this campground has many sites. your neighbors are often on the opposite side of a fence from you. there’s a bbq grill and table at each site and little to no privacy. but in the summer I hear there’s great fishing. we made the mistake of going up there to test our equipment in the snow. visited in February and didn’t stay the night due to gusts of winds up to 60mph (so the weather people said). but this place is beautiful in the day - we bought a $5 snow sled and had lots of fun. bathrooms are a ways away but there’s a tackle shop and good diner to warm up inside.
this site is a beautiful place to night hike and star gaze. we were in awe when we drove up there and saw that there were so many sites. unfortunately this park is large and well visited so for those who look to camping as a way to escape. this is not the site for you however for those who are looking for a great getaway with the children or a large party there are group sites. We were drawn up there for the meteor shower and hot springs. although much to our dismay the hot springs has been turned into an indoor pool which was not what we were hoping for. nonetheless this camp ground provided beautiful star gazing - once everyone put out their lights- and a few great night hikes that we enjoyed thoroughly.
Wiliwili is a site at the end of the kukui trail - down to the bottom of Waimea canyon. This place is well received by hikers as a beautiful place to cool off in the stream. This is also the first site you hit if you dare to venture further into the canyon off this trail. There is a fire pit and plenty of tinder which comes in handy since the second thing you will notice after the stream is the swarms of mosquitoes awaiting your arrival. Bring bug repellent and don’t play it safe with natural remedies, get the stuff you know works. We enjoyed hanging up hammocks here and laying in the streams gazing up at the canyon and stars. Lovely place but I surely regretted the 2.5mile ascent back up the canyon walls with 20lbs on my back. Travel light and you will enjoy this place. visited in June and it was great - no rain.
This park is very well maintained. The sites are close together and each gets a picnic table. I liken these kinds of sites as outdoor motels with a tent square and table and a neighbor within 15ft. First time campers would find solace in the cleanliness and beautiful scenery. There are bathrooms and indoor showers within walking distance of all sites. The campsites are south of a well visited beach in the area. I liked this site - as it was clean, maintained and $3/person/night for non-residents. There is little light pollution - even though the airport is near. We still saw many stars and planets and explored the beach at night. The water feels great and some people were fishing. Keep in mind since the beach is well visited and easy to get to, many people have parties at the campsites and don’t quite care about campsite reservations. That being said all parties were over shortly after sundown. The biggest complaint I had was the chickens - which you will not get away from on Kauai. So bring ear plugs if you want to sleep in. The town of kapa’a is a 5 min drive north and if you really can’t stand the site - which I doubt- there’s a Hilton right up the street. visited in June - it rained at night.
Polihale is everything you think of from a Hawaiian beach - without the crowds. there are many sites - some with and some without picnic tables and each with a short walk to a beach and bathroom. the bathrooms are cleaned and filled with toilet paper often and the views here are just breathtaking. It’s a 20 min drive from the town of Waimea (my favorite little town) where we got all things necessary and we felt safe leaving our stuff at the site. most of the locals come to surf all weekend and camp in order to hit the best waves. tourists are generally scared away by the rental car companies but a 4WD car will get you there no problem. the biggest problem this site has is the kiawe trees. these trees are great tinder - although fires are not technically allowed in the sites - most people lit them on the beach. these trees are brittle and the branches fall easily - not a huge deal until you step on one and realize these branches are thorns which will make it through your slippers no problem. watch your steps and clear your site well of all debris because it is more than likely that those thorns will rip up a sleeping pad or tent liner with ease. My favorite place to camp on Kauai. there are feral cats and lots of beautiful birds to look at if for some reason you get tired of the ocean waves and scenic cliffs to the north. on a really clear day you can see ni’ihau the forbidden island. the sand gets realllllly hot so be careful. I spent my day looking for tiny shells of organisms only native to this side of Kauai and Niihau and the shells make beautiful jewelry which you may find at the craft fairs in Waimea.
The hike into Lonomea is not curated. Expect mudslides and overgrown foliage. And bring strong bug repellent. Take kukui trail to wiliwili and then koaie canyon trail. You will cross the stream at least 3 times (dry season) on the 4th time you may want to cross but stay toward the right and you will see a sign within 100ft showing you the correct path. There are 2 more shelters along the 4 mile path to find the final site, Lonomea. Karma driven campers/hikers have left great gifts to enjoy your time in the ultra secluded campground. If I could do it all over I would camp at wiliwili and then hike- not backpack- to lonomea. visited in June - beautiful no rain. there are wild boar so be aware and safe. kept all food trash away from tents just in case but didn’t see any signs.
Stayed here for a quick night during Questival. The bathrooms are clean and the sites were well kept. The parking people are strict but the the ticket is the same cost as paying for parking so not to worry! Not too noisy at night or windy