Oahu Camping

You won't find any national parks on the island of Oahu, so those who are looking to do some Oahu camping should instead look for sites at the state and county parks. The Oahu campgrounds are spread out evenly across the island, so finding one near your intended destination shouldn't be a problem. Camping on Oahu can be enjoyed year-round, though it's important to note that most campsites here are not open to the public on Wednesday and Thursday nights. It's also important to remember that you will have to apply for a permit if you plan on doing some Oahu camping. The permits are free, and while you cannot apply for them online, you can easily mail your application to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Once you have your permit and have made a reservation at one of the Oahu campgrounds, you are ready to go, provided you have the necessary equipment. Camping on Oahu can be made more complicated by the fact that renting camping equipment here is difficult, if not impossible. Bringing some equipment from home is always a good idea, and you can buy any remaining equipment that you might need once you arrive. Renting a car and driving to your campsite is arguably the best way to go, though you can also get to most of the top Oahu campgrounds by relying on the TheBus, Oahu's island-wide bus system, which serves virtually every corner of the island. Since you're only allowed to bring one bag on TheBus, you will have to pack light.

Weather shouldn't be a major concern when camping on Oahu, though you should be prepared for some rain and wind, especially if you are planning on camping on the island's wetter windward side. The windward side of Oahu is the eastern side of the island, and it tends to rain more in this area. As such, bringing a rain cover for your tent is definitely a good idea when looking to camp here. The area in and around Kaneohe boasts some of the better campsites on the windward coast, and they can be found at the Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens and at Kualoa Regional Park.

The 400-acre grounds of the Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens are lush, beautiful, and relaxing, and there is a visitor center here where you can get recommendations for fun activities. Guided nature tours are among the possibilities. As for the facilities at the Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens campsite, they include showers, restrooms, dishwashing stations, barbecue grills, water spouts, and picnic tables. Should Oahu beach camping be high on your list of things to do in Oahu, the Kualoa Regional Park will be a better fit on the windward coast. Situated on beautiful Kaneohe Bay, this campground boasts a gold-sand beach, and fishing and snorkeling are among the top activities here. As is true at most Oahu campgrounds, the gates to these windward camping sites open and close at specific hours, and you will be locked out if you don't return before closing time.

While you'll only be about a 30-minute drive away from downtown Honolulu when you stay at one of the Kaneohe area campsites, you can be even closer to the capital by camping at the Sand Island State Recreation Area. This Honolulu campground can be found just south of the city's harbor, and though you'll have to drive through an industrial area to get to it, the setting is divine once you arrive. Sandy beaches, open grassy areas, and plenty of picturesque ironwood trees are on the 102-acre site, and you'll enjoy wonderful views of the coastline. In fact, you'll even be able to see Waikiki in the distance. Fishing is again a top activity at this shoreline park, and swimming is also possible. You can only camp on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at this popular Oahu camping site, and while the facilities are somewhat limited, they do include showers, restrooms, and picnic tables.

Looking to the sites on the windward side of the island is always a good place to start when it comes to camping on Oahu, as this side of the island boasts the majority of the island's campsites. While you can also camp on the leeward side, it's generally not recommended because of the larger amount of homeless people in the area. This is a bigger issue in and around Waianae, though you shouldn't have any issues, as the homeless population tends to keep to themselves. As for the North Shore, where surfing is king, the Malaekahana Bay State Recreation Area and Camp Mokuleia are the two best places to go camping, so you can keep them in mind. Both of these Oahu campgrounds are quite complete, boasting ample amenities and numerous opportunities to stay active. At Camp Mokuleia, cabins and lodge accommodations are available, as well as tent sites, so you can choose accordingly.

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