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Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)

Key Info

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Beaches, Free, Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 1.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Getting to Shipwreck Beach (also known as Kaiolohia) is no walk in the park. But those who reach this fascinating destination on the island's northeastern coast receive quite the photo-op. Here, you'll spot two World War II ships that were intentionally grounded. Most come to see the YOGN-42, a fuel barge that's visible off the shore of Kaiolohia Bay. On the western end of Awalua Bay, there's another wreck, the YO-21 oiler that sits 6 miles away.

Though recent visitors warned this beach is not for swimming or sunbathing, they still recommend making the trek for the hike and views alone. However, they also caution that you'll see piles of trash debris that have washed ashore. If you want to help out the ecosystem here, consider bringing a trash bag to aid in the cleanup. Also, don't attempt to drive on the sand if you're not in a four-wheel-drive vehicle as you will get stuck and need to be towed. 

You'll find Shipwreck Beach less than 10 miles north of Lanai City. Take the Keomoku Highway past the Lodge at Koele. From there, take a right onto Keomoku Road (Highway 430). To reach the beach, you'll drive onto a dirt road and then hike a short distance. Check with your concierge before you depart for exact directions. Because the route requires driving on unpaved roads, a four-wheel-drive vehicle is strongly encouraged. Access is free 24/7, though it's not advisable to visit at night.

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More Best Things To Do in Lanai

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Type
Time to Spend
#1 Hulopoe Bay

Hulopoe Bay is one of Lanai's most popular spots. Sunbathers like the wide stretch of sand, while snorkelers revel in the vibrant reefs filled with fish and native plant life. This is one of the few beaches on Lanai where swimming is safe, but only in the summer; the waves in the winter are too dangerous. If you're in Lanai during the winter months, a stop at Hulopoe Bay is still worthwhile as you can sometimes spot dolphins and humpback whales from the shore (they pass through the bay every winter).

Recent travelers recommend that you uncover the sea stars and hermit crabs in the bay's eastern side tide pools, and that you picnic in the shady areas behind the beach. If you get antsy sunbathing, lace up your hiking shoes and take a 15- to 20-minute walk along the cliffs just southeast of the tide pools to catch a glimpse of Puu Pehe, or Sweetheart Rock. According to Hawaiian legend, a grief-stricken warrior jumped from this 80-foot rock after learning of his wife's passing. 

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