Putting together your next beach vacation to Hawaii? Go against the grain by visiting the best beaches in Lanai. Wedged between Maui and Molokai, the Hawaiian island is off the beaten path. In Lanai, you’ll have no problem spending days sunbathing and swimming away from the crowds.
Lanai is enveloped in tropical splendor with a coastline packed with distinct beaches. Some have all the amenities, are family-friendly, and are located steps from the local action; others are rugged, surrounded by lava cliffs, and require some thrilling four-wheel driving. On these beautiful secluded beaches, you’ll be rewarded with rare tranquility, with miles of white that’s sand yours for the taking.
Ready to plan the perfect Lanai beach vacation? Find your own private paradise at one of these top Lanai beaches.
Top-rated Lanai beaches
Hulopoe Beach sits on Lanai’s leeward south shore. It’s a crescent-shaped white sand beach, forming a part of the greater Hulopoe Bay. Behind the soft sandy shores is the Four Seasons Resort, providing easy access for guests and visitors alike.
After finding the perfect spot on the popular beach, you’ll hear the whispers of the crystal-clear ocean calling your name. Thanks to diligent protection, Hulepoe’s reef is thriving.
Once you’ve had a refreshing dip, grab your snorkel gear and get exploring. The marine life along the coral reef is vibrant, with tropical fish meandering around the coral. If you’re lucky, you’ll even swim alongside some green sea turtles and spinner dolphins or catch the sight of humpback whales.
Another part of what makes Hulopoe Beach one of the most famous beaches in Lanai is what it offers on dry land. After exploring the expansive tide pools, spending time gathering with friends and families in the spacious park, complete with picnic tables and restrooms.
Polihua Beach is remote, tranquil, and spans over 1.5 miles, making it one of the longest stretches of golden sand on the island. The North Shore beach ticks all the boxes, but getting there is the issue. What awaits beachgoers is a rugged 4-mile trail. It can only be complete with a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
Those that make it will have a section of the beautiful beach all to themselves. On the days of little wind, you can kick back and enjoy the panoramic views across the Kalohi Channel to Molokai and even as far as the incredible Diamond Head on Oahu.
At the best of times, Polihua Beach is a scenic place to sunbathe and enjoy a beach picnic. But when the wind picks up, it can be relentless. It’s best to arrive in the summer and on days of relaxed conditions. This will allow you the opportunity to bask in the serenity with barely another soul in sight.
Those that take up the 45-minute trip from Lanai City to Shipwreck Beach will embark on a trip down the windy but gorgeous Keomuku Highway. After each hairpin corner, Maui swings back into view across the strait. Soon, you’ll reach a 1.5-mile sand road. While not as hectic as the trip to Polihua, we’d still recommend driving a 4WD vehicle.
As you pass the shacks made from old driftwood, the popular beach will begin to make an appearance. You’ll spot the rusting Liberty Ship just off the stretch of sand, resting ragged on the offshore reef. It was purposely sunk here post-WWII and strikes a haunting presence over the beach.
Wandering around the beach and Kaiolohia Bay is a beachcomber’s dream, offering a range of prizes for those with a keen eye. Due to strong currents and wind, surfing and boarding are left to brave souls.
The rest of us can explore some of the coolest places to see in Lanai nearby. Check out the nearby petroglyphs, lighthouse ruins, and the trail that gets you close to the half-sunken ship. In the winter months, you may even spot a few humpback whales in the distance.
On Lanai’s east coast, Lopa Beach offers some of the best swimming on the island’s windward side. The white-sand beach itself faces south, providing a decent windbreak for beachgoers along with a calmer ocean current. This is perfect news for those who simply want to laze in the sun chair and read true crime novels all day long.
The Lanai beach may have decent swimming, but it’s best known for its mellow surf breaks. Lopa is a popular spot for longboarders and those who’ve brought along a sea kayak for some fun paddling off-shore.
Like many local beaches, you’ll need to venture down a four-wheel-drive trail to reach Lopa. There are several trails that branch off Keomoku Road. The longer trip helps keep the crowds down, with the high chance you’ll have much of the beach to yourself.
