Top Tips for Camping in Hawaii: Best Places to Camp in Hawaii

If you’re up for an adventure, camping in Hawaii is a great way to explore the islands without breaking your budget. With oceanfront campsites and campgrounds near Volcanoes National Park, you don’t have to be a seasoned camper to explore the Hawaiian Islands.

Pack your tent, camping supplies, and get ready to spend the night under the stars. 

Wondering which island in Hawaii to visit? 

Note – Check here for the latest updates and travel restrictions in response to COVID-19. 

When you factor in flights, accommodations, rental cars, food, and entertainment for a trip to Hawaii, costs quickly add up. Experience the islands and save money on hotels by camping in Hawaii. Keep your eyes peeled for sunrise shells on the beach, curious wildlife, and unforgettable sunsets. 

In this guide we’ll cover: 

  • Best Places to Camp in Hawaii 
  • A Beginners Guide to Camping – Understanding the Basics 
  • Camping Essentials + What to pack for the Ultimate Hawaii Vacation
Join the list.

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Beautiful Spots to Camp in Hawaii

Things to do in Lanai

1. Lanai Camping: Hulopoe Beach Park 

Whether you live in Hawaii or visiting for the first time, there’s nothing like island hopping to a neighbor island to get away from it all. Experience the magic of Lanai and camp at Hulopoe Beach Park. This scenic campground has eight campsites, picnic areas, barbecue grills, two bathrooms, and cold showers. 

Visit Hulopoe Bay and swim or dive in the crystal clear water in the crescent-shaped bay. Dolphins love it here! Take a stroll to Pu’u Pehe (Sweetheart Rock) for a majestic view, especially during sunset. The campsite is located next to Four Seasons Resort Lana’i, a luxurious resort with two swimming pools with ocean views. 

Know before you go: At night, keep your eyes peeled for curious deer wandering through the campsite. Bring all your camping essentials and food with you, because there are no stores at the beach park. 

Cost: 

  • $80 per night for up to 4 people. Reservations are available at the beach park. 

Related: Things To Do in Lanai, Hawaii – The Ultimate 2-day Trip

2. Kauai Camping: Polihale State Park

Your adventure starts well before you arrive at Polihale State Park. You’ll need a four-wheel-drive vehicle to access the rough road to set up your tent on the beach. With the Napali cliffs as the backdrops and views of Niihau in the distance, this is one of the ultimate Kauai camping destinations and the last beach on the West side. We set up camp above the dunes overlooking the water. Pure magic! 

Know before you go: Swimming is safe only at the Queens Pond because of the strong currents and rip currents. This site has picnic tables, a restroom, and showers. 

Book a camping permit online here and print it before your stay. 

Cost:  

  • $12 per campsite per night for Hawaii residents. 
  • $18 per night for Non-residents.  

Related: Kauai Bucket List: Amazing Things To Do in Kauai

unique things to do in the Big Island

3. Camping on the Big Island, Hawaii

The Big Island is home to pristine black sand beaches, beautiful waterfalls, and Kilauea (one of the most active volcanoes in the world). Set up camp underneath the stars at Namakanipaio Campground near Volcanoes National Park. Volcanoes National Park is open 24/7. See the lava by day and night!

This campsite is only three miles from the park, and be sure to add a visit to Volcano House to soak in the views of the Halema‘uma‘u Crater. There are restrooms, water, picnic tables here. Campfires are allowed in the barbecue pits. Stays permitted up to 7 days. 

Prefer Glamping? Namakanipaio Campground has cabins and tents available for rent. Make reservations at Volcano House or use the self-pay station at the campground. 

Cost for Namakanipaio Campground: 

  • $15 per night 
  • Cabins start at $80 per night.

Searching for something more extreme? Explore Backcountry camping on the Big Island. 

Cost: 

  • $10.00 fee per trip, in addition to the park entrance fee. 
  • The fee is good for up to 12 people and seven nights per permit. 

Know before you go: Bring warm clothes, because you’ll be sleeping 4,000 feet above sea level in a beautiful eucalyptus grove. We brought our tent and picked up other supplies at Volcano Village, a small town located 3.1 miles (6-minute drive) from the park.

Related: The Big Island 3 Day Itinerary: Beaches, Waterfalls, and Volcano

4. Beach Camping Oahu 

Wake up on the beach at Malaekahana Beach Park on Oahu. This top-rated campground is located on Oahu’s North Shore – a must-visit on your trip to Hawaii. There are 74 campsites featuring picnic tables, water spouts, and fire pits available. Stop by Haleiwa town to pick up food before you go. 

