Forming part of the Hawaiian archipelago and nicknamed the ‘the Garden Isle’ for its lush tropical rainforest-covered mountains and valleys, Kaua'i is home to breathtaking natural scenery ranging from the dramatic cliffs and pinnacles of its Na Pali Coast to the ten-mile-long Waimea Canyon. Floating in the middle of the Pacific, this Polynesian paradise boasts an easy-going, outdoor lifestyle with a variety of outdoor and recreational activities to enjoy from camping, picnicking and hiking to surfing, swimming, snorkeling and wildlife watching. The island nation is home to many spectacular parks, reserves and recreation areas that offer plenty of family-friendly campgrounds.
1.Anahola Beach Park
Nestled within Anahola Bay on Kaua?i's east shore, Anahola Beach Park is a beautiful white sandy beach protected by a reef that offers excellent snorkeling and swimming throughout the year. The lifeguarded beach is bordered by ironwood trees providing plenty of shade, and camping with a permit is allowed at the south end of the beach. The Kumu Camp offers tent, RV, campervan, and trailer camping with picnic tables, designated firepits, drinking fountains, trash cans, restrooms with hot showers, and picnic pavilions. Activities in the area include hiking, picnicking, photography, and wildlife watching.
Anahola, HI 96703, Phone: 800-652-8248
2.Anini Beach Park Campground
Located on the North Shore of Kaua?i, Anini Beach Park offers a wealth of outdoor and recreational activities including camping, picnicking, safe swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, paddle-boarding, kiteboarding, and windsurfing. Protected from the open ocean by the longest coral reef in the islands, Anini has a protected lagoon that offers excellent snorkeling and swimming and a beautiful beach that is ideal for relaxing. The Anini Beach Park Campground offers tent camping only and has picnic tables, barbecue grills, restrooms with showers, outdoor washing up sinks, trash cans, and picnic pavilions. Occasionally food trucks visit the campground and serve a variety of food and drinks.
Kilauea, HI 96754
Surrounded by the lush tropical forests of the 4,640-acre Koke`e State Park is the YWCA of Kaua'I’s Camp Sloggett, which offers a rustic and peaceful campground in the heart of the 1,800-acre Waimea Canyon State Park. Boasting beautiful views of the misty peaks of Kawaikini and Mount Wai`ale`ale, and the multi-hued cliffs of Waimea Canyon, the campground features a rustic lodge, cottages, a hostel and a campsite for tent camping, which includes picnic tables, barbecue grills, restrooms with showers, trash cans, and picnic areas. Overnight lodgings for larger groups include a lodge, a cottage, and a dormitory-style hostel with basic amenities. Activities in the area include hiking, picnicking, photography, and wildlife watching.
3094 Elua Street, Lihue, HI 96766, Phone 808-245-5959
4.Hanalei Beach Park
Hanalei Beach Park is a secluded enclave and island paradise surrounded by lush tropical forests, the jagged peaks of the Wainiha mountain range, and the sparkling blue waters of Hanalei Bay. The largest bay on Kaua?i, Hanalei Bay, spans over two miles in a crescent shape of golden sand backed by densely forested mountains interspersed with several waterfalls. The bay is home to four beach parks, namely Waikoko Beach, Black Pot Beach, Wai'oli Beach Park, and Hanalei Pavilion Beach Park, all of which offer swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, surfing, windsurfing, and yachting. Camping is allowed at Black Pot Beach with a permit, and basic amenities include picnic tables, barbecue grills, restrooms with showers, trash cans, and picnic areas. Activities in the area include hiking, picnicking, photography, and wildlife watching.
5.Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area
Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area is a 61.8-acre park on the Big Island of Hawaii, which features a beautiful white sandy beach with amenities such as paved parking, pavilions, picnic areas, restrooms, and showers. One of the most popular beaches on the island, Hapuna is situated just over two miles south of Kawaihae, and part of the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail winds its way through the park from Spencer Beach in the north to Puako in the south. Hapuna Beach offers excellent conditions for swimming, surfing, bodyboarding, snorkeling, and sunbathing, and it’s possible to spot migrating whales in the distance during the early part of the year.
