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A Guide to Camping on Kauai

Camping on Kauai

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Again in March, I labored some factors magic and booked a dream journey to Hawaii free of charge – two round-trip tickets for 30,000 factors every. However the thriftiness didn’t cease with Delta SkyMiles and Thrifty Traveler Premium flight deal.

I needed to maintain saving cash on two different huge prices of journey (particularly in Hawaii): lodging and transportation. For our week in tropical paradise, we might camp on Kauai.

It’s an off-the-wall method to keep in Hawaii for a fraction of what you’d pay at a resort or lodge, whereas nonetheless exploring every thing the islands have to supply. Learn on to learn how this tenting journey went, and the way you are able to do it in Hawaii to maintain an costly vacation spot reasonably priced.


Renting a Camper or Tent

Don’t fear, you don’t have to convey your personal as you discover Kauai. 

There are many tents and campers on Airbnb in Kauai. Once we first checked out our choices beneath $100 at the start of the yr, there have been just some tents and campers obtainable. However it appears to be getting extra fashionable – fairly a couple of extra choices have popped up on the location. Take a look at just some of the superior campers out there in Kauai:


Camping on Kauai


In fact, choices like this could double as your transportation and sleeping lodging. With the capability to sleep as much as 4 visitors, these choices above might be some main financial savings. Remember that these kinds of automobiles will guzzle extra fuel than a rental automotive would, and fuel is dear on the Hawaiian islands. However driving round in your personal Airbnb for the week is value it for the expertise alone.

When you’re trying to pitch a tent, Airbnb has choices for you, too. Once we have been looking for atypical Airbnb choices for our journey, a number of tent leases have been obtainable. For those who’d fairly guide a rental automotive that makes use of much less fuel and also you’re on the lookout for an genuine tenting expertise throughout your Hawaiian trip, it’s value wanting into.


Camping on Kauai


For our current journey to Kauai, we went with an much more budget-friendly choice: a Chevy Suburban with tenting gear. This Airbnb was new to the market once we booked a couple of months in the past and didn’t have any critiques but, so it was a little bit of a big gamble. However the host had a number of properties and had stellar evaluations, so we took an opportunity on it. On the time we booked, it was simply $77 an evening. Since then, it has elevated to $99 an evening. This got here with all the required tenting gear if needed to arrange a tent. However the queen air mattress matches completely behind the SUV for a strong sleeping choice.


Camping on Kauai


General, we actually loved our expertise with this quirky Airbnb rental. The Suburban got here with limitless miles – we simply needed to pay for fuel. Quite than sleeping within the again, we spent virtually each night time tent tenting as a result of it felt just a little extra genuine. Plus, we have been paying for tenting spots so we figured we should always use them. This Airbnb got here with every little thing conceivable mandatory for tenting and cooking outdoor.

Some issues to notice when choosing your camper:

  • Learn the evaluations rigorously. In the event that they aren’t all 5-star critiques, rigorously word the suggestions previous clients have given. Ensure that that is an superior car to drive and sleep in or superior tenting gear.
  • Verify the facilities listed: Make it possible for the whole lot you’d wish to have on your tenting journey is included. At first, we have been overwhelmed by the variety of issues that have been included in our Airbnb as instruments, however virtually all the things got here in useful. For those who’re unsure what ought to be included for a camper or tent, cross-check with different comparable listings on Airbnb.
  • Take further prices into consideration. For us, buying tenting permits and filling the SUV with fuel have been further prices that undoubtedly added to that $77/night time value. It’s nonetheless cheaper than each lodge and rental automotive prices, however one thing to remember.

Thrifty Tip: New To Airbnb? Enroll utilizing our hyperlink and you’ll obtain $40 in the direction of your first keep (we’ll get $20 as properly).


Understanding Your Choices for Tenting in Kauai

Just like the opposite Hawaiian islands, there are a number of campsite choices relating to tenting in Kauai. Our Airbnb host talked about that some locals and gutsy vacationers will disregard the tenting laws and simply park or arrange camp totally free. In our expertise, the park rangers have been patrolling fairly typically, so it’s not well worth the effective or hassle. Kauai has personal, state, and county campsites. Plots run from $three – $25 per night time.


Personal Campsites

The personal campground in Anahola is called Kumu camp. Websites are $25 per night time for two adults. You can also make reservations by visiting their web site or calling 808-631-9082. The campsites are designated spots and embrace a bamboo windbreak wall, entry to restroom and showers, hearth pit and picnic desk, and beachfront entry. It may be tough discovering your reserved spot, however we ultimately discovered ours and arrange camp for an evening.

Camping on Kauai


Kumu Camp additionally provides different lodging in addition to tenting areas. They provide the “tentalows” pictured above, that are a canvased tent with mattress and linens, deck furnishings, bathe, and beachfront entry for $80 an evening. Additionally they have yurts out there for lease: giant, round tents with 4 to 5 beds inside, electrical energy, and a bathe. For $150 an evening, this 400-square-foot yurt could be a nice choice to sleep eight to 10 for reasonable. All have entry to the loos and showers. Aspect observe: Although they have been marketed as scorching showers, we didn’t have any scorching water throughout our keep.

State and County Campsites

There are a couple of state campsites on Kauai.

  • Polihale: West aspect of the island on the seashore
  • Koke’e: North central a part of island within the mountains the place it’s chilly at night time
  • Kalalau: Solely boat and mountaineering entry; presently closed

State campsites are reserved on-line, which you are able to do right here. The charges to remain at a state campsite are $18-20 per night time for non-residents. We thought-about staying at Koke’e within the nationwide park space close to Waimea Canyon, however determined we didn’t need to be chilly at night time and would quite have a seashore view. Plus, the web reservation format isn’t very user-friendly. As an alternative, we opted to remain at county campsites for the rest of our journey and obtained our allow in-person upon arrival (particulars on acquiring a county campsite allow on the finish).

