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.
The beauty here is unbelievable. Just breath taking. A must see!
A beautiful, safe, clean campground, run by the State of Hawaii, that can't be beat.
This campground is nowhere near the beach, but brings you to the interior of the island. From here you can view the Kalalau Valley lookout and look out over Waimea Canyon, known as "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific." Also you have access to hike the Alakai Swamp, which is one of the wettest places on Earth, or take a couple-mile hike up to the highest point on the island.
This campground offers indoor toilets and showers, a nice restaurant, and a gift shop.
ive come here for a few years for Village Music Circle's annual Drum Circle Facilitation Training (23 years now).
The staff are super friendly and food is good.
They have a ropes course and it is across the street from a skydiving place.
This beach was great! We visit Hawaii every year and always look for beaches to go to after we are done hiking. We ended up getting an early and doing a hike. We have done this hike many times, but love doing it. Highly recommend doing this hike. You get the best views of Hawaii possible!! And the hike is doable for everyone! Recommend starting early in the morning because the weather gets HOT and muggy. We did this bike in the morning and then hit this beach afterward. By the time we got there it was busy. We did however find spot to hang out for a few hours. There is a yummy snow cone place nearby that we of course stopped at. They serve ice cream snow cones which are incredible. If you want a good spot at this beach I would recommend getting there early. We would have, but decided to hike instead. We enjoyed this beach. It was clean, busy, and calm waters. There are no life guards on duty, either. There is also a great walk way/board walk that tons of people were walking and running on.
the hype does not match the reality. Oh, if you are deaf it is a wonder to behold. The innocent tourists in helicopter tours make it a waste of time and money. Even thou you might be loving the magic which is pervasive, when you leave you will realize you have been cheated.
After spending 3 weeks in Kaui with my husband, touring lots of beaches and parks, I would say this one was probably my least favorite one. The waters were pretty rough so we Had to walk a ways to find a good spot to get in. We stayed by the beach and did some hiking around the area as well which was beautiful. We did eat at a restaurant that served some of the best fish and chips I’ve had. The hiking trails were also good nearby that had beautiful views of the ocean. The weather this day was super hot, probably the hottest day we had while being here. It did rain once for about 10 minutes and then stopped. We also noticed this beach wasn’t as busy as the others ones we went too. We went down the beach a little ways and found a place where the water wasn’t as rough and got in and did some snorkeling. We saw some really pretty fish!
My husband and I toured Kaui for 3 weeks, so we were able to visit tons of parks and beaches. On our second week we came to Anahola Beach Park for the day and we really liked it. The waters in some areas were pretty rough so we stayed away from those areas. We did find some areas that had great calm waters that we were able to swim in and do some snorkeling. These areas though were really busy because everyone wanted to be in the water. One thing we noticed about this park was that there was quite a bit of trash on the sand area. We picked up a lot of trash and threw it away. I was surprised about this. There are also some great restaurants nearby. We ate at a Mexican place and it was super yummy, and great price. The weather was really nice when we came, although it was very muggy. I also must have been gotten bitten by some sand fleas here because the next morning I woke up and my ankles had a ton of bites on them. It got a little chilly in the afternoon, and also rained a bit. This is normally for Kaui l, though. Always be prepared and bring a jacket!
my husband and I really loved this beach. The swimming was great. Some areas the waters are a bit rough, but there are some great “ponds” of water that are calm and the best for snorkeling. There is public parking for free, bathrooms and some restaurants nearby. They also have areas up top where you can wash your sandy feet off in. I love when beaches have this because I don’t like dragging sand into my car and hotel. It was pretty windy in the afternoon so I’m glad I brought a light sweater for the afternoon. There was also life guards on duty which was awesome. Always makes me feel a little safer while in the waters. The snorkeling was incredible. Saw so many great fish and took lots of pictures! Highly recommend coming here.
