Discover Lanai, Hawaii, With Kids
Hula lessons, surfing, golfing and giving back—here are the best things to do with kids in Lana‘i.
With a full range of water sports and deep-sea excursions available along its coastline, and horseback riding, hiking and world-class golf in its lush countryside, Lanai is a prime destination for both adults and children. Together, families can embark on a mountain- or sea-set adventure, lend a hand to a voluntourism programme, or immerse themselves in local island culture. Just for kids, the Pilialoha Keiki Camp at Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay (pilialoha means “close friendship and beloved companionship” in Hawaiian) welcomes children ages 5 to 12 to spend a day or evening learning, exploring and tasting everything the destination has to offer. No matter your clan’s travel style, this intimate isle is full of opportunities for family fun.
Experience Hawaiian culture.
In Hawaiian, ho‘okipa means “hospitality,” which is exactly the mission of the Resort’s Hookipa Cultural Program. Created and led by Lanai’s kapuna, or elders, the initiative’s complimentary offerings are designed to share treasured parts of Hawaii’s heritage with visitors. This includes storytelling, instruction in traditional arts and crafts such as coconut weaving, and ukulele lessons.
One of the programme’s most popular activities is lei making, a custom that dates back over a millennium. Hula lessons are also available to families. Not only will dancers learn all the right moves, but they’ll also experience the values that this rich Hawaiian tradition places on family and nature.
Explore Lanai by land and sea.
Together, the two Four Seasons Resorts in Lanai boast the finest golf courses in the state. Four Seasons Resort Lanai, The Lodge at Koele also offers a kid-friendly challenge found at only a handful of resorts worldwide—a real grass putting course. Perfect for an afternoon of family fun, this 18-hole course offers a variety of par-3 “holes.” Putters, balls and scorecards are provided.
The Lodge also offers an opportunity for active youngsters and parents alike to channel their inner Robin Hood at a full-service archery range. Watch the kids’ excitement as they perfect the “art of the arrow,” then hold a friendly competition to see who has the best aim. In addition to a traditional 12-station target course, the centre also features a 3-D archery range where participants can target three-dimensional dinosaurs and other creatures. Instruction is available for all levels of ability, including children and beginners.
Ready to hang 10? Surfing is Hawaii’s native sport, and standing up and riding a wave is easier than it looks. Staffers at Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay specialize in giving lessons to all ages. Alternatively, families can try stand-up paddleboarding—a surprisingly easy-to-master action sport, enjoy a snorkel safari, take shoreline fishing lessons or visit with the resident aviarist at the bird rescue.
Back at the Pilialoha Keiki Camp, while parents steal away for a romantic excursion, kids have the opportunity to explore tidal pools or build an erupting volcano on Hulopo‘e Bay, search for koi fishponds and waterfalls in the Manele Bay Gardens, and practice traditional Hawaiian games with new-found friends. At night, karaoke contests, relay races and stargazing trips are the perfect finish to an exciting day.
Say “thank you.”
As part of the Monk Seal Foundation—one of several unique voluntourism programmes at the Lanai resorts—guests have the opportunity to adopt a monk seal. There are under 1,100 of this critically endangered mammal left in the wild. Teach your children the importance of animal stewardship with this program, complete with certificate of adoption and plush monk seal toy.
For the animal lover in your family, the Lanai resorts offer another unique voluntourism opportunity through their partnership with the Lanai Animal Rescue Center, a feline sanctuary dedicated to protecting the island’s cats. Visitors can spend a few meaningful hours at the facility, assisting with everything from painting the shelters’ “kitty condos” to interacting with cats through the “Pet & Purr” socialization programme.