ll be surrounded by spectacular views of lush foliage, ocean cliffs, and the Pacific, and if you’re fortunate, you could even see whales frolicking in the distance.
Many visitors come to Manele Golf Course for two reasons: first, to take in the breathtaking surroundings, and second, to play a game of golf with their friends. It’s truly one of the most enjoyable things to do in Lanai!
Nearby Views Restaurant is a must-try eating experience, where you may have a delectable meal while taking in the breathtaking view. P.S. Did you know that Bill Gates likes to spend his weekends at this 18-hole beachfront golf course?
- Location: One Challenge Dr, Lanai City, HI 96763, US
- Price: 450$/ green fees
- Contact: +1 808-565-4000
Koloiki Ridge Trail
Another wonderful climb is the Koloiki Ridge Trail, which promises you will see beautiful views of the island along the route.
This gentle 5-mile circular walk will take you past pine woods and up into lush mountains, where you can enjoy magnificent ocean vistas and distant views of Maui and Molokai islands.
Koloiki Ridge, which separates Naio and Maunalei, was once a violent Hawaiian battleground in the 18th century. So come ready to learn more about Lanai’s endangered ecology as well as the people’ attempts to safeguard their wildlife and flora. You may begin the trek near the Four Seasons Hotel Lanai in Koele or from the Munro Trail; the latter will lengthen your journey (6 miles). The trek out to the sea cliffs and back takes around 2-3 hours.
- Location: 4.2-mile out-and-back trail near Lanai City, Lanai
Lanai Cat Sanctuary
Lanai Cat Sanctuary should be at the top of your list of things to see in Lana if you are an animal lover, especially if you appreciate cats. Over 600 spayed/neutered felines (called Lanai Lions) of various kinds and sizes call this non-profit refuge home.
This location rescues cats, homes, feeds, and spays them with the purpose of preventing feline overpopulation, which helps to safeguard Lanai’s endangered ground-nesting birds, such as the Hawaiian Petrel, by contributing significantly to the island’s environment. It is available to the public and is funded entirely by contributions, so any amount helps to support their efforts. Spend a few hours helping there (gardening, painting, grooming), but be informed that the odds of falling in love with the cats are quite high, and you will most likely end up taking one of the adorable felines home with you!
- Location: 1 Kaupili Rd, Lanai City, HI 96763, US
- Contact: +1 808-215-9066
Polihua Beach is your go-to beach on this list if you’re searching for a private beach where you’ll scarcely see another person. Garden of the Gods is a 30-minute drive away from this 2-mile gorgeous gold sand beach.
This undeveloped area of Lanai is ideal for sunbathing (try nudist sunbathing because you’ll have the entire beach to yourself) and beachcombing, but unsuitable for swimming due to the harsh waves and powerful riptides.
This beach used to be home to now-endangered sea turtles, but if you’re lucky, you could still see a couple! Simply be courteous and maintain a safe distance.
You may easily combine your four-wheel trip to Garden of the Gods with a visit to this gorgeous secluded beach because it is also located in Lana’s northern portion.
- Location: Lanai City, HI 96763, US
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Petroglyphs are an old Hawaiian kind of pictorial writing that may be found on all of the Hawaiian Islands, including Lanai. Before departing the island, be sure to see the Poaiwa Petroglyphs to complete your Lanai adventure!
To access the Poaiwa Petroglyphs, first travel to Shipwreck Beach and join a half-mile walk that offers breathtaking coastline views.
The trek will take you to Poaiwa Valley, where you will see petroglyphs engraved on massive lava rock rocks that were thought to be excellent for documenting historical events.The fading petroglyphs portray a diverse array of symbols carved over many centuries, ranging from battling warriors to peaceful pets.
Under Hawaii Revised Statutes and the Federal Archaeological Resources Protection Act, the whole region where the petroglyphs are discovered is protected.
- Location: northeast coast of the island
Sweetheart Rock Overlook via the Puupehe Trail
The Puupehe Trail, located near Hulopoe Beach, offers a magnificent stroll down the coast, culminating in a view of famed Sweetheart Rock, one of Lanai’s most gorgeous natural features.
This 20-minute climb allows you to take in the whole majestic grandeur of the ocean the entire way, making it one of Lanai’s most picturesque hikes. It’s also the perfect site for an early morning walk to view the breathtaking sunrise.
This amazing rock structure, nestled between Hulopoe Bay and Manele Bay, rises majestically 80 feet out of the water and has a terrible Hawaiian mythology behind it. Maka, a Lanai warrior, is said to have fallen in love with Pehe and hid her in a sea cave out of jealousy, according to tradition. A huge storm drowned her in a cave one day, and Maka, distraught, climbed to the top of the rock, buried her there, and then leaped to his death. This narrative just adds to the enigmatic beauty of this colossal red granite pinnacle. It is one of Lanai’s most popular attractions (and should be on your itinerary)!
