Top 9 Amazing Things To Do in Lanai You Can’t Miss Out On!

Welcome fellow travel enthusiasts!

I couldn’t help but share the unforgettable experience my boyfriend and I had when we ventured off to Lanai, a true gem among Hawaiian islands. Having visited other parts of Hawaii before, I was initially skeptical about what set Lanai apart. But trust me; this enchanting island swept us off our feet!

During our time on Lanai, I discovered an irresistible blend of natural beauty, adventure, and luxury that made it stand out from the rest. Between basking in the sun on pristine beaches or exploring lush landscapes, we found endless opportunities to make memories. And for those moments when we craved relaxation (I’m looking at you spa lovers!), exceptional resorts with lavish amenities offered unapologetic indulgence.

Over the years, I’ve gained extensive knowledge about traveling and finding unique destinations that cater to various interests. With my expertise and personal experiences fueling my love for discovering hidden gems like Lanai, I just knew I had to share it with others seeking their next captivating escape.

Warning: after reading these 9 compelling reasons why Lanai should be your next vacation destination (and all the things you can do there), expect some serious wanderlust! Let’s embark on this fantastic quest together because remember: life’s too short not to chase beautiful adventures!

Lanai Culture & Heritage Center – Best Thing to Overview the Local Culture of Lanai

My boyfriend and I decided to embark on a journey to learn more about the culture of Lanai, a place we had heard so much about. As cultural enthusiasts, we couldn’t wait to visit the local markets and hangouts for an authentic flavor of this beautiful island. However, our trip took an interesting turn when we discovered the Lanai Culture & Heritage Center.

The Lanai Culture & Heritage Center is a small two-room, nonprofit museum dedicated to increasing awareness about the land, resources, people, and history of Lanai. Visiting this center was one of the highlights of our trip because it offered us something truly unique.

The exhibits were beautifully displayed and maintained in chronological order outlining the history of the island since the 1800s. This simple yet effective arrangement helped us navigate through time with ease while learning interesting facts at every step.

The friendly guides were also incredibly knowledgeable! They ensured that each visitor left with not only information but also a deep appreciation for Lanai’s rich history and culture. It felt like they truly cared about sharing their love for their homeland with others.

We found ourselves appreciating the attention given to details such as their little garden located right outside the heritage center which was planted with all kinds of local flora including pineapples – reminiscent of Lanai’s past as a thriving pineapple plantation!

Here are some reasons why I believe visiting this place is simply essential:

  • Well-organized exhibits: Their chronological display helps visitors easily understand and appreciate how far back Lanai’s fascinating history goes.
  • Friendly and knowledgeable guides: They welcome you warmly providing extensive knowledge on all aspects related to Lanail’s culture.
  • Beautiful little garden: A delightful representation of local flora reminding visitors about significant agricultural milestones from Hawaii’s past.
  • Attention to detail: From maintaining perfect exhibits to showcasing beautiful gardens, the Lanai Culture & Heritage Center ensures every aspect of your experience is memorable.

Address: Old Dole Administration Building, Suite 118. 

Timings: Monday – Friday, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, 

Saturdays, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Garden of the Gods – Best Thing for Surreal Landscape Viewing in Lanai

The Garden of the Gods in Lanai is a popular tourist attraction steeped with Hawaiian legend. The story goes that the formations here were created by the gods who dropped rocks from the sky while tending their gardens. Nestled on the northern side of the island, this breathtaking landscape is comprised of red lava rocks that stretch as far as the eye can see.

To get to the Garden of the Gods, we embarked on a 30-40 minute drive from town. Although traveling by road isn’t for everyone due to its unpaved nature, our trusty 4×4 made it an exciting off-road experience reminiscent of a desert safari adventure. We couldn’t have asked for better weather during our visit; not only did we get to witness some magnificent sights but also had unobstructed views of Maui and Molokai just beyond!

