Mention Hawaii and automatically people will imagine swimming in the famous beautiful beaches of Maui and then drinking a glass of pina colada. But visitors tend to forget there is more to Hawaii than those famous beaches. It is actually an archipelago of islands found southwest of the United States. Eight main islands are spread across 2,500 kilometers of the Pacific Ocean. These islands are Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, Maui, and the Island of Hawaii. Hawaii’s capital, Honolulu, is based in the island of Oahu.
For a different experience of Hawaii, head over to the island of Lanai.
Known as the Pineapple Island, most of this red-dirt island was owned by Dole Company for its pineapple plantation. Now, it has opened its borders to visitors as Dole moved to a less expensive plantation. There are a number of activities you can do when visiting Lanai.
Visitors of Lanai can either rent a 4-wheel drive such as a Jeep or a Hummer and go on an adventure exploring the last undeveloped Hawaiian island or just take a ferry trip from Maui to the Four Seasons Hotel in Manele Bay. Your adventurous spirit will be awakened as you rent a jeep to traverse the rough roads of Lanai in order to see its famous spots. Be prepared for a bumpy ride since there are only 30 miles of paved roads on the island.
The Garden of the Gods is one of those trip-worthy spots.
Also known as Keahiakawelo, the Garden of the Gods appears like Mars on earth with its red spires and rock towers. It will require roughly 45 minutes from Lanai City to this otherworldly rock garden at the end of rocky Polihua Road. Hawaiian lore attributes the unique topography to a contest between two priests from Lanai and Molokai. It is said that the Lanai kahuna (priest), Kawelo, burned up all vegetation in the area to keep the fire burning and win the challenge. This resulted in the barren area today known as Garden of the Gods. The landscape is best admired at dusk where the setting sun casts a warm orange glow to the boulders and rocks to reflect bright colors of reds and purples. Make sure you get a 4-wheel drive as Polihua Road is unpaved.
Head over to Shipwreck Beach.
While you’re on your drive, head over to the remote Shipwreck Beach where you get to see the large abandoned oil tanker and the neighboring islands of Molokai and Maui. Going to the beach can be a bit inconvenient and the beach is rocky but the view is amazing! Maximize your 4-wheel drive rental by taking the Munro trail and seeing the vast abandoned pineapple plantation. Just bring sunscreen, extra water, and extra clothes as the red dirt from the roads can be difficult to remove. You can also go hiking on different trails around the island. So pack your comfortable shoes and walking sticks when heading to Lanai. The seven-mile Munro trail will lead you up to Lanaihale where you will be rewarded with magnificent views of the other islands. Just avoid taking the trail when the roads are muddy.
Go snorkeling in a protected marine reserve at Hulopoe Beach.
But you should still bring your swimsuits as Lanai still offers the tropical paradise you’re looking for during a Hawaiian vacation. Head over to Hulopoe Beach where you get to snorkel in a protected marine reserve. You will get to enjoy colorful corals and a rich variety of fishes. Visit between December and April to see Hawaiian spinner dolphins playing in the bay and even some humpback whales! Even the crescent-shaped bay is a sight to enjoy.
Book a suite at the Four Seasons Resort at Manele Bay.
If you’re feeling extravagant and looking for pure leisure, book a suite at the Four Seasons Resort at Manele Bay. It will offer you a wide view of the Pacific Ocean or lush tropical gardens. You can also take a bath in the in-room Japanese soaking tubs. This will be perfect after a day of exploring the rough roads of Lanai. You can also enjoy lunch at the View at Manele Clubhouse which offers stunning cliff-side panoramic views to match your island scrumptious lunch. You can also go on horseback riding at The Lodge at Koele. The ride passes through ironwood forests and scenic viewpoints, and it usually lasts for 90 minutes. This is a great activity to do with the kids.
Lanai will give you an unforgettable Hawaiian vacation with a mix of relaxation and adventure. So next time you’re booking a trip to Hawaii, consider staying in Lanai. You’ll go home with lots of stories and beautiful photos.