Lanai City, Lanai
If you want to relax for awhile, gear away from the hustle and bustle of the city and book a vacation trip to Lanai. Lanai is a very small island in Maui County, Hawaii, which arose from a single volcanic mountain called “Lanai Hale.” Lanai abounds in exquisite attractions and beautiful places to explore, especially Hawaii’s famous historic district which can be found going downtown. It has a very small population that Lanai City itself became the island's main commerce and business area, where you can see several islands shops and restaurants to visit. Simply go downtown to the town square surrounding Dole Park. Here are some of the popular places you can visit to make your vacation in Lanai a very exciting and memorable one.
Koloiki Ridge is a sure favorite not only among the locals of Lanai, but also among various hikers and explorers visiting this beautiful island. You will tremendously enjoy the three-hour hiking in the wilds of the unpopulated Lanai, reaching up to the summit. The hike starts at the back of The Lodge at Koele, which is a favorite spot in Lanai, and there are also daily hikes starting from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm, offered at Koele, which amounts to $15 per person. You will be extremely delighted and awed to witness abounding greens and pine trees, not to mention the breathtaking glimpse of the romantic spot, Maunalei Valley, which is truly proven to be rich in both legend and natural beauty, making it a popular love spot for romantic couples. And what could be better after an exhausting but enjoyable hike than a peaceful retreat with nearby lodging. However, it is best that you choose lodging inside the town for more flexibility.
Shipwreck Beach is another equally astonishing place to visit while in Lanai, what with its untamed and stunning beauty that makes it a favorite stop-spot among many visitors to Lanai city. It offers an 8-mile stretch of sand ideal for sunbathing, picnicking, fishing, exploring, or simply walking. Shipwreck Beach is also the best body boarding and body-toning beach during summer. And since it is known for its very strong currents, it is not advised for swimming activities; although, beachcombers delight themselves with picking up brilliant shells and other treasures that are washed up on shore, making these sea gems unique mementos of Lanai on their way home.
Located along the northeastern coastline of Lanai, this beach can be reached only by a 4WD vehicle. From Lanai City, take Highway 44 to the end of the road, and then turn left on the dirt road to the parking area near the lighthouse ruins, with Shipwreck beach fronting the ruins, laying stretched in sand, for miles.
If you want to see a 1.5 miles long beach, go to the far northwestern tip of Lanai where you will see Polihua Beach, one of the longest white sand beaches usually visited by high winds and rough waters. That is why this beach is treated more of as a scenic beach, because it is so beautiful to gaze at and explore. However, this is a place where sand storms are not uncommon during very windy days. During windless days, Polihua Beach is ideal for sunbathing, picnicking, and photo opportunities. But remember, never go to Polihua Beach if you intend to go swimming, since Polihua Beach is completely exposed to the open ocean with no protective reef or rocks at all. With its usual strong currents, it might easily sweep you out to sea, even on a calm day. So, never get deceived by the calm looks of Polihua Beach.
Pali Le No Haunai Lookout
Go to the western side of Manele Bay and you will not miss the Pali Le No Haunai Lookout, which is truly a remarkable sight to behold. From Pali Le NO Haunai Lookout, you can see beautiful sea cliffs protecting the bay against strong currents and high surf, making it a natural romantic destination, with countless people making it a point to visit this spot for a great scrutiny of the Pacific. Visitors can view the beautiful sea cliffs from several angles, but the most beautiful sight comes looking out from New Manele Road near Manele Golf Course.
Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods is another truly must-see unique, eerie, and mostly dry and often windy tourist destination where beautiful and interesting rock formations were shaped by thousands of years of erosion. It has been said that the rocks and boulders in this specific spot were dropped from the sky by the gods nurturing their gardens, thus the name Garden of the Gods. If you want to see its beauty at its best, come early morning or late evening when the sun's energy hits the minerals in the rock and bring out their most dynamic colors of wonderful purple and red.
This spot, Garden of the Gods, is situated just 7 miles from downtown Lanai City. To make this 1-hour round trip to visit the site, you must take Highway 440 North out of Lanai City passing by the Lodge at Koele. As soon as you see a rock sign on the right side of the road, take that road and turn left on Polihua Road between the tennis courts and the horse stables. Make a right turn at the next intersection and continue driving north-west to the site. Only 4-wheel drive vehicles are allowed on this dirt road, but you may also check with the rental car companies if this road is open before deciding to travel by car on it. And should you do so, make sure your gas tank is full since the site is a very remote area, with little or no gas stations at all. Also, don’t fail to bring snacks and drinks as you will not see any convenience stores along the way.
The Local Gentry
Don’t forget to drop by Lanai’s Local Gentry, Lanai’s most charming shop offering the best clothing styles to locals and visitors alike, clothes that the owner Jenna Gentry Majkus, fashionably made herself. Remember, don’t leave Lanai Island without shopping for an assortment of Lanai apparel.
One of the best places to explore in the island of Lanai is the Munro Trail, and for sure it will be one of your most favorite trails in the state. The trail will take you to a tropical rainforest of exactly 3,370 feet, where upon reaching the peak of Lana I’hale on a clear day, you might see all six beautifully astonishing islands in one glance. It’s truly an awesome experience to see such a breathtaking landscape from every angle. Make sure to bring your camera with you for once- in-a-lifetime photo opportunities of seeing 6 islands in one day.
If there is one beach that is a safe place to swim, it is the Hulopo’e Bay. So, if you have kids with you who are dying to swim on the beautiful beaches of Lanai, bring them to this protected beach composed of beautiful white sands and underwater coral formations the island of Lanai boasts of. It is best that you find lodging at the Manele Bay Hotel as it is overlooking this perfect beach. Other activities you may enjoy doing here include snorkeling, scuba diving, and body surfing. There are also available picnic tables and grills, should you wish to have picnics on this beautiful beach abounding with multi-colored tropical fish and unique coral formations. See how the island of Lanai abounds in breathtaking attractions. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of your busy life, just run away to this beautiful and untamed part of Lanai.