The island of Lanai is an attraction in itself, with miles of remote, white-sand beaches, clear water perfect for exploring coral reefs, hiking trails through lush forests, multiple varieties of native flowers, and spectacular scenic views. These are just a few of the natural tourist attractions in Lanai.
Lanai sightseeing on the island is possible by foot or with a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Due to the terrain and rough road conditions in some areas, it is best to have a Jeep as your rental car in case the roads are nearly impassable; other vehicles might become stuck. Keep in mind that not all areas of the island are easily accessible.
Hiking up the Munro Trail provides stunning views of the nearby islands of Oahu, Molokai, the Big Island, Maui, and Kahoolawe, and continue along Lanaihale's volcanic ridge for even more scenic Lanai sightseeing. The Lanai crater provides a look at the origins of Lanai Island with soil filled with cinder and lava ash. The location has beautiful views of the area but attempting to climb the crater walls should be avoided.
Another way to see and explore the tourist attractions in Lanai is on horseback. Horseback riding has been a popular sport for Hawaiians since the early 1800s. There are several trails including the Koele Trail, Paniolo Trail, and Mahana Trail. The Stables at Koele provide riding lessons, rides specifically for children and specialty sunset and romantic rides for adults.
At Keomuku Village, you will see the remnants of a once-busy settlement. During the time the Dole pineapple plantation was in production, the Malamalama Church was constructed. The historic wooden church has been renovated and is open for services.
Several unusual Lanai attractions include the landscapes resembling the lunar surface at Keahiakawelo, known as the Garden of the Gods, and those found in the Kanepuu Preserve. The preserve is interesting as a Lanai sightseeing trip because of its variety of rare plants and trees. Another of the more unusual tourist attractions in Lanai are the Luahiwa Petroglyphs. The historic drawings are carvings on large boulders or lava rocks describing various forms and objects found in Hawaiian everyday life. Additional drawings are at Shipwreck Beach, which also has the ruins of an old lighthouse and the wreck of a vintage World War II ship offshore.
Lanai attractions for vacationing golfers include the superior greens at the Challenge at Manele and the Experience at Koele courses, which are located at the Four Seasons resorts. Located in Lanai City, the Cavendish Golf course, built in 1947, provides an exceptional 9-hole course.
The other nearby islands provide points of interest similar to the Lanai attractions, and by taking inter-island flights, a short trip to the Big Island, for instance, allows travelers to explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the impressive Akaka Falls.
Across the channel in Maui are the Olowalu Petroglyphs, Haleakala National Park and Molokini Crater, an inactive volcano that is a popular location for diving and snorkeling. At neighboring Oahu, the Bishop Museum, Sea Life Park, Dole Plantation, Diamond Head Crater and Pearl Harbor tours are just a few of the local attractions awaiting visitors on Hawaiian vacations. The island of Kauai has Wailua Falls and the 10-mile wide Waimea Canyon, where the views are breathtaking and hiking is a challenge. Kokee State Park has more than 4,000 acres of scenic hiking trails through native rain forests.
A day of Lanai sightseeing coupled with exploring the nearby islands, provides an opportunity to experience the many wonders and treasures the islands have to offer.
Image: Hawaii Tourism Authority - Tor Johnson