The Honeymooner's Guide to Lana'i: 6 Reasons to Explore Hawaii's Under-the-Radar Island

Honeymoons & Destination Weddings
Reasons to Honeymoon in Lana'i Hawaii

Photo: Getty Images

Hawaii is one of the top honeymoon destinations, but most lovebirds head to Maui, Oahu, or Kauai. Lana'i, a tiny island of just 140 square miles, feels like a private island but at just eight miles off Maui is surprisingly accessible, either by ferry or inter-island flight.

The island was once home to a Hawaiian king, then used as a Dole pineapple plantation until the 1990s, when it opened for tourism. Recently, Oracle tech billionaire Larry Ellison purchased 98 percent of the entire island (fellow techie Bill Gates was married here) and is pumping millions of dollars into renovations and upgrades to the island, while still keeping its traditional charm. The best part of Lana'i is that it feels very removed and secluded there's not a single traffic light on the island — making it the perfect place to decompress and focus on each other after a hectic wedding.

Live like a king and queen
You'll never want to leave the newly-renovated Ohana Oceanfront Suites at the Four Seasons Lana'i at Manele Bay, where you can have breakfast on the balcony (order room service through the iPad that comes with the room), take a bath together without kicking each other in the deep wooden Japanese soaking tub, and customize your bed down to the types of pillows you prefer before you even arrive through the resort's app. For dinner, eat some of the country's best sushi and locally-grown vegetables at Nobu while you sit under the stars, overlooking the Pacific. The landscaping that separates the rooms from the restaurants and lobby features lush greens, exotic flowers, koi ponds, and waterfalls making you feel like you're the only people on earth in this jungle paradise, made extra romantic by the flaming tiki torches that light the paths at night.

Snorkel in Hulopo'e Bay
The bay is a protected marine preserve, so you'll be able to spot tons of colorful fish swimming in the coral reef and a pod of wild spinner dolphins even play in the bay some mornings. After snorkeling in the perfectly clear turquoise water, hold hands and walk along the beach's tide pools that are carved out of volcanic rocks, showing each other the small fish and scurrying black crabs.

See More: 5 Questions to Ask Your Honeymoon Resort Before Booking

Take a romantic sunset sail
Trilogy Excursions, one of the longest-running family-owned sailing companies in Hawaii, offers private charter sunset sails from Lana'i for a cocktail hour with Hawaiian-brewed beer, snacks, and the best views of your life. Their super-friendly, knowledgeable guides live by ho'okipah (Hawaiian hospitality) and help you spot humpback whales that breach in the area all winter, yet give you space to feel like you're the only two people on earth. Kiss your sweetheart as you cruise in front of Sweetheart Rock, named after a Romeo-and-Juliet type of tragic love story about a heartbroken Hawaiian warrior who threw himself off the top of the cliff after his beloved drowned there.

Hop on horseback
The landscape of Lana'i is bright greenery and dramatic red earth, and with The Stables at Koele, you can ride horses together along wooded trails and valleys, spotting lots of wild turkeys, pheasant, deer, and sheep. The trails leads you through guava groves and patches of ironwood trees to a peak with panoramic views of the dry land forest of Kanepu'u and Lana'i City.

See More: The Top 10 Honeymoon Resorts in Hawaii

Go off the beaten path in a Jeep
Navigating dirt roads is the only way to explore hidden gems like Garden of the Gods, an expanse of red rock towers that were formed by centuries of erosion. While most of Lanai is lush and green, lined with Cook pine trees that seem more at home in Oregon than Hawaii, the Garden of the Gods' red desert make it look like Mars. Next drive to Shipwreck beach, named for the haunting 1940s tanker that's still beached offshore. You'll likely be the only ones exploring the area, and on a clear day, you can see the islands of Maui and Molokai.

Have a picnic in the park
The quaint town of Lanai' City is home to most of the island's 3,100 residents, and lined with colorful cottages built in the 1920s and '30s. There are only a few restaurants in town, so your best bet is to grab organic fruit, cheese, and crackers — or the catch of the day in a poke platter at Richard's Market and a fresh juice from Anuenue Juice Bar (both new this year) and throw down a towel in Dole Park, the heart of the town square.

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