Cost: 

  • Tent camping and car camping is $9.41 per night per person. 
  • There is also a Plantation Hale + Suites starting at $58.82 per night. 

Book your reservation here

Related: Fun Things To Do On Oahu – Top Bucket List Experiences in Hawaii

5. Bellows Field Beach Park: Camping Near Honolulu

Explore the East side of Oahu, and spend the night on a beautiful white sand beach. Bellows has two restrooms and outdoor showers. Wondering if camping in Hawaii is safe? This park is closed between 8 pm, and 6 am, and only campers are allowed on site. 

Note – Due to sea turtle nests at this location, Bellows Field Beach Park campground will not reopen until September 4, 2020. 

Check here for available dates and to book your camping permit. 

Related: Oahu Travel Guide – Best Beaches, Hikes and Ultimate Experiences

best places to camp in Hawaii

A Beginner’s Guide to Camping 

You don’t have to be an experienced camper to enjoy camping in Hawaii, but it does help to understand the basics for a comfortable stay. 

Camping Permits

Do your research to find out if you need to print it online or pick it up on-site. It’s also a good idea to do your research and check what type of amenities are available at the campground. Some places have picnic tables and fire pits, so you may not need to bring extra equipment. 

Always check the weather before your trip. Hurricane Season in Hawaii is June through November. While Hawaii is known for sunny weather and perfect beach days, sporadic showers are not uncommon on the islands. 

What is Glamping? 

Glamping is essentially glamorous or luxury camping. If you want to experience the outdoors without roughing it, consider glamping instead of camping. Some campgrounds offer tents, mattresses, and amenities that are already set up and ready to go. All you have to do is make a reservation, and you don’t have to bring any equipment or pitch a tent. It’s a resort-style adventure. 

What to bring when Camping in Hawaii? Camping Essentials

Tents – When it comes to quality tents, I prefer something lightweight with lots of features like plenty of headroom and double- door entry is also a plus. 

Sleeping Bags – Choose a sleeping bag that’s made for the conditions you’re in. This sleeping bag delivers warmth ideal for camping on the Big Island near Volcanoes National Park. 

Mattress Pad – When it comes to choosing the right mattress pad, it really depends on how comfortable you want to be. If you can, I suggest testing a few to see what type of padding feels most comfortable.

Lights – You’ll need plenty of lamps on your camping trip. I always travel with a torch, and it’s not a bad idea to have bigger lamps to set on the picnic table inside your tent. This outdoor adventure tool features a torch, whistle, compass, thermometer, magnifying glass, and a small dry storage compartment. 

Reusable Water Bottle – Go plastic-free with a reusable water bottle. They’re perfect for travel, and outdoor camping adventures. 

Reusable Plates + Utensils – Leave no trace while camping in Hawaii. Reusable plates and utensils won’t take up too much room and in your bag, and you can use them over and over again. 

Cookware – What you need will depend on what you’re making. We like to bring a pan for cooking eggs in the morning and a pot for lunch and dinner meals. 

Waterproof Backpack – While I would highly recommend having a dry bag to protect your most valuable possessions from soaking, it’s also not bad to invest in a rain cover for your bag when the heavens decide to open up. 

unique things to do in oahu

What to Pack for Hawaii

Hiking Boots – While you may be tempted to hike in sneakers, a quality pair of hiking boots is a good investment.

Related: Best Hikes on Oahu, Hawaii: Waterfall & Easy Day Hikes

Bring a hoodie or jacket for rain. Whether you prefer to wear hiking pants or yoga pants, I find that long pants help protect my legs from potential bug bites, sunburns, or scratches from the trail. 

If you’re searching for ethical activewear. I’m a big fan of dk active, a sustainable line made in Australia. I love their sustainably made stylish crops, tanks, pants, and hoodies.

Use dk active code: ALEXC20 to get $20 off your next full-price purchase. 

Mosquito Repellent – While you can buy mosquito repellent wherever you go, this natural mosquito repellent is made without nasty chemicals. Avoid becoming a target for those pesky bugs with this soothing blend of organic butter and essential oils known for their anti-bacterial and insect repelling properties. 

Need a new swimsuit or sun hat for your Hawaii camping trip? Check out: 

Conclusion – Hawaii Travel 

Ready to pitch your tent and camp underneath the stars? Adventure is calling. Camping in Hawaii is a great way to explore new islands on a budget. If you have any questions or tips about camping in Hawaii, leave us a comment.

Prefer to stay in a hotel? Check out this list of the best places to stay on Oahu

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