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Lanai Travel Guide

Discover the island life here.
Last Updated
:
February 17, 2024
by
Editorial Staff
Pu'u Pehe, Sweetheart Rock, Lanai, Hawaii, Hulopoe Beach Park
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Adobe Stock
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Yep, Hawaii has it all— epic waves, stunning beaches, flashy resorts. But somehow we keep getting drawn back to the same spots and missing out on what might be the real hidden gem – Lanai, or you can also call it Lāna’i. Ever heard of it? Yeah, us neither at first. It’s that kinda of overlooked middle child of the Hawaiian islands that folks fly right over to get to Maui for their luau fix.

Well grab a loco moco and listen up, because Lāna’i needs some love! No over-the-top resorts or tourist traps here. Nope, just miles of barefoot-ready beaches, crazy cool cliffside hikes, and authentic Hawaiian local grinds that are anything but a commercialized concoction of coconut shrimp.

So join us in giving props to Hawaii’s most underrated isle for a bit. In our tell-it-like-it-is Lanai Travel Guide, we’ll clue you in on where to hang and what to do on this little piece of paradise. We’re talking must-see sights, secret local spots, and the best places to just sit back and take in that famous Hawaiian chill vibe.

Whether you just want to snorkel with sea turtles, go all Indiana Jones exploring ancient ruins, or simply perfect that beach bum life in a hammock under swaying palms, Lanai delivers the aloha in a delightfully low-key kinda way. Just don’t forget your sunscreen, cause you’re gonna need it! Now let’s go show this island some love, whaddya say?

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About Lanai

Hulopoe Sharks Bay Overlook, Puupeha, Lanai, Hawaii, USA
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A trip to the Hawaiian island of Lanai is a unique experience. Only two hotels have been built here, and 98 percent of the island is privately owned. The rest is pristine, with little development and few roads. If you are looking to explore the island, download a map from Google Maps to get around. Be sure to be connected to Wi-Fi, as you will need to keep the app open for directions.

To reach the island, you must travel first to Maui. There are no direct flights to Lanai from the continental US, but you can connect to Maui using the Kahului or Honolulu International Airport. From Maui, you can take a ferry to Lanai’s Manele Harbor. The trip takes around an hour.

The island is home to two luxury resorts and two golf courses. Visitors to the island can also try their hand at clay shooting, mountain biking, and snorkeling. Although Lanai is smaller than other Hawaiian islands, it still has plenty of attractions for the whole family. Among these attractions are the beautiful scenery, wildlife, and beaches. Even the local high school’s physical fitness team has won state and national championships. In 1994, Microsoft’s Bill Gates rented the entire island for his wedding to Melinda French.

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Why Go to Lanai

Narrow winding road on Lanai, Hawaii
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If you’re planning your next trip to Hawaii, you should consider a stop on Lanai, the smallest and most secluded of the Hawaiian Islands. With only 3,000 residents, Lanai is perfect for those seeking a retreat and a change of pace. The island has no traffic lights or fast food joints, and its pristine landscape includes protected marine preserves. This makes it a wonderful place to escape the hustle and bustle of the larger islands.

Lanai is known for its remote beaches, otherworldly rock formations, and colorful underwater reefs. The island’s off-road paths allow visitors to visit the top sights, which are mostly inaccessible by car. There are also upscale resorts and hotels on Lanai that offer first-rate service and accommodations. Visitors can also enjoy lawn bowling and deep sea fishing.

Those looking for a little more adventure will enjoy Lanai’s quiet, pristine atmosphere and plethora of outdoor activities. There’s something for everyone. A visit to this island will also give you the chance to learn about the culture and heritage of the island.

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Best Time to Go

Beach of Lanai Island in Hawaii
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The Best Time to go to Lanai depends on your personal preferences and what activities you wish to enjoy. The warmest months for visiting Lanai are November and June, while the driest months are January and April. These months also have the least precipitation of all the Hawaiian Islands. The whale-watching season is most popular in January and April, when temperatures are relatively mild compared to summer.

The windiest months to visit Lanai are April, August, and July. The average wind speed during these months is 9.3 knots, which is 10.7 MPH and 17.2 KPH. This is a mild breeze, while the highest wind speed during this month is 19.7 knots.

If you are driving to Lanai, consider hiring a car. Rental cars are scarce on the island, and gas prices can be expensive. You can easily spend $40 to $50 a day on gas. In addition, you should avoid driving in rainy weather, as roads are sometimes impassable. If you’re renting a car, you can always talk to the rental agent about which roads are open and which are closed to traffic.

