With endless summer weather comes endless opportunities for summer activities: swimming, surfing, hiking, and perhaps my favorite — camping trips. We understand that not everyone enjoys roughing it at Hawaii’s
most rustic campgrounds, though, so we’ve compiled 10 incredible campgrounds in the Aloha State that are ideal for those who don’t actually enjoy camping. From glampgrounds to cozy cabins, these destinations are perfect for a weekend getaway.
1. Camp Olowalu
Though located just six miles southeast of Lahaina, you’ll feel like you’re a million miles away from it all at Camp Olowalu. Camp Olowalu’s "tentalows" — part bungalow, part tent, all enchanting — are an incredible alternative if you want to get away from it all, but have zero camping skills. Raised-platform tentalows are the perfect blend of camping’s simplicity and the comfort of great night’s sleep. They feature outdoor showers, a charming porch, solar lighting, and plenty of space to stash your stuff.
2. Bellows Field Beach Park
During the week, this beautiful beach is used as a military training area, but on weekends, fifty campsites open up for residents to enjoy splashing in the ocean during the day and listening to waves crash against the shore at night. You can pitch a tent on the public side of the beach at one of 50 campsites or rent a cabin on the military side of the beach. Amenities include two comfort stations, outdoor showers, and lifeguard towns.
3. Koke'e State Park
Nestled along the rim of Waimea Canyon between 3,200 and 4,200 feet above sea level, Koke’e State Park is home to some of the prettiest scenery in the Aloha State, incredible hiking, and is the perfect spot for a weekend camping trip any time of year. Whether you choose to go tent camping or stay in a cozy cabin, your trip to Koke’e State Park is sure to be unforgettable. There is truly no better place to get away from it all and spend time surrounded by a natural oasis.
4. Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area
This landscaped beach park perfect for swimming, bodysurfing, sunbathing, and other beach activities is also home to cozy four-person A-frame shelters. These shelters consist of a single screened-in room with wooden sleeping platforms and a picnic table. Nearby, you will find an enclosed pavilion with refrigerator, range, and tables. Comfort stations with cold showers and restrooms are also found on site. The perfect blend of rustic and charming, this is one lodging opportunity you won’t want to miss.
5. Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden
Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens is a little-known 400-acre natural oasis tucked away in Kaneohe perfect for an afternoon stroll. Ho’omaluhia is also home to countless walking and bike trails, a day use area, campgrounds, and a visitor center with an exhibition hall, workshop and botanical library. If you’re living on Oahu and want to go camping spur of the moment, this might be your best bet. With nearly 30 picturesque campsites to choose from and plenty of restrooms available throughout the garden, you won’t find a bad campsite here. While there are no cabins for rent here, you will be camping in the prettiest spot you’ve ever experienced — who knows, you might just fall in love with camping after pitching your tent at Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden.
6. Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area
Polipoli is perhaps most famous for its breathtaking redwood forest: Located approximately 7,000 feet above sea level is a forest populated by redwood trees that were brought to Hawaii in the 1920s to re-establish the watershed. The popular Redwood Trail is 1.7 miles, and guides hikers through a forest of baby Redwood trees, and is the access point for many other trails. Within this stunning park, you will find several campsites as well as a single cabin available for rent.
7. Kalopa State Recreation Area
If you aren’t into sleeping in a tent, consider renting a duplex cabin at Kalopa State Recreation Area. These eight-person cabins feature bunk beds, toilet facilities, hot showers, and a recreational dining hall for shared cooking. With access to plenty of amazing hikes, any adventurer is sure to love a weekend spent at Kalopa. The cabins at Kalopa are currently undergoing renovation but should be open again sometime next year, so you’ll want to add this destination to your 2019 bucket list.
8. Sand Island State Recreation Area
Want to go camping without retreating into the forest or a remote area of Hawaii? Sand Island is perfect for you! Located near the urban core of Honolulu and the flight path of the Honolulu International Airport, Sand Island offers weekend-only shoreline camping within an industrialized area. Popular among locals looking to get away, this is the perfect spot to try camping for the first time — and witness a signature Hawaiian sunset or two.
9. Waianapanapa State Park
Located on Maui’s Road to Hana is this amazing state park, with an absolutely stunning black sand beach, hikes, a blowhole, ocean caves, sea arches, freshwater pools and cliff diving. What more could a true explorer want in a park? Camping, perhaps? Oh yeah, they have that too. Tent and campervan sites, as well as charming and rustic cabins, are available for rent at Waianapanapa, making this the perfect spot to stay overnight while exploring Maui’s Hana Highway.
10. Malaekahana Beach Campground
Malaekahana Beach Campground is a secluded and remote slice of paradise perfect for a weekend spent getting in touch with nature. Found just 55 yards off Kamehameha Highway between Kahuku and Laie is this 37-acre campground surrounded by ironwood trees and backing up to a pristine white sand beach. Here, you will find 37 tent campsites as well as plantation-style cabins. Amenities include restrooms, showers, water fountains, kayak, paddleboard and bike rentals, and even a food truck that hangs out here on the weekends. You will also find a small camp store on-site that sells souvenirs and any camping essentials you may have forgotten — including ice for your cooler.
So, what are you waiting for? Camping isn’t for everyone, but these 11 places sure are!