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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HAWAII
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Most Recent Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Camping Reviews
Best beach ruined

Beautiful and clean. 

Unfortunately, Locally run and corrupt.

I live here. I had a dispute with one of the "security/managers" of the park. I wanted to be treated with respect and he disagreed. Out of spite, he made up a story about me breaking rules.

I wrote a letter to the board and discovered that they're all his friends and family. 

So I've been banned forever from camping at my favorite beach in the world, for resisting bullying. So be prepared to be treated with disdain from parking to check out without defending yourself. This experience was only with one man. The rest were really nice.

Great day trip

lots Of trails for a variety of levels

Beautiful, plus great scuba diving

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.

Currently Closed

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.

Closed due to volcanic activity

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.

stardust renewal

id love to talk about it, but now im still wondering why im not there, its quite obviously, this image of the stars and something like a spirit of the time telling me to stay, its the sensacion of being always taking care of somethins greater than me and although being this beeing taking about by myself when im out of mind

Great snorkeling

My family and I loved this part of Hawai’i and coming to this beach. We had some of the best snorkeling we have ever had, here. We saw turtles, tons of fish, and 1 shark!! The water was super clear and pretty warm. There was also a really cool cliff to jump off of. This beach Park is close to the town, which makes it nice for food. There was a really great fish and chips place down the road. Reminded me of “Ivars” in Washington that we love! We also stopped by a snow cone place that served some of the biggest cones we’ve ever had. They also put ice cream in there’s which was awesome!!! In the morning before we did some hiking nearby, we stopped by a juice place. Wasn’t Sam good as the Kauai Juice Co. but it was still really good! The hiking was great! Great views of the beach and ocean. Super hot though, so I’m glad we started early in the morning. Loved this place and will definitely be back next year!!

So beautiful

This beach park offers so many activities, views, and great places to eat. This is one of my families favorite places to visit when coming to Hawaii. It is a drive from the big island, but definitely worth it. We stayed here 1 night before heading back to the big island. So glad we decided to make the trip. Its located on the south side of the big island, in the Ka'u District. One incredible thing about this beach and camping here is you get the best views of the ocean. It honestly doesnt get any better than that. We also enjoyed snorkeling here, too. I would highly recommend that. We also did a diving tour, which is one of the reasons we decided to come to this part of the island. The diving was incredible, highly recommend. We saw a shark, so many turtles, and lots of fish. One great thing about the park is there is no cost to come, which is awesome! We were warned, however, that the locals dont really take too kindly to people staying here. Not sure why, but everyone warned us. We camped in a spot that was hidden, so we didnt have any troubles. Just FYI before you plan to come here or stay long. Again, we stayed only 1 night and honestly were only in our camping spot for maybe 6hrs total. Just to sleep.

One of my faves

If I could pronounce this park, that would be great :) The name is pretty cool, and sounds awesome when a local says it. This park was really cool, had a lot of great amenities. The location of the beach park was good too. Right next to the town, easy to get on the road to get something to eat or shop. We took the morning and did a quick hike, some shopping and had lunch nearby. We then picked our spot on the beach and laid by the water the rest of the day. We had fun body boarding in the water, and people watching. The beach was pretty busy, but luckily we found out spot early enough to have enough room between us and the next family beside us. There was a really good snow cone place right up the beach- i think we got a few each that day. The weather was great, definitely bring plenty of water and snacks and sun screen. Even in December, it was still high 80's. Beautiful day! The water was great, a little ruff but we didnt get in very deep. There is restrooms up at the top of the beach area, and they have water hoses to use for your sandy feet. Picnic tables in the grass area as well. Those seemed to be taken pretty early, so if you want a picnic table I would highly recommend getting there early and reserving your spot. It was pretty loud on the beach- people playing music and playing games. My family didnt mind this, but if you want something a little more relaxing and quite, I wouldnt recommend this beach for you. Lots of people and lots of music being played.

Beautiful, just like Hawaii

My family and I visit Hawaii every other Christmas. I know, spending Christmas without snow may seem weird to some people, because we always have a white Christmas where I am from (Washington State). But honestly, we love going this time of year because it isnt as busy. We love either camping, staying at my families condo, or doing a combo of both. We visited Kolekole Beach Park when we came last Christmas, and it was great. It was super clean, which we really loved. There was also some great small cliffs that we could jump off of- the whole family loved doing this. It almost feels like you are in a "jungle" only because of the greenery and trees. Not to mention the weather is pretty muggy. My family and I had a picnic here, and played in the water for the day. They didnt have any life guards on duty just FYI. Weirdly, there were a lot of cats around? Not sure why? but thought this was interesting. The park is a little hard to find, we drove past the sign and had to turn around. It's a pretty small, spray painted sign. We hiked in the morning before we came here, which was beautiful hike overlooking the water. Highly recommend!!

