NAPALI TO POLIHALE
CAMPING ON KAUAI
Hawaii is a camping mecca and Kauai is the crown jewel. As the oldest island in Hawaii, it has everything from the lushest forests up in Kokee to the longest stretch of beach in Hawaii, at Polihale state park. Both of which you can camp at!
With over 20 campgrounds packed onto Kaua'i, you could easily camp your way around the entire island in a week!
Kaua'i has 6 county run campgrounds, 3 private run camps and 11 state run campsites. Within some of those, there are more than one campground as well, such as Hanakoa camp on the way to Kalalau beach. Below we will list each of the main camps around the island with a bit of basic info. Feel free to contact us HERE for more info on campgrounds on Kauai.
*All camping on Kauai requires advance permits and reservations.
STATE PARK CAMPGROUNDS
NAPALI COAST AND KALALAU BEACH
Hiking the NaPali coast trail and camping at Kalalau beach is one of the most challenging and rewarding adventures Hawaii has to offer. It is an 11 mile one way trip to Kalalau beach with Hanakoa camp at about the 6 mile mark, a little more than half way. Camping here takes some planning. Permits need to be reserved ahead of time up to 30 days in advance (they do sell out quickly). Making sure you have the right gear is a must!
Recommended stay: 3-4 nights
Recommended gear: Internal frame backpack w/ rain cover, rain jacket, comfortable hiking shoes, tent or hammock, water filtration, small camp stove, headlamp, bug spray, small first aid kit and coffee!
The NaPali coast is state run and is a wild and rugged place! Weather conditions can change quickly and weather reports for Kauai in general are unreliable at best! Use caution when crossing streams, especially if it has been raining, as flash flooding can happen quickly. Ocean conditions in the summer are usually flat, glassy and magical. Winter time sees pretty consistent large swells, making swimming dangerous but there are plenty of fresh water spots to jump in and there will be less crowds! BUT either season has its odd days. Plan ahead, pay attention, use common sense and you will have the adventure of a lifetime!
*As of July 28th 2020 Polihale state park is closed due to Covid-19*
Wide open spaces
Wide open spaces
KOKEE STATE PARK
If you want a change of scenery, to escape the heat or you're just sick of having sand everywhere, head up through Waimea canyon into Kokee state park! Koke'e ranges from 3,200 to 4,200 ft above sea level and the cool, crisp air (avg.45-70*F) that hits you as you drive up is a great way to reset for the next adventure. And there are plenty of adventures in these mountains! With over a dozen trails to choose from there is a lot to see, from waterfalls and tea colored rivers, to misty evenings and epic views of the north shore through NaPali to Polihale!
There are several campgrounds in Kokee state park and Waimea canyon. Some you can pull up to on a paved road, like Kokee state park camp and some require a good bit of off roading (4x4 suggested) like Sugi grove and Kawaikoi. There are also some hike in only spots like Lonomea.
Recommended stay: 2-3 nights.
Recommended gear:Tent, sleeping pad and cold weather sleeping bag, Warm clothes, hiking poles, Lots of water, stove and chairs or just rent "The Works"!
Beginning of NaPali
Lush Valleys and Streams
POLIHALE BEACH STATE PARK
Located on the sunny west side of the island, Polihale beach is a favorite place to camp for visitors and locals alike and after journeying the bumpy 5 mile dirt road into the park you will see why! Like most camps on Kaua'i there are no numbered sites just designated camping areas. There are several bathrooms with flush toilets and cold outdoor showers, as well as trash cans. Polihale is one of the most beautiful places on the island to get great star gazing! With no light pollution the milky way can be seen year around. Summer time usually has calmer waves with the swells picking up in the winter. Be careful swimming on days with big surf as Polihale is known for strong waves and swift riptides. Permits need to be gotten in advance, as like the rest of the island there are no pay on site stations. Most sites you can pull right up to, so think more car camping style.
Recommended stay: 1-2 nights
Recommended gear: Umbrella or shade tent (it's hot!), Tent, sleeping pad, light weight sleeping bag, cooler (at least one, its hot!!), lots of sunscreen, beach chairs, lantern and stove.
KAUAI COUNTY CAMPGROUNDS
*As of March 16th 2020 some county campgrounds are closed due to Covid-19*
Describe your image
HAENA BEACH PARK - Closed
Sitting just a few miles form the end of the road on the north shore, Ha'ena Beach county park is the most northern county campground on the island. It is a great place to swim with a protective barrier reef that keeps the water calm and inviting! like most of the county parks it is a lifeguarded beach as well. The park also has a few pavilions and picnic tables for day use. Being just a few miles from the Napali coast trail head and Ke'e beach its a great campsite to explore the deep north shore from.