This place is an absolute dream. The scuba diving here is awesome, snorkeling is great, hiking is incredible and laying by the beach is magical. We spent most of our day by the beach and spent one morning scuba diving. Polihale State Park was one of our favorite places to visit. We did some scuba diving from the park, and it was incredible. The water life was spectacular. We saw so many beautiful fish, a shark, and tons of beautiful coral and plants. We loved everything about this park also. We spent the evening hanging out in the park, enjoying our dinner and watching the sunset. This park was very busy, and I understand why. There is some great restaurants and ice cream shops as well. Highly recommend getting ice cream and bringing it to the park. We loved every minute of being here and can’t wait to visit again.
Some of the best scuba diving I have ever done is right next to this State Park. We scuba dived in the morning and then hung out on the beach at this park afterward. We had a late dinner/early dinner and enjoyed people watching and relaxing by the beach. We ate lunch at the picnic area in the park, enjoying some fish and chips we bought at a restaurant nearby. The picnic area was really nice, and had about 12 different tables. Some were under cover and some were not. There is a big grass area too where we saw some people laying on towels and others playing frisbee. We ate our lunch, grabbed our chairs and stayed by the water for awhile. We actually stayed longer than we thought we were because we caught the beautiful sunset. The park was pretty busy, but as the day went on there were less people. Highly recommend scuba diving, that was the highlight of my trip. This was adjacent to the park entrance. Had a blast here, and the weather was perfect.
The 2.5 mile hike down Waimea Canyon to arrive at this site is worth it for the views alone. The campground is rustic. There is one outhouse and a covered picnic area. Our site was directly on the river. We stayed in the river or on the rocks in the river to swim, cook and hang out as it was the only spot free from mosquitoes. The views from the bottom of the canyon were breathtaking. We were the only campers when we went to bed but woke up to 2 men with horses and hunting dogs staying there.
Maui has become one of my favorite places to visit. My husband and I come here every year for our wedding anniversary. We love camping to save money, or staying in AirBNBs as well. This trip we decide to stay in a hotel, but we came to this State Rec Area to do some hiking, snorkeling and hanging at the beach. Not sure where you would camp in this area, but I’m sure there is a designated area. The water in some areas are a bit rough, so be careful. We found a great spot that had calm waters, and we did some snorkeling here. We loved getting in the water and seeing the underwater life. Another thing we did was a boat excursion where we did some fishing. This was a bit expensive but worth it. The boat rental place was right next to this park- which is how we saw the rental area. We were walking along the beach boardwalk and saw this company. We went in and started talking with the people, and decided to book for the next day. It was such an incredible experience and I’m so glad we did it.
Okay, this place is incredible and the best "camping" I have ever done. My husband and I went to Maui for our honeymoon and decided to stay here for a few nights to save some money and we also really wanted to camp. The cost is way cheaper than a hotel, and you get the outdoor/nature vibes. It seriously is a win-win. They also give you resources for snorkeling, scuba diving, hikes, and whale watching nearby. At this point in our lives, this was our first time visiting Maui (we have been back a few times since), so getting all the extra resources of things nearby was a plus. There are a few options you can choose from to stay:
- Cabin- These are right on the beach and look amazing. We didn't stay here, but would definitely stay in one of these. These actually were all booked at the time we wanted to go.
- Tentalows- This is what we stayed in and they were amazing! These are also next to the beach, but a little more upscale to tent camping. There were showers we could use which was nice. We had our own porch seating with a light which was super cute.
- Beachside camping in tents- You have to bring your own tents, but they have campsites available to rent along the beach.
Our experience was incredible, and we would definitely recommend this place. We did some hikes nearby that were awesome, played at the beach, and did some snorkeling. It doesn't get any better than this in paradise.
Polipoli does not even feel like you’re in Hawaii! I mean this in the best way possible! Hawaii is amazing with all the beaches, ocean views, and sunshine. Polipoli is high upcountry tucked in the clouds and forests. The hike from the recreational area leads you to two abandoned ranger stations which are super cool! It also starts out by bringing you past these crazy caves! Definitely a must see while in Maui!
My husband and I really liked Manuka State Wayside. One thing we really loved about this place was that there was an awesome place to scuba dive close by. It was a company that took us out pretty far, and we were able to scuba dive with some turtles, and even saw some shark. I can't remember the name of the business, but it was right next to Manuka. The scuba diving took about 4hrs total, because of the boat ride plus dive. When we came back we played on the beach and did some people watching. We went to an ice cream shop up the road, and came back to the beach and watched the sunset. This area was pretty busy, but I think thats because it was during the summer. There is a walking/running path that goes along the beach that was nice as well. We walked along here in the evenings after dinner.
