The best camping near
Kalaoa, HAWAII

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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.

Enjoyed our time

My husband and I really enjoyed coming to the Mahukona Beach Park. Although the waters here are a little rough, we found a great spot that the water was pretty calm and we were able to do some snorkeling and body boarding. We got some great shots of underwater life. This beach park has quite a few picnic tables around, so we were able to snag one and have a picnic. We packed some lunch, ate and people watched. The weather was great, a little humid, but not too bad. The park itself was clean, and the time we went it wasnt busy. We always go to Hawaii in December, and some parts of the Island are super busy but others are not. I could see this park being super busy during the summer. There is a boardwalk along the beach, we saw people running, walking, and skateboarding along this pathway. My husband and I walked this pathway during the evening and found a good snow cone stand. Not sure how this park is for camping? We did see some homeless people along the beach who looked like they were camping. I think I would be a little nervous to camp here, but thats just my opinion. Definitely recommend coming for the day and relaxing, though.

So much fun

The Kalopa State Rec Area park/beach is one of my favorites. It has such a jungle feel to it is why I think I really love it. It is located in Honokaa. There are so many beautiful plants and trees, and the people who work there say that they are pretty rare plants. The hibiscus plants are amazing, and they are everywhere. Loved seeing these flowers everywhere that I walked. The weather was okay when we went. It rained quite a bit, it was damp and pretty cloudy. One thing we enjoyed doing was hikes nearby. You can do the Kalopa Nature Trail. It is super easy, and only about 1 mile long. The loop takes you through all the gorgeous greenery and pretty trees. You can stay in little cabins in the campground, which were about $90 per night. A lot cheaper than staying in a hotel. You can also camp, which we didnt do but I saw that it costs around $20 a night to do this, even cheaper! The cabins were pretty small. There was 4 of us staying in here, and it felt a little tight. We made it work, though! Restaurants are nearby, maybe a 10 minute drive. Some great yummy places to eat. There is also a grocery store around there too. We went here and grabbed a few groceries to have for snacks, breakfast and dinners. We also went down to the beach that isnt far away. Drove about 15 minutes to reach the beach. Loved swimming and body boarding.

Great Beach!

My husband and I really enjoy this beach. We stayed the entire day here, and loved how close it was to restaurants and shopping places. It is located in a great spot. We got up early in the morning and did a hike nearby, then pretty much just sat our bums in the sand and water the rest of the day. We ate at a really good restaurant within walking distance of Spencer Beach Park. The park itself is really nice. There was a walking path just up from the beach that we saw a ton of people walking on, roller blading on and running. If had more time here I would have loved to walk this path to see how far it went. There were people on the grass area in the evening doing a yoga lesson which i thought was really cool. There are also good palm trees that some people put their hammocks on and relaxed in those. Wish I would have brought mine to do this! The beach was clean, they had garbage cans along the whole beach and seemed like people ere actually using them which was great! The water is beautiful and nice. We liked that the part of the beach that we were in the water was pretty calm. No life guards on duty at this one, or at least where we were. Highly recommend this beach park!

Great hiking, and a nice cool place to escape the heat.

Kalopa is one of my favorite campgrounds here on the Big Island. the cabins are affordable, and including a large dining hall with a kitchen. The kitchen does have a few pots and pans, but if you want coffee, bring a press. Showers in the cabin are small, but nice and hot. Just don't forget to turn on the water heater. Since this location is up in the mountains, it is cold at night. It rains often, and has a wonderfully magical mist that hangs around morning and evening. My husband and I chose this location to get married, since it is such a beautiful and cool spot, hurricane Issel had other plans for us. The trails there range from easy to difficult. The native plants in the area are beautiful, there is even a small gated garden with all the native plants inside labeled. The staff at the park are a wealth of knowledge, and are amazingly kind.

Rough rock or grass. Little for views

The oceanview here is blocked by the lar ge bathroom and covered facilities. Tends to be a more family oriented spot. Lots of big tents and barbecue grills. Decent facilities but always seems to be packed out and the crowd has been a little rough every time I've been. Generally a nice spot but more of an in and out kind of spot for me.

You like to be as close to the ocean as possible?

This is the place for you then. A place to wake up right at the water. White sand, known as a pretty okay surfing beach. This is the place to go if you like nice faculties. Better than most parks here the bathrooms can be a trek but they are clean and well tended to. I only give it 4 stars because it always fairly packed out so plan fairly early especially on holiday weekends.

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.

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!


Year round accessibilty. Phenominal views of the mountains and ocean.Super friendly camplers on site!

camping on white sands

beautiful little out of the way beach park. sites are first come, first serve, but you do need a reservation. known to the locals as pinetree surfing beach, there is some surfing. not a great swimming beach, but plenty of shoreline and tidepools at one end to explore. nice bathrooms with showers available.


The beauty of the island

There are No Words

The hike down can be a bit steep and if it is raining it gets SUPER wet and slick. It is worth it! A beautiful pristine beach, waterfalls all around, and towering green mountains covered in dense jungle. Absolutely amazing! Be sure to pack in enough water and food! hike back to cars isnt too bad either if more supplies are needed.

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.

One of the Best on the Big Island

I camped here a few times while living on the big island and I highly suggest it!! Great access to the beach, a beautiful warm beach, nice hike access, cabana with gorgeous view, grills, tables, bathrooms, and showers. Can get really crowded which is annoying however this site is AWESOME!

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.

"Coolest" place to camp

I live on the island, but down at sea level. I had always wanted to come up and camp here because the nights are cool and the tent site is in the woods. Some times we need to escape the heat. :) It is a small location that needs to be reserved in advance. The cost is different for residents and visitors. We stayed at the tent sites, but have heard good things about the cabins. There are three tent sites, with a men and women bathroom and large shared pavilion. I liked how the sites have raised and covered places you can pitch your tent under in case it rains. Make sure you bring a mattress of some sort as the shelter floor is concrete. Also bring mosquito spray they like this campsite as well.

We met the others camping that night and had great conversation under the shared pavilion. There are also a couple really lovely hiking trails to explore during the day!

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)

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.

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.


Waimanu Valley is a state campground for backpacking. It starts out at Waipio Valley lookout and continues 9 miles up to the next valley over. It's a moderately strenuous hike with a pack on your back! Be prepared with water filter, rain gear, mosquito repellant and everything else you need for backpacking. Check the weather in advance because there are two stream crossings that can get rather dangerous if it rises. Otherwise this is the most fantastic paradisiacal campsite on a beach you'll find in Hawaii! Less people than the popular Kalalau on Kauai. Research this one a ton and get permits far in advance!

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.

Beautiful, but oh so noisy...

Amazing section of the island. You need a permit to camp, but you'll find yourself immersed in a tropical lush wonderland. Bring ear plugs unless you sleep like a log… The crogui frogs will wake the dead.

Camping on the North Side of Beach

All Hawaiian beaches get crazy on the weekends and summers. It's best to visit during the week and when schools are in session, because the beaches are teeming with local families. There is plenty of places to park and the area has clean bathrooms and showers by the beach. White side, clear waters, and is known to be a place where you can swim with green sea turtles.