It’s hard to put into words how much I Love camping on Kauai. I mean I LOVE camping on Kauai. It’s the ultimate camping spot. It’s fun, it’s easy, it’s just a wonderful experience all round for everyone, especially the kids. You might want to consider making camping on Kauai part of your Kauai vacation.
Where to start? Well, there are great camping grounds all around the island. It’s easy to camp when the weather is so wonderful. You wake up on the beach (best real estate on the island!) . You get to be on the beach at sunrise and sunset after everyone else has left. You can be outdoors all day long and away from electronics (well that’s up to you but I highly recommend it) and what else? You can swim whenever you feel like it, snorkel, play games read a book under a tree and generally have fun!
On the north shore, you have Haena, Hanalei and Anini camp grounds where you can set up camp. All gorgeous and beautiful. All amazing experiences of camping on Kauai.
There is also Camp Naue which is the YMCA camp in Haena. Fantastic location right on the beach. It’s $20 to camp or they have bunkhouses. You contact YMCA Kauai who also have a great club in Lihue.
On the East side, you have Anahola in the Hawaiian Homelands and Lydgate.
On the South Side, you have Salt Pond Park which is great for the family and on the West Side you have Lucy Wright in Waimea and Polihale.
If you don’t want to go for a tent, you an now rent a “Westy” on Kauai. Around $160 a night to have a van which you an drive aournd and sleep in. I love those things!
There’s also Koke’e State Park Cabins, which is not really camping but is listed as such on some sites and Camp Naue in Haena, not a state campground either. Finally there’s the Kumu Camp in Anahola.
Kumu Camp. I have stayed there twice as I love Anahola. They have cute canvas cabins with beds (pod like I suppose) on the beach. Great location, though can be windy. Both times I visited, the bathrooms were not the cleanest. Also, the first time I stayed, there was a quirky old bus that had been turned into a communal kitchen. The second time that was gone. Sad. I would check the latest trip advisor reviews before booking or drop by and check it out. It may be under new management.
Easy. Kalalau, Polihale and Anini. Kalalau for its seclusion and beauty, Polihale for its beauty, the stars at night and mostly electronic free and Anini for lovely beach, ease of access and proximity.
You do need a camping permit which you can get online here. Also, bear in mind each campground has one night a week when it’s closed for cleanup, it switches for each campground. Anini for example is usually Tuesdays. Check with the county here. There are 3 places on Kauai where you can get permits when you arrive, which is far preferable I feel than getting them online and printing them out, but up to you.
Well, you are on Kauai. Sometimes it rains. It rains more in January and February than any other months so if you want to be safe camping, don’t pick those months but rain happens year round. Most of the time, it rains for a while – usually overnight or early morning and then the sun comes out. Camping on Kauai is always an adventure!
I don’t mind being on the beach in the rain. If it continues all day, then of course, stop camping but on the whole, the weather is wonderful on Kauai and you are safe year round. Temperature ranges between 75 and 85 year round. Sounds good to me!
Cooking & Food
The campsites do have open barbecues where you can cook. You can also do your thing with a gas burner. There are facilities to wash pots and pans and showers (cold) and bathrooms.
But one of the great things about being in the tropics is the tropical fruit and veggies! So when you are camping, you are only ever 5 minutes away from a stand with smoothies or tons of fresh pineapple, mangoes, bananas, avocadoes etc and fresh salad.. so most of the time when I’m camping I do that for at least lunch if not dinner.
Also, if you are camping you have a bit more money to go to dinner at a few places, right?
My Kauai Guide has a list of restaurants, food trucks and great places to eat. You can get that here.
….and then there’s Kalalau
Of course, the ultimate place to go camping on Kauai is Kalalau. You have to hike in 11 miles with your stuff on your back but if you are up for it, it’s the experience of a lifetime : completely electronic free, quiet, secluded, stunningly beautiful. You can read more about Kalalau here. The maximum time you are permitted to camp in Kalalau is 5 days and you do need permits. The minimum I recommend you camp there is 3 days. It takes 6-7 hours to hike so if you hike in one day, wake up and have one day on the beach to relax and recover from the hike (switchbacks and 1000 feet inclines all the way) and the next day in the valley, you need to leave at a reasonable time the day after to make it back to Ke’e beach. But it’s the adventure of a lifetime.
A final note: I recently read a short piece on camping done by someone who does not live on Kauai who said they were told by officials at the north shore campgrounds not to go to campgrounds on the south or west because they were dangerous. Nonsense! Salt Pond and Polihale are perfectly safe. Think that was a case of “let’s keep the tourists away!”
Oh and my absolute favorite thing to do camping on Kauai is hanging out in my hammock under the trees, right by the ocean, listening to those waves and reading a book. With cat. Or not. You get the picture!
So is camping on Kauai for you? If you are a camper : yes! If you prefer the luxuries of the vacation rental with all mod cons, that’s ok. But for those who truly love the outdoors, there’s nothing like Camping on Kauai!