The actual garden itself was incredibly unique and awe-inspiring:

  • It invoked my inner sci-fi nerd: With vast areas covered in captivating red rock formations – some even resembling submarines! – it felt like I was exploring Mars.
  • Off-road adventure: The bumpy ride through rugged terrain made our journey all-the-more thrilling for adrenaline junkies like us.
  • Seclusion: Surrounded by nothing but nature’s beauty, we didn’t encounter anyone else during our trip, making it feel like a truly private experience.
  • Stunning panoramas: While admiring these otherworldly formations, we were also treated to incredible views of neighboring islands Maui and Molokai.

Shipwreck Beach – Best Place for Beachcombing in Lanai

If you are one of those people who get goosebumps whenever you get to view a piece of history then I would recommend you do not miss out on visiting this beach.

We had to take a 4WD to the beach as we were told by the locals it would be a long and bumpy ride. How bumpy? Well, my Fitbit told me I had taken 7000 steps on the beach, out of those, 6000 were from the ride down to the beach itself. But I’m glad we did it because:

  • The ride down to the beach is beautiful, with views of neighboring Maui.
  • We just walked on the soft sand, along the shoreline and were able to collect some pretty shells.
  • We were able to see the shipwreck in question from the shore. It is the rusted skeleton from a WWII oiler that the US navy accidentally wrecked on the reefs
  • A bonus discovery we made on this beach was the petroglyph carvings on the rocks, just off the beach, of men and horses. Two historical artifacts were viewed in one day, I would call that a pretty successful day.

However, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses here because:

  • The beach was unswimmable because of the raging winds. I’m told it’s mostly like that throughout the year.
  • The beach is mostly deserted. With the shipwreck in the background, it lends quite the eerie haunting feeling to the surroundings. So if that kind of thing gives you the heebie-jeebies, you’d be better off skipping this.
  • Lots of garbage on the beach comes in with the wind.

Lanai Cathedrals Scuba Diving – “Bucket List” Thing To Do for Any Scuba Diver in Lanai

My boyfriend and I have always had a passion for scuba diving, but our experience at the Lanai Cathedrals truly took our breath away. In all our underwater adventures, we had never come across a dive spot as unique and mesmerizing as this one.

The Lanai Cathedrals are an absolute must-do when visiting Hawaii. Formed by ancient volcanic activity, these underwater caves, arches, and lava shoots offer an unparalleled glimpse into the natural beauty of the ocean floor. The beams of light that stream in through openings create an ethereal glow reminiscent of stained-glass windows in cathedrals – hence its name.

Our diving tour was nothing short of fantastic. Not only did we get to explore stunning reefs teeming with vibrant sea life up close, but the staff operating the tours were also incredibly accommodating and courteous. They made sure to split our group into smaller ones based on experience levels so that everyone could fully enjoy their dive without feeling overwhelmed or held back.

As we ventured through various “rooms” and passageways within the cathedral, we were amazed by just how much there was to see and discover. From lobsters and shrimp hiding amongst crevices to beautiful coral formations providing shelter for numerous species, it felt like an entirely different world down there.

Why is Lanai Cathedral Dive Spot simply the best?

  • Unparalleled natural beauty: No other dive site compares to the enchanting atmosphere created by light streaming into lava-formed caves.
  • Abundant sea life: Colorful fish dart between healthy corals while crustaceans find shelter in hidden nooks.
  • Well-organized tours: The staff’s professionalism ensures divers of all skill levels have enjoyable experiences tailored to their abilities.
  • Endless exploration opportunities: With so many rooms and passages awaiting discovery throughout this underwater labyrinthine sanctuary.

Lanai Cat Sanctuary – Top Thing To Do in Lanai for Cat Lovers

My boyfriend and I have always been cat lovers, so when we heard about this cat sanctuary on our trip to Lanai, we knew we had to visit. We weren’t sure what to expect at first, but upon arriving at the sanctuary, it was evident that this place is truly magical.

The sanctuary houses around 600 cats of all shapes and sizes. Not only does it provide a safe haven for these adorable feline friends, but it also plays an essential role in saving endangered ground-nesting sea birds and managing the feral cat population of Lanai humanely. A visit here will surely warm your heart as you interact with these lovable creatures who just want some affection.

Some incredible benefits of visiting this cat sanctuary include:

  • The friendly cats are eager for belly rubs and chin scratches.
  • The impact the sanctuary has on both the cats themselves and the local environment.
  • Free admission means that anyone can enjoy spending time with these cuddly animals.
  • Opportunities to support the sanctuary by donating or sponsoring a cat.

