Hawaii is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world, renowned for its welcoming and friendly locals, delicious food, exciting traditions, extraordinary scenery, and breathtaking beaches. It’s no surprise, then, that millions of people head to Hawaii each and every year, all eager to enjoy the islands and attractions of the Aloha State, spending time driving along the Hana Highway or relaxing on Waikiki Beach.
Most travelers to Hawaii will spend a lot of their time on Oahu, home of the vast majority of the Hawaiian population. Plenty of travelers also spend time on the islands of Maui and Hawaii, also known as the Big Island, but there are several other islands to explore and enjoy in the Hawaiian archipelago. The sixth biggest island in the archipelago, Lanai, is a perfect example.
Lanai is the smallest Hawaiian to be publicly accessible. It's nicknamed 'Pineapple Island' due to the fact that it was once used as an enormous pineapple plantation, and it offers around 140 square miles of land. It only has one real town, Lanai City, and a few other small facilities like a hospital and school. It's one of the most untouched islands of Hawaii and is a fascinating place to visit, home to the extraordinary 'Garden of the Gods' and some super beaches too. Here’s how to plan your day trip to Lanai.
Getting to Lanai
As previously stated, Lanai is the smallest of the Hawaiian islands to still be accessible by public means of transport, and travelers have a couple of different options when planning out a Lanai day trip. You can easily get to Lanai from either Oahu or Maui. You can also reach the island from other parts of Hawaii, but will usually need to make a connection on either Oahu or Maui along the way.
Getting to Lanai by Plane
There are two Hawaiian airports offering direct service to Lanai: Honolulu International Airport, also known as Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, and Kahului Airport. So anyone on the islands of Oahu or Maui can simply make their way to one of these airports and take a flight with a local airline over to Lanai. The flight is very short, allowing you to access the island in about half an hour.
Guests can also choose to book a private flight charter with a company like Lanai Air in order to have a more comfortable and luxurious experience on their way to the Pineapple Island. Whichever option you choose, you’ll be able to have a full day at the island and have plenty of time to explore due to the rapid and timely nature of the flights.
Getting to Lanai by Boat
The best way to get to Lanai by sea is to travel on the ferry direct from Lahaina Harbor on Maui over to Manele Harbor on the southern coast of Lanai. The Expeditions Ferry runs along this route several times per day, with the journey taking about an hour in total.
The ferry offers a really scenic journey over to Lanai from Maui, and depending on what time of year you happen to be traveling at, you might catch a glimpse of dolphins or whales as you travel across. You can also choose to ride in a catamaran from Maui to Lanai, which will also offer world class views of the Hawaiian Islands.
Important Information and Things to Do at Lanai
- Getting Around - Lanai is quite a small island, but many visitors still feel the need to rent a car in order to make the most of their trip and get around with ease. Car rentals are available direct from the airport on Lanai, and it's wise to book in advance as the island doesn't actually have too many cars available for rent and they can all get rented out during the summer months, in particular. If you prefer not to rent a car, you can also rely on taxis to get around.
- Best Time to Visit - If you want to enjoy warm weather and dry conditions in order to freely explore the island without having to worry about the possibility or rain or storms, the best time to visit Lanai is during the summer or fall. The driest part of the year in Lanai is from June through to November, but even outside of these months, the island usually enjoys quite warm weather and comfortable conditions.
- Things to Do - If you're heading to Lanai for a day, you won't be able to see the whole island and all of its sights, so you'll need to plan ahead and prioritize what you want to see the most. If you're purely interested in beaches and scenery, you should head to Shipwreck Beach, named after a wrecked WWII tanker just off shore, or visit Polihua Beach for a chance of seeing some green turtles. You should also check out the Garden of the Gods, a fascinating and totally unique landscape of boulders and rock formations. Those wishing to see a bit more island life should head for Lanai City, the only real town on the island and home to some beautiful galleries and gardens, as well as a few shops.