Hawaii is known for its beautiful beaches, stunning views of Diamond Head, and relaxed way of life. But one thing that is often overlooked by visitors (and really shouldn’t be!) is the amazing experience of camping in Hawaii.
The Hawaiian Islands are made up of eight main islands, including Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Molokai, Kauai and Niihau. Each one offers unique camping experiences and different activities.
Oahu, home to the city of Honolulu, and the most populated island, offers a unique blend of city comforts and tropical vibes. The southernmost coast is where you’ll find popular tourist destinations like Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach, and Hanauma Bay. Due to the number of people that live on this part of the island, there are limited camping areas, but just a short drive makes a big difference.
On Oahu’s Windward coast, expect stunning views of the Ko’olau mountains and the turquoise waters of Lanikai and Kailua. Bellows is a great camping spot right on the beach away from the bustle of Honolulu, and only a few minutes drive from the popular Maunawili hike trailhead. Permits are required to go camping in Hawaii, and sites usually book up in advance, so be sure to call a few weeks ahead if you want to get a spot.
If relaxing in nature and getting away from the crowd is what you’re after, Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area, located inland near Aiea, provides visitors with lush forest views, and is the site of a former temple of Hawaiian healing. It is also near the trailhead for the Aiea Loop Trail, a popular 4.5 mile hike with stunning mountain vistas, and is just a short drive away from Pearl Harbor.
The Big Island, the largest of the Hawaiian islands and known for its diverse landscape and constantly flowing lava, is another great option if you are looking to do some camping in Hawaii. Camping permits are available for Punalu’u, Hawaii’s famous black sand beach, which has a reputation for great snorkeling and fishing and for sea turtle sightings. You can also snag one of 16 campsites in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Sites are available on a first come, first served basis, and although it’s a little more rustic (there are restrooms but no showers), it’s probably worth it to be able to camp at “one of the most unique campsites to visit in the world”.
Whether you’re camping in Hawaii for the first time, or just looking for a new favorite spot, The Dyrt has you covered.
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There are cabins and apartments for rent if you have base access. I stayed in a cabin near the beach, it was small and clean. Only problem is the reservations are booked for about year out, so you never know what kind of weather you'll get when the reservation finally comes along. In our case it was rainy and windy… Not perfect for camping on the beach, but what can you do when reservations have to be made so far out?
Clean, well run private campground on Da North Shore. Fairly convenient (20 minutes) to Polynesian Cultural Center which offers a great opportunity to experience a luau. Proximity to a white sand beach second-to-none. Watch for humpback whales December through March…
a beautiful campground unfortunately the park is only open to day trippers at the moment. I was keen on hiking into the park and packing it all in with me and the park rangers are serious about giving the land some time to rehab and relax until they again feel comfortable with thru hikers and campers
You would not think about cold weather gear when camping on Maui, but we used it here. It was cold and wet both nights. We were prepared and had a great time; camping here made it much easier to drive up for the sunrises and sunsets each day.
We will camp here again!!