Hawaii

State Park Campground Guide

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Hawaiʻi’s white sandy beaches, tropical forests, and lush canyons are an alluring destination for campers. RVing here has its own appeal, whether you’re completing the ultimate bucket list of camping in all 50 states, or looking for an economical way to tour this world-class vacation destination. RVing in Hawaiʻi is a different experience than it is in the mainland U.S., and it can be more restrictive than a casual online search would suggest.

The first thing to keep in mind is that RVs in the islands are limited to Class B camper and conversion vans, because many roads are too narrow to handle larger vehicles or have smaller load limits. Even if your RV is small, the cost of shipping a vehicle to Hawaiʻi is prohibitive. For all practical purposes, you’ll most likely be renting a van on each island you plan to visit.

The second concern is understanding where you can stay overnight in a campervan. Most state, county, and municipal parks allow tent camping only. In fact, there is only one option for van camping in the Hawaiʻi state park system (see Featured Parks below). Simply spending the night in a beach parking lot or at the side of the road is prohibited without a permit. The islands’ campervan rental companies are the best resource for up-to-date information on private campgrounds and local parks that do allow van camping, and on how to obtain permits. 

Most rental companies also offer tent gear with the van, so you have both options available. If tent camping isn’t your thing, many state and private parks provide alternative accommodations like cabins, huts, and platform tents for a more comfortable yet still rustic and affordable overnight experience.

While it may take some extra effort to plan, renting a campervan can still be a great way to have a laid-back and close-up experience with the unsurpassed natural beauty of Hawaiʻi. The van not only provides a place to sleep, but can be kitted with additional conveniences for outdoor living such as a beach shower, cooking grill, surfboards, and bikes with carriers. Whether you’re sleeping in the van, a tent, or a cabin, it’s possible to forgo the typical big, expensive resort experience and see the islands like a local.

Hawaiʻi’s Division of State Parks includes 50 parks encompassing almost 30,000 acres on the major islands. The park environments range from landscaped grounds with developed facilities to wildland areas with trails and primitive facilities. If you’re camping or visiting for the day, state parks are a great way to experience the best outdoor recreation, cultural heritage, and natural beauty of the islands.

Wai‘ānapanapa State Park

Reservations

To reserve a camping permit, visit camping.ehawaii.gov/camping/welcome.html

For state parks, campsites or cabins may be reserved up to 1 year in advance, with the exception of Kīholo State Park Reserve on Hawai‘i Island and all parks on O‘ahu, which can be reserved up to 30 days in advance. Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park camping can be reserved up to 90 days in advance.

For forest reserves, all sites can be reserved up to 30 days in advance, except for those on Kaua‘i, which allow up to 90 days.

Additionally, many parks do not allow reservations within 6 days prior to arrival. Note that all persons staying at a site must be listed on the reservation.

Campsite sizes

Campground layouts vary by park. Some sites are spacious and spread out for privacy, with room to fit one or two tents and a vehicle. Other parks have an open area for all tent campers to share. Ground cover is natural grass, dirt, or sand. 

Accessibility

ADA-accessible sites are searchable and bookable online; a valid disability placard number must be entered at the time of booking. Contact the park directly for additional information.

Hookups

There are no hookups available. 

Connectivity

WiFi may be offered in central areas at some parks. If connectivity is a priority, contact the park directly to ask about WiFi and cell service.

Maximum stay

The maximum stay at any one park is 5 consecutive nights. Certain parks or campsites have shorter maximum stays. Campers must vacate for 30 days before returning to camp in the same park.

Additional facilities

Campgrounds are rustic. Sites may include a picnic table and/or fire ring, or there may simply be an open area for all campers. Shared facilities for potable water, restrooms, and/or showers are generally available. Showers may be outdoor-only facilities meant for beach use. Depending on the campground, you may need to park in a central area and walk to your campsite.

Cost

Hawai‘i Residents:

$12 per campsite per night for up to 6 persons; plus $2 per night for each additional person, up to $20 total per night.

Nonresidents:

$18 per campsite per night for up to 6 persons; plus $3 per night for each additional person, up to $30 total per night.

Children 2 and under are free.

The same rate applies for campervans, where allowed.

Pet policies

Pets are not allowed in Hawaiʻi state park campgrounds.

Additional regulations

  • Maximum occupancy per site: Varies by campground and site; see details in the permit reservation system.
  • Check-in time: 1 p.m.–3 p.m. Check-out time: 10 a.m.–12 p.m. Times vary by park.
  • Quiet hours: Excessive noise is prohibited at all times.
  • Alcoholic beverages: Prohibited.
  • Generator use: Prohibited.
  • Campfires: Allowed in designated rings or pits, following local advisories. Portable stoves or warming devices may be used in designated camping and picnicking areas unless otherwise prohibited.
  • Drone use: Prohibited.
Kōkeʻe State Park

Featured Campgrounds

Maui: Wai‘ānapanapa State Park

Waianapanapa, Hana, HI 96713

Wai‘ānapanapa is currently the only Hawai‘i state park campground that allows campervans. The park is remote and wild, yet still easily accessible from the Hana Highway and close to the amenities in the town of Hana. Wai‘ānapanapa offers a wide range of spectacular scenic views, tropical hikes, and stunning natural features like black volcanic sand, lava tubes, stone arches, sea stacks, blowholes, and a forest of hala trees. Note that the surf can be challenging for casual swimmers, and the area is frequented by jellyfish and Portuguese man o’ wars. 

The campground features a big grassy area for tents and a designated section on packed dirt for permitted campervans to park. Central restrooms, beach showers, potable water, and several picnic areas are available for campers and day-trippers. Listen to the waves as you fall asleep in your campervan, then watch the sunrise and enjoy the black-sand beach in one of the most picturesque spots along the Road to Hana before the other tourists arrive. Contact the Maui parks office at 808-248-4843 for information on obtaining a camping permit.

(An additional public campground on Maui that allows campervans is the Kīpahulu Campground at Haleakalā National Park. The campground has paved sites to accommodate tents or vans on a first-come, first-served basis.)

Hawai’i state park campgrounds by Island that accommodate tent camping

Kaua‘i

Kōkeʻe State Park

Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park (Offers backcountry camping to experienced backpackers and hikers along a stunning rugged coastline. Due to the high demand for Nāpali Coast camping permits, special rules and fees apply.)

Polihale State Park

Alternative Camping Opportunities:

The Lodge at Kōke‘e offers cabins, dormitories or newer units with separate bedrooms.

O‘ahu

Ahupuaʻa ʻO Kahana State Park

Mālaekahana State Recreation Area

Keaīwa Heiau State Recreation Area

Sand Island State Recreation Area

Alternative Camping Opportunities:

Malaekahana State Recreation Area offers cabins and huts.

Hawai‘i

Kalōpā State Recreation Area

Kīholo State Park Reserve

Alternative Camping Opportunities:

Hāpuna Beach State Recreation Area offers A-frame shelters.

Kalōpā State Recreation Area offers duplex cabins.

Maui

Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area

Waiʻānapanapa State Park

Alternative Camping Opportunities:

Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area offers one cabin.

Waiʻānapanapa State Park offers cabins and the only designated area for campervans.

Moloka‘i

Pālāʻau State Park

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