My family and I had a blast at Kanaha Beach Park. We went scuba diving with a company that was right down the road from this park. We actually went scuba diving in the morning, and then in the afternoon we hung by the beach. We ate dinner on the beach and watched the sunset, it was pretty magical to say the least. The scuba diving was incredible, with amazing underwater life. We got so many great pictures of fish, turtles, and other plant life. We didnt see any sharks on this trip, though. The park was pretty busy when we got there in the afternoon. I assume the park was pretty busy all day, though. We did see some tents and homeless people as the sun went down. Honestly, not sure if I would stay here at night because of this. It was nice during the day, though. Highly recommend checking out the scuba diving business because they were amazing there.
This wonderful campground is not at all traditional but more of a park (like many campgrounds on Kauai). The market/depot has hot meals, coffee shop, smoothies and more making for a very luxurious stay. The benefit of being atop the mountains is it cools comfortably at night, even in the summer. A lovely place to stay any time.
The Polipoli State Park is one of my favorites. There is great swimming holes you can swim in that arent too aggressive. There is also a great place to do some cliff jumping, and all the locals hang out here jumping. One thing I like about this park is that it is close by the town where you can walk to and get lunch. There are some really great restaurants with yummy local food. They have a smoothie shop that is incredible with so many different flavors. Highly recommend. They have some great places where you can rent body boards. We rented some for the morning and had an absolute blast. Seems like this park was pretty busy when we were there. The paths are filled with people walking, running, roller blading and skateboarding. Lots of dogs too. There are picnic tables and those seemed to be all taken with people eating lunch and hanging out. I would recommend getting there early in the day if you want a good spot.
Maui is one of my favorite places to visit, and I am lucky that my family and I come every year. This was a great place to visit. We did some snorkeling nearby that was awesome! The instructors were great, and we saw so many amazing underwater creatures. We also did some body boarding and had lunch and dinner on the pier. This place was amazing, and I would highly recommend visiting. There was also some great hikes nearby, and the walking pier is awesome because it goes right next to the water and is about 15 miles long. There are great restaurants too that serve some yummy seafood, or just a hamburger. The park was clean, and wasnt too busy. We came in December for Christmas, so maybe that's why. Next to some hotels, so you can totally just come for the day and enjoy.
Due to the draining of the Lava Lake and constant earthquakes in Volcanoes National Park, this area is closed. At this time it is uncertain that it will open again.
I love camping at this spot. Namakanipaio has wonderful views the Milky Way, and used to have a great view of the glowing lava lake. It was a short hike to Jagger Museum, that now is being consumed by the caldera. With daily earthquakes in the area, it is no longer safe. you can not even stop in the highway in that area. Hopefully it will open again in the future.
Malaekahana State Recreation Campground & Malaekahana Beach Campground are 2 separate campgrounds run by 2 different “owners” on the Island of Oahu-Hawaii. They are only a few miles apart.
The State Campground is State run requiring a permit (on line). No fires, no pets, tent camping. Reasonable pricing.
Malaekahana Beach Campground is privately owned. Tents sites are $9.00 per person per night with maximums based on site size. They also have Rustic cabins with one queen bed and a bunk. ($50+). No electric or water. Water nearby. Then they have the larger cabins with 2 queen beds, flush toilet and electric for approx $120. a night. All sites have fire rings and a picnic table. No pets.Outdoor showers and flush toilets various locations around campground. Very dark at night-bring flashlights, lanterns. Employees there have always been very friendly and helpful. Gate locked 7p-7a. Must call for assistance if emergency arises or you’re out late! I’ve camped here many times and love having the beach so close! Last time I camped there was in Feb. There was a big storm that Sat & Sun and on Monday-the campers were all out trying to clean up the beach!
