Top choice in Lanaʻi

Inside the Kanepu'u Preserve is this a dramatic place, also known as Garden of the Gods, formed by the eruption of a volcano, the lava bombs that spewed out of a crater and thousands of years of erosion. Weirdly shaped volcanic rocks are strewn about on red dust in a seemingly martian landscape. The multihued rocks and earth, with a palette from amber to rust to sienna, are stunning. The site is only accessible via 4WD or a tour.

Keahiakawelo roughly translates as the fire made by Kawelo, who was a priest of Lana'i in ancient times. This place is believed to hold great spiritual significance and power: there's an eerie feel about it, and utter silence. The colors change with the light – pastel in the early morning, rich hues in the late afternoon. Look for rocks oddly perched atop others. You can see up to four other islands from here across the white-capped waters.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Lanaʻi attractions

1. Kanepuʻu Preserve

1.32 MILES

The 590-acre Kanepuʻu Preserve is the last native dryland forest of its kind across all Hawaii. Just 5 miles northwest of Lanaʻi City, the forest is home…

2. Polihua Beach

3.76 MILES

This broad, 1.5-mile-long white-sand beach at the northwestern tip of the island takes its name from the green sea turtles that nest here (polihua means…

3. Lanaʻi Culture & Heritage Center

6.19 MILES

This engaging small museum is the best place to start before exploring the rest of Lana'i. It has displays with cultural artifacts covering the island's…

4. Lanaʻi Cat Sanctuary


Easily Lana‘i's most peculiar attraction is this volunteer-run, 3-acre feline wonderland housing 620 cats that have been 'rescued' from the wild. Locals…

5. Pōāiwa Petroglyph Trail

6.45 MILES

Near Shipwreck Beach a 0.5-mile trail leads directly inland to the Pōāiwa petroglyphs – a cluster of more than 20 fragile carvings on dense basalt-lava…

6. Shipwreck Beach

6.62 MILES

You can stroll along this blustery shore for 7 miles looking for flotsam and shipwrecks, and taking in the views of Molokaʻi and Maui. This area is the…

7. Kahekili's Leap

10.09 MILES

At the architectural site of Kaunolū you can walk right to the edge of this vertigo-inducing platform and look down to the ocean 63ft below. Kings and…

8. Keālia Kapu & Kaunolū

10.17 MILES

Perched around the highest sea cliffs on the island (at 1080ft above sea level) is a vast archaeological site home to the largest collection of ruins on…