Camping in Kauai, also known as the "Garden Island," is a great way to explore the island's incredible natural side. There are several campsites in Kauai offering tourists a great choice in location. Along the North Shore, there are three separate campgrounds to choose from, while both the east and southwest coasts are home to four other Kauai campgrounds. Visitors heading off on Kauai vacations among some of the island's most tranquil and beautiful areas will find just that when deciding to camp.
Haena Beach Park is a favorite of both locals and visitors for camping in Kauai. Located at the end of the North Shore of Kauai, the park is perched at the tip of the Na Pali Coast. This means there are scores of things to do when visiting, including swimming at Tunnels Beach and snorkeling, a favorite pastime on the island. Other nearby attractions like the Kalalau Trail, Maniniholo Dry Cave, and Ke'e Beach offer much to explore. Haena Beach Park meets the base of velvety green mountains sitting along the coast, overlooking clean waters and offering phenomenal views. Pavilions,clean showers, restrooms, and picnic areas, along with shade trees and a long shoreline, make camping on Kauai here convenient and fun.
Campers will also find Hanalei Beach Park on the North Shore, east of Haena. Hanalei Beach Park is terrific for Kauai camping. It is famous for surfing and is surrounded by a beautiful white sand beach. Mountains envelope this area providing some shelter and striking scenery. Hanalei Pier meets Hanalei River where fishing is a favorite sport. On the opposite side of the river visitors can enjoy Kauai golfing. Camping in Kauai at this two-and-a-half-acre park is permitted during holidays and weekends only so it's wise to get a permit in advance. This area is especially good for diving as well as canoeing and sea kayaking, boogie boarding, surfing, and windsurfing. During the summer months swimming conditions are best as the bay is at its calmest. As with all of the other Kauai campgrounds, Hanalei Beach park offers showers and restrooms, a picnic area, and plenty of shade. Anini Beach Park, between Princeville and Kilauea, is the third Kauai campground choice along the North Shore and is home to the largest of all coral reefs around the island.
Kauai camping along the east coast at Anahola Beach is another choice for visitors looking for well-equipped campsites. This area is popular with locals and is a great place to experience some local culture. The reef just offshore protects the beach, creating an ideal spot for water sports and swimming. Attractions nearby include Wailua, Kapaa, Haena State Park Caves, and Kalapaki Beach. Kauai camping here, as with all campgrounds, requires a permit which can be purchased through the Division of Parks and Recreation in the appropriate county. The permits can be arranged no earlier than a year prior to your trip. Though vacation rentals and resorts outshine most everything along the South Shore, there is still a good Kauai camping area to stay at. Hanamaulu Beach Park is ideal for those wanting to try out some local fishing at Ahukini Pier. Both snorkeling and swimming conditions aren't ideal here.
West coast Kauai is yet another option for campers. Plenty of large shade trees and picnic areas are available at Lucy Wright Beach Park, close to the opening of the Waimea River. This beach is better for onshore fun as the ocean gets quite murky from the river and strong currents make swimming hazardous. Salt Pond Beach Park is another camping option with many attractions nearby like Kalalau Lookout, Waimea Canyon, Captain Cook's Monument, and Russian Fort Elizabeth. The upside to camping on Kauai's west side, as well as the south shore, is that it's much less crowded than further north. Fresh drinking water, a playground, BBQ stands, restrooms, and showers are all available.
Kauai campgrounds can be accessed through hiking, driving, and boating, depending on where you're heading to, offering both adventurous and convenient options for getting there. With the relatively inexpensive cost of using campsites in Kauai, camping is a great way to offset costs and enjoy more activities such as island tours, luaus, boat trips, and more, yet the best part of island camping is you only have to step outside your tent to breathe in the energizing island air and soak in the natural beauty of Kauai.
Top image: TLPOSCHARSKY (flickr)