A Guide to Camping in Hawaii

Blessing with awe-inspiring sceneries, oceanside state parks, white sand beaches, near-volcano campgrounds, and verdant surroundings, Hawaii is undoubtedly a paradise for every camper. Imagine yourself pitching your tent in the sand, gazing at the stars at night, sleeping to the sound of the surf, and enjoy the fresh breeze or dive into the ocean as you wake up – camping in the Aloha state is sublime. But before you pack your camping supplies and explore the island, here’s the essential guide to camping in Hawaii that will help you get the most out of the experience!

Choose your island


All Hawaiian islands are brimmed with stunning locations, but each island has its own unique offering. You need to select an island, depending on the activities you want to do or the type of vacation you wish to have. Rest assured you’re in for a fantastic camping experience, whichever islands you choose.

For instance, Maui serves as a quiet refuge. Don’t miss out on the magnificent sunrise at Haleakala National Park. You can also have an incredible day trip at Road to Hana or visit other campgrounds, such as the Kanaha Beach Park, Hosmer Campground, and Kipahulu Campground.

Meanwhile, Oahu is renowned for big-wave surfing and vibrant city life. Some campgrounds to explore include Kea’au Beach Park, Waimanalo Beach Park, Bellows Field Beach Park, and Kahua Nui-Makai. If you’re into something thrilling, you can even swim with sharks at Oahu’s North Shore.

Kauai is another tranquil getaway best-known for the marvelous Waimea Canyon. Other great spots to visit are Koke’e State Park and the Polihale State Park. On the other hand, Big Island boasts an exquisite blend of serenity and a dazzling city vibe. You can see lava here as it is the home of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which fringes the summit of Mauna Loa and Kilauea volcanoes.

Hawaii has tons of camping to offer, and it is for you to decide which suits your preference. If you’re still hesitant, it is best to research the island and campgrounds that entice you. Alternatively, you can also ask any friend or colleague who might have camped in Hawaii. They can share their first-hand experiences that can help you choose the island where you’d want to stay.

Get the proper permit


Camping is legal in Hawaii – if you get the right permit. In order to camp, you need to secure the permit beforehand and print it out. Obtaining one varies depending on the campground island of your choice. In fact, each island, country, and parks have their own guidelines. Some will require you to process it at their office personally. Others will only need online booking, which can save you time, effort, and money. 

Still, be sure to score a permit in advance. Some parks will allow you to purchase it about ninety (90) days before your camping date. Once the day comes, remember that there are random checks, usually early in the morning. So, see to it that you have your permit with you at all times to avoid any hassle.

Bring the right supplies and equipment

A camping trip won’t be seamless and successful without bringing the essentials. Usual items you need include a sleeping bag, pillows, tent, mat, and blanket. Meanwhile, batteries, cable, portable chargers, and flashlights are also handy.

Stay warm and dry by bringing a waterproof jacket. The weather in Hawaii is unpredictable, and it often rains on all Hawaiian islands. And, remember to apply a good mosquito repellent.

Other camping equipment you might need is available in most campgrounds for you to rent out. That is very useful as you might not bring all supplies, especially if you’re coming from a different state or country. However, keep in mind that renting can be relatively more costly or cheaper, varying on the equipment you’ll rent.


Ensure your safety

Spending outdoors in Hawaii is a fun experience, with sceneries and activities the islands have to offer. However, don’t get carried too much, especially if you’re going to less-traveled parts of the parks.

Always camp with another person or a group, as there is safety in numbers. Bring ample amounts of water to avoid dehydration, and never drink from untreated lakes or streams. Of course, adhere to all posted signs and guidelines set by the campground.


That’s the essential guide to camping in Hawaii! Remember, leave nothing but footprints and bring nothing but fantastic memories. Have a great camping experience on the majestic islands!