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Best Places to Visit in Lanai

Lanai Overview    Best Places to Visit on Lanai








Lanai is small island (slightly less than 140 square miles) that has one town, two ultra-luxury resorts, one small hotel, no traffic signals and just a few miles of paved road. The island's permanent population is around 3,000 and declining.   

Lanai was home to Dole's main pineapple plantation for most of the 20th century and Lanai city was built in the 1920's to house the plantation's workers.  In the early 1990s the Dole plantation was closed and Castle & Cooke, a privately held real estate development company that owns the island, decided to open it to tourism.

Today, Lanai is most often visited by vacationers who want to hide from civilization and be pampered while they do it.   The attractions on the island are of marginal interest. We cover the best of what there is to do and see, for those who want a change of pace from those endless days at the luxury resorts. It's tough duty!

Click on the map symbols to see the location of the attraction we describe shown on a detailed map of Lanai.  Inquire locally before driving any of Lanai's roads, as the detail provided on the maps may be incorrect or have changed since the map data was collected.


Where Should We Stay?

There are two major resorts on Lanai, both run by Four Seasons.  The Four Seasons at Manele Bay is located in a relatively dry, coastal zone and is a luxurious, tropical style, ocean-side resort.  It is next to Hulopoe Bay , which has a pleasant, small beach.  The Bay, however, provides excellent scuba diving. 

The hotel offers a high level of amenities.  In addition, its golf course, the Challenge at Manele is spectacular and as the name suggests, quite challenging.  The course, which is built on lava hugs the Pacific and at times can be as difficult to play as it is beautiful.  Now for a bit of gossip.  In 1984 Bill Gates was married on one of the greens at the Challenge at Manele Bay.  In effect, he reserved the island and all of the helicopters in Hawai'i, so that the paparazzi could not disturb his wedding.

The Four Seasons Resort Lanai, the Lodge at Koele  is upcountry from the Manele Bay and appears statelier, manicured and posh!  It is one of those places where you find yourself wondering where the other guest are and whether they are having as pleasant a time as you. The Lodge has its own golf course, the Experience at Koele, that nests in the mountains, offering fantastic views of Lanai (as well as of Maui and Molokai) and provides exciting golf. 

There is small hotel in Lanai City that was built to house the visitors from the Dole Corporation.  Dating from the 1920s, the Hotel Lanai is an inexpensive way to see the island, but the reality is that people do not visit to see the island; they come to stay at the Four Seasons' resorts.

Although we have downplayed the attractions on Lanai, there are several alternatives to playing golf, lazing about, hitting the pool or being pampered in the Spas.   Of course there is a downside.  If you want to get anywhere on the island, you will need to rent a Jeep.  Cars just won't make it anywhere other than to Lanai City and the airport.



Four Seasons at Manele Bay


The Experience at Koele


Climate is the long term weather for a place.  We provide a climate char for Lanai City  to give you some insights on the weather in Lanai throughout the year.




Best Places to Visit in Lanai  Top of Page













Hulopoe Bay

Hulopoe Bay is on the south side of the island near the Four Seasons Manele Bay Resort. The crescent shaped bay has terrific snorkeling and a dandy little beach that is somewhat secluded.   Trilogy excursions run a snorkeling cruise from Lahaina, Maui to this bay Mondays through Fridays. 

The rocks surrounding the Hulopoe are impressive and spoken of in Hawai'ian folklore.  The rock in the center of the photograph below is called Sweetheart Rock.  In one tale, a possessive Hawai'ian chief kept his bride at the base of the rock to protect her from others while he was away.  Unfortunately, she drowned during a high tide.  He carried her body up the cliff and buried her at the top of the rock and, then, committed suicide by diving onto the rock platform at the bottom.

Sweetheart Rock between Hulopoe Bay and Manele Bay



Garden of the Gods 

As the name would imply, the Garden of the Gods is an area in which, according to Hawai'ian legend, the gods decorated their gardens with rocks.  The area is relatively barren and populated by pinnacles that have been more resistant to erosion than their surroundings.  The area is several miles north of Lanai City and requires a four wheel drive vehicle for access.

Near the Garden of the Gods in Lanai

Shipwreck Beach

Shipwreck beach is a desolate length of shoreline that features a Liberty Ship that was beached in the channel after World War II.  From this location you can see the island of Molokai   Also, near this area you can find relatively recent Hawai'ian petroglyphs, dating from the 19th century.


Shipwreck Beach and---the Shipwreck.

Molokai from Shipwreck Beach

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