Home to one of the four historic fish ponds on Lanai, Naha Beach has remained a popular fishing spot through the decades. Back in the days of the Kingdom of Hawaii, Naha Beach had a thriving nearby fishing village. Alongside its man-made fish pond, designed to entrap wandering fish, the area is an interesting look into traditional local lifestyles.
With consistently rough water, Naha Beach isn’t a great spot to swim. Instead, it’s a fantastic place to check out from the world, cast a rod into the Pacific Ocean and try to land a prize catch. At the very least, you’ll spend the day enjoying the views across to Maui.
To arrive at Naha Beach, you must first navigate a tricky four-wheel-drive trail.
If you’re a fan of long walks on the sand, get up early and make your way to Keomuku Beach. On Lanai’s eastern shore, Keomoku stretches for six miles. It’s perfect for an early morning stroll as you watch the sun paint the sky with dozens of warm colors.
Keomuku Beach comprises cobblestone and detrital sand and is fringed by endless rows of kiawe trees. After taking in the brilliant sunrise, put up your weary feet and relax on the beach. Gaze over the water to Maui or jump in for a swim. The water is calmer in the morning but becomes rougher throughout the day.
Thanks to hosting one of the longest fringing reefs in Hawaii, Keomuku Beach is great for fishing and is also home to two ancient fish ponds.
You can access Keomoku Beach from several dirt trails off of Keomoku Road.
We’re usually good at keeping secrets, but we are going to let this one out of the bag. Huawai Bay is one of the island’s most underrated beaches. It’s small but provides beachgoers with plenty to do.
Making it to the beach requires a hike down the often steep Po’opo’o Fisherman’s Trail, one of the top-rated Lanai hiking trails. But after several 4WD adventures, your back will be more than happy with the change. Wander down the burnt red path, through old lava fields before arriving at the small half-moon beach.
Its salt and pepper sands may look a tad rough, but they’re merely a base for your exploration. On either side are sea cliffs, providing a sense of isolation and privacy. You’ll find tide pools teeming with marine life, while on calm days, the water is wonderful for snorkeling.
Hulopoe Beach may be the most accessible beach on Lanai. But if you’re willing to take a few more steps, you’ll arrive at the island’s most scenic beach. A short beach trail connects Hulopoe Beach to Shark’s Bay, a spot that contrasts with the lush green local scenery.
Shark’s Beach is enveloped in bright red lava cliffs that reflect against the turquoise water interrupted only by the sightly golden sand. The cliffs look as hot as the day they arrived and from your spot in the small cove, you’ll feel you’re on the edge of the earth.
Swimming can be rough here. If you do venture in, stick close to the shoreline. From the sand, you’ll have views of Pu’u Pehe (Lover’s Rock), one of the coolest things to see on Lanai. You can also hike along the cliffs for an even better view.
On the northeast coast, Turtle Haven is more of a dive site than a beach. But as it’s one of the best places to swim alongside green sea turtles on Lanai, we had to give it a mention. The excellent snorkeling location features a lush coral garden and as much as 30 feet of ocean depth.
Turtle Haven is a veritable playground to explore, with colorful sights everywhere you turn. The lack of strong currents makes it the perfect snorkeling spot for newbie snorkelers and scuba divers to spot Lanai’s local marine life.
While the high chance of turtle encounters means you’ll rarely leave disappointed at Turtle Haven. In addition to green sea turtles, you may encounter the endangered hawksbill, loggerhead, and leatherback species.
Kahemano Beach is another fantastic fishing spot on Lanai’s windward coast. The beach has been a popular spot to catch fish for centuries, with kahemano meaning “school of sharks”. This shouldn’t scare you too much, as the beach is sometimes visited by reef sharks who aren’t typically aggressive.
In addition to the possible reef shark sighting, anglers will have the chance to catch a wide range of local fish. While you can swim, the nearby water is shallow and rocky, making Kahemano a better place to sunbathe and relax. The beach sits alongside Lopa Beach, which you can reach with a trip along a 4-wheel drive trail.