Bonfires on the beach — an open starry sky – ocean waves gently hitting the shore – Camping on the Big Island is an exciting, memorable experience that will define your trip. For those who love the outdoors, spending a night in Hawaii’s wilderness is a brilliant idea. In this article, Big Island Flow will share three of our favorite camping spots on the Big Island.
Before you being your tropical backpacking excursion, remember most campsites require a permit or payment of some type.Hawaii has 10 county parks that all require permits. You can camp in Volcanoes National Park for a $10.00 fee along with the park entrance fee. Depending on where you go, you may be able to find some free campsites in the Big Island’s State Parks.
Located in the Hamakua District on the East side of the Big Island this site was once home to the east side of the islands other deep water channel, where the army corps of engineers constructed a sea wall and boat ramp. The dense jungle beach park is great for family gatherings, festivals and relaxing meditation. Camping is allowed on site. You can sign up online here.
One of the most popular campgrounds on the north side of the island, this campground site is located within walking distance to the historic site of Puukohola Heiau. The remains of this site are significant because of the locations position for the conquest of Hawaii. A respected kahuna (priest) named Kapoukahi suggested building a luakini heiau (sacrificial temple) to gain the favor of the war god Kūkaʻilimoku.
This state campground is in development, yet open to public. Camping is allowed on weekends only (Friday through Sunday nights), and sites may be reserved up to 30 days in advance of check-in. Overnight parking permits for campers must be displayed during park closed hours or vehicles may be cited and/or towed at owner’s expense. Maximum three parking permits per permittee.
At this location in the Kohala district, the beaches are small and private, with few areas to swim. There are pavilions open during the daylight hours along with shaded campsites available. Restrooms and running water are limited on this site so it is advised to think ahead.
Located near Kohanaiki Golf Club Community, this sandy beach and rocky shoreline has tidepools for children and some trees for shade. A popular spot with surfers to ride waves although there is a shallow reef.
Isaac Hale Beach Park, also known as Pohoiki located in the Puna district is an oceanfront park, boat launch and surf location along Pohoiki Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii. A popular spot for surfing in Puna thanks to the southern swells that make this place one of the best places to surf on island. Along the coast there is geothermal hot ponds that some people like to explore.
Spend a night on one of the world’s most beautiful, unique black sand beaches. Punalu’u County Beach Park is a fantastic location to pitch your tent. Here you can enjoy the ocean, but still find plenty of shade. In the morning, Hawaiian sea turtles often sunbathe on the beach. If you are lucky enough to spot these friendly creatures, be sure to be kind and respect their space. The ocean at Piinalu’u is crystal clear making it a wonderful place to swim in Hawaii’s warm waters. The ocean is often teaming with gorgeous Hawaiian fish (especially in the morning) spend the day snorkeling.
If you are the adventurous type spend a few nights in the back country of Volcanoes National Park. You will need to pay a non-refundable $10.00 fee, but it covers up to 12 people for 7 nights. In return, the park provides eight backcountry campsites: Ka‘aha, Halapē, Keauhou, ‘Āpua Point, Nāpau, Pepeiao Cabin, Red Hill Cabin and Mauna Loa Cabin. Volcanoes National Park is a fantastic place to explore with an endless amount to see. It is an ideal campsite for people who want to spend more time in nature.
Ho`okena Beach Park is an ancient fishing village, as well as an olden day commercial cattle steamship pier with some remains reaching out to sea. The beach is an exotic blend of fine gray coral and white sand. Great for beginner swimmers. You can snorkel and swim with turtles, tropical fish and occasional dolphins if you go out far enough.
The Big Island’s gorgeous climate, endless beaches, and relaxed vibe creates a wonderful camping environment. Hawaii’s beach culture makes it easy and affordable to find all of the amenities you need to stay clean, hydrated, and happy while camping. If you are lucky, you may be able to find some secret and free camp sites that will truly blow your mind. Begin planning your adventure with Big Island Flow. We are happy to help.
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