ALOHA!

 

So Lanai island in Hawaii is a part of Maui County that most notably includes the Hawaiian islands of Lanai, Maui, and Molokai.

Lanai can be thought of as somewhat of a luxury island in Hawaii, or an island to visit for a quiet luxury vacation.

 

Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii. First trip to Lanai. Lanai day trip from Maui. Hawaii travel blog

Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Getting around Lanai without a car. luxury hawaii vacation at four seasons manele, four season koele sensei wellness resort. hotel lanai. Quiet Hawaiian island to choose. Day trip from Maui. Hawaii travel blog

 

That’s because the accommodation options are REALLY limited. They are limited to 2 resorts and 1 “standard” hotel.

The cheapest hotel on Lanai costs like $400 a night. And then there are maybe a couple of bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals, and airbnbs, which would cost likely at minimum $200 a night. 

 

There are 3 hotels in Lanai:

 

If you don’t mind roughing it (with a tent) there are some more options for you! (Although one is still quite expensive, relative to normal camping costs!) More on this below.

So having these accommodation options really limits the amount of people who stay on Lanai as a tourist. And this can make it a different kind of Hawaiian island experience compared to the other main Hawaiian islands of Maui, Oahu, the Big Island, and Kauai. 

 

 

“It’s always quiet on Lanai”

Actual quote from a Lanai resident!

Best time to visit Lanai. Hawaii travel blog

 

But the limited accommodation options doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a visit to this quiet Hawaiian island just because you won’t be staying overnight on Lanai!

 

Lanai Hawaii: Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Is Lanai trip from Maui worth it. Hawaii travel blog

Lanai Hawaii: Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Is Lanai trip from Maui worth it. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

Day trip to Lanai

Lanai is pretty easily accessible. 

If you’re staying on Maui, there’s a ferry to Lanai that you can take from Lahaina in West Maui to make it a day trip to Lanai. (West Maui is one of the popular beach town areas for tourists to stay on Maui.)

So then…

Is a day trip to Lanai worth it?!

I think a day trip to Lanai is not JUST about Lanai. But it is also about the journey… getting there! As in, it’s also about the boat ride to Lanai!

I mean, why wouldn’t you want to sail out on the water in Hawaii?!

You may have a chance to see a rainbow form over the ocean… and you may have a chance to spot some whales off in the distance too! (The channel between Maui and Lanai is considered to be among the best spots, if not THE best, for whale watching in Hawaii.)

Personally, I think it could make for a perfect day trip to take a boat ride from Maui to Lanai, hike the scenic coastal trails around Hulopoe Bay, hang out at Hulopoe Beach with some swimming and snorkeling, and then end your day with a boat ride back to Maui! (More on the Hulopoe Bay activities below!)

 

Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Lanai ferry. Getting around Lanai without a car. Day trip from Maui ferry. Hawaii travel blog

Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Lanai ferry. Getting around Lanai without a car. Day trip from Maui ferry. Hawaii travel blog

 

See pictures from the boat ride:

 

 

 

If you’re staying on another Hawaiian island like Oahu, the Big Island, or Kauai, there’s an airport on Lanai so you can fly into and out of Lanai. (Although, because of time in transit, Maui and Oahu would be the most ideal islands to make a day trip from.)

For interisland flights to Lanai, see:

Lanai airport code is LNY.

 

🌴

 

 

Getting around Lanai without a car

Things to do in Lanai without a car. How to get around. Hawaii travel blog

Things to do in Lanai without a car. How to get around Lanai. Hawaii travel blog

 

Aside from a tour, there are 2 options for getting around Lanai without a car:

 

If you are arriving by ferry from Maui, you’ll arrive at Manele Harbor. You can then walk to Hulopoe Beach from which you can do a number of the activities on the list below. 

To get around Lanai otherwise, there’s a Lanai shuttle that will basically drive you to anywhere there’s a paved road. This is basically between the harbor and city and the airport.

 

Things to do in Lanai without a car. How to get around Lanai. Hawaii travel blog

 

Renting a car on Lanai is also an option, although you can expect to pay $200 (or more) for a one-day car rental. Most, if not all, car rentals on Lanai will be a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. 

 

Driving the roads in Lanai Hawaii: 4wd Lanai car rental, 4 wheel drive. Hawaii travel blog
👆 That’s a rental car. So also don’t expect a brand new jeep just because it’s $200 a day! (Lanai is a small island and I saw the people in this car elsewhere on Lanai earlier. By coincidence I also saw them driving on this trail. This is Munro Trail or nearby.)