Closed due to volcanic activity

Due to the new volcanic activity, you can no longer reach this beach. I love this park, and enjoyed getting to surf it only twice in my life. my heart broke when the lava closed off all access points. Fissure 8 is producing a large volume of lava, and it is unclear how long this event might last. While this tiny section of our island is closed off, there is still plenty to do and see.

Wake up on a historic and pristine salt and pepper beach

My favorite place to camp in Hawaii. A small and isolated beach well hidden from the average person it seems. Ho'okena is a fun place to get a feel of local vibes for sure. Great and very accommodating staff. Real bathrooms as well as fairly clean port-o-poties they provide closer to the actual camp sites. Some really amazing snorkeling too!

Colder than you think

Awesome access to lots of trails and of course the volcano. Wouldn’t go right now with the eruptions but worth the visit in the future.

Bring extra warm stuff; can get windy and quite chilly at night.

Popular, can be busy

Beautiful black sand beach, awesome sunsets and rises. Strong undertow, swim at your own risk. Sea turtles, mongoose, centipedes, and lots of birds!

Bring bug spray if you want to hang outside past sunset.

Walk up the beach to the rocks and see more

10 miles from anything you are used to (except a bathroom 😂)

This camping site is great! It’s 10 miles inside the volcanos national park. At the end of the drive there is parking for about 4 vehicles and a very clean and nice structure housing a pit toilet with paper. No running water, no fires allowed. Camping stoves ok. There are I believe 10-12 sites some right off the lot some farther out ours was up over a hill so you could not see any other sites or the lot from our location. There was a picnic table in each site. You pay at the gate (we got the year pass) and then $10 a night you put it in the bash box on site and put the receipt at your site if you happen to love for the day. We both tent camped and put up hammocks. You are in the shadow of Laura loa volcano and when we went you could see the glow of the main crater from our site however with the recent activity I am pretty sure the level may be too low now.

We hikes for a half hour towards the crater glow in the night to get to a ridge to look out over the valley. The moon was bright enough you didn’t need flashlights. It’s very windy at night and the temp drops. I had a sleep mat in my hammock and slept in sweats with a blanket and Summer sleeping bag. Our hammocks were swaying in the wind all night.

One of the best sites was the moon setting behind Mauna Loa just before sunrise and then watchingbehr sure from purple to pink to red as the sun came up from behind us and cast colors on her. A few miles farther on the drive you will reach a dead end with a pavilion and an incredible view of the Pacific.

Its close enough to hilo we left our site for the day and went to the hilo parks to swim than did all of the volcano park activities in the early evening.

Daytime use

Went during the day to explore. Anywhere is Hawaii is pretty amazing!

Only did daytime exploring here

peaceful, fresh air, clean!

Nice for hanging out with friends: not a family spot

It has more of a party feel that you would want to go with friends. Its a lot louder then the other campsites. Your friendly neighbors will invite you to tent hop. Its a cool scene. Theres a theral spa, and it's across the street from a small beach- not suitable for surfing, but its nice to rake a dip and cool off. I would go back for a birthday or a celebration and it would be a great time!!

Breathtaking

It can get packed in the summer we were told so we went in the off season. Its located in Hilo, so the population generally is only 30% of all the islands. We were happily surprised after reading mixed reviews online. It was quiet, quaint, and cozy. A lot of families and a few newlyweds. Everything was easy to find and hook up. We had a slight view of the ocean from the mountains, and the temperature was abiut -10 F from sealevel. Remember to pack some warm pj's! All in all it met all our needs and we would return depending on the devasation thats going to be left behind from Pele.

Heaven on earth

This place is purely magical. We had an amazing 5 days with views of the mountains and water! All ammenties you need are widely available. Lots of room for many guesta. Friendly neighbors willing to help you out! What more could you ask for?!

Great Surf Spot and WARM POND!

This is a pretty open and can be crowded campsite. Has some of the best surfing on Pahoa side and has a boat launch. There is an epic small thermal pond just a shorts hike from the boat launch. It is a well traveled path so you should be able to spot it!

