When most people think of Lana’i, they think of luxury.
Don’t get me wrong, you will definitely find luxury on this island (The Four Seasons Manele Bay does luxury well) but we also found another aspect of the island that is often overlooked…
Here are five of our favorite adventure activities on Lana’i:
UTV Excursion & Clay Shooting
Our first adventure activity in Lana’i was a UTV excursion combined with clay shooting. Scott has been to a few firing ranges and couldn’t wait to try clay shooting, while I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Lana’i Grand Adventures Ride and Shoot UTV Ride involves driving your own UTV through gorgeous terrain with views of Maui and Molokai. We started our ride from the Stables at Koele Lodge, feeling little unsure of the roads, but after fifteen minutes we were peeling around corners and having a blast.
After we reached Lana’i Pine Sporting Clays, our guide (Frank) asked about our previous experience shooting guns. Since I was a newbie, he picked a shotgun with the least amount of kickback. I was immediately impressed with his coaching skills and we both managed to hit moving targets on our first shots.
Tip: Don’t forget to bring clothes that you don’t mind getting very dirty! You will either have to wash these clothes or not wear them the rest of your trip. Wear sunblock even if the sun is not out!
Surfing in Lana’i is unlike any other guided surf experience. Lana’i Surf Safari is run by pro surfer, Nick Palumbo who was born and raised on Lana’i. As if surfing isn’t enough fun on its own, we were taken to a secluded surf spot on the east side of the island — and by secluded I mean there was not another soul on the beach or in the water. Now that’s what I call uncrowded!!
If you already know how to surf and would prefer to explore the waves on your own, they have a large selection of surfboards for rent.
Snuba & Scuba Diving
I have to say, I’m smitten with Lana’i’s underwater world. Not only is it the first time I felt comfortable breathing underwater, but the reefs here are so untouched, that it blew us away. We swam with schools of fish, where we could have reached out and touched them.
Our Trilogy Snuba guide was highly knowledgeable and more than willing to help the people who had never tried the sport or those who didn’t feel completely comfortable under water.
Lana’i also has plenty of dive sites. In fact, Skin Diver Magazine called Lana’i one of the “top 10 dive destinations in the world.” So if you already have your scuba certification, that’s what we recommend.
Lana’i is a small island, but it has a sprawling expanse of open land. There is one “city,” three hotels, and the rest is pretty much open for exploration.
What else is there to see? Well, you will find secluded beaches (Polihua and Lopa are two of our favorites) marooned ships along the coast at Shipwreck Beach, Mars-like landscapes at Garden of the Gods (Keahiakawelo) deer, gorgeous hikes (Munro Trail) historical sites at Kaunolu & Keomoku Villages and more. We spent an hour just watching the sea turtles and crabs near Shipwreck Beach, where sea life — as well as decaying ships — is abundant.
Renting a jeep in Lana’i is definitely an adventure. The roads can be rough at times, so be prepared for a bumpy ride! Rough roads and all, we loved exploring Lana’i by jeep; we were able to see a good portion of the island and it was nice to be on our own schedule.
Tip: Dollar Rent A Car is the only car rental agency on the island and it is located in Lana’i City. It’s a good idea to ask about the conditions of the roads for each place you want to visit. You don’t want get stranded in the mud, because AAA won’t be sprinting out there to help you.
Snorkel & Sail Tour
One of my fondest memories of Hawaii dates back to my experience in Hanauma Bay, on the island of Oahu. So naturally, a trip off the coast to a snug little bay where we could enjoy the scenery both above and below the water was high on my list of things to do in Lana’i.
The Trilogy boat picked us up in the quiet — practically deserted — Manele Harbor. As we boarded the boat, we heard excited passengers talk about the whale and dolphin sightings on the way over from Maui. Along the way, the captain amused us with some entertaining island folklore about Sweetheart Rock and a bit of history about Lana’i.
We soon reached Shark Fin Cove — named after the fin-shaped rock in the middle of the cove, not for shark sightings. From the cove, you’ll see some of the highest cliffs in the world and Kahekili’s Leap, where King Kamehameha’s warriors proved their bravery by leaping eighty feet into the ocean below.
The wide expanse of reef allowed us to see a variety of fish. Needless to say, I was the last one to board the boat after snorkeling. After a fun session in the cove, we were rewarded with a full and satisfying lunch which our crew grilled off the bow.
A special thanks to Lana’i Visitors Bureau for hosting this trip and helping us put together a unique itinerary that fits our travel style. As always, all opinions are our own.