Maui, Lanai, and Molokai are three beautiful islands nestled together in the Hawaiian Island chain. While Maui is a more popular destination for many people traveling to Hawaii, Lanai also offers a unique experience that you don’t want to miss out on! Lanai is known as “the Pineapple Isle” as it once supplied most of the world’s pineapple supply. Today, you can find a lot more than pineapples on this small apostrophe shaped island. Here are some tips for your next day trip to Lanai.
How to get to Lanai
- By Air: The quickest and most convenient way to get to Lanai from Maui is by air. Several airlines, such as Hawaiian Airlines and Mokulele Airlines, offer daily flights between the two islands. The flight time is approximately 20-30 minutes, and you’ll land at the Lanai Airport (LNY), which is located about three miles from Lanai City.
- By Ferry: If you prefer a more scenic journey, consider taking the Expeditions Maui-Lanai Ferry, which operates daily between Lahaina Harbor in Maui and Manele Harbor in Lanai. The ferry ride takes around 45 minutes and offers stunning views of the surrounding islands and the crystal-clear waters of the Pacific Ocean. Be sure to book your tickets in advance, as seats can fill up quickly during peak travel seasons.
Transportation on Lanai
Once you arrive on Lanai, you’ll find a few options for getting around and exploring the island:
- Rental Cars: Renting a car is the most convenient way to explore Lanai at your own pace. You can choose from a variety of vehicles, including sedans, SUVs, and even 4×4 vehicles if you plan on tackling some of the island’s rugged terrain. Major rental car companies, such as Enterprise and Dollar, have offices at the Lanai Airport for easy pick-up and drop-off.
- Shuttles: Several resorts on the island, such as the Four Seasons Resort Lanai, offer shuttle services to their guests. These shuttles typically operate between the airport, harbor, and the resort, making it easy to get to your accommodations and start enjoying your vacation.
- Taxis and Ride-Sharing Services: Taxis are available on the island, but they may be in limited supply, especially during peak travel times. Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are not currently available on Lanai. It’s always a good idea to arrange for a taxi in advance or inquire about transportation options through your accommodations.
What to do in Lanai
Lanai is an island paradise brimming with exciting activities and experiences. Here are some of our top recommendations for tourists visiting Lanai:
- Explore Hulopoe Beach: This pristine, white-sand beach is located on the southern coast of Lanai, near the Four Seasons Resort. Hulopoe Beach is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing, and it’s also home to a marine reserve filled with vibrant coral reefs and colorful fish. Be sure to visit the nearby Pu’u Pehe (Sweetheart Rock) for a breathtaking view of the coastline.
- Discover Lanai City: The charming Lanai City is the island’s commercial and social hub, featuring plantation-style architecture, local shops, and delicious restaurants. Stroll through Dole Park, the heart of Lanai City, and take in the beautiful greenery, gazebo, and the iconic Norfolk pines that surround it. For a taste of local culture, visit the Lanai Culture & Heritage Center, where you can learn about the island’s history and the people who have called Lanai home.
- Go Off-Roading: Adventure seekers will love the opportunity to explore Lanai’s rugged terrain with a 4×4 vehicle. Rent a Jeep and head to the Garden of the Gods, also known as Keahiakawelo, a geological wonder characterized by its otherworldly rock formations and vibrant red soil. Another off-road destination worth visiting is Polihua Beach, a secluded, two-mile stretch of sand on the island’s northwestern coast, perfect for beachcombing and whale watching.
- Hit the Greens: Golf enthusiasts can indulge in a round or two at the stunning Manele Golf Course. Designed by legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus, this 18-hole course offers panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, dramatic cliffs, and lush landscapes. With three holes located on cliffs that use the ocean as a water hazard, this challenging course is sure to create memories that will last a lifetime.
- Hike the Munro Trail: Lace up your hiking boots and take on the Munro Trail, a 12.8-mile trek that leads you through the island’s lush forests, ironwood groves, and breathtaking vistas. The trail’s summit, Lanaihale, is the highest point on the island at 3,370 feet, and on a clear day, you can see up to five other Hawaiian islands from this vantage point.
- Experience a Traditional Luau: No trip to Hawaii is complete without attending a traditional luau. While Lanai doesn’t host large-scale luaus like other islands, you can still experience the captivating music, dance, and cuisine of Hawaii through private or smaller-scale events. Ask your accommodations or local tour companies for recommendations on where to find an authentic luau experience on Lanai.
The enchanting island of Lanai offers a unique and unforgettable Hawaiian experience. With its pristine beaches, rugged landscapes, and charming local culture, Lanai is a perfect destination for those looking to immerse themselves in the beauty of the Hawaiian archipelago. Whether you’re arriving from Maui or further afield, be sure to plan ahead and make the most of your time on this incredible island. Aloha and happy travels!