Old Puako Rd, Waimea, HI 96743, Phone: 808-961-9540
6.Kahili Mountain Park
Kahili Mountain Park is a natural haven of beauty with spectacular landscapes and an abundance of wildlife. The park has several overnight options ranging from rustic cabins and furnished cottages with all the creature comforts to primitive tent camping for those who prefer to be at one with nature. Cabins and cottages cater for all group sizes and feature king and queen-size beds, indoor and outdoor bathrooms with showers, kitchens with fridges, microwaves, toasters and stoves, and washer/dryers. The park also offers tent camping with amenities such as picnic tables, barbecue grills, restrooms with showers, trash cans, and picnic areas. Activities in the area include hiking, mountain biking, photography, bird and wildlife watching, and picnicking.
2-4035 Kaumualii Hwy, Koloa, HI 96756, Phone: 808-742-9921
Kalalau Beach is a very secluded beach accessed by the 11-mile Kalalau Trail along the Napali Coast. Surrounded by rugged coastline, forested mountains, and spectacular views, the beach is a mile long and has large waves throughout the year due to having no reef protecting the bay. The Kalalau Trail is rated as a challenging hike of technical difficulty with many sheer drop-offs, narrow ledges, steep climbs, and descents. Camping is allowed on the beach with a permit, and there are designated camping areas with fire pits, pit toilets, and drinking water from the nearby waterfall. Activities in the area include hiking, picnicking, photography, and wildlife watching.
Kalalau Beach, Kaua?i, HI
8.Kapa'a Beach Park
Kapa'a Beach Park is a quiet, secluded beach with a rocky shoreline and exceptionally clear water. There is no reef; therefore, the swell is large and not safe for swimming, however, the waters offer excellent fishing and diving. The beach is accessed by a coastal path and is perfect for relaxing and picnicking, and camping is allowed on the beach with a permit and is popular among backpackers. The park has facilities, including restrooms with flushing toilets, showers, picnic tables, barbecue grills and a pavilion for gatherings. Activities in the area include hiking, picnicking, photography, and wildlife watching.
4-1604 Kuhio Hwy, Kapa?a, HI 96746, Phone: 909-646-0631
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Kawaikoi Camp is a remote and primitive camp that can only be accessed with an off-road vehicle and offers sites for tents, restrooms with pit toilets, picnic tables, trash cans, and a pavilion for gatherings. Non-potable water is available, and there is no cellphone or wireless Internet service. The camp is on the famous Kawaikoi Stream Trail, an easy 1.75-mile long loop with spectacular natural scenery and a freshwater stream that is perfect for swimming. Activities in the area include hiking, picnicking, photography, and wildlife watching.
Na Pali-Kona Forest Reserve, Hanapepe, HI 96716
10.Keanakolu Ranger and Bunkhouse Cabins
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Located in the Humu'ula section of the Hilo Forest Reserve, Keanakolu Ranger & Bunkhouse Cabins offer basic overnight accommodations in the park. The bunkhouse and cabins rest at an elevation of 5,290 feet and are only accessible with off-road vehicles. The houses have beds without mattresses or linens, wood-burning stoves for heat, and a covered outside BBQ pit, and toilet facilities include an outhouse and a composting toilet. There is an outside sink for washing using catchment water, however, there are no showers or other kitchen facilities or drinking water. Activities in the area include hiking, picnicking, photography, and wildlife watching.
11.Ke'e State Beach Park
© Alan Klehr Danita Delimont/stock.adobe.com
Ke’e Beach is a beautiful and quiet beach located along the Kalalau trail that also leads to Hanakapiai and Kalalau Beaches. Protected from the open ocean by the longest coral reef in the islands, Ke’e Beach has a protected lagoon that offers excellent snorkeling and swimming and a beautiful beach that is ideal for relaxing. Ke’e Beach offers tent camping only and has picnic tables, barbecue grills, restrooms with showers, trash cans, and picnic pavilions. There is no cell reception, but there is a payphone.
