As a small cluster of volcanic islands in the Pacific, Hawaii manages to combine spectacular landscapes and tropical environments including forests and beaches in a way that is wholly unique. From tropical forests and hot springs, to red-dirt canyons and spectacular waterfalls, Hawaii has so many diverse types of natural experiences. And let’s not forget the volcanos! Hawaii Read more...
As a small cluster of volcanic islands in the Pacific, Hawaii manages to combine spectacular landscapes and tropical environments including forests and beaches in a way that is wholly unique. From tropical forests and hot springs, to red-dirt canyons and spectacular waterfalls, Hawaii has so many diverse types of natural experiences. And let’s not forget the volcanos! Hawaii has active volcanoes spitting red-hot lava into the sea and volcanos that soar so high their cinder cones are capped in snow. The warm Pacific waters enable snorkelers to see tropical fish, sea turtles, and rays. And its beaches are so beautiful that Hawaiians invented surfing so they would never have to leave.
If this description has you immediately searching for reasonably priced flights to Hawaii, we’ve got good news. Hipcamp has a growing collection of tropical Hawaiian camps and glamps, and this means there are more affordable and unique camping options on Hawaii than ever before. This list compiles some of the best Hipcamps on Hawaii — from beachfront properties to camps on coconut farms to cabins hidden in the rainforest.
How to plan your camping and glamping trip to Hawaii
These camping and glamping sites are on private property, and the Hipcamp Hosts are committed to the preservation of their land. As nature lovers themselves, Hosts generally have great local info to share about parks, beaches, hikes and other experiences on their island.
Most of the campsites on this list will require you to have your own tent and sleeping gear. The glampsites, which range from bungalows to hammock cabanas to cabins, typically provide the shelter and bedding. This can be the ideal solution for Hawaii travelers who want the most access to nature without bringing all of their camping equipment on the plane. Make sure to check each site’s listing to find out exactly which amenities are offered and what you’ll need to bring. Keep in mind that November to March is Hawaii’s rainy season, so pack your gear accordingly.
Here’s a walkthrough to the type of parks and nature experience each island has in store for you:
Island of Hawai’i (aka Kona or “The Big Island”)
You can’t visit Kona or The Big Island without paying homage its volcanoes. At Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, you’ll have a chance to peer inside the crater active Kīlauea volcano, and then trace its molten lava discharge down its slopes and into the sea. Repeat until you can recognize the difference between pahoehoe and aa flows.
Big Island also features Mauna Kea, a colossal volcano whose summit, at 13,803 ft, is the highest point in Hawaii (some geologists argue that, when measured from its underwater base, Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the world at over 10,000 meters). Mauna Kea is so high that is stretches above the clouds, where the air becomes so clear that the top of Mauna Kea’s is designated as a Dark Sky Reserve. And yes, that’s snow on the summit. Make sure to bring a warm outfit and coat if you’re planning on making this trip. There is an observatory and Visitors Center on Mauna Kea at 9,200 feet with a free stargazing show every night.
When it comes to your stay here, keep in mind that the Big Island can roughly be divided into two sides: the “wet side,” or western half, where you’ll find lush jungle and coffee plantations. And the “dry side,” or eastern half, where the National Park is based. For a kid-friendly beach on the Big Island, check out the Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area.
The road to Hāna is Maui's must-see scenic drive which has dramatic vistas, lush rainforests, countless waterfalls, and even a beautiful black sand beach. It’s a 50-mile coastal route on State Highway 36 and HI-360 from the laid back surfer hippie town of Paia to Hāna. The narrow twisty road has many blind corners, narrow bridges, and hairpin turns. You can drive your own rental car or take a van tour with a driver.
Another must visit on Maui is Haleakalā National Park. The park’s namesake dormant volcano features a crater and observatory you can drive straight up to and explore. The park also has a coastal section, Kipahula, whose approach traverses waterfalls, pools, and protected rainforests.
There are also great Hipcamp options on Maui’s west side, so you can avoid the crowded resorts. Here, the West Maui Forest Reserve has local cliffs, waterfalls and hiking options.
One Oahu, there are Hipcamps on both the eastern and western shores. In which case the question becomes, do you prefer ocean sunrises or ocean sunsets? If it’s sunrises, check out Mālaekahana State Recreation Area and Ahupuaʻa ʻO Kahana State Park. For sunsets, head to Kea'au Beach Park.
Some of the most jaw-dropping views in all of Hawaii are found on the island of Kauai.
Visitors can drive up and hike Waimea Canyon State Park, the “Grand Canyon on the Pacific,” where the cliffs are tinted a rich copper by the island’s famous red dirt. One of the best sites for camping on Kauai is nearby at Kōkeʻe State Park. Intrepid hikers can visit also the Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park on Kauai’s north shore to hike below the iconic jungle cliffs of the Kalalau Valley.