 

Driving the roads in Lanai Hawaii: 4wd Lanai car rental, 4 wheel drive. Hawaii travel blog

Driving the roads in Lanai Hawaii: 4wd Lanai car rental, 4 wheel drive. Hawaii travel blog

Driving the roads in Lanai Hawaii: 4wd Lanai car rental, 4 wheel drive. Hawaii travel blog

Driving the roads in Lanai Hawaii: 4wd Lanai car rental, 4 wheel drive. Hawaii travel blog

Driving the roads in Lanai Hawaii: 4wd Lanai car rental, 4 wheel drive. Hawaii travel blog

Driving in Lanai Hawaii: 4wd Lanai car rental, 4 wheel drive to beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

Now…

First, the quick list of the top 5 things to do on Lanai without a car.

Then, a few more things to do on Lanai, along with some details on the top Lanai activities!

 

 

So…

5 best things to do in Lanai Hawaii

 

1. Hulopoe Beach

Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii: Hulopoe Beach snorkeling. Lanai without a car. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

2. Sweetheart Rock Overlook

Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii: Puupehe Trail hike to see sweetheart rock. Lanai without a car. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

3. Hulopoe Bay tide pools

Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii: Hulopoe Bay tide pools. Lanai without a car. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

4. Koloiki Ridge Trail

Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii: Koloiki Ridge Trail hike. Lanai without a car. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

5. Lanai City 

Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Lanai City. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

Now…

10+ things to do in Lanai without a car

I refer to some things as being popular. But don’t take this to mean that there are crowds! It’s Lanai, after all! The only place you’ll really see TONS of people (if you call it that) might be at the ferry port when there’s an arrival or departure of the Maui ferry!

 

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Maui to Lanai ferry. Lanai to Maui ferry. Day trip from Maui. Tickets sell out. Hawaii travel blog
Probably the biggest “crowd” you’ll see on Lanai.

 

Aside from this, people are generally dispersed, and you likely won’t really notice a TON of people!

 

My visit to Lanai was in February 2020.

Now, here are some things to consider doing when you’re visiting Lanai!

 

 

1. Manele Harbor

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii as day trip from Maui without a car. Maui to Lanai ferry. Lanai to Maui ferry. Hawaii travel blog

 

Again, the ferry from Maui (the only Hawaiian island from which you can get to Lanai by boat) arrives at Manele Harbor

There’s a small general store here if you want to pick up some quick eats.

 

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Manele Bay general store. Hawaii travel blog

 

There’s not a huge variety but if you’re hungry there’s also some frozen meals that you can heat up with the microwave at the store. You can buy 21+ drinks here. Drinking is permitted at Hulopoe Beach Park as long as you’re consuming it at the picnic tables. (You’re not supposed to sit on the sand and drink. They do check for this.) You might also stop by the general store for some Lanai-specific souvenir shopping. (Like a Lanai t-shirt.)

 

 

2. Hulopoe Bay Beach

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii: Hulopoe Bay Beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is a well-maintained beach park with facilities, including bathrooms and plenty of picnic tables.

This is a pretty wide beach, and it’s one that you can hang out at.

 

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Hulopoe Bay beach. Hawaii travel blog

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Hulopoe Bay beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

And as a marine life conservation district, it’s known to be a one of the best snorkeling spots in Maui County too, off to the left side of the bay as you’re facing the ocean.

 

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Hulopoe Bay beach. where's best snorkeling spot in Lanai. Hawaii travel blog

 

There are also a couple of hiking trails (listed below!) that start from Hulopoe Bay, on both sides of the beach.

 

 

Hulopoe Bay is where you will find the Four Seasons Lanai

If you are staying at this Four Seasons, then Hulopoe Beach will be the beach you will frequent!

 

Best places to stay in Lanai Hawaii: Oceanfront Lanai hotel, Four Seasons Lanai resort. Best Lanai hotels. Hawaii travel blog
👆 Oceanfront resort in Hawaii: Four Seasons Lanai. In this picture, Hulopoe Beach is off to the right. This is as seen on the Fishermans Trail, coming up later on the list!

 

 

Camping in Lanai at Hulopoe Beach Park

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Camping in Lanai: Hulopoe beach campground. Best camping in Hawaii. Hawaii travel blog

 

There is a campground at Hulopoe Beach Park. This is also the only official campground on Lanai.

While you aren’t camping directly at the beach, you can see the beach and the ocean from the campground. (Lanai residents seem to be able to camp directly on the beach here.)

The cost for camping in Lanai here is $80 per night with a 3 night maximum.

 

 

 

Hulopoe Beach: See more about this Lanai camping spot.

 

Does camping in Hawaii sound like something you may be interested in? Then be sure to also take a look at the best Maui camping spots! (aka more camping in Hawaii with ocean views!)

 

 

3. Puupehe trail to see sweetheart rock

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii: Puupehe sweetheart rock trail. Hawaii travel blog

 

The “destination” here is to see the sweetheart rock!

 

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii: sweetheart rock. Lanai without a car. Hawaii travel blog

 

But along the way you’ll find great ocean views, including of Shark’s Bay.

