Lanai or Lanaʻi is the smallest inhabited island in Hawaii (141 square miles). It is also known as Pineapple Island because of its past as an island-wide pineapple plantation.
The only city on Lanai is Lanai City. Most of the island's restaurants and shops can be found in the town square that surrounds Dole Park.
Most of Lanai can only be seen with a vehicle or via a tour. There is a free shuttle between the ferry port and Lanai City, but there are no other transportation options.
Larry Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle Corporation, owns most of the island.
Lana‘i has an island-wide transportation system offered for a nominal fee that is available through the Four Seasons Resorts, Hotel Lana‘i and Expedition Ferry (to and from Maui). The island shuttle offers an easy way to get from the airport to the hotels in Lana‘i City and Hulopoe Bay, the golf courses, and the Expedition Ferry. The shuttle is convenient and runs frequently.
The only rental vehicles on the island are Jeeps. In addition to the agencies listed below, Jeep rentals are sometimes available through private Lana‘i residents.
There is only one gas station on the island and it is in Lana‘i City, so make sure that enough gas is available. Lana‘i may be a small island, but routes such as the Munro trail have limited access and take a long time to traverse.
- 1 Dole Park and War Memorial (Downtown Lanai City). The center of family recreational activities with a pavilion, picnic tables, and community center. Several veteran memorials are located in the park commemorating the soldiers that fought and died in World War II and the Korean Conflict.
- Kaiolohia (Shipwreck Beach) (Highway 44 to the end of the road, then turn left). This secluded beach features a ghostly ship still "wrecked" off shore - the World War II Liberty Ship, one of 22 ferrous-concrete oilers built between 1942 and 1944. After the war several surplus crafts were provided residence on the Lanai reef as an economical means of disposal. This particular vessel withstands the ocean currents and waves and has stood for over 50 years on the reef. A remote hiking trail (Kaiolohia-Kahue) originates from the beach, and petroglyphs can be seen 100 yards inland from the parking area.
- 2 Pu'u Pehe (Sweetheart Rock). A trail from Hulopo'e Beach leads to a wonderful overlook of Pu'u Pehe Rock. Along the trail are numerous tidepools, a sea arch, Sharks Bay and Sharks Cove.
- Keahiakawelo (Garden of the Gods). 4-wheel drive to this otherworldly landscape - beautiful and unique rock formations were formed by thousands of years of erosion, creating pinnacles and buttes in a remote area. On a clear day, visitors can see the islands of Molokai and Oahu from these high elevations.
- Nanahoa Islet. Nanahoa Islet, north of Kaumalapau Harbor on Lanai’s west side, consists of two large pillar stones. According to legend a man named Nanahoa and his wife were turned into these stones.
- 3 Hulopoe Beach Park. Hulopoe Beach is located in southern Lanai along crescent-shaped Hulopoe Bay, which is protected as a Marine Life Conservation Area. The bay is bordered on each side by boulders, and on the eastern end is a lava terrace lined with tide pools that provide habitat for a variety of marine life. One of the island's safest swimming beaches for children, although there is no lifeguard. There is generally good visibility in the water which makes for excellent snorkeling. Open to the public, with picnic tables, barbecue grills, restrooms and showers.
- 4 Polihua Beach. A long and wide white-sand beach stretching for more than 1.5 miles along the farthest most northwestern point on Lana‘i. Great for sunbathing, beach walks, exploring, picnics. These activities are best done earlier in the day as the afternoons are frequently very windy with windblown sand.
- Kamalupau Harbor. Located on the west end of Lana‘i and is accessible by paved road. Breathtaking views of the 1,000 foot cliffs along Lana‘i's South shore.
- Luahiwa Petroglyphs (Highway 440 south from Lanai City). Clustered at the foothills of the Palawai caldera, these are drawings made on lava rocks by ancient Hawaiian settlers. See figures representing men and women, family units, pets, goats, canoes, and even a possible surfer. The site of the petroglyphs is not marked. Ask for clear directions and road conditions before starting out.
- [dead link] Lana'i Theater, 456 7th St, Lanai City, ☏ . Larry Ellison renovated the theater to a first-run movie theater that has 2 films on any given day. $10/adult, $9/concession.
- Lanai Cat Sanctuary, 1 Kaupili Road (After passing the airport, take the second dirt road on the left and look for the highway rock marker that reads Kaunolu. Turn left and look for the gate on the right.), ☏ , ✉ info@LanaiCatSanctuary.org. 10AM - 3PM. Lanai Cat Sanctuary is a nonprofit animal welfare and conservation organization that protects cats and endangered birds. It is a delightful place to visit for people who love cats. No entry fee (donation requested).
- Snorkeling and swimming at Hulopoe Beach Park
Lanai’s southern coast is known for its 'Cathedrals I' and 'Cathedrals II' dives, swim-throughs, archways, and lava structures.
Several Maui-based dive operations offer day trips from Lahaina to the dive sites along the south shore of Lanai (45-minute boat ride).
- Trilogy Ocean Sports, toll-free: . The only full service dive operation on the island of Lana‘i, they also offer sailing and snorkeling tours.
- The Challenge at Manele, ☏ . An open, oceanside course designed by Jack Nicklaus. 18 holes, par 72.
- The Experience at Koele, ☏ . Perched in the lush, green highlands of Lanai away from the ocean. 18 holes, par 72.
- Cavendish Golf Course, Keomoku Rd. Lanai City, ☏ . Built as a nine-hole, par 36 courses in 1947 for sugar plantation workers on the island. Today, it's a free golfing opportunity for anyone who loves the game. The course features long, straight fairways amid tall Norfolk pines. 9 holes, par 36.
Great local art at The Lana’i Art Center.
Accommodations are limited on the island, so make sure you've booked ahead. Rooms for April and December high seasons book up months in advance.
- Blue Ginger Bed and Breakfast, 421 Lama St. $100.
- Dreams Come True Lanai B & B, ☏ . Plantation style home with full amenities, 4 rooms. $129.
- Hale Moe (Moe's House), 502 Akolu Pl. Small (three room) B & B.
- Hulopo'e Bay Campgrounds (Highway 440 south from Lanai City approximately 13 miles), ☏ . Camping allowed by permit - call for information and rates.
- Hotel Lana‘i, 828 Lanai Ave. $325.
- Jasmin Garden House, 547 12th St. Bed and Breakfast. $260.
- Four Seasons Resort Lana'i - The Lodge at Koele, One Keomoku Highway, ☏ . Tropical-inspired décor complemented by Koele's natural surroundings and views of the surrounding tropical vistas. $340 and up.
- Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay, 1 Manele Bay Rd, ☏ . Voted one of Travel+Leisure readers' Best Beach Hotels. $445 and up.
Crime is usually not an issue on Lana‘i due to the small population, but that still doesn't mean that it is not a good idea to be watchful.