A Volcano at Midnight

Pretty epic experience sleeping so close to Pele. The best entrance to see the volcano at night is a bit of a drive/back ride but well worth it! Talk to locals in Pahoa and Keaau for tips on how to see the best views of the volcano. Cheap site about like $15 i believe.

Walking distance to Volcano crater!

A friend came to visit from off island and I had to take her to see Volcano National Park. We tent camped one night at this campground. It has toilets and a large pavilion, that we utilized to cook and eat under due to early morning rain. The night we stayed was verily quiet with not many other campers. I paid in the onsite dropbox with a check, but I am sure there is a way to probably pay online. Unfortunately there are no shower facilities.

The all time highlight is that when it got dark we made the 15-20 minute hike up to the Jagger Museum overlook/observatory to see the glowing lava in the crater.

The campground is technically outside of the national park and if you hike in there is no park fee.

Sunsets and Fishing

Decided to check out the road south of Pahoa and happened to find this park/campground. I bought the permit online with my iPhone and we picked a tent site. The camping area has little to no trees, so enjoy the sun. It is directly across the street from the ocean where there are many people enjoying the waves and fishing. It's not a beach and not really a good place to swim. There was a nice playground close by and water for kids to play around in.

The bathhouse was pretty clean, but I found the general area to be loud with noise of other campers being so close. It kind of had a party campground feel, if you like that sort of thing. I normally enjoy quieter environments. However, the sunset and the sound of the waves couldn't be beat.

There was no fire pits, but there were grills and picnic tables.

Unique camping experience on the Big Island

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)

Decent Place to Spend the Night and Morning

We arrived here on Easter and the campground was completely crowded with families celebrating Easter. For us wanting to setup our camp, we couldn't until most were on their way out. There are no designated sites, so you can basically camp wherever you please. We ended up camping on a bluff next to the ship beacon, which was pleasing throughout the night to the sound of the crashing breakers. The campground is the site of a tsunami that killed several school children and there's a memorial there to commemorate that event. There are a couple of grills, but when people are using the pavilions, you can not use them. Overall, not a bad place, probably quieter when it's not a major holiday!

Arrived and Left in Awe

We were able to snag a walk up site right at check out time, which is when you should arrive if you want to camp here. The campground was full by dinner time. The huge upside of this campground is the proximity to the Jagger Museum and the inner caldera of the volcano. You can hike from the campground to the caldera overlook and if you get lucky with a cloudy night sky, you'll be treated to a fiery display with the volcano glow lighting up the sky. The only downside of this campground is that there are no showers for tent campers. Definitely not something that would prevent us from returning.

Wonderful Introduction to Hawaiin Camping

We stayed here for two nights and greatly enjoyed quiet and near solitude of the beach park. We arrived in the dark to several locals who call the park home. We were hesitant about the situation, but after chatting with some of them, we discovered that they were very friendly and down to earth. After waking up and exploring the park, we found some sea turtles on the beach and continued walking around the various trails. We felt very comfortable here and will gladly return when we come visit Hawaii again!

