Are you visiting Lānaʻi for the first time? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do on this enticing Hawaiian island.
Whether you traveled by Expeditions Ferry from Maui or by Island Air, you are probably visiting Lānaʻi to kick back and relax. I recommend snorkeling or snuba (a combination of snorkeling and scuba) at Hulopo’e Beach. You’ll also want to walk around tiny Lānaʻi City for a local, authentic experience.
When I want to escape the tourists, my favorite place to visit is Kaiolohia, also known as Shipwreck Beach. You’ll need a four wheel drive to get there, (I hired Rabaca’s Limousine Service for a private tour of the island) but once you walk to the beach, it’s almost certain that you’ll see green sea turtles or honu, as they are called in Hawaii.
If this is a romantic trip, I recommend Pu’u Pehe (Sweetheart Rock), for kissing with a view, either in the day, or under the full moon. If you enjoy being out on the water, take a sunset catamaran cruise with Trilogy Excursions – the same company that offers snuba on Hulopo’e Beach.
Museums are wonderful, but if you are traveling with kids, you’ll want to visit the Lānaʻi Pine and Sporting Clays, and try your hand at 3D Archery where you can hunt and shoot dinosaurs.
Hawaiian island food
If you are looking for typical Lānaʻi cuisine, I would recommend the Lānaʻi Ohana Poke Market, for your daily dose of freshly made Hawaiian Poke. You’ll need to get there early, as they run out.
The best place to go for coffee is Coffee Works -try the Caramel Blended Rush. For a fresh baked apple turnover, or pig in a blanket stop by Blue Ginger Café.
Looking for cheap food in Lānaʻi? All of the local restaurants are scattered around Dole Square, as is the Farmers Market. I shared an Asian salad and BLT wrap with avocado from Pele’s Other Garden for lunch and ordered the local plate of Korean chicken katsu, with white rice and macaroni salad from Cafe 565 – good, filling and affordable.
For late night dining, try Lānaʻi City Grille, located in the Hotel Lānaʻi, or Pele’s Other Garden in Dole Square. Both restaurants offer a bar, as well as live music on Friday and Saturday nights.
For an expensive, yet quality meal, dine at any of the restaurants in the Four Seasons Resorts Lānaʻi Lodge at Koele or Manele Bay. While Nobu is the hot spot for foodies, I enjoyed dinner at One Forty restaurant even more than Nobu.
Seeing a lot of axis deer around the island? Lānaʻi is home to axis deer and mouflan sheep, which are the big game for hunters.
Insider tip: Lānaʻi venison is one of the top tasting venison cuisine.
When you come to Lānaʻi, get your picture taken at Garden of the Gods, Kaiolohia, Polihua Beach, and Sweetheart Rock.
The best vantage points are taken by walking to Koloiki Ridge, where you will experience the view of sister islands Maui and Molokai.
Polihua Beach and Kamaulapau Harbor are the best places to be to view the sunsets on the western shores of the island.
In Lanai, outdoor enthusiasts can explore and go on a hike or mountain bike with Hike Lānaʻi www.hikelanai.com. If you want to experience the paniolo style, ride through the island’s ironwood forests on a horseback ride, or for the rugged adventurer, buckle up on a UTV ride that will take you through majestic mountain views to the ocean with Lānaʻi Grand Adventures.
Looking for a little exercise? Take a walk along Fisherman’s Trail, located beach front of the Four Seasons Resorts Lānaʻi at Manele Bay, which leads you on an interpretive walk through Kapiha’a Village, once a thriving village.
If you are a museum lover, visit the Lanai Culture and Heritage Center to walk through the timeline of the islands history.
Lānaʻi Today will keep you posted on what’s happening in Lānaʻi, this local newspaper is published once a month on the island.
If you are on island in the springtime, you should visit for the Annual Lānaʻi Film Festival!
In the summer, checkout the Annual Lānaʻi Pineapple Festival, held every year around Fourth of July weekend.
Festivals of Aloha
Did you know that Hawaii is known to celebrate the history and culture through the Festivals of Aloha? This celebration is held during the fall months of September through October. I was very fortunate to be there and celebrate in the island’s traditions.
Come to Lānaʻi for the annual TriLanai Triathlon in the winter.
I’ll bet you didn’t know that prior to the pineapple plantation era, Lānaʻi once had a thriving Maunalei Sugar Mill on the north east coast, which remnants of the old Keomoku Village are still visible today.
Across from Lānaʻi, visit the Island of Maui.
What are your favorite things to do on Lānaʻi?
Photos and YouTube video by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Lanai Visitors Bureau.