For a chance to camp among the unique lava landscape of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Kulanaokuaiki Campground is a great opportunity.
Although most people visit Hawaii for the luxury and relaxing beach setting, Hawai’i Volcanoes shows a very different side of the Big Island. Camping at Kulanaokuaiki allowed us to immerse ourselves into the park and access some of its greatest sights.
The most important thing to note about this campground is that there is no water here. They do offer pit toilets, but you’ll have to be prepared with food, water, and supplies. Also remember that this small campground (only 9 sites) is first-come, first-served only, so arriving early will be important in securing a site for the night. Although the campground used to be free, there is now a $10 fee per night (as of November 2016)
The campground itself is a very unique setting: you’ll walk among old lava flows to get to your site. The sites are spaced out nicely, offering great sunset views and quiet wake-ups.
Other highlights from our time in the park include: learning about the myths and legends surrounding the volcanoes, seeing the “glow” from the Jaggar Museum, attending intriguing ranger programs, watching the sunset from midway up Mauna Kea, and driving the Chain of Craters road to hike short trails and see the lava destruction path.
You can read much more about our two days in the park on our blog: Switchback Kids (Hawai’i Volcanoes)