Family Vacations On Lanai, Hawaii

Family-Friendly Activities on Lanai

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Polihua Beach, Lanai – Image courtesy Hawaii Tourism Authority/Pierce M Myers Photography

Free of the hustle and bustle of some of the larger islands within the Hawaiian chain, Lanai is the perfect place for you and your family to experience the relaxation and natural beauty of this tropical paradise without having to fight for a spot on the beach. With its long history as a pineapple planation, Lanai featured only one hotel until 1990–James Dole’s Hotel Lanai. Today, however, visitors from all over the world make their way to the Pineapple Island with their families to experience the small town charm of Lanai City, explore the perfect coral reefs just off the coast, or to feel what it’s like to have a beach to themselves. Keeping everybody within your group happy is certainly a priority on any vacation, and whether you’re staying on Lanai or are hoping to make a day trip from your home at other Hawaii hotels, finding ways to stuff your itinerary full with family-friendly activities is by no means difficult on this small but dynamic island!

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Lanai City, Lanai – Image courtesy Hawaii Tourism Authority/Pierce M Myers Photography

Go For A Walk Around Lanai City
Once you step foot on Lanai and make your way to Lanai City, you may quickly notice one quirky element of the infrastructure–there are no stoplights on the entire island! There are also no big-box stores or chain restaurants, giving Lanai City the small-town charm that many visitors continue to love year after year. You’ll find a number of small souvenir shops, restaurants, and homes that date all the way back to the 1920s. You and your family will get a sense of how workers at the Dole Plantation lived way back in the early 20th century amidst the looming presence of the tall, lush Cook Island pine trees that populate Lanai. Pick one of the many charming restaurants for lunch or dinner and lounge around a bit–there are few places like Lanai City left!

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Keahiakawelo, Lanai – Image courtesy Hawaii Tourism Japan

Visit Keahiakawelo–The Garden Of The Gods
On the north end of Lanai is Keahiakawelo–a rock garden of mythical origin. You’ll know the second you’ve arrived at the Garden, as the displaced rocks and lack of any flora will have you and your family feeling like you’ve made it to the moon. The catch? This area is only accessible by off road 4-wheel-drive vehicles, meaning you’ll have to rent a car and go bushwhacking! With your kids strapped up in the backseat and you at the wheel on Lanai’s unpaved roads, you guys will have a blast bouncing around as you make your way to this Hawaiian phenomenon. Legend says that Keahiakawelo gained its dusty, rugged landscape after two priests from Lanai and Molokai engaged in a contest to see who could burn a fire the longest. Go and have a look for yourselves!

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Shipwreck Beach, Lanai – Image courtesy Hawaii Tourism Japan

See The Shipwreck at Shipwreck Beach
If you’re feeling adventurous and still have the keys to your 4-wheel-drive, stay in the neighborhood of North Lanai and make your way to Kaiolohia. These unpaved roads require strict directions in order to be navigated, as they are unmarked, but once you reach walking distance to the beach, you’re in for a treat. Gaze out into the water to spot a shipwrecked World War II-era oil tanker that still lies stuck in the reef over 70 years later! Look further on clear days to spot Oahu as well. The waters off of Kaiolohia are not particularly friendly to swimmers, so keep to the beach to ensure everyone has a good time.

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Hulopoe Beach, Lanai – Image courtesy Hawaii Tourism Japan

Go For a Dip In Hulopoe Bay
With its pristine summer swimming conditions and tide pools presenting the option for hours of exploring, it’s no surprise that Hulopoe Bay was voted America’s Best Beach at one point. Depending on what time of the year you find yourself on Lanai, Hulopoe Bay has something for everybody. During the summer months, the surf is calm and ideal for swimmers and snorkelers. A huge collection of different sea creatures call this bay home, so be on the lookout for just about everything–off in the distance, you may even spot some dolphins! During the winter months, swimming comes off the table as a possibility, but you can still make your way to the beach in hopes of spotting some passing humpback whales!

For more information, check out our Lanai Trip Reports, from families who’ve visited Lanai with kids…
*Many thanks to Aqua Resorts for this great information about family travel to Lanai.

One Response to Family Vacations On Lanai, Hawaii

  1. Matt at #

    Great write up and all the amazing photos too! Curious to know what you think of our Lanai Itinerary:

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