I couldn’t adopt any cats due to my landlady’s strict no-pets policy, but learning about their sponsorship program made me feel like I could still contribute. By sponsoring a cat (or two!), I could receive regular updates on how they were doing while helping fund their food and care. It felt amazing knowing that my small contribution would make such a significant difference in these wonderful animals’ lives.

Polihua Beach – Best Thing To Do in Lanai if You Are Looking For Seclusion

Polihua Beach is the perfect spot for couples looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Not only did this beach offer miles of soft, golden-colored sand for sunbathing without any disturbances, but its secluded location also gave us ample opportunities to bond over unique experiences. We decided to follow a pro tip we read online and visited the Garden of the Gods on the same day as our beach trip since it was just 30 minutes away. This allowed us to avoid taking multiple bumpy rides down rocky roads.

Polihua Beach has plenty of shaded areas that make picnicking both possible and enjoyable. The shoreline is absolutely breathtaking, making long walks together an unforgettable experience. Snorkeling proved to be an adventurous activity thanks to countless fish species swimming around us – not to mention the sea turtles and whales that made their appearance!

In my opinion, Polihua Beach is one of the best beach for several reasons:

  • Secluded atmosphere: Perfect for couples seeking privacy
  • Proximity to Garden of the Gods: Combine two activities in one day
  • Nature encounters: Sea turtles, whales, various fish species
  • Various activities: Sunbathing, picnicking, or exploring by foot

However, it’s worth mentioning that swimming at Polihua Beach isn’t permitted due to strong currents – so if your idea of romance involves diving into ocean waves together hand-in-hand you’ll have to look elsewhere! Also, the drive requires a 4×4 vehicle due to its rough terrain. Don’t forget about appropriate footwear; thick-soled shoes will protect your feet from thorns found among fallen twigs beneath tree-shaded areas.

Manele Golf Course- Best Thing for Golf Lovers in Lanai

I have never been much of a golfer, but my boyfriend is absolutely enamored with the sport. It’s his go-to activity for relaxation and enjoyment. So, when we found out there was a golf course designed by pro golfer Jack Nicklaus, he insisted that we had to visit.

In order to access this incredible golf course, we needed to stay at the Four Seasons. My boyfriend was so determined that we booked our stay immediately. I must admit, even as someone who doesn’t play golf, I was blown away by how amazing this place truly is.

The ocean views were simply breathtaking – making every moment spent on the course feel like a little slice of paradise. The course itself was in impeccable condition; it was clear just how much effort went into maintaining it from the number of workers diligently keeping everything perfect.


  • The staff at the golf course were incredibly friendly and knowledgeable about all aspects of the game.
  • The locker rooms were clean and well-maintained – providing ease and comfort both before and after hitting the links.
  • And let’s not forget about their restaurant! It boasted an extensive menu filled with delicious options catering to every taste bud imaginable.
  • Lastly (and perhaps most impressively), rumor has it that Manele Golf Course is one of Bill Gates’ favorite spots to spend his weekends!

Poaiwa Petroglyphs – Awesome Thing To Do in Lanai for History Buffs

I remember the day my boyfriend and I decided to explore Shipwreck Beach and the nearby Poaiwa Petroglyphs in Lanai. It was such an eye-opening experience! Not only did we enjoy a beautiful beach, but we also got to learn about ancient Hawaiian culture up close.

Visiting the Poaiwa Petroglyphs offered allowed us to get a better understanding of ancient Hawaiian culture. These carvings depict various scenes from their daily lives, giving us a glimpse into their history that goes beyond hula dancing and surfing.

The trail leading to the petroglyphs is well-marked with information placards. This made it easy for us to navigate our way through without getting lost or missing any important details about these fascinating artifacts.

Despite being hundreds of years old, many of the petroglyphs are still quite visible. This is truly remarkable as it allows visitors like us to appreciate these centuries-old drawings without much difficulty.

