The Hawaiian Islands’ Best Kept Secret

So far, I have loved every moment of my time here in Hawaii. While living in Kailua, I have had the chance to explore Oahu, and I have discovered that it has it all! The mountains, the beaches, the snorkeling, hikes, restaurants, and nightlife. With all of that to offer, of course it is not without tourists. After a couple of months living here, Clay and I were ready to explore another island. While the Big Island and Kauai are certainly high our on lists, we were intrigued when our coworker and friend told us about his experience to Lana’i. Ever heard of it? Not the most popular tourist destination of the bunch – and that is exactly why I loved it.

Lana’i is nestled just south of Molokai and southwest of Maui. With a population of just 3,000 residents, it is undoubtedly quiet and quaint. While I love the hustle and bustle of Oahu and the exchange of energy from people going out and doing things, I love the feeling of remoteness. Lana’i offered just that.

Our flight over to the island from Honolulu lasted all of 25 minutes. Before we knew it we had landed at LYN equipped with our backpacking packs and a cooler! Clay and I had pre-booked a 4WD jeep through Lana’i Cheap Jeeps. The company picked us up from the airport, outfitted us with a jeep – and we were off! A four wheel drive jeep is undoubtedly the best way to explore the island as the roads are best described as adventurous. The jeep offers the freedom best desired for exploring the island, and the terrain makes for an exhilarating ride!

A Drive Through Garden of the Gods
A Drive Through Garden of the Gods – Complete with Views of Molokai!

On day 1, we drove through Garden of the Gods – a beautiful, dry, red, boulder garden. Without having seen desert terrain in months, it was quite the sight to see! Following this road leads you to a beautiful, expansive beach: Polihua Beach. This beach in itself was incredible, as it was like having the length of Kailua Beach all to ourselves. Not a soul in sight! We walked the beach, explored the rock formations, build a fire and set up camp as we watched the sunset. We did have one visitor join us – a Monk Seal who beached to check us out! With no light pollution to be found, the night sky offered views of the brightest stars in the clearest sky that Clay and I have yet to see!

Night One of Camping on a Deserted Beach - Polihua Please!
Night One of Camping on a Deserted Beach – Polihua Please!

On our second day, we headed to the northeast corner of the island to explore Shipwreck Beach and the Luahiwa petroglyphs – two sights I had never before seen. The drive to reach these destinations offers fun in itself, as you cruise upon smooth, hilly, sandy-dirt roads – every rally car racer’s dream! That evening Clay and I found a campsite along the eastern shore equipped with a fire pit and views of Maui. We strolled on the beach, built a fire on which we cooked our bratwursts, and enjoyed the second night of beautiful skies!

Views from Shipwreck Beach
Views from Shipwreck Beach

On our third and final day on Lana’i, we explored Manele Bay. This bay is situated on the southeast corner of Lanai, and the snorkeling is unreal with large, vivid coral reef and a great variety of fishes! Just around the corner from Manele Bay is Sweetheart Rock. This rock is well-known in Hawaii, as an aerial view offers this heart-shaped rock!

Sweetheart Rock
Sweetheart Rock

Lana’i was the perfect getaway with everything to offer. But ssh – help me keep it a secret! 😉

Snorkeling at Manele Bay!
Snorkeling at Manele Bay!

Manele Bay

Jeep Cruisin'!
Jeep Cruisin’!

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