The county campgrounds are:

  • Haena Seashore Park: North shore; presently closed
  • Hanalei Seashore Park: North Shore close to the city of Hanalei
  • Anini Seashore Park: North shore, least expensive and most crowded
  • Anahola Seashore Park: Northeast shore in Anahol
  • Hanamaulu Seashore Park: Presently closed for tenting
  • Lydgate Park: East shore on the water
  • Salt Pond Park: South on the water
  • Lucy Wright Park: South on the water

We determined to remain at county campgrounds Salt Pond Park and Lydgate Park.


Salt Pond Park

We stayed at Salt Pond Park for 2 nights for 2 nights throughout our keep on Kauai.

At simply $three per individual, per night time, it’s as low cost because it will get to remain on Kauai. It was a terrific location — proper on the southern portion of the island with nice eating places close by. With a full day deliberate at Waimea Canyon Nationwide Park and Na’Pali Coast State Wilderness Park on the west coast, it was a handy spot for the night time.

The Salt Pond Park campsite is situated on a stretch of land proper on the seashore. There are not any designated campsite plots right here, like in different campsites on Kauai. You possibly can arrange camp within the designated grassy space of the campsite. Everybody retains a reasonably long way from one another and tends to arrange camp close to the timber alongside the sting so others can stroll freely by means of the center. There have been roughly 20 different tents tenting on the property throughout our keep at Salt Pond Park.


Camping on Kauai

Salt Pond Park Campsite


It’s arduous to consider a $6 per night time keep got here with such a stunning seashore. We watched the sundown and dawn each days we camped right here. We left our tent up, however discovered a priceless lesson: campsites close to the seashore can get windy! Fortunately we had tied our cover down; in any other case, it might have flown away. Be sure all of your tenting items are tied down and secured earlier than heading out for the day!


Camping on Kauai

View from our tent at Salt Pond Park campsite.


There are a number of shelters right here with benches and electrical retailers, an outside bathe, a consuming faucet and outside sink, a couple of charcoal grills, and a campsite restroom. The facilities aren’t something fancy, however for a couple of days, we didn’t thoughts.


Lydgate Park

We capped off our Kauai tenting expertise at Lydgate Park, our third and ultimate cease. We opted for Lydgate for our final two days on Kauai, as a result of it’s comparatively near the mountaineering spots we needed to take a look at (Sleeping Big path, particularly), and never removed from Lihu’e (LIH) for our early morning flight.

Like Salt Pond, Lydgate Park is a county campsite. However it’s rather more costly: $25 per campsite every night time. In the long run, we felt the proximity to the airport and beachfront entry justified the larger value. And relatively than the “anyplace goes” setup of Salt Pond, you get your personal little plot.


Camping on Kauai


The campsite at Lydgate was peaceable and scenic. The campsites have been shaded by timber overhead, and the spectacular oceanfront views with a sandy path to the seashore simply steps away have been a serious spotlight. The gorgeous timber allowed us to place up our hammock and benefit from the ocean view. Sadly, it rained our second day and we might have used a bit higher rain cowl on our tent, so we sought refuge within the Suburban.

The facilities at Lydgate have been a bit higher than the Salt Pond facilities: bathe stalls (no doorways or curtains) have been out there to be used within the campsite restrooms, in contrast to Salt Pond. Lydgate additionally had two park benches and one grill for every campsite plot.


Getting a County Allow

You’ll have to do it in individual, however we nonetheless discovered that getting a county allow was simpler than determining the state’s on-line allowing system.  County websites are reserved by strolling into an area County Parks workplace throughout enterprise hours. Many of those websites are $three per individual, per night time. Lydgate has numbered and assigned camp spots and is $25 an evening. Get extra info on Kauai’s tenting web site, together with the workplace places the place you possibly can decide up a allow.

The Lihu’e Civic Middle’s county campsite workplace is within the Pi’ikoi Constructing. Stroll to the middle of the constructing from any of the surface doorways, and also you’ll see the allow workplace kiosk window there.


Camping on Kauai

Lihu’e Civic Middle County Campsite Workplace for tenting permits

Let the kiosk attendant know which campsites you’d like to remain at, for which nights, and the attendant will examine website availability. Additionally, you will have to fill out some paperwork. You’ll have to know the next info on your allow paperwork: names of campers, variety of tents and approximate measurement (one-person, two-person, and so on.) Word that you simply’ll have to pay on your allow(s) in money, so both deliver money or use the ATM within the constructing.


Camping on Kauai

County Campsite Workplace for tenting permits


As soon as paid and booked, you’re set! The attendant will provide you with two copies of your allow(s) on your keep. One will stick with you, and the opposite will go in a plastic baggie the attendant provides you. You’ll tie that let to your tent to point out park rangers that you’ve paid on your allow. It’s notably useful to have this hooked up to your tent in case rangers come round late at night time.

Native county campsite workplaces and hours are considerably restricted and never precisely dependable, so attempt to go mid-morning to keep away from lunch hours and early closing occasions. I extremely advocate planning your campsites on your entire journey prematurely and reserving all of them on the Lihu’e Civic Middle close to the airport upon your arrival.


Backside Line

Tenting in Kauai is a spectacular method to expertise the pure magnificence that the island has to supply. Reside among the many surroundings and get up to an oceanfront view for simply $three an evening. Positive, tenting doesn’t have the luxurious facilities that a lodge or Airbnb (with partitions) would supply. However should you’re on the lookout for a singular journey in contrast to some other, I extremely advocate tenting in Kauai.


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