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Hawaii Camping – Is it For You?

Hawaii Camping – Is it For You?


Expert Author Cindy Blankenship

If you like camping, you may want to consider camping in Hawaii. Besides saving you thousands on accommodations, sleeping and waking up to sound of the ocean or forest is a wonderful way to relax into the rhythm of the island.

Now, I’m really into nature as well as saving money (without sacrificing too much fun or comfort), so mainland and Hawaii camping vacations have always been something I’ve enjoyed over the years. But not everyone camps to save money.

Plain and simple, Americans love pitching tents, sitting around the campfire and enjoying the great outdoors. The fact is camping is the number one outdoor vacation activity in America. About 33 percent of U.S. adults have reported going on a camping vacation in the past decade, and about 27 percent report wanting to camp again.

Yet, relatively few realize they can camp in Hawaii. While the State of Hawaii doesn’t have stats on visitors and camping, based on where most visitors stay, I’d guesstimate less than 1 percent of those from the mainland camp here.

Locals camp all the time – they know how much fun it is! I’ve taken weekend camping trips with my children while they were growing up here since 1988 and since then full on Hawaii camping vacations from the mainland. Those who don’t live here don’t hear much about Hawaii camping because the state doesn’t promote it.

Have you ever seen a campground featured in a Hawaii travel brochure or at the state’s tourism site? Let’s face it, the backbone to Hawaii’s economy is tourism, and hotels, even those not owned locally, generate a lot of money for Hawaii. You don’t have to spend money on a hotel though to benefit Hawaii. Be a good eco tourist, shop local, spend money on local activities. Have more fun and a richer cultural experience!

Hawaii camping is not for everyone. If your heart is set on the pampering and luxurious amenities at a resort, you might not want to book a vacation at a Hawaii campground. However, if you also enjoy camping, maybe try it here for a night or two. A couple I interviewed on Oahu, Mike and Ghislaine Burbridge, seniors from Nova Scotia, were camping near me in the Friends of Malaekahana Campground. Both world travelers, they had spent the first two weeks of their vacation at a five star resort and an upscale B&B. Still they told me that their 2-week Hawaii camping experience was “the highlight” of their month long vacation in Hawaii.

Many of Hawaii’s campgrounds are located on beaches, as well as in the cool, upland forests. As anywhere else, you wouldn’t want to camp at just any Hawaii campground. Some are party spots, others not easily accessible. But there are many, family friendly, beautiful places to camp here in the islands. A few more that come to mind are the YMCA campground overlooking Maui’s Hana Coast, Spencer’s on the Big Island’s sunny Kohala Coast, Camp Sloggett in upland Kauai and the county campground at Anini Beach, both on Kauai.

Bottom line….Hawaii camping is not for everyone, but if you enjoy camping, it’s certainly worth a try!

If you want to learn more about camping in Hawaii, read on…My Hawaii Budget and Eco Travel ebooks show you how to have a cheap but amazing eco vacation in Hawaii. Each of the island guides has a large section devoted to family-friendly Hawaii camping with insider details and links for each campground I personally recommend. For more info, click to

Cindy Blankenship lived in Hawaii for over 14 years and visits frequently. Her writing has appeared in various newspapers and magazines, including the Ashland Tidings, Grants Pass Daily Courier and Southern-Exposure Magazine, and her journalism has earned awards from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers’ Association. She created the first Hawaii eco website in 1999, Coconut, where she also offers her newly updated Hawaii Budget and Eco Travel Guides

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