There's not likely to be a more beautiful place than the high alpine of the San Juan Mountains. Alta Lakes boasts a series of small lakes stocked with fish annually - making for great fly fishing, naturally. Dispersed camping means pack it in, pack it out but since you can park at your site, this is never difficult. Get there early to enjoy the pick of the pack then get on the water with SUPs, kayaks, and beyond. Stunning views of the Milky Way, always!
What more can you say when you're staying in the most beautiful place on earth? Telluride is not a spot to miss when visiting (or living in) Colorado. The campground is very well maintained, clean and well appointed. The spots are close together so plan to hear your neighbors and be very friendly with them. Go for a spot by the river if you can (deeper in the campground). This is, of course, a great place to stay during music festivals if you have the ability to get a camping pass early on.
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.
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.