What to do in Lanai
Once known as "The Pineapple Isle, the island of Lanai in Hawaii is often referred to today as "The Secluded Isle." Although it is one of the smallest inhabited islands in Hawaii, it is packed with some of the greatest and most unique activities in all of the Hawaiian Islands. Whether you are planning to go to Hawaii for your honeymoon and wedding or summer vacation and family trip, there are tons of things that you can do on this pint-sized island. From visits to historical sites to adventurous off-road trips, you can plan the perfect Hawaii getaway on Lanai Island. Read on to learn more about some of the attractions and things to do while on Lanai.
Whenever it's your first trip to a vacation destination, there are always some locations that you can't miss out on. Although Lanai is small, it has some sites that you just have to see. First on the list is Lanai City. Fondly referred to as "the village," Lanai City is a small, friendly, and welcoming place where there are no stop lights or traffic jams. It's also one of the few places on the island with paved roads. Lanai City is right at the heart of the island, where the elevation is about 1,700 feet up the side of Mount Lanaihale. Two hotels in Lanai City are the five-star Lodge at Koele and the historic Hotel Lanai. You may also want to stay at one of the bed and breakfasts in the city, so you can really get a feel of what daily life is like on the island. Most of the shops, vehicle rentals, and other tourist services are located in Lanai City.
Munro Trail and Mount Lanaihale
Just ten minutes north of Lanai City is one of the famous wonders of Lanai that you definitely have to experience: Munro Trail. Although experienced hikers can tackle Munro Trail in about half or three-fourths of a day, it would be wise to hire a tour guide who can tell you all about the breathtaking landscapes, historic sites, and amazing island culture. Named after a New Zealand naturalist named George Munro, this trail offers one of the most convenient, amazing, and adventurous ways to experience the whole of Lanai Island. Just under ten miles long, Munro Trail starts north of Lanai City, about 100 feet above the city.
Along your hike or four-wheel adventure on Munro Trail, you will wind around the island seeing some of the best views that Hawaii has to offer. Part of the trail is the uphill trek to the highest point of Lanai Island, which is the peak of Mount Lanaihale at about 3,370 feet above sea level. From this summit, you can see other Hawaiian main islands, including Oahu, Molokai, Maui, and The Big Island. You'll also get to see the white sand beaches, the fresh pine trees, the canyons of Maunalei gulch. Whether you decide to take a tour guide or not, make sure you come prepared for Munro Trail, because it does have some challenging areas. Grab your jackets, your cameras, some drinks and food for a great trip along Munro Trail.
The Garden of the Gods
When you first hear the name "Garden of the Gods," you may think of a colorful garden abounding with flowers and plant life, but Lanai's Keahiakawelo or Garden of the Gods is something you will just have to see to believe. If you've ever wanted to walk upon the rugged landscapes of the moon, Lanai's Keahiakawelo might just be the perfect place for you to go. With its unbelievable rock formations, Keahiakawelo is another worldly garden where you can get a glimpse of nature's creativity and beauty.
One of the great benefits of going to the Garden of the Gods is that you can get in touch with the legendary lore that is so ingrained in Hawaiian culture. According to ancient Hawaiian beliefs, the Garden of the Gods was created when two priests, called "kahuna," competed to have the longest-burning fire. In an attempt to win the contest against the kahuna of Molokai, the kahuna of Lanai used all of the vegetation around the Keahiakawelo area, leaving nothing behind but dust and rocks. Today, you can visit the Garden of the Gods to see amazing rock formations, including towers, crater-like surfaces, and bizarre rock gardens. Perhaps the best way to tour the Garden of the Gods is to rent some four-by-four vehicles so you can rough it out on your rock garden adventure. You definitely won't be seeing formations like this again, so you might want to bring your camera along. Although many people love the beach sunsets of Hawaii, watching the sun set at the Garden of the Gods can be just as exciting, with brilliant colors bouncing off the rocks.
