Day 9, it's time for a day trip to Lanai island.
General: DIY / How-To
|Guide Series: Maui Vacation Itinerary
If you've been on Maui this long it's time to explore a nearby island and what better option than the island of Lanai which is located west of Maui and separated by only 9 miles (or so) of ocean. Of course, a plane flight or boat trip is a bit more than that in terms of distance but it's still a very easy and short trip to make.
Better still, there is a boat ferry service called Expeditions: Maui - Lanai Ferry that will take you between the two islands several times daily. Expect to pay around $30 per adult and $20 per child. The boat docks at Lahaina Harbor on Maui and Manele Small Boat Harbor on Lanai. The boat leaves Maui early in the morning at 6:45 AM so you'll want to catch that first boat to make the most of your day. The last ferry then leaves Lanai at 6:45 PM.
So what will you do on Lanai? Check out our Lanai Guide for options. Lanai is such a small, sleepy island that it doesn't have a ton of restaurants or shopping but it certainly has some incredible sites. Our suggestion is to rent a Jeep and there's only a couple of rental options here with the common option being Dollar Rent A Car Lana'i.
Grab your Jeep (reserve in advance!) and head out to Garden of the Gods / Keahiakawelo which is sort of a must-see attraction here. It's as close as you'll get to visiting Mars. Pack snacks and water and maybe some toilet paper along with plastic bags. I'm not joking, you'll want to be prepared out there since, much like Mars, there are no facilities what-so-ever out there (and no cell service). Note that the road here is really a bumpy, dirt trail almost the entire way. It's not for everyone.
Another fun drive is over to the north side of the island to Kaiolohia Bay (Shipwreck Beach), which truly has a giant shipwreck offshore. It's a little odd, a little creepy, and plenty fun to see. The drive is fun and maybe a little scary if you don't like heights but at least it's almost all paved. Note that it's a beach worth seeing in person, but not one you'll want to swim at due to dangerous currents.
On the way back you'll want to stop by the tiny town area of Lanai City. This is where you'll find a handful of restaurants and shops to check out. One of our favorites is the Mike Carroll Gallery. The Lanai Culture & Heritage Center is also worth a stop.
If you want to check out hotels, there are only three on the entire island and all relatively close to each other. The Four Seasons Resort Lana'i, The Lodge at Koele and Hotel Lana'i are in the main town area so check them out while here.
The big resort hotel here is the Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay and just a short drive away. It's located right by Hulopo'e Bay Beach Park which is the main beach on the island if you want to easily get in the water for a swim. Yes, there are others but most require some seriously long and bumpy off road adventures to reach.
So there you have it. A day trip to Lanai. Of course, you could always stay a night or two and really have time to explore the island but at least now you have a taste of what Lanai has to offer you for your next trip to Hawaii. Make sure you've left time to return that Jeep and to take the shuttle back to the Manele Small Boat Harbor in time for the last ferry back to Maui.
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