Camping on the Big Island is a treat for anyone who appreciates the great outdoors,
and there are campgrounds here to suit all tastes and preferences. The Big Island
campgrounds range from primitive sites with little more than pit toilets to
private campgrounds that provide hot showers, flush toilets, and other luxuries.
Backcountry camping, which involves getting off the beaten path, is the most
extreme Big Island camping that you can do. For those who don't want to sacrifice
all of their creature comforts, renting an RV or staying at one of the more
complete Big Island campgrounds with shelters, cabins, and even guest rooms
might be the way to go. There are some companies on the Big Island that offer
equipment rentals for your camping adventure if you need it, and they can even
deliver the goods to you upon your arrival at one of island's airports.
If bringing camping equipment with you to the Big Island is too much of a hassle, renting camping equipment once you arrive is likely the best solution for you. The packages that you can rent for camping on the Big Island will usually include a tent, a cooking set, sleeping pads, flashlights, a water jug, a cooler, a first-aid kit, backpacks, and the choice of an extra item, such as binoculars, equipment for snorkeling, or a lightweight stove. Having a stove can be a considerable benefit, as some of the Big Island campsites do not permit open fires. Ponchos often will be included in a Big Island camping equipment rental package, and these will come in extra handy when camping on the island's wetter east side. There is a surplus store in Hilo if you want to buy some camping equipment, and you can certainly bring some supplies from home if you are serious about camping on the Big Island.
One of the best things you can bring with you when planning to go camping on
the Big Island is a good pair of hiking boots or shoes. Preferably, your footwear
will be waterproof, and it should also have good traction. For those who want
to mix hiking with camping on the Big Island, Arnott's Lodge & Hiking Adventures
is a good place to visit. Found in the Hilo District, Arnott's Lodge offers
an array of lodging choices, from tent spaces to fairly upscale suites, so you
can choose accordingly. Arnott's Lodge offers an array of eco-adventures, which
can involve hiking to the summit of Mauna
Kea or to lava fields to see the fiery flow. Hot showers and flush toilets
are available for tent campers at Arnott's, and the rates are very low.
While some of the Big Island campsites require a small fee if you want to stay the night, others are free. Such is the case with the nine primitive campsites located along the Muliwai Trail in the Waimanu Valley. While they are free, you will still have to get permission to camp at these primitive sites from the Division of Forestry and Wildlife. Permits are required for most of the Big Island campgrounds and campsites, and they won't cost you anything. You can get a Big Island camping permit before you leave for your trip, or you can stop by a local visitor center to obtain one once you arrive on the island.
When looking to go camping on the Big Island, you can stay in a tent, rent an RV, book an A-frame shelter, or secure a rustic cabin. Most of the Big Island campgrounds are located in the national and state parks, such as Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which is one of the most popular places to camp here. Beach camping is also popular with many Big Island visitors, and there are plenty of good beach campsites to choose from. Hapuna Beach State Park, which only offers A-frame cabins for lodging, is among the more popular places to do some beach camping on the Big Island, partly because Hapuna Beach is widely regarded as the island's best stretch of sand. Hookena Beach Park is another Big Island hot spot for those who want to be close to the ocean. Dolphins are known to pass through Kauhako Bay with regularity here, and if you are interested in dolphin swims on the Big Island, these curious creatures often interact with scuba divers and snorkelers.
The Punaluu Beach Park and the Spencer Beach Park are other great places for beach camping on the Big Island, and there are more to choose from. Variety is the name of the game when it comes to the Big Island campgrounds, so you can enjoy a range of experiences.