Not only has Hulopoe Bay been voted as one of the top ten beaches in Hawaii, but it is also ranked as one of the top beaches in the country. Just at the south coast of Lanai, Hulopoe Bay is a favorite spot for tourists who want to relax and enjoy one of the best tourist attractions that Hawaii has to offer: the beach. Overlooking Hulopoe Beach is the Four Seasons Resort and Spa at Manele Bay, one of Lanai's five-star resorts. Whether or not you are staying at the Four Seasons Resort and Spa, visiting Hulopoe Beach should still be on your list when you travel to Lanai.
If you come to Hulopoe Beach during the summer, then you should definitely take advantage of the relatively calm tides and take a dip in the deep blue waters. You can snorkel to view the colorful sea life, you can sunbathe to enjoy the beautiful scenery, or you can have a nice picnic along the beach and just soak it all in. Another great activity while you're down at Hulopoe Beach is dolphin and whale watching. Just remember that Manele Bay and Hulopoe Bay are both part of the Manele-Hulopoe Marine Sanctuary. This means that the locals and the officials all try to do their part in preserving the natural beauty of the bays. They also ask visitors to help take care of the beaches by avoiding taking home shells, wildlife, and plants.
Although summer is the ideal place to visit Hulopoe Bay, there are still loads of activities for those who come during the winter. Even if the seas are a bit choppy and the tides get strong around winter time, you can enjoy the other side of Hulopoe Bay: the resort. The Four Seasons Resort and Spa is an award-winning hotel resort where you can find shops, restaurants, and many other amenities that you would expect to find in a five-star resort. As if fine dining and shopping weren't enough, you can also get full treatments at the spa. Whatever it is you decide to do, make sure you have a great time at this one-of-a-kind beach.
The Challenge at Manele
Aptly named, The Challenge at Manele is a golf course that gives even some of the best golfers an exciting feat. What's unique about this golf course is that nature has played a big role in forming some of its most challenging areas. From lava-formed obstructions to dipping cliffs that run straight down into the Pacific, you are not only given the challenge of taking on this five-tee course, but you will also get some of the best views of the island. Just make sure that you don't get too distracted by the whales that you can see from the course.
The Experience at Koele
For those who want a more immersive golfing experience, then The Experience at Koele may just be the perfect choice. This 18-hole course is at an elevation of about 2,000 feet, offering some nice views of the island, aside from the beauty of the course itself. Pine trees, ravines, channels, streams, lakes, and waterfalls are just some of the sites that you can see from this course, which was designed by Ted Robinson and Greg Norman.
Other attractions and things to do in Lanai
Lanai is definitely one of the most unique and untouched islands in Hawaii. You might think that this small island doesn't have all of the frills and thrills of some of the bigger, more inhabited, and better developed Hawaiian Islands. In truth, however, Lanai can offer many of the amenities, attractions, and activities in other Hawaiian Islands and more. From horseback riding and hiking to snorkeling and off-road adventuring, you can be sure that you'll be able to fill up your Lanai travel itinerary. Here are some of the other places that you may want to visit while on Lanai Island:
Kaunolu - Kaunolu is a historical site that was once the favorite fishing spot of King Kamehameha I, the first king of the Kingdom of Hawaii.
Dole Park - Dole Park is a historical site that was established by the Dole Food Company when they owned the island and turned it into the world's largest pineapple producer.
Palawai Basin - This is the site of Lanai's well known pineapple plantations. Considering how small Lanai is, it's hard to believe that this island once produced majority of the world's pineapple supply.
Luahiwa Petroglyphs - These are rock etchings and sculptures that were made by ancient Hawaiians when they first arrived on the island in the 1500's.
Kanepuu Preserve - This is around 590 acres of protected forest with over 40 native plant species.
Shipwreck Beach - This historical landmark features eight miles of beach where numerous ships have ended in a wreck because of the rocky and shallow waters.