We have compiled pictures and descriptions of a few campsites on Hawaii’s Big Island to help you pick a campsite. We are always looking to expand our stock of campsite photo’s so if you have a photo you would like to contribute please contact us.
Our current campsite description and picture gallery consists of:
- Arnotts lodge campground in Hilo
- Namakanipaio campground in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- Kulanaokuaiki campground in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- Punalu’u beach park
- Spencer beach park
- Ho’okena beach park
Arnott’s Lodge in Hilo
Arnott’s lodge is a hostel with attached campground. You can read more on them in our Hostels in Hilo section.
Namakanipaio campground in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
There are two drive-in campgrounds in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Namakaniaio and Kulanaokuaiki. Drive-In camping is available on a first-come basis. No reservations and no check-in are necessary but you need to complete a permit upon arrival to the camping grounds. Stays are limited to 7 days in a month and cannot exceed 30 days per year.
Namakanipaio Campground is a large, open grassy area with tall eucalyptus and Ohi’a trees. This campground has restrooms, water, picnic tables, and barbecue pits.
The campground is located 31 1/2 miles south of Hilo on Highway 11 at 4,000 feet elevation. The weather may be cool and damp year-round. Daytime temperature ranges between 60 and 80 F. Nighttime temperature hovers between 30+ to 50 F. If you go camping here we suggest that you use a tent with a good rain fly. Bring warm clothing for cool days and evenings.
Kulanaokuaiki Campground in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
The Kulanaokuaiki campground is located about 5 miles down the Hilina Pali Road south of Kilauea’s caldera at 2,700′ elevation and is a secluded and spectacular place to pitch your tent. It is set in a dynamic landscape that can give you a good idea of Kilauea’s eruptive and faulting history. Added value to this campground are the many miles of nearby hiking trails.
The name tells a lot about the area. Kulanaokuaiki means “the shaking of a small spine (or sharp ridge).” The campground is just north of the 15-m-high (50-foot-high) pali (a steep slope or cliff) that bears its name. This pali is an earthquake fault, formed by vertical ground movement during periods of intense shaking. Such an earthquake swarm took place 35 years ago. On Christmas Eve and Day in 1965, strong shaking and faulting broke the Hilina Pali Road, where it crosses Kulanaokuaiki Pali near the new campground. The pavement was offset vertically 2.6 m (8.4 feet). The campground side of the fault went down 1.8 m (6 feet), and the other side (the south side) went up 0.8 m (2.4 feet).
There is no water at this location. There are 8 campsites. Two of the sites are wheelchair accessible. There is a vault-type toilet (no running water), and picnic tables. Fires are not permitted.
Nighttime temperature range between high 40s to high 60s degrees F. Daytime temperature range between high 60s to ~90s degrees F. Bring a tent with a good rain fly as well as warm clothing for cool days and evenings to stay comfortable.
Punalu’u black sand beach park campground
Camping is allowed at Punalu’u with a permit. Pick a nice day to go camping here because on a cloudy and windy day the bay won’t be good for snorkeling. Besides, temperatures might fall below those you’d expect from a tropical paradise.
Spencer Beach Park, South Kohala
Spencer Beach Park doubles as a camping ground and a beach park. Its beach is protected from high surf by an offshore reef and the harbor just north. This makes it a great family beach. In the beach park you can also find a picnic area and BBQ facilities.
Right next to the beach park is on of the four national parks on the Big Island: the Pu’ukohala Heiau National Historic Park. In this park you can learn about the history of the beginning stages of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
Ho’okena Beach Park, South of Kona
Ho’okena (or Honokena) beach park is the historical site for one of the last fishing villages in Hawai’i, but also one of the best places on the Big Island for beach camping.
Camp Ho’okena offers clean and spacious sites on the beach for tent camping. This site offers great snorkeling, dolphin watching, and kayaking. There are also a concession stand, outdoor showers, County restroom facilities, parking and picnic tables. You can reserve your camping permit and rent camping gear online at the Ho’okena beach park website.
You can find Ho’okena beach park 20 miles south of Kona between mile marker 102 and 101, where you can turn makai (towards the ocean) on the Ho’okena beach road. The park is located 2 1/2 miles down this road on your left hand.