15 Best Things to Do in Lanai, Hawaii

Lanai Hawai
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The best things to do in Lanai will indulge you with remote luxury.

As the sixth-largest Hawaiian island, Lanai is the smallest one in the island chain accessible to the general public.

Since it was once an island-wide pineapple farm, it has been nicknamed Pineapple Island.

Lanai City is the island's sole town.

Larry Ellison, the founder and chairman of Oracle Corporation, owns 98% of the island as of 2012, with the state of Hawaii and individually held properties owning the remaining 2%.

Since just 30 miles of the island's roads are paved, and there are no stoplights, "Hawaii's Most Enticing Island" is the ideal destination to get away from it all.

While you may explore Lanai for a day, you'll probably wish you could stay longer.

Learn more about this enchanting place with our list of the best things to do in Lanai!

Swim and Have a Picnic at Hulopoe Beach

Aerial view of Hulopoe Beach
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Hulopoe Bay is one of the most popular destinations on the island.

Snorkelers and beachgoers enjoy the huge sand expanse and colorful reefs teeming with tropical fish and local plants.

This is one of Lanai's few swimmable beaches; the waves are too hazardous in the winter.

Beach chairs and umbrellas on Hulopoe Beach
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When visiting Lanai in the winter, be sure to make a pit stop in Hulopoe Bay, where you may be lucky enough to see dolphins and humpback whales.

The shaded places behind the shore are recommended for picnicking by recent visitors.

Palm trees on Hulopoe Beach
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Remember that the end of the walk leads to tidal pools where you may see limpets, sea cucumbers, Barber Pole shrimp, starfish, and other marine species during low tide.

If you feel bored while sunbathing, you may take a few minutes to walk along the cliffs southeast of the tidal pools to obtain some fresh air.

Public barbecue grills, showers, and bathroom facilities are available at the public beach.

View of Hulopoe Beach's sand
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Drive Towards Keahiakawelo (Garden of the Gods)

A rock with the words "Garden of the Gods"
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Keahiakawelo, a rock garden at the end of Polihua Road, is also known as Garden of the Gods.

The intriguing lunar terrain of this storied location on the northwest part of the island, home to boulders and rock towers, is about 45 minutes from Lanai City.

It's said that two kahunas (priests) from Lanai and Molokai competed to create this windy environment.

Each islander was given the task of keeping a fire burning for the longest time possible, and the island that succeeded in doing so would be showered with wealth.

Red rocks and blue skies at Keahiakawelo
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Kawelo, a Lanai kahuna, utilized Keahiakawelo's greenery to keep his fire going.

Because of the arrival of ungulates and subsequent erosion, the terrain changed.

Native dryland forests once covered the area, and some remain today.

At night, the eroded spires, rock towers, and forms are at their most beautiful.

Parts of a natural dryland forest can still be found in the region today.

Closer view of Keahiakawelo's red rocks
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The rocks are bathed in a magnificent crimson and purple glow as the sun sinks lower in the sky.

Travelers may view Molokai and Oahu from these elevated vantage points on the Hawaiian islands on a clear day.

This road is only accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicles or mountain bikes.

Kapu, the act of removing or piling rocks is forbidden here.

Scenic view at Keahiakawelo
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Go Trekking at Koloiki Ridge Trail

The Koloiki Ridge Trail is a popular one.

It is a stunning route that provides spectacular views of the island as you go.

If you're looking for an easy, moderate 5-mile circular route that will take you through pine forests up into the beautiful highlands of Maui and Molokai, this one is for you.

The Koloiki Ridge, which divides Naio and Maunalei, served as a devastating Hawaiian war ground in the 18th century.

So, get ready to discover more about Lanai's delicate ecology and the efforts of the islanders to maintain their wildlife and flora as you go across this island.

You can start the path near the Munro Trail or Four Seasons Hotel Lanai for a lengthier journey.

Go Sunbathing at Polihua Beach

Calm waves covering Polihua Beach's sand
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Polihua Beach is an excellent choice if you're searching for a quiet getaway where you're likely to be the only person there.

Garden of the Gods is only a 30-minute drive from this gorgeous two-mile stretch of golden sand beach.

Because of the choppy waters and powerful riptides, this area of Lanai is not suitable for swimming.

Clean sand of Polihua Beach
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Instead, enjoy sunbathing, or you may try naked sunbathing for an extraordinary experience and beachcombing.

In the past, this beach was a haven for sea turtles that are now extinct, but you may still be able to identify some of them!

Keep your distance and be courteous. You may easily combine your trip to Garden of the Gods with a stop at this gorgeous secluded beach because it's located in Lana's northern portion.

Lava rocks along Polihua Beach's sand
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Spot the Lanai Petroglyphs

The Hawaiian Islands feature petroglyphs, an ancient kind of writing, and Lanai is no exception.

