There is one main reason why camping in Hawaii is so amazing: the weather. With its tropical breezes, warm sunshine, and short rain season, the Hawaiian Islands are the place to try out some relaxed tent or campervan camping. Another reason to try out camping in the islands is that it is surprisingly affordable.
If you have ever been to Hawaii, you know that the prices are much higher than many other places on the mainland. Resorts, car rentals, fuel, and restaurants are at least double what you will find in other locations.
However, the cost to camp at Hawaii state and county beaches and campgrounds rarely goes above $20 per night. In fact, many state campgrounds are as low as $3 per night per person.
One island that is on many bucket lists is the Garden Island of Kauai. The small island is known for the towering Na Pali cliffs, rugged Waimea Canyon, and a small town atmosphere.
Because of its beautiful, lush landscape, dozens of movies such as “Jurassic Park”, “Pirates of the Caribbean”, and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” have been filmed there.
Another way to save on a Kauai camping trip is to rent a smaller vehicle. Because of the mild weather on Kauai, there is no need to rent anything larger than a minivan or SUV. This is where Lemon Drop Campers comes in.
For around $100 per night, you can rent a converted minivan, such as a Chrysler Town & Country. This simple campervan comes with a real double bed, tent and camping chairs, ice chest, propane stove, and a box with basic kitchen gear. Some of their campervans even come with a surfboard in case you want to catch some waves.
This company, located in the airport city of Lihue, has both types of vehicles (and rooftop tents) available. Oh, they also rent out a sweet, yellow VW camper with a popup roof. It is only $132 a night and sleeps four people.
What makes a minivan a great choice on the island is that it will blend in more with local vehicles. This can help to deter theft that sometimes occurs with rental vehicles on the islands. If you don’t want a minivan, Lemon Drop also has various SUVs with rooftop tents.
For $145 per night, Lemon Drop rents a lifted FJ Cruiser with a rooftop tent that can sleep up to four people. This type of vehicle can also go onto the more rugged dirt roads and beaches that dot the island.
The best way to camp on Kauai is to purchase camping permits for various state campgrounds online or in person. If you are looking for cooler weather and less people, head up to Koke’e State Park Campground where you can park anywhere in the campground and set up camp.
The day use area and the campground have a covered pavilion where you can cook and eat. Koke’e and other campgrounds also have public restrooms and beach campgrounds usually have a rinsing shower.
For some of the best state beach campsites to park and enjoy the water, check out Anini Beach with its protected bay and snorkeling reef. In addition, visit the longest sand beach in Hawaii—Polihale State Park near the relaxed town of Waimea.
There are a few private campgrounds on the island that offer more amenities. One of these is Kumu Camp on Anahola Beach. The lush grounds have hot indoor showers and cold outdoor showers. There are also tiny bungalows and yurts for rent and the lovely owners serve fresh coffee in the morning.