True Hawaii

Lanai: A Private Sojourn

Top 3 Quiet Corners

  1. Garden of the Gods: In Lanai’s northwestern uplands, this eroded canyon appears as if deities had scattered boulders like birdseed. Go at twilight.
  2. Polihua Beach: At the end of a four-mile dirt trail on Lanai’s northwestern shore lies this beach, which is almost always deserted.
  3. Kaunolu Bay. Commune here on the island’s southern tip, where spinner dolphins are framed by sea arches (fragile lava carved by the sea).

Take a Hike
Hike the seven-mile (round-trip) Munro Trail up to the 3,370-foot summit of Lanaihale mountain. Foot trails also fork off the main trail. Munro is famed for its panorama; on a clear day, the islands of Maui, Molokai, the Big Island, Oahu and Kahoolawe loom in the distance. To get to the trail head, take Keomoku Road, turn right at Cemetery Road and follow the signs. You can also drive on a one-lane dirt road.

Spin Your Wheels
Lanai has fewer than three dozen miles of paved road. To explore the island fully, rent a jeep or hire outfitters to take you on guided off-road expeditions. Consider these three pit stops: Shipwreck Beach on Lanai’s northeast coast, where you can wander eight miles of shoreline, beachcombing for shells; Kanepuu Preserve, which bursts with rare plant life (and the adjacent weirdness of the Garden of the Gods); and Luahiwa Petroglyphs, carvings that date back as far as the 15th century in lava rocks clustered at the foothills of the Palawai caldera. For guided road adventures, try Trilogy Ocean Sports Lanai, ; or Adventure Lanai Ecocentre, . If driving yourself, always check out road conditions first.

Kahuna Touch
“Massage” is a convenient European term, but the Hawaiian art of lomilomi, passed down over time through the teachings of the kahunas (priests), is both massage and spiritual reconnection. Recipients of a true lomilomi experience not only experience physical relaxation but also an erasure of anxiety and negative thoughts. The Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay and The Lodge at Koele both offer 50- or 80-minute lomilomi massage.

Many people often use Hulopoe Beach near the Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay on the island’s south coast as a lookout for spinner dolphins. Its grassy swards are also a favorite local picnic spot. The tide pools along the southernmost stretch of Hulopoe Bay are some of Hawaii’s best, filled with starfish, sea cucumbers and banded coral shrimp.

Insider Tip
Contrary to popular belief, relaxation burns calories. The locals recoup their energy reserves at the Blue Ginger Café (across the street from Dole Park) in Lanai City. Try the mahimahi sandwich.

Published: 29 Oct 2007 | Last Updated: 1 Apr 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

Best Hotels in Lanai


Four Seasons The Lodge at Koele


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