SUN, SAND & SURF
For its limited size, the Island of Lanai is fortunate to be blessed with several world-class beaches, including Hulopoe Beach, a curve of white-sand beach, adjacent to Manele Bay and the magical natural formation called Sweetheart Rock, or Pu‘u Pehe. Other beaches require four-wheel-drive vehicles to reach, but the payoff for the difficulty of access is rewarding, especially for those who value solitude amid remoteness.
BEST BEACHES FOR SNORKELING
Manele Bay is the site of an ancient Hawaiian fishing village and is today home to the Manele Small Boat Harbor. Except under conditions of rough weather, the bay is a pleasant spot for all sorts of water activities, including snorkeling, but be alert to boat traffic. To reach the bay, take Manele Road from Lanai City, which is located about eight miles up the hillside. A day at Manele can be combined with some time for swimming at nearby Hulopoe Beach Park.
BEST BEACHES FOR SURFING
Kaunolu Bay is another site of an ancient Hawaiian fishing village and a well-known trail to Pali Kaholo, the island’s highest sea cliff. Good surf is not an everyday occurrence on Lanai, so this is where the locals come to get what waves they can. It’s probably best to enjoy the view from the shore and leave the surf to others.
BEST BEACHES FOR SUNBATHING AND SUNSET-WATCHING
Hulopoe Beach is Lanai Island’s most popular recreational beach. It is a distinct crescent of white sand, bordered on both ends by a rugged lava coastline. Barbecuing grills, picnic benches, shade trees, showers and bathrooms make this the perfect weekend getaway for residents. Visitors from the nearby luxury resort, Four Seasons Lanai at Manele Bay, enjoy the beach all week long, often strolling down for a change of pace from sunbathing poolside. The bay is usually calm and suitable for pleasurable swimming, but occasional southern swells can bring surf that only the strongest swimmers should enter. Nearby Pu‘u Pehe Cove is the perfect spot to watch the sun descend into the sea, while contemplating the legend of Sweetheart Rock (ask a local).
Shipwreck Beach, best reached by four-wheel-drive vehicle, is along the island’s rugged northern coastline, offering views of neighboring Molokai and two of the many shipwrecks that have occurred here over the years. The beach is a fun spot for beachcombing and sunbathing, but visitors should get an early start back up the mountainside before the last light of the day.
BEST BEACHES FOR SWIMMING
Hulopoe Beach, the island’s favorite beach for visitors and residents alike, offers perfectly calm days, as well as some fun days with a gentle shorebreak. If the surf is up, only strong, experienced swimmers should enter the water. On the calmer days, youngsters should always be attended by adults because the shallow shoreline tends to drop off sharply into deep water just beyond the surf line.