Maui Camping

Even though the island is mostly known for its resorts and condos, camping in Maui is an increasingly popular way to spend the night there. Travelers have many options for places to unfurl their sleeping bags, whether they want to pitch a tent or stay in a cabin.

Camping in Maui
Camping in Maui

Wherever travelers would like to camp in Maui, they should make reservations well in advance of their visit date if possible. Often the sites fill up quickly, especially during the popular tourist seasons. However, some of the places cannot be reserved in advance, so be sure to pay attention to the requirements. When considering when to go, also keep in mind that the spring can be quite rainy. But in any season, travelers should be prepared for a variety of weather conditions when they're camping on Maui. The nights can be quite cool.

Waianapanapa State Park is a favorite place for Maui beach camping. Found on the eastern shore in the bucolic community of Hana, the 122-acre park encompasses a jagged, volcanic shoreline, interesting sea caves, and amazing hiking opportunities. Tent camping is available for a few dollars a night, with a maximum stay of five days. Visitors also can make reservations for beach cabins, which can accommodate up to six guests. The fully furnished cabins also have electricity and kitchen facilities, for those who prefer to do some Maui camping without sacrificing comfort.

Another state park is an option for camping on Maui. Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area is located just upland from Kula at 6,200 feet of elevation among the Kula Forest Reserve. Tent campsites and a single cabin provide overnight accommodations. The list of things to do is extensive, including hiking, hunting, and admiring the amazing views. On a clear day, park visitors can see sweeping views of central and west Maui as well as the surrounding islands of Molokai and Lanai. Molokai's state park, Palaau, allows tent camping that overlooks the Kalaupapa Peninsula.

Maui camping also provides a chance to try something amazing—spending the night in the volcano crater. This experience is available at two campgrounds at Haleakala National Park: Paliku and Holua. These wilderness campsites are only accessible by trail, but those who exert the effort will be rewarded with a fantastic place to rest after their hike. Before beginning the excursion, visitors need to stop at the Headquarters Visitor Center for an orientation and to secure permits. The National Park Service also maintains wilderness cabins, which are available by an advance lottery. Like the campsites, these options for backcountry camping in Maui are only accessible on foot.

For those who want to park their car rentals right at the campsites, there are two options for Maui camping at the national park—Kipahulu and Hosmer Grove. The first is near sea level on the east side of the island in the Kipahulu area of the park known for its eco-tours, which can be reached via the Hana Highway. Hosmer Grove is located on the slopes of Haleakala, a truly scenic place for camping on Maui.

On the west site of the island, just outside Lahaina, travelers have another choice for camping in Maui. Providing an affordable place to spend the night, Camp Olowalu offers both cabins and tent camping. Overnight guests are close to many activities, including snorkeling, hiking to the Olowalu petroglyphs, surfing at Launiupoko Beach Park, and enjoying the nightlife of downtown Lahaina. After they're finished at the campsites, Maui visitors who are looking for alternative accommodations also can consider house rentals and bed and breakfast inns.

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