You must see the Poawa Petroglyphs before you leave Lanai to ensure that your vacation is a complete one!

Take a scenic half-mile walk down Shipwreck Beach, and then follow the signs to Poaiwa Petroglyphs, which may be reached after driving to Shipwreck Beach.

Petroglyphs etched into massive lava rock boulders in the Poaiwa Valley highlight your trip.

Rock art that depicts anything from battling warriors to gentle pets has been etched into the sandstone for decades.

The whole region in which the petroglyphs are situated is protected by the local laws.

Take Photos with the Rusty Tanker at Shipwreck Beach

The rusty tanker afloat on Shipwreck Beach
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Kaiolohia, popularly known as Shipwreck Beach, is a half-hour drive north of Lanai City.

The narrow, rocky channel that runs through this 8-mile length of windswept coastline has been the site of several shipwrecks.

A rock with the words "Shipwreck Beach"
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On the other hand, the rusting hull of a 1940s oil tanker is still beached on Kaiolohia Bay's coral reef, creating a mysterious atmosphere.

This is a beautiful spot for beachcombing and exploration, but swimming is not recommended due to the proximity of Molokai and Maui.

View of the rusty tanker from the shore
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You'll need a car with four-wheel drive to reach this location.

Visitors should use caution when driving along Keomoku road, as it is small and there may be approaching automobiles.

A driftwood near Shipwreck Beach's water
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Check Out the Legendary Puu Pehe (Sweetheart Rock)

Sunset and the silhouette of Puu Pehe
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A beautiful 80-foot high Puupehe looms majestically above the southern shoreline between Manele and Hulopoe Bays.

Puu Pehe is a beautiful natural feature, but it also has a rich cultural history.

A young Hawaiian warrior named Makakehau and a Hawaiian damsel named Pehe from Lahaina have fallen in love.

Her beauty had such an effect on him that he would cry every time he saw her. Hence, Maka Kehau was born.

Front view of the Puu Pehe sweetheart rock
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On Lanai, he brought her back to the island of Manele and concealed her in a sea cave.

When he returned from getting supplies one day to see Pehe drowned in the storm surge, he was devastated.

Feeling bereaved, Makakehau took hold of his lover and held her close to his heart.

It took him a long time to get there, but in the end, he made it there by calling out to the gods and the spirits of his ancestors.

He dove from the summit's 80-foot drop to escape the roaring waves below.

Far view of the Puu Pehe sweetheart rock
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From the Four Seasons Resort Lanai, you may take a short walk southeast via Hulopoe Beach and the rocky tidal pools to come to Puupehe.

After around 15-20 minutes of hiking, you'll see this Lanai landmark from the jagged cliffs.

Hulopoe Bay's breathtaking vistas make sunsets here particularly lovely.

These waters are known for their abundance of spinner dolphins, which may be spotted standing atop this magnificent overlook.

Go Snorkeling at Lanai Cathedrals

Sunlight coming through Lanai Cathedrals
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What can you do underwater in Lanai? Scuba diving is a fun activity.

All of Lanai's beauty is beneath the waves.

The First Cathedral and the Second Cathedral are two of the most popular dive destinations in the area because of their lava tube caves.

Lanai Cathedrals' opening
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Apart from the beauty of these lava caverns and archways, scenic marine life is also abundant.

It's possible to see whitetip reef sharks, golden butterflyfish, and green turtles when snorkeling.

Tee Off at Manele Golf Course

Scenic view of Manele Golf Course
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The Manele Golf Course on Lanai's southern shore was built by the famed Jack Nicklaus, and its difficulty and architecture amaze golfers.

In addition to the beautiful scenery, the course has ocean cliffs, seaside fairways, and even the occasional glimpse of a whale, especially during the winter when whales are passing through the bay.

Closer view of Manele Golf Course near the cliff
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After a game of golf at the Manele Golf Course, tourists have been raving about the service and "breathtaking" vistas and recommending a supper at the Views restaurant.

At the Four Seasons Resort Lanai, guests get preferential pricing for all three courses: the 18-hole, nine-hole, and junior rates are all offered.

PGA professionals and a retail outlet provide various programs and instruction.

Mike Carroll came from Chicago to Lana'i, Hawaii, in 2001 to pursue his lifelong interest in art and environment, inspired by the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands.

Artworks by the artist celebrate Hawaii, inviting the observer to explore its awe-inspiring splendor.

Since moving to Lanai, Art Maui and all six Schaefer Portrait Challenges have accepted Mike's work.

As a member of the Plein Air Painters of Hawaii's "Signature" group, he has been recognized as one of just 15 painters in Hawaii.

