Travel + Leisure Staff
November 29, 2017

With 47 stunning miles of shore, Lanai’s coast is mostly rugged cliffside, affording visitors to this Hawaiian island stunning, drop-off views. As the smallest island in the Hawaiian archipelago accessible to travelers, Lanai offers intimacy, privacy, and pristine landscapes.

During a trip to Lanai, make time to sunbathe on the white sands of Hulopoe Beach, just around the corner from the recently refreshed Four Seasons Resort Lanai. If you’re up for an adventure, go off-roading to the North Shore’s Polihua Beach. Strong currents make it an inadvisable spot for a swim, but visitors have good luck spotting humpback whales and green sea turtles.

There may be no better place than the water to appreciate Lanai’s dramatic coastline, however. You can choose from a variety of local charters based out of Manele Harbor on the south shore, while travelers based in Maui can see this petite island on a day trip. Many boat tours include stops for fishing or snorkeling.

If you’re staying on the island, you’ll probably book a room at the Four Seasons, which is home to a Nobu Matsuhisa restaurant. But in 2018, travelers can opt for a room at the Four Seasons Resort Lana’i Lodge at Koele, which has been closed for renovations since 2015.

Lanai City may not have a traffic light, but there’s still plenty to see during a trip into town. Lanai is home to charming, colorful shops, restaurants, and even a local theater.

While in the city, seize the opportunity to get familiar with Lanai’s rich culture at the Lanai Culture and Heritage Center. Expand your knowledge a little further by using the Lanai Guide, a free app that will enrich your island explorations.

Before leaving the island, spend time at Keahiakawelo, or Garden of the Gods: a glowing orange desert landscape speckled with giant boulders and overlooking the Pacific. Be sure to rent a 4x4 or mountain bike to explore the strange, almost Martian landscape. On a cloud-free day, you can see as far as the islands of Molokai and Oahu.

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