Also known as Pineapple Island (because the island used to produce more than half of the world’s pineapples at one point), Lanai Island is a beautiful Hawaiian island with rugged terrain.
The Maui Channel Swim that takes place in August and September from Maui to Lanai is one of the standouts. Sightings of tiger sharks are also frequent in the waters surrounding Lanai.
With all that in mind, we have put together a list of things you can do on this beautiful island. The eclectic mix of attractions on offer is sure to keep you delightfully occupied for the duration of your holiday!
Every Hawaiian island features beautiful beaches, and Lanai is no different, but Lanai beaches are somewhat deserted with a laidback atmosphere.
Getting here involves a bumpy ride from Lanai city, which will take about 75 minutes.
The first half an hour will be a scenic ride with lots of rugged scenery, but as you get closer to the beach, you’ll have to put up with a bit of jostling around – if you are someone who gets car sick, this isn’t a recommended activity for you.
This 1.5-mile-long beach isn’t visited by many, so it’s quite peaceful, which would be great for someone who doesn’t like to contend with crowds.
The contrast between the red dirt line and the beach sand is hard to miss, and you cannot swim in the water due to strong currents. But the beach is perfect for a nice stroll.
Also called the Sweetheart Rock, Puʻu Pehe is a cove located between Hulopoʻe Bay and Mānele.
The clash between the red rocks and the deep blue ocean is breathtaking. Inside this cove is a beautiful white beach called Shark’s Bay.
The currents are too strong for swimming, but the scenery is absolutely beautiful.
For restroom facilities, head to Hulopoʻe Beach, which is practically next door.
Hulopoʻe Beach Park
From the ferry drop-off, it takes about ten minutes to walk down to Hulopoʻe Beach Park. Like other beaches in Lanai, this beach isn’t very crowded, so you’ll have the beach pretty much all to yourself.
You can also view the Sweetheart Rock from here.
Get here in the morning. If you are travelling from Maui, you can get to Lanai by ferry in about an hour. There’s plenty of parking, and you’ll find some great snorkelling on the left side of the beach.
The only problem is that the waters get murky when the winds pick up. However, there are beautiful corals, so trying to snorkel here is worth it.
The beach offers some great facilities like washrooms and picnic tables as well.
The north shore of the island was a difficult area to navigate, as is evident from the number of shipwrecks found here. Some were accidental, and some were deliberately done – once a vessel ran out of its usefulness, the owners would leave them here to tack itself onto the reef.
The highlight is the World War II vessels that were left here intentionally. You’ll also come across various petroglyphs of horses and men. You might even see monk seals.
From the parking area, you have to walk about a mile to get here.
Lanai beaches are perfect for water sports, and if you are here during winter, you will be rewarded with sightings of humpback whales.
Book a boating tour to enjoy the beautiful coastal cliffs of Lanai from the water. There are tour companies that offer boating tours that include activities like diving and snorkelling. Whale watching is often part of these boating tours.
Lanai offers snorkelling opportunities for both beginner and expert snorkelers. If you don’t have much experience, you’ll find the best snorkelling in Hulopoʻe Bay.
If you are experienced, however, you should head to the Lanai Cathedrals, two of the most famous dive and snorkelling sites in Hawaii.
Lanai has ideal conditions for surfing all throughout the year. The island is quite isolated, so if you don’t like crowds, this is a great place for you to try out surfing.
Hulopoʻe Bay is the best spot on the island for surfing. This southward bay gets consistent swells during summer. You might even get the chance to surf alongside spinner dolphins.
If you are an advanced surfer, head to Shipwreck Beach, which offers great surfing opportunities. Getting here is a bit of a challenge as it is a four-wheel drive on dirt roads to the beach.
The beach is rocky, so be careful when walking around. The currents are strong, and there’s no lifeguard, so we don’t recommend surfing or swimming here if you are new to water sports.
The water channels that run around Lanai are excellent for whale watching. If you are here during the whale watching season, March to November, you should join a whale watching sail or charter.
If you are lucky, you might even be able to see whales right off the coastline of Pu‘upehe.
The island features about 400 miles of dirt roads and rugged terrain with gorgeous scenery. Hiking along the coastline and trekking through the wilderness tracts are some of the activities Lanai is known for.
Here’s a detailed view of the land activities offered by Lanai.
For a challenge and to soak up the gorgeous tracts of wilderness that pepper the island, go on a hiking tour. Koloiki Ridge, Pu’upehe train, Fisherman’s trail, Hi’i Trail, Munro Trail, and Naha Trail offer some of the best hiking trails in all of Hawaii.
Gardens and Parks
Lanai’s rustic feel is a result of the lack of rain; the island is one of the driest islands in Hawaii and relies on fog drip. To experience this rustic character of Lanai, you should head to the Gardens of the Gods and Kānepuʻu Preserve. These gardens nurture a wide array of endemic plants.
Join a horseback riding tour to explore the gorgeous woodlands and the rocky outcrops of Lanai. You will ride through ironwood forests with the guidance of a wrangler.
Tourists of all ages can go horse riding in Lanai, and you can also find private lessons.
Take a break from all the adventure and do some shopping. Lanai doesn’t have fancy shopping malls, and the few boutique shops and art galleries found here are not on the tourist radar. So, shopping in Lanai is a laid-back and relaxing experience.
Lanai Cat Sanctuary
Lanai Cat Sanctuary is a sanctuary in every sense of the word. There are hundreds of cats lazing around and snoozing away in their comfortable cat beds and on tree branches.
At the entrance, you’ll be given a bag of treats that you can use to feed the cats while giving them a good belly rub. You can make a donation, or better yet, you can adopt a cat.