Anahola is another local spot for the homeless. Some camps are a bit overrun with folks living out of tents, cars and broken down trucks. Just North of the proper campsite is a Yoga Retreat that offers campsites for $35 a night and offers maintained showers, tentalows (little cabins and deck pads for your tents). The beach is beautiful here but the feel is a little less than comfortable when traveling with all gals. Variety of folks frequent the actual beach for day-use and it’s lovely for that. You’ll want a four-wheel drive vehicle to drive on the beach and the I paved roads throughout this park.
This is a highly used area by locals. The night we arrived, there was a huge birthday party for a few folks with a DJ stand and lights and the whole shebang. The camping is allowed only on the grass so be sure to get a spot underneath the trees. Bathrooms are old and a bit dingy. It’s a fine spot to camp for a few nights with no other option. Really close to Hanapepe which is the town that inspired Lilo and Stitch and has great shops and the best bakery on the island (Midnight Bear).
This is the most developed of the campgrounds on Kauai. Camping pads are established, numbered and in very close proximity to each other. The beach front sites are beautiful. Lydia en closes Tuesday at ten through Thursday at noon. Try to get sites close to the beach for good hammock trees, proximity to the ocean and just sheer enjoyment. There is dispersed camping behind the organized campground but it’s a bit sketchy. A really fun playground for the kiddos and some wonderful walking paths within and throughout the campground.
The arduous hike in and impending brutal hike out make this campground a haven for those willing the make the trek. There’s a compositing toilet and a shelter with a picnic table in case it rains. Lots of trash from irresponsible hunters/campers near the shelter but the camping pads close to the river are beautiful. TONS of bugs that you can’t really feel biting you so bring really good (and environmentally friendly) bug spray. We took baths with bio soap in the river which flows strongly enough for fresh water (steripen that!) to drink but has small pools to sit in to cool off from the hike and wash up for camping. Lots of roosters and quail, hunters seeks wild pigs down I. The canyon. ATVs come through on occasion but this is a very private campground. Good tree coverage as it rains nearly every day in the canyon. Hikes around the area lead to various waterfalls and natural water slides. Don’t leave valuables in your car (we left our car unlocked to avoid broken windows - 8 piles of shattered window glass on the side of the road when we arrived at the trailhead (pull off on the side of the road to park and go there, no true parking lot).
This is not an excellent place to stay, it’s a softball field at the edge of Waimea Town and is a campground for a number of homeless people. The bathrooms are dingy and not well maintained, the beach is a mess and the water is murky. As three women traveling alone, we didn’t really feel safe so we opted to a few other spots on the island.
Polihale State Park is the longest stretch of continuous beach on Kauai if including Barking Sands and the military zone just south. With campgrounds on the berms (under minimal treeline) and drive-on beach access, your options are pretty expansive at this large campground. We drove onto the beach each night as we had a Jeep (don’t forget you need four-wheel and 20 PSI tire pressure to effectively maneuver on deep sand). Camped right next to our car. Swam under the moon (be careful, swells and currents can be pretty big here and wave break is only about ten feet from the shore). Showers, bathrooms, day use shelters and beyond. There are tons of great private off-chutes between the road and b beach for camping but we liked sleeping close to the waves. Be sure to check tide charts when setting up so the waves don’t reach your tent. Fires are not allowed in state parks but everybody lights small fires anyways. Be sure to light up closer to the water so debris from your fire (ash and the like) wash away. We put in on our last morning here for our overnight kayak trip to Miloli’i (highly recommend that trip even if you do a day trip. Check out Na Pali Kayaks for rentals and guided tours). This was our favorite beach campsite of the trip and can be booked online through Hawaii.gov.
Anini Beach Park is home to a shallow section of reef with a sand bar reaching far out to it. A great place for snorkeling, fishing and crabbing, the campsites lie under a canopy of trees protecting most tents even on the stormiest of nights. Bathrooms and a fresh water shower make this well appointed campground even better. Picnic tables are everywhere and mobile so you can adjust them on the beach camp no matter where you are. Anini is closed on Tuesdays so the are can be cleaned and tended to. You can also set up larger camps on the grass a bit further from the beach but closer to parking. Permits can be acquired at the Parks and Rec offices (one in Lihue right by the airport) or by mail-in application which must be received by Parks and Rec a minimum of a month prior to your stay.