Highway 560 Haena State Park, Haena, Kauai, HI 96716
12.Kiholo State Park Reserve
Kiholo State Park Reserve is a lava-covered coastal park with beautiful tranquil bays, unusual lava flows, and vast open spaces with spectacular ocean views. Camping is allowed on weekends only from Friday through Sunday nights, and facilities include portable toilets, however, there is no drinking water. Park activities include camping with a permit, hiking, snorkeling, swimming, fishing, photography, and wildlife watching.
2000 96740, 71-2000 Queen Ka'ahumanu Hwy, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, Phone: 808-695-4620
13.Koke'e State Park Campground
Located in northwestern Kaua?i, Koke?e State Park boasts breathtaking views of the lush, amphitheater-headed Kalalau Valley from an elevation of 4,000 feet. Set on a high plateau and surrounded by verdant montane mesic forests with koa and ?ohi?a lehua trees, the park offers a variety of activities ranging from hiking, tent camping, wildlife watching, seasonal plum picking, trout fishing, and wild pig hunting in season. The park is also home to the Koke?e Museum, which has exhibits displaying the fauna, flora, and weather of the region, as well as a lodge that serves food and sells souvenirs and gifts. Activities in the area include snorkeling, bodyboarding, swimming, fishing, diving, hiking, picnicking, photography, and wildlife watching.
Hanapepe, HI 96716, Phone: 808-335-8405
Located on the East Side of the island near Wailua Bay, the Lydgate Campground is a county-run campground based in the Lydgate Beach Park, which features a lovely tree-lined beach with several jetty-enclosed swimming areas, picnic spots, and lovely ocean views. The campground offers grassy sites for tents and trailers, with amenities such as restrooms with toilets, showers, picnic tables, barbecue grills, trash cans, drinking fountains, playgrounds, and plenty of parking. Activities in the area include snorkeling, bodyboarding, swimming, fishing, diving, hiking, picnicking, photography, and wildlife watching.
Leho Dr, Lihue, HI 96766, Phone: 808-241-4463
15.Manuka State Wayside
The Manuka State Wayside Park is a 13.4-acre park with an arboretum that contains 48 species of native Hawaiian plants and more than 130 species of other exotic plants and flowers. Located 19 miles west of Na?alehu, on the Hawaii Belt Road, the park is named after the ancient land division up the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano. The eight-acre arboretum was established in the mid-19th century and is surrounded by the 25,550-acre Manuka Forest Reserve, which is home to wet montane forests, mesic, montane kipuka forests, subalpine shrublands and forests, lowland dry forests, and lowland mesic forests. Services at the park include camping in an open shelter, restrooms, trash cans, but no drinking water is available.
Ocean View, HI 96737, Phone: 808-961-9540
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16.Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park
The Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park a 6,175-acre state park located in the northwest of the Kaua?i Island, which is famous for its soaring sea cliffs (pali), which rise to 4,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean, lush valleys, winding streams and cascading waterfalls. Located in the center of the oldest inhabited Hawaiian island, the Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park was established in 1983 to protect the Kalalau Valley.and features the steep Kalalau Trail, which runs between the sandy Kalalau Beach and Ke’e Beach and cuts through five beautiful valleys, including the Hanakoa Valley. The coast is inaccessible to vehicles but can be enjoyed overland by hiking or in a helicopter, and from the ocean by kayak and paddleboard. The park can also be accessed by charter tours on catamarans or rigid-hulled inflatable boats from Hanalei Bay and Port Allen.
Kapaa, HI 96746, Phone: 808-274-3444
17.Polihale State Park Camping Area 4
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Set on the western side of Kaua?i, Polihale State Park is a state park with a remote wild beach and relatively inaccessible without a four-wheel-drive vehicle. The pristine beach is several miles long and has one safe swimming area known as Queen's Pond at the southern end of the park. The rest of the beach is wild and unsuitable for swimming, snorkeling, and surfing due to strong rip currents along the shore. Amenities at the park include a few picnic pavilions, restrooms with running cold water, simple semi-private showers, and flush toilets. There is no medical facility or lifeguard available.
