Your Destination Guide to Maui

Destination Guide Maui - Your Destination Guide to Maui, HI

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Camping

Camping
Camping

© Rick McCharles

Camping provides a great way to experience the peace and beauty of Maui. Away from resorts and hotels, the island that residents know and love becomes much more apparent. Chirping birds, crashing waves, gentle rains, and cool soft breezes help you relax and discover the pace of real Hawaiian time. Easy hiking access, picnic tables, BBQ grills, and bathrooms are available at each of the sites listed below.

Tips: Bring water, wood or charcoal for fires, and insect repellant. Be prepared for rain at all sites and below freezing nighttime temperatures at Hosmer Grove, Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area, and the wilderness sites in Haleakala Crater. Check websites for closures and to obtain permits.

Drive-up sites

Hosmer Grove Campground (Haleakala National Park) – Equipped with picnic tables, BBQ grills, pit toilets, and potable water, this campground is a great place to stay overnight, particularly if you plan on driving to the summit for sunrise the following morning. Located at just below 7,000 feet on the Haleakala Highway, expect nighttime temperatures near freezing. Camping is in a small grassy field surrounded by tall evergreen trails, and is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. There is also a short nature walk at the site. Fee: Free with $10 park entrance fee. Website: www.nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/drive-up-camping.htm.

Kipahulu Campground (Haleakala National Park) – Located on the east side of the island 10 miles from Hana at the Kipahulu Visitor Center. The campground has picnic tables, BBQ grills, and pit toilets, but there is no potable water. Camping is in an open grassy field with fantastic views overlooking the rocky shoreline. On a clear day, you can see the Big Island summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. Kipahulu is on the wet side of the island, so be prepared for rain. If you can, pitch your tent under one of the hala trees in the camping area. Fee: Free with $10 park entrance fee. Website: www.nps.gov/hale/index.htm.

Wai'anapanapa State Park – Located near Hana, this camping area is located on a ruggedly beautiful coastline featuring Hawaiian religious sites, fresh water caves, lava arches, a blow hole, and the start of the Wai'anapanapa Coast Hike. The site is equipped with restrooms, outdoor showers, trash cans, drinking water, and a pay phone. In addition to tent sites, cabins are available for rent and provide an excellent alternative to more expensive options in Hana. Fee: Non-residents - $18 per night for up to six people, Hawai'i residents - $12 per night for up to six people. Cabin fees are significantly more. Website: www.hawaiistateparks.org/index.cfm.

Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area – Located at 6,200 feet above sea level, this site provides a base for exploring the many hikes in the Kula Forest Reserve. There are views of the West Maui Mountains, Lana'i, Moloka'i, and Kaho'olawe. Temperatures may dip below freezing at night. Facilities include restrooms and trash cans, but there is no potable water. One cabin is also available for rent. Fee: Non-residents - $18 per night for up to six people, Hawai'i residents - $12 per night for up to six people. Cabin fees are significantly more. Website: www.hawaiistateparks.org/index.cfm.

Camp Olowalu – Located just six miles from Lahaina, Camp Olowalu is the only designated camping area on the west side of Maui. Excellent snorkeling, proximity to west side surf spots and shopping, and a hike to the Olowalu petroglyphs make this a great alternative to staying at expensive Lahaina resort hotels. Facilities include showers, picnic tables, drinking water, and portable toilets. Cabins are also available for rent. Fee: Adults - $10 per person per night, Children 6 – 12 years old - $5 per person per night, Children 5 and younger – Free. Cabins are very reasonably priced. Camp Olowalu also rents camping gear for those who do not wish to bring their gear from the Mainland. Website: www.campolowalu.com.

Wilderness Sites

Haleakala National Park offers two wilderness camping areas inside the crater, Holua and Paliku. The sites can only be reached on foot, and are an excellent choice for seasoned campers or backpackers who want to get away from the bustle of drive-up sites. Both sites are above 6,000 feet, and you can expect cold temperatures and rain, especially later in the day. Holua tends to be busier due to easier access and slightly better weather. See www.nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/wilderness-camping.htm for more information.

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