|Camping in Hawaii - Big Island, Kauai, Lanai, Maui, Molokai, Oahu
Want to stay at a budget Eco-Friendly accommodation that offers outside living BUT has more amenities AND more comfort than camping (via a yurt rental or stationary VW camper bus rental)? Try our favorite budget accommodation in all of Hawaii - Lova Lava Land Eco-Resort on the Big Island!
Camping in Hawaii can be extremely enjoyable and rewarding - and help to keep your average nightly costs for accommodations down. Yet, the regulations are a bit more complicated than what is normal on the mainland. More preparation and patience is needed to understand and follow these requirements. We have created these pages to hopefully save you time in that endeavor! For nights that you do not camp, make sure to book your budget accommodation online with GLAD Travel so we have the funds to continue providing free & helpful information like this!
Hawaii Camping System - Read carefully!
In general, there are four types of campgrounds throughout the Hawaiian Islands:
1) Federal National Park Campgrounds - free camping at Haleakala National Park in Maui and Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island (although there are fees to enter the park & it's usually cold in these high altitude campgrounds). More information is on the appropriate island page.
2) State Campgrounds - centralized rules and process for obtaining permits, administered by the State government. We have listed the State campground options for each island on the camping page for each island. The general Hawaii State camping process is listed on the bottom of this page.
3) County (by island) Campgrounds - county campgrounds are administered by the appropriate office on each island and thus each island has different rules and prices for these campgrounds. We have listed these different and separate rules for each island on the camping page for each island.
Private campground with no tents - sleep in a yurt rental or stationary VW Bus rental for the same price as private campgrounds charge for you to bring your own tent!
4) Private Campgrounds - there are very few private campgrounds but they do exist. Usually these places have several types of accommodation options (hostel, cabins, retreat centers, B&Bs) and just offer camping as an additional lodging option for the budget-concerned.The hostels that offer camping usually barely have space to put up your tent so beware that you shouldn't be doing this for the privacy or nature experience - more for the amenities and social environment.
State Campground Information
Download the Official Hawaii State Parks Guide (information on all state parks - even those without camping) *will open in Adobe
Download the Hawaii State Camping Permit Application *will open in Adobe
Required for camping and lodging offered by state parks. Applications may be submitted to the Division of State Parks in writing, by phone, or at the counter of the district office. (District office phone numbers & address are on the appropriate island page.) Permits can be picked up at the office or mailed to you. Offices are open 8AM - 3:30PM Monday - Friday except for State holidays. Permit applications will be processed no earlier than one year in advance. Permits for camping on the island of Oahu are accepted no sooner than 30 days before the first day of camping.
Exceptions: There seems to be an exception to every rule involved with camping in Hawaii.
Please note the permit application is different for: Kokee State Park (Kauai) and Malaekahana State Recreation Area (Oahu) 808-293-1736. Reservations for these two parks are taken care of directly by the concessionaries, not the state office.
Oahu permits are accepted only 30 days before the camping date, rather than the usual 1 year.
Na Pali Coast camping permit requirements and exceptions are too complicated to get into here. See the Official Hawaii State Parks Guide, page 7.
Rules & Prices
General park rules are the same throughout all Hawaii State Parks. See the Official Hawaii State Parks Guide, page 10 for a list.
The maximum length of stay allowable under each permit at any one park is 5 consecutive nights. Another permit for the same park is only allowed after 30 days have elapsed.
Camping is $5 per night, per campsite, with some exceptions noted below.
Campgrounds are open 7 nights a week, with some exceptions noted below.
Campgrounds not open 7 days a week: Parks in Oahu are open for camping from Friday through Wednesday only. Sand Island is open only Friday through Monday.
Price Differences: Malaekahana charges $5 PER PERSON rather than per campsite; Na Pali Coast camping is $10 PER PERSON, per night.
*Please realize we have done our best to provide full & accurate information about camping in Hawaii - despite sources being conflicting, outdated, and generally just wrong or incomplete. If you find that any of our information is wrong, please let us know so we can share the correct information with other travelers. Our goal is to one day be 100% accurate & complete about camping options in Hawaii - but it's a long road...