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Camping on Kauai

Almelo, The...
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Camping on Kauai

Hey there. My sister and I are going to travel on Kauai for 4 days in september. We want to camp on Kauai. But has anyone some about nice campgrounds?

I've watched some topics on tripadvisor about this subject, but the youngest topic is already from 2009.

Anyway thanks.

Kaua'i, HI
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1. Re: Camping on Kauai

Aloha from Kaua'i!

Here is a link to the Kaua'i County website on legal campgrounds and the permitting process:

kauai.gov/government/…default.aspx

Salt Pond Park on the West Side in Hanapepe is very popular - it is a lovely park with a lifeguard, pavillions, bathrooms, showers and a rock walled swimming area. It is popular with both visitors and residents and I'd think this would be a great place to camp - it is one of my very favorite parks here on Kaua'i.

The only one that I'd take a "pass" on is Hanama'ulu Park on the East Side - this park has a somewhat "iffy" reputation and I personally wouldn't want to camp down there.

I'm sure others who have camped here will have suggestions for you.

Malama Pono,

Janet

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2. Re: Camping on Kauai

One of our DE's, Kauaihiker, knows all the good campgrounds and if you want you can private message him. You can also see his contributions and find the threads where he talks about camping.

In Sept I would stay on the North Shore for a time. Heana, Anini for a few choices. Maybe float around and stay on the West side and then come up North.

You must have permits and some sites have days you can't stay. There are many threads on camping.

pzp
Kauai, Hawaii
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3. Re: Camping on Kauai

I think jebett meant Ha`ena. :0

California
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4. Re: Camping on Kauai

Fast fingers so I get out and explore Kauai or maybe I should type Kaui.

Kaua'i, HI
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5. Re: Camping on Kauai

Aloha from Kaua'i!

Hey "Jebett" - I know a ton of Kaui's!!! Maybe they're related to your "Kaui"?

lol!

Seriously, big local family here - one of my dearest hula sisters last name!

Malama Pono,

Janet

Kauai, Hawaii
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6. Re: Camping on Kauai

I think I'd skip Anahola these days also. Talked to several campers who had things taken over the past couple months.

On the North Shore, I'd stick with Anini, maybe move to Ha'ena on a Tuesday (Anini's closed) and Hanalei Blackpot for a Friday/Saturday.

Polihale, a state park is also a very nice place to camp for a couple nights - very isolated at the other end of the Napali.

Another cool option is Kokee state park up by Waimea Canyon. The "cabins" there don't get great reviews, but they were acceptable last time I was there a couple of years ago if you want a break from tent camping.

Lihue, Hawaii
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7. Re: Camping on Kauai

Polihale!!!! Its perfect! Although the state NEEDS to update the restroom facility and install more showers. But you can just bath in the ocean with dish soap. I know it sounds weird but its leaves your skin smooth and you really do feel clean. Thats how we bathed on Kaho'olawe.

Wailua
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8. Re: Camping on Kauai

Sadly, BeyondNBack is right. We were camping at Anahola early December when one of the break-ins happened. The guy was peeking in tents at night, and looking for valuables, then slicing the tent to grab stuff. We saw the guy wandering around the next day and called the police. He was gone by the time they showed up, but they did take a full report and seemed serious about stopping this. We didn't have anything taken, but I also piled branches around the back of my tent.

The rules are simple, and I apply them on Kaua'i and everywhere else I camp: don't leave anything valuable in your tent when away: only clothes, bedding, and cooking stuff. When you are there, keep your valuables covered, and maybe put wallets, etc under your pillow. Don't take big expensive items on a camping vacation: no laptops, iPads, huge cameras, fancy bags.

That said, there are other campgrounds that are larger, have more people, and less likely to have this kind of behavior. Given your short stay, I think you need to decide whether you want to see just the North Shore, or both the North and the Waimea Canyon. I think most people agree that spending the whole time on the South and West sides (Poipu-Waimea-Kokee) would be missing out on the spectacular North Shore. If you prefer beach time to real hiking, you could stay the whole time up north and do a one-day trip to Waimea Canyon and Kokee lookouts. If you like to hike, you'll probably want to do that in Kokee and then you should sleep on the West side or up in Kokee.

It's not clear if you have 3 or 4 nights on the island, that might determine how you split it up. Personally, it might not be worth to take down the tent and move it for one night somewhere else. But some people are quick and like to see different places and don't mind moving every night--up to you.

On the North Shore, I recommend Anini or Haena Beach Park. Pick one for 2 night or do 2 nights each if you stay the whole time up North. If you only do one, Haena has nicer views, and is very close to Tunnels and Ke'e beaches. If you stay the whole time up North and want to day-trip to Kokee, Anini will save you 30 minutes of driving each way.

In the south, I recommend Salt Pond Beach park and the campground up in Kokee. Salt Pond is warmer, almost too hot even in September, but Kokee can be "chilly" at night--so it depends on your equipment. If you're going light-weight, Kokee may be too cold. But Kokee is great for hiking all day and sleeping at night under the stars. Salt Pond is great for camping at the edge of the sand and being less than 1hr drive to Kokee.

As others have mentioned, Salt Pond, Haena, and Anini are county campgrounds that close one day a week, so get the info on their website so you know which days to go where. Kokee is a State Park campground, so you get permits in a different office in Lihue or by mail.

Kaua'i, HI
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9. Re: Camping on Kauai

Aloha from Kaua'i!

"Kauailocal" - I totally agree with you about Polihale for camping - awesome place to camp - and you are so right about the restrooms - they are so hauna (stink) and dirty that I'd rather use a porta potty anyday! Polihale always seems to get the short end of the stick when it comes to money - either for road repair or maintenance - and then when they don't have the kala - they just "close" it! Crazy, no?

As far as a visitor camping out there though - I don't know - I guess if they can score one of the pavillions up by the parking area at the end it would be okay -but since (as you know) most locals just let some air out of their tires in their trucks and drive onto the beach to camp - that wouldn't be an option for many of them.

We've gone down to Queen's Pond in our truck and enjoyed that area very much - I love that spot for camping!

Mahalo for the tip about dish soap and rinsing off in the ocean - haven't tried that one before and I usually just end up sticky and salty!

Malama Pono,

Janet

San Diego...
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10. Re: Camping on Kauai

You need to be careful with your stuff at all of the campgrounds and public pavilions at the moment. Anahola area has had theft issues for a year or so in the park and the vacation rentals along the beach + regular folk's houses more inland. Not to mention the recent shooting as the druggies battle it out.

Hanamaulu has been iffy at best for years. Lots of homeless campind down there. Kapaa Beach park has a crowd of what I'd characterize (perhaps uncharitably) as homeless/drunks/druggies floating around as well. From mid Dec's incident at Hanalei Pavilion, the north shore is not immune. Sound like homeless are hanging in the parks on the west side too with the recent death out there (no foul play per the police).

From just drive by evaluation, Haena and Anini are probably the safest on the north side. They're remote from places where homeless with no transportation can easily get by + heavily used by vacationers. Polihale would fit that description as well.

Not trying to scare you off, but Kauai is not Mayberry in these places once the sun sets.