The combination of its proximity to Shipwreck Beach and its unique historical significance make visiting Poaiwa Petroglyphs an exceptional experience. Here’s why I believe it’s simply unbeatable:

  • Location: The petroglyph site is just a short walk away from Shipwreck Beach – combining two incredible attractions in one day trip.
  • Cultural Insights: The ancient carvings offer glimpses into traditional Hawaiian life that few other sites can provide.
  • Well-Maintained Trail: Thanks to clear markings and informative signs along the path leading up to the petroglyphs, finding them was no trouble at all.
  • Preservation: Despite their age and exposure to natural elements, many of these ancient drawings remain clearly visible today – allowing travelers like me continued access into this mysterious past.
  • Unique Experience: Exploring both Shipwreck Beach and Poaiwa Petroglyphs in one day offers a rare blend of natural beauty, adventure, and cultural immersion.

Sweetheart Rock Overlook – Coolest Thing To Do in Lanai for a Scenic Hike

The history, nature, and unbelievable views made this one of the best adventures we’ve ever been on together.

The hike itself was a breeze – a mere 20 minutes with breathtaking ocean views accompanying us every step of the way. Once we reached the top, there were several aspects that blew us away:

  • Dolphin-watching: We were fortunate enough to catch sight of some playful dolphins in the water below! Although we didn’t see any whales this time around, it’s not uncommon for hikers to spot them here as well.
  • Crystal clear waters: The vibrant blue hues of the water were mesmerizing. It seemed almost surreal standing atop Sweetheart Rock and gazing out into such pristine beauty.
  • Ancient Hawaiian Memorial: Discovering an old stone memorial built by ancient Hawaiians added a historical element to our visit that piqued my inner history nerd’s interest. How they managed to construct this impressive monument on such treacherous terrain is astounding!
  • Picture-perfect moments: Needless to say, our camera got quite a workout capturing all these unforgettable memories. The stunning scenery immortalized in photographs will forever remind us of this incredible day.

That being said, I would like to caution families visiting with young children – be sure to keep a close eye on them during your trek up Sweetheart Rock! Some areas along the trail can be steep without railings for support.


Lanai is primarily known as the smallest yet most enticing inhabited island in Hawaii. The most awesome thing that I felt during my stay here is that it offers a bit of everything for people looking for a luxury trip (world-class amenities and championship-level golf) or someone traveling on a smaller tighter budget (exploring off-the-beaten-path treasures, visiting the cat sanctuary or the beautiful golden sand beaches )


Are there cheap things to do in Lanai?

Yes, while Lanai might be marketed as a luxury getaway, there are still plenty of activities to do and things to see even if you are traveling on a shoestring budget. Look into the following activities that won’t break the bank:

  • Lahaina Scavenger Hunt: Over The Rainbow
  • West Maui Coastline Audio Driving Tour
  • Lahaina Self-Guided Audio Tour
  • Pacific Aviation Museum Tickets

What are the top things to visit in Lanai?

The top attractions to visit in Lanai are:

  • Hulopoe Beach
  • Lanai Cat Sanctuary
  • Polihua Beach
  • Sweetheart Rock
  • Mike Carroll Gallery

Do I need a car to do things in Lanai?

Yes, I strongly suggest you arrange a car to view all the attractions of Lanai. Taxis are available for airport transfers and other transportation, or you can rent a car (but advance reservations are required). 

However, your best bet would be renting a 4-wheel-drive vehicle because most of the roads in Lanai are quite rocky including the roads leading to all major tourist attractions.

What are the most popular things to do in Lanai with kids?

The most popular things to do in Lanai with kids are:

  • Lanai Cat Sanctuary
  • Trilogy Lana’i
  • Hulopoe Beach
  • Garden of the Gods
  • Lanai Jeep Rentals

Does Lanai have good beaches?

Yes, Lanai has some fantastic beaches. If you want to get away from the stress of your daily life, there’s no better place to visit. The secluded, clean, white sand beaches in Lanai are perfect to enjoy the beautiful summer weather.

What is Lanai known for?

Lanai was once famous for the huge pineapple plantations that produced 75% of the world’s pineapples. Hence it was given the name “Pineapple Island

Last Updated on May 11, 2023 by Brigitte