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No palm trees, tropical flowers or hula girls in grass skirts. Instead: pine trees, muddy pickup trucks, Filipino girls in blue jeans, sweatshirts and cowboy boots. Arrive in hunting season; you'll see trophy deer on car fenders. All the incongruous clues add up to the mysterious attraction of Hawaii's sixth largest island, a defunct pineapple patch, that claims to be one of the world's top tropical destinations. Which is odd because there's no there there-except for two hotels, two golf courses, and one great beach. Stay at The Lodge at Koele, a faux British hill station set amid Cook Island pines in cool uplands, or sun struck Four ...

No palm trees, tropical flowers or hula girls in grass skirts. Instead: pine trees, muddy pickup trucks, Filipino girls in blue jeans, sweatshirts and cowboy boots. Arrive in hunting season; you'll see trophy deer on car fenders. All the incongruous clues add up to the mysterious attraction of Hawaii's sixth largest island, a defunct pineapple patch, that claims to be one of the world's top tropical destinations. Which is odd because there's no there there-except for two hotels, two golf courses, and one great beach. Stay at The Lodge at Koele, a faux British hill station set amid Cook Island pines in cool uplands, or sun struck Four Seasons at Manele Bay. Either way, you'll be spoiled, especially dining in. Home grown house delicacies are: Seared Lanai Venison, Keahole lobsters, Stuffed Pheasant with Polenta and Black Mushrooms, and Pineapple Guava Parfait. The village of 1920s tin roof cottages and shops that calls itself Lanai City can be seen in an hour so bring a book and your Ipod if you don't golf or plan to snorkel Hulopoe Beach, or hike to Lanai's 3,366-foot summit for a rare, five island view. There are horses to ride, wild turkeys to shoot (in season), mysterious petroglyphs to see, an eroded rock pile called Garden of Gods, a shipwreck on the reef, and the ruins of King Kamehameha's fishing village, but most go to Lanai for the reviving solitude, the great escape.

Rick Carroll
About the Expert

Rick Carroll has written dozens of articles on Hawaii and the Pacific. His books include Great Outdoor Adventures of Hawaii, Madame Pele: True Encounters with Hawaii's Fire Goddess, and Travelers' Tales Hawaii.

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Rick Carroll for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Separated from the island of Moloka'i by the Kalohi Channel to the north and from Maui by the 'Au'au Channel to the east.
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Year-round, but May and October are least crowded.