With 47 miles of coastline, no traffic lights and some serious off-roading, the island of Lanai is the getaway you are hoping for. It’s a place to disconnect, soak in the natural beauty and enjoy every breath. Traveling here from Honolulu is easy, the flight is approximately 33 minutes, and tickets cost about $130 round trip from Oahu.
Two days is not enough time to see an entire island, but it’s enough time to hike and search for petroglyphs, swim at Hulopoe Bay, (one of my favorites in Hawaii) and be amazed by the Garden of the Gods.
Having a vehicle with 4-wheel drive is pretty crucial to get around. It’s the only thing you can rent, and when you get there, you’ll understand why. There are 2 Four Seasons Hotels and Hotel Lanai in town, but we chose to camp at Hulopoe Bay, on the South shore right next to one of the Four Seasons. The camping permit was $60 but is good for four days. If possible, escape to Lanai for four days.
If you decide to camp, you’ll see and hear deer running through the campground at night, the star-gazing experience is out of this world, and when you wake up be sure to explore some of the tide pools or swim in the crystal clear water of the bay. Look for dolphins.
What to pack: tent, flashlight, headlamps, sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, and first aid kit, (You know, the basics.) Bring your masks, fins, hiking shoes, and a small backpack with clothes for two days.
Garden of the Gods
What to see
Garden of the Gods – This place is pretty easy to get to once you get on the right road. If you take a wrong turn, you’ll eventually end up at Shipwreck Beach.
When you pass by Koele ranch, say hello to the horses, they’re friendly.
The road is bumpy, trust me you will be bouncing around. Hold on! After you visit the Garden of the Gods, you’ll find yourself on a beautiful, rugged, desolate adventure which will take you on several paths to several beaches. Take your pick.
Horses at Koele Ranch
Polihua Beach – Not good for swimming, rough currents. This beach is peaceful, and chances are nobody will be here. It’s windy, and there are no amenities here, just a place to let go, and let all your worries melt away. Pack out what you bring in, and don’t get stuck on the sand. It’s only a 30-minute drive from Garden of the Gods to see this secluded 2-mile stretch of beach.
Kaena Point – Another off-road adventure, if you have time visit the heiau. Also, don’t miss the sea arch. You’ll see the arrow where to make a turn after exploring Garden of the Gods.
Kaiolohia (Shipwreck Beach)- Take a stroll along the north-east coast of the island, and you’ll see the shipwreck offshore. Walk to the petroglyphs; it’s only a 25-minute hike. Chances are you’ll likely see some deer around here too. There is a sign with a map of the hike when you get to the Shipwreck beach rock.
Hulopoe Bay – Bring your diving gear! You won’t be disappointed. The water clarity is world-class and still one of my most favorite spots to explore in Hawaii.
Pu’u Pehe (Sweetheart Rock) – There is a romantic Hawaiian legend about two lovers and a spectacular view. Located in Hulopoe Bay, this landmark is one you won’t want to miss. Visit at sunset.
Lanai Cat Sanctuary– Cuddle up with more than 500 cats, if that’s your thing. Admission is free. I didn’t get a chance to visit but hope to next time.
Whale watching months are between January and early April, but the season runs from December through May.
WHAT TO EAT
There are a few restaurants in Lanai City and inside the hotels too. Not many though, so stock up on supplies at Richard’s Market, also located in the middle of town.
Trust me when I say you won’t want to leave, even the last sunset will make it hard to say goodbye. www.gohawaii.com/lanai/
Sunset views from the airport
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