 

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii: Puupehe Trail hike to see sweetheart rock. Lanai without a car. Hawaii travel blog

 

If you’re on Lanai early enough, then this is also considered a sunrise spot on Lanai.

 

Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Getting around Lanai without a car. Day trip from Maui. Hawaii travel blog

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii: sunrise hike on sweetheart rock trail. Lanai without a car. Hawaii travel blog

 

Sweetheart Rock Overlook Trail: See more about this Lanai activity near Four Seasons.

 

 

4. Hulopoe Bay tide pools

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii: Hulopoe Bay tide pools. Hawaii travel blog

 

Shortly after you start the sweetheart rock trail from the beach, you might notice a set of stairs that lead to the ocean. This will take you to the Hulopoe Bay tide pools!

 

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Hulopoe Bay tide pools. Hawaii travel blog

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Hulopoe Bay tide pools. Hawaii travel blog

 

As long as the ocean conditions permit, you can actually walk all along the coast right along the ocean, with the lava rocks and tide pools being the “trail”! This can take you all the way to the beach at Shark’s Bay!

 

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Hulopoe Bay tide pools. Hawaii travel blog

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Hulopoe Bay tide pools. Hawaii travel blog

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Hulopoe Bay tide pool trail hike. Hawaii travel blog

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Hulopoe Bay tide pool trail hike. Hawaii travel blog

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Hulopoe Bay tide pool trail hike. Hawaii travel blog

 

Hulopoe Bay tide pools: See more about this Lanai activity.

 

 

5. Shark’s Bay

Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii: Shark's Bay beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

So you can see Shark’s Bay from above when you’re walking on the sweetheart rock trail.

But you can also head down to the beach here too. The “easy” way would be the tide pool trail mentioned above.

 

Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Shark's Bay beach hike. Hawaii travel blog

Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Shark's Bay beach hike. Hawaii travel blog

Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Shark's Bay beach hike. Hawaii travel blog

 

There is also a more direct way, that can be considered to be on the difficult side. There’s a “path” that you can take that is pretty much nearly vertical along the cliff that you can take from the Puupehe Trail that will get you straight to the beach without having to loop around.

Also, be on the lookout for Hawaiian monk seals on the beach! One time I was here, there was a seal visiting! (Also have a look at where to see seals on Maui.)

 

 

6. Fisherman’s Trail

Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii: Fishermans Trail hike near Hulopoe Beach. Lanai without a car. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is another hiking trail that starts from Hulopoe Beach, on the other side of the bay from the sweetheart rock trail. (So the Fisherman’s Trail goes along the coastal side of the Four Seasons.)

This trail will give you grand coastal views!

 

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Fishermans Trail hike. Hawaii travel blog

Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii. See Lanai cliffs. Fishermans Trail hike. Hawaii travel blog

Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii. See Lanai cliffs. Fishermans Trail hike. Hawaii travel blog

 

Fisherman’s Trail: See more about this Lanai activity near Four Seasons.

 

 

7. Koloiki Ridge Trail

Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii: Koloiki Ridge Trail hike. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is a hike that will give you views of the neighbor islands of Maui and Molokai!

You can get the shuttle to the Four Seasons Sensei wellness resort which is near Lanai City. The trail starts near the resort. This will likely be a 2-3 hour hike.

Koloiki Ridge Trail: See more about this Lanai activity near Four Seasons Sensei.

 

 

8. Shipwreck Beach

Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii: Shipwreck Beach. Lanai without a car. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is one of the popular spots to drive to on Lanai. You can also make it into a hike by walking the same road that cars drive on.

 

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii: Drive to Shipwreck Beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

You’ll be able to get the shuttle to where the paved road ends, and then from there it will be about 2 miles until the point that you will come across the Shipwreck Beach sign. From there, you can keep walking further along the beach as far as you want. (There’s miles of coastline!)

 

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii: Shipwreck Beach hike. Hawaii travel blog

 

Most people simply get a little bit closer look at the shipwreck and then leave. 

 

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii: Shipwreck Beach hike. Hawaii travel blog

 

Shipwreck Beach: See more about this Lanai activity.

 

Also, as of around January 2020, there’s a dead whale on the beach. Supposedly it may not get removed. You will know when you’re passing by it because you will very likely smell it along the way as you are headed to the end of the road. You can actually go and see it too if it’s still there.

 

 

Camping in Lanai at Shipwreck Beach

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Camping in Lanai: Shipwreck Beach wild beach camping. Best camping in Hawaii. Hawaii travel blog

 

According to Lanai locals, you can also camp at Shipwreck Beach no problem.

Consider this to be wild beach camping though! This is like backcountry wilderness camping, except you’re on a beach. Meaning there are no facilities. 