Hwy 50, Waimea, HI 96766, Phone: 808-464-0840
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18.Salt Pond Beach Park
Located on Kauai’s Western shore, Salt Pond Beach Park features traditional Hawaiian salt-collecting ponds and has a beautiful beach that is protected by an outside reef, offering good snorkeling, fishing, and swimming (weather dependent). The park also has several protected shallow tidal pools that offer great snorkeling and a chance to discover and experience an array of Hawaiian marine life. Park amenities include restrooms with toilets and showers, shade pavilions and picnic spots, and a campground where primitive camping is allowed with a permit. Activities in the area include snorkeling, bodyboarding, swimming, fishing, diving, hiking, picnicking, photography, and wildlife watching.
Lokokai Road Hwy 50, Hanapepe, Kauai, HI
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19.Sugi Grove Campground
Sugi Grove Campground is surrounded by unique Sugi Pine Trees, which are native to Japan and offer a tranquil mountain escape. The campground is remote and can only be accessed with a four-wheel-drive vehicle and can get very muddy in wet weather. Campground amenities include camping sites for tents, restrooms with pit toilets, picnic tables, trash cans, and a pavilion for gatherings, and there is no potable water or cellphone reception. Activities in the area include hiking, picnicking, photography, and wildlife watching.
Hanapepe, HI 96716
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20.Waimea Canyon State Park
Waimea Canyon, also known as the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific,’ is a 14-mile long and 3,600-foot deep canyon on the western side of Kaua?i. Meaning ‘reddish water’ in Hawaiian, Waimea refers to the canyon's red soil, which also features spectacular crested buttes, rugged crags, and deep valley gorges and panoramic vistas that go on for miles. Backcountry camping is allowed in the canyon, but there are no facilities, and everything needs to be carried and out of the park, including drinking water. The canyon is accessed by Waimea Canyon Drive, which ends at the Kokee State Park, and there are numerous hiking trails for beginners and seasoned hikers alike.
Waimea Canyon Dr, Waimea, HI 96796, Phone: 808-274-3444
20 Best Kauai Camping Spots
- Anahola Beach Park, Photo: Mark/stock.adobe.com
- Anini Beach Park Campground, Photo: JacobMartin/stock.adobe.com
- Camp Sloggett, Photo: Ivan/stock.adobe.com
- Hanalei Beach Park, Photo: steheap/stock.adobe.com
- Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area, Photo: Circumnavigation/stock.adobe.com
- Kahili Mountain Park, Photo: brizmaker/stock.adobe.com
- Kalalau Beach, Photo: julie/stock.adobe.com
- Kapa'a Beach Park, Photo: norinori303/stock.adobe.com
- Kawaikoi Camp, Photo: Gary/stock.adobe.com
- Keanakolu Ranger and Bunkhouse Cabins, Photo: New Africa/stock.adobe.com
- Ke'e State Beach Park, Photo: Alan Klehr Danita Delimont/stock.adobe.com
- Kiholo State Park Reserve, Photo: norinori303/stock.adobe.com
- Koke'e State Park Campground, Photo: cherryandbees/stock.adobe.com
- Lydgate Campground, Photo: 06photo/stock.adobe.com
- Manuka State Wayside, Photo: Evaldas/stock.adobe.com
- Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park, Photo: MNStudio/stock.adobe.com
- Polihale State Park Camping Area 4, Photo: New Africa/stock.adobe.com
- Salt Pond Beach Park, Photo: Janine/stock.adobe.com
- Sugi Grove Campground, Photo: DragonImages/stock.adobe.com
- Waimea Canyon State Park, Photo: Maridav/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Savanah Stewart Danita Delimont/stock.adobe.com