A single volcano gave birth to oyster-shaped Lanai, smallest of the inhabited Hawaiian Islands, producing a landscape of impressive red cliffs and dramatic gulches, pristine sandy beaches and coves, and forested uplands, all waiting to be explored by sea, land, and air.
Just steps from the luxe Four Seasons Resort Lana’i is the marine reserve at Hulopo’e Bay, renowned for its white sand, crystalline waters, and abundant sea life. From the beach you can watch spinner dolphins perform their acrobatics, scan the horizon for humpback whales, or snorkel among the corals offshore for a closer look at species like parrot fish, bandit angelfish or Hawaii’s state fish—the unforgettably named humuhumunukunukuapuaa. To explore farther by sea, embark on a snorkel sail to a secluded cove beneath 1,000-foot-high sea cliffs on Lana’i’s southwest coast, where schools of darting silvery tropical fish will surround you. Experienced divers may choose to check out undersea grottoes at noted dive spots like Cathedrals or Menpachi Caves.
Lana’i’s varied terrain ranges from ironwood groves and stands of Cook Island pines to rugged ridges that afford spectacular vistas with tropic birds soaring overhead. For a land adventure, hikers can follow paths like the Koloiki Ridge Trail up to an overlook that reveals Maui and Molokai beckoning on the horizon. And with just 30-some miles of paved roads on Lana’i, 4-wheel-drive and off-road possibilities abound, including the ridgetop Munro Trail and the track to the Garden of the Gods, whose natural sand hills and eerie volcanic boulders glow red in the sunset.
You can get a feel for Lana’i’s ranching past by joining a customized horseback trail ride led by paniolos—Hawaiian cowboys—through the island’s wooded interior, where you’ll undoubtedly spot wildlife like axis deer, mouflon sheep, pheasant, and turkey.
Finally, elevate your perspective with a helicopter tour that will give you not only an unforgettable overview of Lana’i’s hills, valleys, and surrounding tropical seas but also a memorable bird’s-eye view of some other Hawaiian isles.