You can basically just walk along the beach until you find an area you want to set up camp. I didn’t exactly choose the best spot. It was REALLY windy and my tent was flapping like crazy! (Although around the time I was on Lanai it was said to be especially windy…)

I also went further along on the beach which meant hiking across lava rocks to get to my camp spot! Very Hawaii camping experience. 😉

 

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii. Camping in Lanai: Getting to Shipwreck Beach wild beach camping. Best camping in Hawaii. Hawaii travel blog

 

When I was camping here, a turtle had come up onto shore to rest right in front of my tent! I stepped out of my tent, and it was just THERE!

 

 

9. Poaiwa petroglyphs

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii: where to see lanai petroglyphs in hawaii. poaiwa petroglyphs, hawaiian. hawaii travel blog

 

This is something to do during your visit to Shipwreck Beach.

You can also find a trail to see petroglyphs nearby, and you can go on a search for petroglyphs. Follow the stacked stones to stay on the trail (and to find the petroglyphs).

You can consider this a coastal hike too! You’ll be climbing up a hill to get to the petroglyphs, and you’ll be able to get views of the ocean while on the trail!

 

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii: where to see lanai petroglyphs in hawaii. poaiwa petroglyphs, hawaiian. hawaii travel blog

 

Poaiwa Petroglyphs: See more about this Lanai activity.

 

 

10. Garden of the Gods

Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii: Garden of the Gods. Hawaii travel blog

 

Well, this may not be considered do-able without a car for most people, but if you think of this as a solid (and long) day hike, you can go here without a car on your own! 

This is another one of the popular spots that people drive to. It’s a drive on a dirt road. 

It’ll be like a 12-13 mile hike. Once again, if you’re without a car, you can get a shuttle to the point where the paved road ends.

If you’ll be renting a 4wd, you can go to Garden of the Gods, and then drive further to the remote beach of Polihua Beach. This isn’t a beach for swimming (rough ocean), but it will likely be like having your own private beach.

Garden of the Gods: See more about this Lanai activity.

 

 

11. Lanai City

Things to do in Lanai Hawaii: Lanai City. Hawaii travel blog

 

There’s really not so much to do in Lanai City. And “city” isn’t really a city at all. It’s more like a small town. As they say, there are no traffic lights on Lanai.

But it can be nice to walk along the streets of quiet Lanai passing by residential neighborhoods. 

If you’re looking for a quiet picnic spot, the Dole Park is basically right in the middle of town. You can stop by the grocery store in Lanai City called Richard’s Market for some picnic items and then have lunch in the park! Or, you can stop at the Blue Ginger Cafe and order takeout to do the same. 

 

 

12. Golf at Four Seasons

Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii: Oceanfront Lanai golf course at Four seasons resort. Day trip from Maui. Hawaii travel blog

 

There are people who make it a day trip from Maui to golf on Lanai too. The Four Seasons golf course comes with ocean views! 

 

Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii: Oceanfront Lanai golf course at Four seasons resort. Day trip from Maui. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

And there’s a bit on what to do in Lanai!

 

 

Lanai hotels

If you are thinking about staying on Lanai, next see cost, photos, and reviews of Lanai’s only hotels:

Links go to partner website: Search Lanai hotel reviews on booking.com.

 

 

Day trips from Lanai

If you decide that you want to spend most of your time on Lanai, it can be reasonable to make a day trip to another Hawaiian island. Although, it will be a much more relaxing vacation if you stay on Lanai the whole time!

But in case you do want to consider going to another island since you’re “in the neighborhood,” some one day trips you may want to consider:

Maui’s main airport is OGG Kahului airport in central Maui. Oahu’s airport is HNL Honolulu Airport.

You’ll need to rent a car for Haleakala National Park and the Road to Hana. You can do without renting a car for Pearl Harbor (there’s the Oahu bus), but having a car will give you more time to explore the rest of Oahu, like the North Shore of Oahu and the east side of Oahu, if you won’t be spending all day at Pearl Harbor, which is possible!

If you want to take the ferry to get to Maui and don’t want to rent a car, then once you get to Maui you can take the bus to Kapalua and spend your day in Kapalua. (Although this bus route is only once an hour so you’ll want to plan carefully – use google maps public transit option.) You can also rent a car in Kapalua (there’s also a small airport here) and go further north to see the northern coast of West Maui. You can see Maui’s rugged coastline and stunning views, along with the back road of West Maui!

The flight timings from Lanai to the Big Island (Hilo) might not make Hawaii Volcanoes National Park worth it, unless you are okay with only 1-2 hours in the park.

 

 

Lanai, or another island in Hawaii?!

And if you’re still not sure which Hawaiian island to choose, also see…!

 

HAPPY FIRST TRIP TO LANAI!

 

Best things to do in Lanai Hawaii. First trip to Lanai. Lanai day trip from Maui. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

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ALOHA!