The Holoholo Guide to Lāna‘i

If you think of Lāna‘i as a place with nothing to do ... think again. We found the best way to spend a long weekend on one of Hawai‘i’s most beautiful islands.


Shark Bay, as locals call it, contains Pu‘u Pehe, a part of the Mānele-Hulopo‘e Marine Life Conservation District. The Mānele Bay Hotel can be seen in the distance.
Photos: grant kaye


Lāna‘i​ has weathered major changes over the years, but its heart remains the same: a mix of small-town sweetness and raw, untamed magic. Reset your speedometer to 10 miles per hour, remember how to smile at strangers, and then set out to explore some of Hawai‘i’s most powerful archaeological sites. Let the island’s quiet solitude and mystery envelop you.


Getting There


Illustration: Kelsey Ige

Hawaiian Airlines flies turbo-prop planes (the ones splashed with Sig Zane patterns) from Honolulu to Lāna‘i two or three times daily. 

(800) 367-5320,


The Expeditions ferry travels five times daily between Lahaina, Maui, and Mānele Bay. You can bring just about anything aboard, from golf clubs to your dog. The trip takes around an hour and, during the winter months, you’ll see whales in every direction. One-way kama‘āina tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children. If you need to leave a car behind for the day, park at the Wharf Cinema Center and save your ferry ticket stub for a discount. 

(800) 695-2624,


Start here

Get your bearings at the Lāna‘i Culture & Heritage Center before heading out on off-road adventures. Study the maps and quiz the knowledgable docents. You might be surprised by the depth of history here; Lāna‘i has been the home of kings, sorcerers and entrepreneurs of every stripe. 

730 Lāna‘i Ave., Lāna‘i City, (808) 565-7177,


What to Bring

  • Fancy outfit for dinner at Nobu. 

  • Closed-toe shoes, long sleeves and pants you don’t mind sacrificing to red dirt.  

  • Lāna‘i Guide. This smartphone app is chock-a-block with historic info, photos, audio files and directions to otherwise impossible-to-find sites.

  • PADI dive card. 


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