Lanai has much more than picture-perfect beaches. This is where your sense of adventure can run free, from rugged off-road explorations to deep-water scuba diving. And, with few residents—and few visitors—you’ll sometimes feel as though you have the island all to yourself.
To plan your perfect Lanai vacation itinerary, read on for great ideas—including Outdoor Adventures, Peaceful Retreats & Cultural Journeys and Scenic Spots. Then visit our list of Perfect Partners below.
On the Water
Surfing may be Hawaii’s most classic water sport. In fact, surfing has been a way of life in Hawaii for hundreds of years. Connect with history through surfing lessons at Lanai’s hidden beaches, or sign up for guided “surf safari.”
With so many ways to get out on the water, it may be hard to choose! A guided kayaking tour is just one option for viewing the pristine coastlines of the island. Lanai’s northern shore is fringed with reef, creating a shallow-water lagoon bustling with turtles and fish—a perfect setting for paddlers of all skill levels.
Between the months of December and March, sign up for a whale-watching excursion to see Hawaii’s amazing, 50-foot winter visitors up close. You can also book a sports-fishing charter and head out on the open water for marlin, ahi and more. Other great ocean outings include boating along Lanai’s pristine and otherworldly south shore on a marine-mammal search, sunset sail or high-speed rafting adventure.
Some of the above ocean activities, including sailing, kayaking and rafting, often include the option to snorkel at hidden spots. Snorkeling and scuba diving tours are not only popular, but also the best way to safely experience Lanai’s incredible undersea life. Skin Diver Magazine has called Lanai one of the “top 10 dive destinations in the world”—and a guided tour can help you discover it. You can even get scuba-certified while you’re here.
On the Land
With most of the island unpaved, exploring Lanai calls for adventurous measures. To jangle down its rugged and often-steep dirt roads, you’re going to need a four-wheel-drive jeep and a bit of hutzpah. If you’d rather leave the driving and directions to a local expert, book a jeep tour of the island. Or, to get off the roads completely, try a guided horseback-riding, ATV or UTV, or mountain biking excursion. All four modes of travel take you into beautiful terrain that would otherwise be inaccessible. Keep an eye out for wild sheep, deer and turkey, as well as amazing ocean vistas.
Lanai offers a number of great hiking trails—and the most exciting is the Munro Trail. This full-day journey winds you through rich forests to the top of the island, where incredible views unfold in clear weather. An easy and rewarding hike down by Hulopoe Bay takes you out to Puu Pehe, or Sweetheart Rock, for stellar ocean and coastline views.
Lanai is rife with axis deer, mouflon sheep, turkey and quail, all introduced and now well established on the island. Free-range and custom hunting excursions are available through several outfits. For target activities off the range, why not try archery, air-rifle shooting or sporting-clay shooting. Lanai’s 14-station sporting-clay course is considered one of the best anywhere.
For tamer ways to spend the day outdoors, Lanai doesn’t disappoint. The Four Seasons hotels offer championship golf courses designed by golf legends Ted Robinson, Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus. With one course in the cool uplands and the other cutting along the sea cliffs, each game is a memorable experience. Both hotels have tennis courts as well. Guests staying at the Four Seasons Koele also have access to “gentlemanly” outdoor games such as lawn bowling, croquet and an 18-hole executive putting course.
In the Air
Consider a helicopter tour of Lanai. You’ll fly over some of the island’s most significant and hard-to-reach landmarks, including the old fishing village of Kaunolu, plus get full views of amazing natural sights such as Puu Pehe (Sweetheart Rock) and Keahiakawelo (Garden of the Gods). Tours may continue on to the neighboring islands for additional adventuring.
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