A tidy plantation town, built in 1924 by Jim Dole to accommodate workers for his pineapple business, Lanai City is home to old-time residents, recently arrived resort workers, and second-home owners. A simple grid of roads is lined with stately Cook pines. With its charming plantation-era shops and restaurants having received new paint jobs and landscaping, Lanai City is worthy of whiling away a lazy Lanai afternoon.
Despite recent growth, the pace is still calm and the people are friendly. Dole Park, in the center of Lanai City, is surrounded by small shops and restaurants and is a favorite spot among locals for sitting, strolling, and talking story. Try a picnic lunch in the park and visit the Lanai Culture and Heritage Center in the Old Dole Administration Building to glimpse this island's rich past, purchase historical publications and maps, and get directions to anywhere on the island.
Pineapples once blanketed the Palawai, the great basin south of Lanai City. Although it looks like a volcanic crater, it isn't. Some say that the name Palawai is descriptive of the mist that sometimes fills the basin at dawn and looks like a huge shining lake.
Manele Bay is an ocean lover’s dream: Hulopoe Beach offers top-notch snorkeling, swimming, picnicking, tide pools, and sometimes spinner dolphins. Off-island ocean excursions depart from nearby Manele Small Boat Harbor. Take the short but rugged hike to the Puu Pehe (Sweetheart Rock) overlook, and you’ll enjoy a bird’s-eye view of this iconic Lanai landmark.
The area northwest of Lanai City is wild; the otherworldly Garden of the Gods is one of its highlights.