Camping and Hiking beautiful lava

If you like to hike, bike, camp with turtles or see lava, Volcano National Park is a must. VNP sits between Kailua-Kona and Hilo and if you do the drive from Kona, you will have a nice drive through the mountains and travel through little villages, mostly supported by the farming industry, specifically macadamia nuts and coffee. There are many local places you can visit during your journey. You can sample different kinds of coffee and I believe that we passed a few wineries, but it wasn’t what I was keeping my eye out for. While driving to VNP, if you think you need any supplies, stop in one of these villages. There are a few that have a larger grocery store, but once you get to Volcano (the town VNP is located) there is one small gas station store and a true value hardware (which has a little bit of everything).
There is an entry fee into VNP, but it is good for 7 days. The first thing you come to in the park is the Visitor’s Center. There are restrooms and water fountains located within the visitor’s center. There is also a walk through information area and a gift shop. The Rangers there are knowledgeable and if you want to find out where your best chance to view lava flowing is, listen to the rangers talk given by the 3-D park map. They have a ranger who speaks about the park and the lava flow every half hour or so. There are several hiking trails in the park, some more touristy then others. If you want to do the touristy hikes (which are generally short and easy, but offer great things to see), do them early in the morning, (get started by 8:00am) and you will beat the tour busses. We did the Thurston Lava Tubes first thing in the morning, before 8:00am. It was helpful that we were still on Pittsburgh time as we were up early that morning. There were only 2 people on the trail, which is really just a walk through the lava tube. It is less than a half mile and a very easy walk. This is one of the first hikes on the Chain of Craters Drive and by 11:00 the surrounding parking lots will be full…with lots of busses. Driving the Chain of Craters Drive you will pass many trail heads and areas of interest. Most of it is old lava flows, which are identified by the year of the flow and the dead crater. The landscape is vast and very cool. You can look at the hillside of the volcano and see the distinct path of each lava flow.
We also hiked the Sulphur Banks Trail. This trail is a paved/boardwalk trail that is about a mile. The hike is easy and you will get to see many steam vents. The trail also had lots of wild life as in birds and little critters and the Sulphur banks were very colorful. There were a few people on this trail. It is on the Chain of Craters Drive but it is at the end of the loop road if you start at the visitor’s center. It is one of the first trails you get too if you start on the Chain of Craters Drive and drive towards the Jagger Museum. Make sure to stop the Jagger Museum it is the best place to see the current active lava crater on Kilauea. As of today, 9/13/2016 you should be able to see the glow of the lava lake inside the crater. The lava was not flowing when we visited the park but you could still see the steam coming out of the crater. It was a beautiful site to see at night…pictures would do it no justice. We attempted to hike the Kilauea Iki trail which is a 4-mile loop trail that crosses a lava crust at the bottom of an inactive crater. As we started the decent into the crater the trail was overtaken by a group of high school students, had to be 300 students. We waited for them to pass us on the steps down, but they just kept coming and, kids are not our thing, so we headed back up off of the trail. We drove to the end of the Chain of Craters Drive. There is a small visitors center and restrooms at the end. From here you can do some lava hikes. That day (December 15, 2015) we were told if there was any lava flowing it would be about a 5-mile hike from the end of the road. We started to do this hike (we were also told that there were doubts that it was flowing) but after about a mile in we turned back. It was about 90 the day and the hike takes you across hardened lava fields. We decided not to do the 5 miles just to be disappointed. From the end of the road you get an incredible view of the ocean and you can see the Holei Sea Arch. You can also pick up the Puna Coast Trail that takes you along the coast which affords ocean front back country camping. In some cases, with sea turtles. It is a pack in, pack out camping experience and although there are designated camping areas along the trail, there are only rustic facilities. There are many other trails in the park, enough to write a book. We did not do any of the higher elevation trails as when we were there it was very cold near the top of the hike and we were not equipped with the proper gear for a hike in those conditions.
You can camp in most areas of the park as long as you have a back country permit. The permits are free and you apply at the ranger’s station near the visitor’s center. They will ask you for emergency contact info and your trip plans. They also provide you with a phone number to call to let them know when you have completed your hike. If you do not leave a message on this line, they will contact your emergency contact. There are two organized campgrounds in the park. Namakanipaio, which is at a higher elevation. I cannot comment on this site as the area was closed due to falling trees that needed maintenance. From what I have read this campsite offers a few more facilities than the other campground, Kulanaokuaiki. Kulanaokuaiki is kind of located in the middle of the park. The access road is off of the Chain of Craters Drive and it seems to go on forever through the lava fields. The road is not great, but we were in a little car and did not have any issues. The road is a dead end that provides a scenic vista looking towards the ocean.
Kulanaokuaiki, has several campsites that are on raised gravel/sand beds and provide picnic tables. There are also some marked walk-in sites over the hill from the designated ones. I can only imagine the view of the crater and the night sky from these sites was more spectacular than from the site we had chosen. At night you could see the glow and the steam from the crater. Right before dawn the skies cleared up and there were millions of stars. They looked so close that you could reach out and grab one. There was an immense amount of fog surrounding the area and it was very cold. Once the sun started to rise it started to rain which created a beautiful rainbow across the sky and over the crater. There are restroom facilities and an emergency call phone at the campsite, but that is about it. You will still need to pack-in and pack-out everything that you need. We visited the park for 2 days and it was not enough time to really take in the beauty of the park and all it has to offer. If you can afford a third day to explore the park, you will not be disappointed.

Kind of a green desert...

Nice, open sites with decent amenities. You don't really have a lot of privacy at all… but you should be off exploring the park! I say desert, because it can get so hot during the day and turn around and get really cold at night.