Twenty-five artists from throughout the country were selected for the inaugural Maui Invitational Plein Air Paint Out in February 2006.

A group of nine Plein air painters from Hawaii, known as The Islanders, invited him to join the Invitational's sponsoring organization.

The 14th annual Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational was his first, and he's been there ever since.

If you're in Lanai, don't miss the Mike Carroll Gallery!

Mike's paintings are stunning, and you could simply lose yourself in them for hours.

Ride a Horse at Stables at Koele

Open field at Koele
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Horseback riding on the Pineapple Isle is a dream come true because of the island's vast open spaces and stunning surroundings.

Ride a horse amid the swaying ironwoods and crimson hills of Lanai's countryside.

These outings, suitable for people of all ability levels, frequently take participants past deer and birds rustling in lush valleys.

Lush trees at Koele
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Passing through the island's famous Cook pines was a delight.

Each one spins 200 gallons of water per day using the highland fog.

As expected from the Four Seasons Lanai Lodge at Koele, this equestrian program has top-notch guides, equipment, and horses.

If you're not quite ready for the leisurely 90-minute romp designed for new riders, inquire about classes offered by the shop.

Adopt a Cat from Lanai Cat Sanctuary

One of the cats at Lanai Cat Sanctuary
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As an animal lover, especially one infatuated with felines, Lanai Cat Sanctuary is a must-visit in Lanai.

Over 600 cats, locally known as Lanai Lions, of different sizes, may be found at this non-profit refuge.

A cat being pet on Lanai Cat Sanctuary
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With the primary purpose of preventing feline overpopulation, this facility rescues cats and homes, feeds, and species them so that they don't become a threat to Lanai's rare ground-nesting birds like the Hawaiian Petrel.

It's available to the public and relies only on contributions, so every little bit helps.

The odds of falling in love with a cat at the shelter are really high, so be prepared to bring one back with you!

Join an Art Class at Lanai Art Center

Visitors to Lanai interested in the arts will be disappointed because the island only has one program dedicated to multicultural community arts.

However, the Lanai Art Center more than makes up for it with its remarkable collection of art locally and internationally, year-round exhibitions, and other cultural activities.

The center frequently features performances and appearances by well-known artists from Hawaii and the rest of the United States.

Because the Lanai Art Center allows visitors to watch and produce art, it stands apart from the others.

You may sign up for classes in various subjects, including calligraphy, textile and silk painting, and woodworking.

A lei-making session is a popular option for guests, and it's easy to see why.

Most of the artwork on display at the gallery is for sale and works created by local artists from Lanai.

All the pieces are one-of-a-kind and surprisingly affordable.

Mini-galleries of various art genres are scattered around the center, and certain rooms are utilized for periodic art exhibitions.

If you're looking for a unique souvenir from Lanai, check out the pottery room or the mosaic and stained glass workshop for a chance to witness or participate in the art with other guests.

Join a Yoga Class at Four Seasons Lanai

Garden and pool at Four Seasons Lanai
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If you're staying at Four Seasons Lanai, experience the zen of joining a yoga class.

Ten aerial hammocks set around the 1,100 square-foot floor area of the resort's Yoga Studio provide various options for practicing yoga in the air.

Its multi-talented staff offer classes in meditation, sound healing, reiki, and yoga for all skill levels.

Plants and trees framing the path to Four Seasons Lanai
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As part of its commitment to providing the best possible Lanai vacation, the resort has developed yoga programs for the beach and our Luau Grounds.

The daily schedule is accessible online, and many sessions are free.

Private sessions for individuals or small groups can be arranged upon request for an even more customized learning experience.

Archways at Four Seasons Lanai
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Stroll through Downtown Lanai City

Lanai City, Hawaii's tranquil and friendly town, is the perfect place to find peace and quiet away from the crowds.

You may learn more about Lanai's history by visiting Lanai City, formerly home to a pineapple plantation.

If you have a Lanai itinerary in mind, you can see the whole island in under an hour.

Dole Park's mom-and-pop businesses and Richard's Market are great places to get groceries.

In the shadow of Cook Pines, meander through quiet streets with no traffic signals for an authentic taste of small-town Hawaii.

The Lanai Hula Hut and Cory Labang Studio on Lanai are great places to get unique gifts for your loved ones, as are the Lanai Art Center and Mike Carroll Gallery.

Visit the Blue Ginger Café for some authentic local fare, and then the Local Gentry for some authentically Hawaiian clothing to cap off your day.

Final Thoughts

Lanai, a tiny island in the Hawaiian archipelago with only a few thousand people, is noted for its opulent spas, fine cuisine, and unique outdoor activities.

The island of Lanai is not only suitable for small, elite events because of its secluded location and lush surroundings; it is also a wanderlust's paradise.

Visit Lanai today and experience Hawaii like no other!