I am looking for a Maui adventure that is off the beaten path. Look no further than Lanai, a nature lover’s paradise. With Lahaina just a short air or boat ride away, Lanai is home to various native species that can’t be found anywhere else in Hawaii.
From guided tours to private charters, there are plenty of ways to experience Lanai’s wildlife and animal attractions in a more personalized way. But with popularity comes demand, so it’s recommended that you make your reservation early to ensure availability.
Keep reading for an overview of what this beautiful site offers, and find out why visiting Lanai should be at the top of your bucket list!
Top 10 Nature and Wildlife Tours in Lanai with Photos
Lanai is a paradise for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. The island boasts diverse ecosystems home to unique flora and fauna, from lush forests to sandy beaches. Here are the top 10 nature and wildlife tours in Lanai that will take you up close and personal with its natural wonders.
Hike to Kanepuu Preserve
Embark on a guided hike through Kanepuu Preserve, a protected area home to endangered species like the Hawaiian petrel and Lanai tree snail. Learn about Lanai’s conservation efforts as you explore this beautiful forested area.
Snorkel at Hulopoe Bay
Dive into the crystal-clear waters of Hulopoe Bay, where you can swim alongside colorful fish, sea turtles, and even spinner dolphins. This snorkeling tour is perfect for those who want to see Lanai’s marine life up close.
Horseback Riding at Koele Stables
Saddle up for a horseback riding adventure through Koele Stables’ scenic trails. You’ll ride through pine forests, pastures, and gardens while spotting native birds like the Hawaiian goose.
Jeep Tour of Munro Trail
Take a bumpy ride through Munro Trail on a jeep tour that offers stunning views of Lanai’s valleys and mountainsides. Watch for wild turkeys, axis deer, and other wildlife along the way.
Visit Keahiakawelo (Garden of the Gods)
Explore Keahiakawelo, also known as Garden of the Gods, on a guided tour that takes you through this surreal landscape of rock formations and red dirt hillsides.
Whale Watching Tour
From December to April, humpback whales migrate to the waters surrounding Lanai. Take a whale-watching tour to witness these majestic creatures breach and play in their natural habitat.
Visit Lanai Cat Sanctuary
Lanai Cat Sanctuary is home to over 600 cats rescued from the island. Visit this unique attraction to learn about their mission and spend time with these furry friends.
Bird Watching at Kanepuu Preserve
Kanepuu Preserve is home to endangered species and native birds like the apapane and oma. Join a bird-watching tour to spot these feathered beauties in their natural habitat.
Explore Shipwreck Beach
Shipwreck Beach is a hauntingly beautiful stretch of sand where you can see the remains of a World War II-era shipwreck. Take a guided tour to learn about its history and explore the surrounding dunes.
Kayak Tour of Lanai’s Coastline
Paddle along Lanai’s picturesque coastline on a kayak tour that offers stunning views of sea cliffs, hidden coves, and marine life, like sea turtles and spinner dolphins.
Lanai’s Animal Attractions: Zoos, Parks, and Sanctuaries Overview
Lanai is a small island in Hawaii that is home to some of the most unique animal attractions in the world. From exotic animals to endangered birds and plants, there is something everyone can see and learn about on this beautiful island.
Lanai Animal Rescue Center
The Lanai Animal Rescue Center is a must-visit attraction for animal lovers. This sanctuary provides a haven for animals that have been abandoned, neglected, or abused. In addition, visitors can see exotic animals such as zebras, elk, and bison up close. The center also offers educational tours where visitors can learn about the importance of animal rescue and conservation efforts.
Lanai Cat Sanctuary
The Lanai Cat Sanctuary is a dream come true for those who love cats. With over 500 cats roaming freely on its grounds, this sanctuary provides a safe home for cats that would otherwise be homeless or euthanized. Visitors can interact with these furry friends while learning about the importance of spaying/neutering pets and responsible pet ownership.
The Kanepuu Preserve is a sanctuary for endangered birds and plants found only on Lanai. Visitors can take guided tours through this preserve to learn about the unique ecosystems that exist on this island. It’s an opportunity to witness firsthand how important it is to protect these rare species from extinction.
The Munro Trail allows visitors to see wild deer and turkeys in their natural habitat while hiking through lush forests with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Along its path, this trail also features historical landmarks like ancient Hawaiian temples (heiaus).
Discovering the Best Nature and Wildlife Areas in Lanai
Lanai is the perfect destination for you if you’re a nature enthusiast. With its diverse wildlife and animal attractions, there’s always something to explore. Here are some of the best places to discover nature and wildlife in Lanai.
Public Hunting Areas and Hunting Units in Lanai
Lanai is known for its public hunting areas and hunting units. Hunting enthusiasts can find an abundance of game animals such as deer, mouflon sheep, goats, quail, and pheasant. However, the axis deer is one of the most popular hunting targets on the island.
To hunt axis deer in Lanai, hunters must obtain a permit from the Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW). The DOFAW offers two types of permits: one for guided hunts with licensed outfitters and another for unguided hunts.
Famous Road and Raft Adventure in West Maui for Snorkeling
West Maui is just a short ferry ride away from Lanai. It’s famous for its scenic road trip along Honoapiilani Highway, which takes you through lush rainforests, past cascading waterfalls, and breathtaking coastal views.
Another popular activity in West Maui is snorkeling. The Molokini Crater is a top-rated snorkeling spot that attracts thousands of visitors annually. The crater has crystal clear waters that offer excellent visibility to observe marine life, such as sea turtles, and colorful fish species like butterflyfish or parrotfish, among others.
If you prefer something more adventurous than snorkeling at Molokini Crater, consider taking a raft adventure tour instead! These tours take you off the beaten path to secluded snorkel spots like Honolua Bay or Olowalu Reef, where you can swim alongside schools of tropical fish or even see dolphins or whales if lucky enough!
