Known as the “pineapple island” (because of its past pineapple growing industry), Lanai is a small, privately-owned island – just 13 miles wide by 18 miles long.
But there’s a surprising amount to do on Lanai, considering its postage-stamp size.
Most visitors stay at the Four Seasons. But you can also stay at the funky Hotel Lanai, built in 1923 as lodging for Dole Plantation execs.
Things to do on Lanai: hiking
We particularly loved hiking on Lanai.
One popular trail is the Koloiki Ridge hike. From the Four Seasons’ Lodge at Koele, located higher up in the hills (where the air is definitely cooler than down by the beach), this great five-mile hiking trail winds along a mountain ridge through pine forests, before opening up to sweeping ocean views.
Down by Hulopoe Beach (at the foot of Four Seasons’ Manele Bay resort), there’s an easy walk to Pu’u Pehe or “Sweetheart Rock.” It follows the coastline to this 80-foot tall craggy rock formation shooting up out of the water.
Legend has it that a young warrior from Lanai named Makakehau fell in love with a Hawaiian beauty named Pehe from Maui.
He took her back to Lanai and hid her in a sea cave. But a sudden storm flooded the cave, drowning her in the waves. So he climbed to the top of this rocky outcropping, where he buried her, then leaped to his death in the surging waters below.
Things to do on Lanai: golfing
Golfers can tee off on two courses:
- the championship, Scottish Highlands-style course at Koele, designed by Greg Norman (its signature 17th hole nestled in a deep gorge is one of the world’s most challenging) – but note this course is closed for a year for enhancements, opening about March, 2015
- the Jack Nicklaus-designed beach course, where every hole has an ocean view
Things to do on Lanai: exploring Lanai city
The small sleepy town of Lanai City sits at 1,645 feet above sea level. Stroll about the town’s square, and you discover a few shops and a couple of pleasant cafes and restaurants.
The Lanai Culture & Heritage Center is also worth poking about it in. Historic old photos, maps and artifacts (like poi pounders and pineapple plantation tools) celebrate the land, people and history of Lanai. There are even a few pineapples growing outside in the garden.
Other things to do on Lanai
- Horseback riding
- 4 x 4 tours
Or do nothing
Of course, you must save time to relax on public Hulopoe Beach (an idyllic beach!).
Watch the spinner dolphins playing in the bay.
If you’re a guest at either of the Four Seasons resorts on Lanai, you also get to enjoy their beach club services – like being treated to Evian spritzes and chilled facecloths delivered to you while you’re lounging on your beach chair.