I head out to Kauai yearly but finally decided to do a small camping trip this time and I'm super glad I did! I brought all my stuff from the mainland but I know there are retailers that rent camping stuff on Kauai for 15$-20$. I really wanted to do the Kalalau trail but that's ideally a 5-day outting.
So before coming out here I'd read many things about the dirt road so I wasn't sure what to expect but as of 4/29/17 here's what it looks like: The road was redone and is a lot better. Anything from camrys to lifted silverados with swamp tires were on the beach when we went. For better or worse the redone road really made it accessible for everyone. That said, we got STUCK. Our rental had 4x4 and I made the mistake of going ON the beach, DONT GO ON THE BEACH STAY ON THE DIRT ROAD TO THE BATHROOMS. Thank god some locals were nearby and offered to pull us out of the 3ft ditch my front wheel had dug for itself.
Once we got out of the ditch we parked the car in a flat level area at the end of the road basically, across from the bathrooms and outdoor showers (cold running water, no privacy, but the cold water is super refreshing at this very dry and hot part of kauai). We walked like 50 feet up a dune and set up our tent. air was super windy when we arrived but it died down as the night went on. The wind made it somewhat chilly. When we got there and it wasn't on the weekend even, there were a lot of people. The beach was dotted with groups of campers. Though that's no issue, I was hoping for a secluded and romantic camping experience and didn't get one. Another couple next-door was very friendly and we had a bonfire together using locally found wood (kiaweh, very thorny be careful) which was nice but I would have preferred to be isolated. When we woke up it wasn't too hot but by 11:00am the sun makes it over the Easterly ridge and it starts scorching you and your tent so get up and go for a swim! We went out pretty far but we're decent swimmers. The riptides can be pretty bad. If you need to swim you can head to Queen's Bath by the entrance and it's a lot calmer and some of the best snorkeling on the island (wish I had known that). All in all I recommend it. It is on the Westernmost side of the US which is cool to say and the lack of seclusion can be a blessing in case you ever get stuck. Just don't hope for this campground's fabled isolation, though it is pristine and remote. I should also say we never got our permit checked and you CAN camp wherever the heck you feel like it. I recommend getting a permit just in case though, and the money helps keep it pristine. you
Anyway here's a list of what I recommend bringing:
Tow straps for in case you get stuck you can flag down a 4x4 and get pulled out of a ditch
Something warm for the nights, just an outer shell
Sandstakes (or just make do with trees found nearby)
Swim Trunks even just to rinse off in the morning as the shower isn't private
Your sense of adventure because this is a fun campground