Sometimes you find a place that just doesn’t meet your expectations. It exceeds them! Steve and I didn’t know exactly what to expect on our trip to Lana’i, but what we found was fun, adventure, beauty, and a lot of off-roading! For anyone considering adding Lana’i to their “must-go” list, I think that’s a great idea. Here are our top 10 favorite things to do when you go!
10. Visit the Lana’i Cat Sanctuary
Are you a cat person? This is for you! Even if you’re merely indifferent, this is a fun place to spend a couple of hours on the island. The cats are so funny, and the sanctuary exists to not only to give the cats a home, but to also protect the native birds. Visiting is FREE, and if you find a cat you love, you can adopt it! Can’t take it home with you? You also have the opportunity to “adopt in place,” meaning you pay for its care each month. Try not to fall in love with all of them. I dare you!
Get a sneak peek: The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Lana’i Cat Sanctuary
9. Go Off-roading
If you want to see the most of what Lana’i has to offer, you’ll want to spring for it! Lana’i only has 30 miles of paved roads, no stoplights, and speedlimits top out at 45 mph. As with most locations, the real adventure begins where the blacktop ends. How often do you get to have a gigantic beach in Hawaii, like Polihua pictured below, all to yourself? Just do a little research about how to drive a 4-wheel drive (4WD) vehicle if you’ve never done it before.
Essential info: Everything You Need to Know about Renting a Car on Lana’i
8. Relax on Manele Bay
Want a beach that doesn’t require 4WD? Manele Bay is for you! The beach is large, the water is clear, and you’re just a short walk away from one of the most iconic sites on Lana’i: Pu’upehe (Sweetheart Rock). There’s plenty of paved parking here, two bathrooms, a water refilling station, and lots of fish to see down below with a snorkel and some fins!
Read next: What to Know Before You Visit Lana’i
7. Grab a Macadamia Nut Latte at Coffee Works
You know I had to put a coffee shop on this list! Lana’i’s own Coffee Works was voted one of the 5 best coffee shops in all of Hawaii, so you simply have to stop by. Whether you want yours hot or iced, serious coffee or a fun flavor, latte or black, you’ll find just the right coffee (or gigantic pastry!) here to fuel your adventures.
Keep eating: Where to Eat on Lana’i
6. Visit the Lana’i Culture and Heritage Center
This was a delightful surprise! We spent well over an hour in here, and Diane at the museum kindly chatted with us and answered all our questions. It’s a perfect way to start your trip, or to spend a rainy day if you have one on your trip. During the Pandemic, you’ll need to e-mail Shelly@lanaichc.org to make your appointment, but the museum is FREE, and it’s a great place to find out everything you want to know about Lana’i. We recommend it!
Bookmark this: How to Plan a Trip to Lana’i
5. Find Shipwreck Beach
The nice thing about this is that you can go here with or without 4WD! If you’re up for walking on sand about four miles round-trip, you can park at the end of the paved road and walk here, or if you have a Jeep, you can drive it! Either way, it’s a beautiful place to spend a couple of hours. There are several ship wrecks here, but the most prominent one will come into view and look like it’s still floating on the water. Check it out!
More here: The Best Places to Go on Lana’i WITH 4WD
4. Shop Local in Lana’i City
Do you love supporting local businesses as much as I do when you travel? This is one of my favorite things about Lana’i–every business is a small business! With the exception of the Four Seasons properties, you won’t find any chain stores or restaurants, making it easy to shop small! I love that not only are these businesses local, they also support other local artisans and small businesses. We found Ni’ihau jewelry, bath products made right there on Lana’i, and beautiful artwork painted by locals as well.
Get all the info: What to See and Do in Lana’i City
3. Hike the Koloiki Ridge Trail
Ask the locals where to hike, and you’ll certainly hear about this one: Koloiki Ridge. The trail itself is a fairly easy hike, and the views are more and more stunning as you get closer to the end of the trail. The real reward is the lookout to see Maunalei, which is a beautiful, historic, lush gorge that’s larger than life. Don’t miss it!
More here: Hiking Hawaii: Lana’i
2. Hike Pu’upehe (Sweetheart Rock)
Want a short hike with iconic photo-ops? Check out Pu’upehe, also called Sweetheart Rock. It’s only a short walk from the aforementioned Manele Bay, and just one mile round-trip. It’s steeped in Hawaiian lore, and you can’t help but take incredible photos here with the dramatic, red cliffs jutting up from the crystal-clear, blue water.
Must read: The Best Places to Go on Lana’i WITHOUT 4WD
1. Get a Glimpse from Kehekili’s Leap
Wow! All I can say is that this view was worth the off-roading to get here, even on an overcast day. It’s a bit of a climb, but Kehekili’s Leap, located at the Kaunolu Historic Village Site, is the definition of epic. Through that opening, not only are you seeing water that’s an unbelievable shade of blue, not only are you seeing gorgeous cliffs, you’re also looking at Lana’i’s tallest sea cliff!
For my fellow history buffs: Hawaii for History Lovers
Want more about Lana’i or anywhere else in Hawaii? Check out my dedicated Hawaiian Islands Page for everything you need and more!
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