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How to Get Around

Lanai, Hawaii on map
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There are several routes through Lanai to explore its unique attractions. A jeep rental is a great way to see the island’s sights. You can drive to the Garden of the Gods, or explore the island’s secluded beaches. You can also visit the Munro Trail Lookout for a spectacular view of deep canyons. Other great spots on Lanai include Shipwreck Beach, with its ancient petroglyphs and wreckage of a World War II fuel tanker. Visitors to the area may also see axis deer, wild turkey, and pheasants. There are even corrals with goats.

A taxi can be expensive and not always available on Lanai. To get around the island, you can take a free tour organized by the Four Seasons or by a local tour company. Tours can take you to the most important sites in the area. Alternatively, you can rent a car for the entire stay or just for specific activities.

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Best Restaurants

Restaurant view of Blue Ginger Cafe
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There are a number of great dining options available to tourists and locals alike. From luxury eateries to island retreats, Lanai has something to offer everyone. From burgers and seafood to steaks and rotisserie meats, there is sure to be a restaurant to suit your taste.

The small island of Lanai has a rich culinary heritage. Aside from traditional Hawaiian cuisine, you can find Asian-fusion dishes, Japanese cuisine, and more. The island’s diverse landscape provides the perfect backdrop for oceanfront dining. Whether you’re looking for local fare or an exotic fusion of European and Asian influences, there’s sure to be a dining experience that’s sure to wow you.

The Blue Ginger Cafe serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and serves Korean and American dishes. The cafe has both indoor and outdoor seating. It’s located in the heart of Lanai, and is perfect for a quick bite before hitting the beach. You can enjoy a wide selection of burgers and calzones here. You can also get a bowl of delicious ice cream.

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Things to Do

Sweetheart Rock Lanai, Hawaii
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One of the best things to do on Lanai is to hike or explore the lush forests. A hike through the lush forests of Lanai will take you through the lush tropical climate and offer a spectacular view of the island’s mountains and ocean. Hiking Lanai’s Koloiki Ridge is a popular option among tourists. This five-mile loop trail winds through pine forests before opening up to expansive ocean views.

You can also take a jeep tour of Lanai to see the Garden of the Gods, which has a breathtaking view of the island. Another great option for sightseeing is the Munro Trail Lookout, where you can see the deep canyons and ancient petroglyphs. Another option is to visit the Lanai Cat Sanctuary, where over 600 cats live. This sanctuary not only gives the cats a new home, but also protects the endangered birdlife on the island.

Another great activity to do while on Lanai is snorkeling. There are several places to snorkel off of the coast of Lanai, including the famous Sweetheart Rock. Depending on the season, you may be able to see whales and dolphins.

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Neighborhoods to Know

Aerial Lanai city, Hawaii neighborhood
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When it comes to determining where to live, there are a few important neighborhoods to consider. These include Kapano, Iwiole, and Kaumalapau. This private island is also home to ancient religious sites. The average home value in these neighborhoods is $432,500, which is slightly higher than the average for the Kahului-Wailuku area.

Lanai City is the main center of the island, home to the majority of the population. Many residents refer to it as “the village,” and it is the first place visitors and residents alike will see once they land. The city is 3.6 square miles in size and contains many of the services and amenities of a city. It is also the center of island commerce.

Despite its size, the island does not have a crowded resort district. Although 98 percent of the island is privately owned, only two hotels are located on it. The landscape is sparse and brown, with dirt roads crisscrossing the island’s landscape. However, there are several neighborhoods that are worth exploring.

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Weather

Hulopoe Beach of Lanai Island in Hawaii
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The climate on Lanai is typically warm, humid, and windy. The average temperature ranges from 60°F to 81°F. The highest humidity levels are in October and November. The driest months are April and June. Between these two months, there are very few wet days on Lanai. The week of February 12th has the lowest probability of significant precipitation, and the week of May 14th has the highest.

The winds are moderate on Lanai. The average wind speed in April is 9.3 knots (that’s 10.7 MPH or 17.2 KPH) – a gentle breeze. In July, the average wind speed is 19.7 knots (that’s 29.9 MPH or 48.7 KPH), which can be a challenge for some people.

Rainfall on Lanai is minimal, as the island is shielded by Maui and Molokai. The average rainfall is between 10 and 20 inches per year. Temperatures on the island usually range from 72oF in February to 80oF in September.

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