ANINI BEACH PARK
If you're looking for calm peaceful waters Anini (or Wanini) is the place for you! The entire stretch of Anini beach is protected by a large barrier reef making it a great place for kids to swim or to just relax on your swan floatie with a cold drink in hand. Wake up to stunningly calm water and take a dip with the sunrise!
LYDGATE PARK CAMPGROUND - Closed
Set on the east side, Lydgate park is conveniently located between Kapaa town and Lihue airport. With some of the sites right on the beach and some set back there are some options to chose from. This is Kauai's only campground with numbered sites you choose from ahead of time. Lydgate beach park, Kamalani bridge and Kamalani play ground are close by making this a good spot to camp with kids.
Kauai's 6 county run campgrounds are spread throughout the north, east and south sides of the island, with the majority on the north shore (we do not recommend Lucy Wright camp in Waimea). All of the county camps, like the state parks have very basic amenities, like cold showers, bathrooms and trash cans. Permits are required and need to be gotten in advance online through the county website. Link to the site is below. There are no numbered sites, just designated camping areas (with the exception of Lydgate park) where you pick your perfect spot! All of our county camps are right on the beach and right on the price! With most of them at $3/person per night, you can splurge on that upgrade at the car rental! For mail in permits request must be mailed at least 30 days before arrival.
HANALEI BEACH PARK - Closed
With the iconic Hanalei pier and Bali Hai as its backdrop, Hanalei bay is a must stop during your trip! wether you camp for a few days or just stop to jump off the pier its one place you don't want to miss. There is really something for everybody, with surf ranging from beginner to pro and one of the longest stretches of beach to walk on the island.
ANAHOLA BEACH CAMPGROUND
Chill, small town vibes at this locals beach, again with protected calm waters, lifeguards on duty and laid back feel. Walk 5 minutes north on the beach to get some surf and check out the Anahola river mouth. Also check out Kalalea juice hale down the road for the best smoothies and acai bowls!
SALT POND BEACH PARK - Closed
As the only campground on the south side, Salt Pond is not only a historic and ongoing salt harvest area but it is also a great base to explore the south and west sides of the island. A rock wall protects the inner shallows for crystal clear calm water.
There are 3 private campgrounds to check out while on island. The private camps tend to be the nicest, most peaceful and often peoples favorites. They all have hot indoor showers, water hoses for rinsing, nice bathrooms, covered areas and all are in beautiful spots! They each have different reservation policies so check out the info below for more.
YMCA CAMP NAUE
Camp Naue is a very well maintained camp and is the most northern drive up camp on the island. Nestled right on the beach and sitting on 4 acres this camp is one of our favorites. Reservations can only be made one to two weeks in advance as they rent the whole facility out for large school groups, parties etc. and accept tent campers in between. You can request reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org. Payment is made in cash when you arrive and you must check in before 6pm. Please read all rules on board when you arrive.
Sitting right on the beach, with most sites in the sand, Kumu camp is a great spot that you can reserve ahead of time, link below. Beautiful sunrise with this east facing camp. The Anahloa river mouth is right next to the camp, there is surf right out front and calm waters a 5 min walk away. They have surf rentals, wifi and free coffee! Only 25 min from the airport, its a great home base camp spot to either start and/or end your trip.
Beach Front Sites
Camping area at Camp Sloggett
Check in and Rules Board
Large Covered Fire Pit
Open Green Spaces
Surrounded by Lush Forests
Covered Fire Pit
YWCA CAMP SLOGGETT
Currently closed to tent campers due to Covid-19
The most secluded and private camp on Kaua'i has a lot to offer! Beside the peace and quiet, the star gazing here on clear nights is spectacular! With everything from hot showers and a huge covered fire pit, to a volleyball net set in the expansive grassy area and a rustic summer camp feel, this camp is one of our favorites! And if you feel like getting out of the tent for a night or two, you can rent a cabin! Much like the YMCA camp Naue, reservations can only be made a week or two in advance and its best to check a few days before you arrive. It is a bumpy and sometimes muddy road to get here so a vehicle with some clearance is recommended. Being in Kokee state park, it does get cold! Prepare with the right gear. Email email@example.com for reservations.
Huge Open Camp
Gated and Private
Hot showers inside!