- Location: 0.9-mile out-and-back trail near Lanai City, Lanai
Shark’s Bay, a tranquil beach on Lanai’s south side, is a great place to get away from the throng. Hiking on the Puupehe Trail will provide you with panoramic views of Shark’s Bay. If you decide to visit this little corner of heaven (which I believe you should), there is a short and simple tidal pool path near Hulopoe Beach that will take you right there.
Shark’s Bay is a little white sand cove surrounded by towering red lava rocks where you may relax and unwind while lying on the pristine sand.
Swimming is not recommended because the beach is known for strong currents and a rough ocean bottom. Keep an eye out for Hawaiian monk seals while you’re there.
Because it is rarely crowded, visitors of the Four Seasons Resort at Manele Bay choose to walk the short distance to adjacent Shark’s Bay to relax on its uncrowded beach and take in the breathtaking views.
- Location: P4P6+52, Lanai City, HI 96763, US
- Opening hours: 9:00 – 16:30
- Contact: 1300 367 072
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In peaceful and inviting Lanai City, you’ll find a tranquil haven away from the rush and bustle. It’s more of a little hamlet than a city, and if you plan your Lanai itinerary ahead of time, you can see it all in under an hour. Go grocery shopping at Richard’s Market and do some shopping at Dole Park’s mom-and-pop stores. Experience true small-town Hawaiian feelings by taking a relaxing stroll along calm streets with no traffic signals beneath the shade of towering Cook Pines. Visit the Lanai Culture and Heritage Center to learn more about this historic city. You’ll find exhibits, maps, and images that will help you explore the city’s geological and cultural identity.
Visit the Lanai Art Center or Mike Carroll Gallery to see local art, or visit Lanai Hula Hut or Cory Labang Studio to get a one-of-a-kind present for your loved ones
Stop into Blue Ginger Café for a bite to eat and finish your day with some Hawaiian-style clothing shopping at the Local Gentry.
Scuba Diving in Lanai (and Snorkeling)
Water enthusiasts who want to investigate life under the waves will like what Lanai has to offer. Go snorkeling through lava tunnels, scuba diving beneath lava rock archways, and prepare to be amazed by the diverse and colorful aquatic life.
Green turtles, yellow butterflyfish, eels, octopus, crabs, whitetip reef sharks, and other amazing water species may all be found here. Beginner snorkelers should start in Hulopoe Bay, while expert divers should visit Lanai Cathedrals, the island’s most popular dive site.
The latter is a diver’s dream come true since it has two stunning underwater locations, the First Cathedral and the Second Cathedral, both of which are light-filled caverns formed by lava tubes.
Explore the Kaunolu Village Site
The Kaunolu Village Site is a National Historic Landmark in the United States that is rich in Hawaiian history. This town was a productive fishing site for hundreds of years. It was even a favorite of King Kamehameha I! The beautiful sea cliffs, town ruins, vestiges of a holy heiau (Hawaiian temple), and even ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs may all be seen at Kaunolu Village Site. But Kahekili’s Leap, a 60-foot cliff where ancient Hawaiian warriors would demonstrate their bravery by plunging off the edge, is one of the best sights at Kaunolu Village Site.
- Location: Lanai City, HI 96763, US
There’s a considerable possibility you’ll wind up going off-roading on Lanai during your stay. With just 30 miles of paved road on the whole island, several of the sites on our list, such as Keahiahawelo, Kaiolohia, and Polihua Beach, will require you to put your off-roading talents to the test. Fortunately, the two rental car businesses on the island provide a large selection of four-wheel drive automobiles. You may also take a guided UTV excursion with Lanai Adventures if you like.
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Tee Off at the Four Seasons Resort
The top things to do in Lanai are mostly related to nature or Hawaiian culture. Golfing at the Manele Golf Course at the Four Seasons Resort is a unique experience. The top things to do on Lanai are mostly related to nature or Hawaiian culture. Golfing at the Manele Golf Course at the Four Seasons Resort is a unique experience. You may enjoy the spectacular vistas while putting your talents to the test on the 18-hole course. It’s no wonder that many visitors flock to the Manele Golf Course for the beauty, which includes seaside vistas and lava outcroppings.
- Location: 1 Manele Bay Rd, Lanai City, HI 96763, US
- Price: ~1978,69$
- Contact: +1 808-565-2000
Explore the outdoors all over Lanai
Whether you’re traveling for a day or spending a weekend on Lanai, you now have a comprehensive list of things to do. Which of these things to do in Lanai is at the top of your to-do list? Please let me know in the comments section, along with any questions you may have!
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