Your first real, full day on Lanai is going to be special.
General: DIY / How-To
|Guide Series: Lanai Vacation Itinerary
Let's get an early start today! As I mentioned already, you'll want a rental car for your stay on Lanai. It's true that many people won't get one and you can use the shuttle bus to get between the Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay, Four Seasons Resort Lana'i, The Lodge at Koele, Lana'i City Airport (LNY), and the Lanai City town center. But there is so much more to Lanai than these area so make sure you got a car for your entire trip.
That means you've stopped at Dollar Rent A Car Lana'i (for a 4x4 Jeep) or Aloha Adventure Rentals (for a Hummer) since they're the only game in town. Talk with the rental agent and get a map as cell phone service won't go very far on this island (you should print these itineraries and map pages for each place you plan to visit as well to be safe). Tell the agent where you plan to go and they'll fill you in on any road or trail closures, explain the difference between 4-wheel-low and 4-wheel-high so you don't destroy your Jeep and give you advice on where to park so you don't get stuck in sand.
You'll also want to make sure you're all fueled up at Lanai City Service (the only gas station here) and have food, water, and some toilet paper (and thus some plastic bags). Yes, it's going to be like that today. We're going off the grid, which actually describes 98% of the island. Make sure you're prepared, if anything unplanned happens remember that luck favors the prepared.
So where can this mysterious trip take you? To the Garden of the Gods / Keahiakawelo of course! If you've heard anything about Lanai it was about the Garden of the Gods, easily the number one attraction on the island. If you know nothing about Lanai then know that the Garden of the Gods is the closest you'll get to walking on Mars, at least until Elon Musk figures it all out.
I could tell you that this place is simply a rock garden, because that's basically what it is. But it's one of those places you must experience in person. The colors are amazing, the ocean and island views are amazing. It's just a neat place and very remote so you may be the only one there. Just remember, there are no facilities out here. The road is also all dirt and can be rough once you leave the town. It's not for everyone but certainly an experience to have if you can do it.
No, really...there's a beach down there!
Continuing on after Garden of the Gods / Keahiakawelo will take you to Polihua Beach. This is an impressive place to spend some time but it's not for everyone. First up, if the drive to the garden terrified you then I would suggest turning back and skipping this as it's going to be rough going ahead and there are some crazy turns and drops in the road as you descend. If you do go to the beach, note that swimming here can be dangerous due to the strong winds and currents so proceed with extreme caution considering there is nobody here to help you out of trouble. Better yet, maybe stay out of the water entirely.
Note that we did this in the morning. First up, it's cooler which is much better. Second, you don't want to be out here late at night and driving these roads in the dark. If you see it's getting late and you're still out here, head back right away.
Now let's head back to Lanai City and grab some lunch. The town center is where everything is at, everything being a relative term here. The center is Dole Park and the bulk of the businesses surround this park. The nice thing is that you can park here and just walk to everything. Get your lunch to go and enjoy it at Dole Park which even has a playground for smaller kids and a large grassy area for them to run in as well. If any big events are happening, they'll probably happen here as well.
Then walk your lunch off and check out the unique shops that surround Dole Park. Be sure visit the Mike Carroll Gallery as well and say aloha to local artist Mike Carroll who runs the gallery and sells his artwork here. He's an amazing painter and this is a great way to take home a little bit of Lanai with you. After all, you don't want to take home any Lava Rock & Sand Souvenirs!
Stop at the Lanai Culture & Heritage Center next to get a little history lesson on the island's past. Admission is free and you'll learn a lot on your self-guided tour. Of course, they keep this place going from donations so show some aloha and drop a few dollars in the box on your way out.
If you still have time in the day you can also stop at the Lanai Art Center which was founded in 1991 and is the only multi-purpose community arts program on the island. The Lanai Art Center is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing arts and cultural experiences for all residents and visitors through ongoing classes, workshops, and studio access so all profits go to various art programs to help the children who live here. Check them out or signup for one of their art classes.
Cat lovers might also enjoy a trip to the Lanai Cat Sanctuary, located near the Lana'i City Airport (LNY), which provides a home for the island's homeless kitties so they won't struggle to survive. They're a 501(c)3 nonprofit and rely on donations to make lifelong care possible. Stop in to say hello to them and the zillion cats that call this place home.
Disclaimer: We're not affiliated, authorized, associated, endorsed by, or officially connected with the company or entities listed here, or any of their subsidiaries or affiliates. All trademarks cited, listed, or shown here are the property of their respective owners. We are not responsible for errors, omissions, safety issues
, or inaccurate information. This site is for entertainment purposes only and is not an official guide. Attempting anything you see here is done so at your own risk and we are not responsible for your safety, loss of life, legal or medical fees, or damages because of anything you see or read on this site.