Snorkeling Spots Like Scotch Mist in Lanai
Lanai has some of the best snorkeling spots in Hawaii. One such spot is Scotch Mist, located on the island’s eastern side. The water here is crystal clear and calm, perfect for snorkeling.
Scotch Mist is home to a variety of marine life, including colorful fish species like yellow tangs or triggerfish, among others as well as sea turtles and even octopuses! It’s also an excellent spot for beginners since no strong currents or waves exist.
Lanai’s Unique Animal Sanctuary: The “Lanai Lion”
If you’re looking for a unique animal experience on Lanai, look no further than the Lanai Lion cat sanctuary. Located on this beautiful Hawaiian island, this sanctuary is home to rescued cats and offers visitors the opportunity to learn about their stories through a guided tour.
A One-of-a-Kind Cat Sanctuary
The Lanai Lion cat sanctuary was established by a local vet who rescued a cat from Hana and brought it to Lanai. Since then, the sanctuary has grown and now provides a haven for needy cats. Visitors can see these beautiful animals up close and personal while learning about their stories.
Meet the Cats
During your visit to the Lanai Lion cat sanctuary, you’ll have the chance to meet some of its residents. These cats come from all walks of life and have unique stories that captivate you. From playful kittens to senior cats who want some love, this sanctuary has something for everyone.
Take advantage of the guided tours at the Lanai Lion cat sanctuary to make the most of your visit. These tours are conducted on a van and provide an in-depth look at each cat’s story. You’ll learn how they came to live at the sanctuary, their personalities, and what makes them special.
Plan Your Visit
If you’re interested in visiting the Lanai Lion cat sanctuary during your trip to Hawaii, you should know a few things. First, the sanctuary is on Lanai Island, accessible by ferry or plane from Maui or Oahu. Once you arrive on Lanai Island, you can arrange transportation directly to the sanctuary.
Making a Difference Beyond TNR: Lanai’s Wildlife Conservation Efforts
Lanai Island is home to diverse wildlife, including several endangered species, such as the Hawaiian hoary bat and the Hawaiian petrel. Lanai has conducted a comprehensive species inventory to understand better and protect its wildlife. This inventory helps conservationists identify areas that need protection and develop targeted conservation efforts.
But Lanai’s conservation efforts go beyond trapping, neutering, and returning feral cats. The island’s initiatives include habitat restoration, predator control, and community education. These efforts are supported by local organizations such as the Lanai Native Species Recovery Program.
Comprehensive Species Inventory
The comprehensive species inventory conducted by Lanai helps scientists and conservationists determine which species are present on the island and where they can be found. In addition, this information prioritizes conservation efforts for endangered species like the Hawaiian hoary bat and the Hawaiian petrel.
Habitat loss is one of the biggest threats facing wildlife on Lanai Island. Lanai has implemented habitat restoration projects in key areas around the island to combat this issue. These projects involve planting native plants that provide food and shelter for wildlife.
Predator control is another crucial aspect of Lanai’s conservation efforts. Feral cats not only threaten native bird populations but also carry diseases that can harm other animals on the island. By implementing predator control measures like trapping and removal programs, Lanai aims to reduce these threats to its wildlife.
Community education is an essential component of any successful conservation program. In Lanai, local organizations work with schools and community groups to educate residents about protecting their unique wildlife habitats.
Who owns wildlife? While technically, no one owns wild animals; all members of society need to take responsibility for protecting them. Through its comprehensive species inventory, habitat restoration projects, predator control measures, and community education efforts, Lanai Island is doing its part to ensure the survival of its unique wildlife populations.
Lanai Offshore Islets Seabird Sanctuaries: Nanahoa, Pu’u Pehe, and More
Lanai Island is famous for its pristine beaches, rugged landscapes, and offshore islets serving as seabird sanctuaries. These islets are home to various bird species and offer stunning ocean views. This section will explore some of these islets, including Nanahoa and Pu’u Pehe.
Nanahoa Islet is off the coast of Lanai’s main island, just a short boat ride from Lahaina Harbor. This small rocky islet allows visitors to see rare seabirds, such as the wedge-tailed shearwater and red-footed booby, up close. The best way to explore Nanahoa Islet is through morning snorkel sails or boat tours. These tours are led by experienced crews who provide insights into the local wildlife and ecosystem.
Pu’u Pehe (Sweetheart Rock)
Puʻu Pehe, also known as Sweetheart Rock, is another offshore islet that attracts visitors to Lanai Island. According to legend, a Hawaiian warrior named Makakehau fell in love with a beautiful maiden named Puʻupehe on this rock formation. Sadly, she died while he was away on a fishing trip, and he built a burial tomb for her atop the rock.
Today, Puʻu Pehe is a popular tourist attraction due to its breathtaking views of the ocean and nearby sandy beach. Visitors can access this islet through sailing or boat tours that depart from Lahaina Harbor.
It’s important to choose an experienced crew with high bubble ratings. These crews ensure your safety while providing an unforgettable experience exploring these natural wonders.
Conclusion: Discover the Beauty of Lanai’s Wildlife and Animal Attractions
Embrace the call of the wild on Lanai, where nature and wildlife tours, unique animal sanctuaries, and stunning offshore habitats offer a thrilling immersion into the island’s natural wonders.
Whether you’re visiting the renowned “Lanai Lion” sanctuary or exploring the island’s best wildlife areas, your journey can contribute to Lanai’s conservation efforts. With a wealth of zoos, parks, and sanctuaries at your fingertips, get ready to encounter incredible animals up close.
The adventure of a lifetime awaits on Lanai. Ready to discover the island’s vibrant wildlife? Explore more with our Lanai Attractions Guide and let your wild side roam free.