Aloha, fellow camping enthusiasts!
Y’know, there’s just something magical about camping in Hawaii. Over the years, my boyfriend and I have found ourselves drawn to the stunning beauty of Oahu’s campgrounds, escaping the crowded beaches for a bit of peace and solitude under the stars. Trust me, I’ve spent countless hours researching, exploring, and experiencing the best spots this island has to offer just for folks like you.
But here’s the thing: choosing the perfect campsite can be a bit overwhelming, especially with all the different parks, permits, and gear to consider. I get it — you want to make the most of your trip without any hiccups. That’s where I come in. I’ve been camping in Oahu for ages, and I’m here to share my expertise with you, so you can confidently plan your next adventure.
Now, you might be wondering who exactly I’m talking to here. Well, you’re probably someone who loves the great outdoors, wants to break away from the touristy hustle and bustle, and is ready to discover the true natural beauty of Oahu. And don’t worry, we’re in this together. I’ll be your friendly guide to the island’s best hidden gems.
Warning: Once you experience the serenity of Oahu’s campgrounds, you might find yourself daydreaming about your next camping trip during your beachside Mai Tais!
Let’s embark on this journey together and uncover the island’s most breathtaking camping spots to pitch a tent. Happy camping, my friends!
Bellows Field Beach Park
Watch the Ko’olau mountains spreading in the distance as you lounge on the white sands of this beach, framed by tall ironwood trees providing ample shade to the campground. Although Bellows Field has 50 campsites, half of it is owned by the military and acts as a base.
You can book spots from the other half under Honolulu County for a picture-perfect camping experience. However, the spots get booked quickly, so keep an eye out when they open.
The beach’s waters are perfect for swimming and offer views of the gorgeous island sun setting on them as you set up camp. The Bellows Field has more facilities for camping than other popular spots, including cabins, RV campsites, and equipment rentals.
If you can get the reservation, make sure to visit Bellow Fields, as it offers the best camping in Oahu.
- There are clean showers and restroom facilities available on the grounds.
- There are mini-marts and restaurants nearby, so you won’t have to do all the cooking yourself.
- The site opens on Friday from noon till Sunday and on public holidays.
Address: 220 Tinker Rd., Bellows Air Force Base, Waimanalo, Oahu.
Malaekahana Bay and State Recreation Area
Ever visited a beach and never wanted to leave? Then head to Malaekahana Bay which is the island’s favourite camping spot. In addition, the bay offers terrific shores for swimming, snorkelling, and stand-up paddleboarding, so campers will have fun activities lined up for their trip.
Located on the North shore, these campgrounds are the safest in Oahu, as they’re privately managed by the state and offer 24-hour security, plus a gated entrance. In addition, people camping for the first time will love the Recreation Area, which offers restrooms, outdoor showers, fire pits, and a mini-mart stocked with all the camping supplies you need.
There’s also a great food truck parked from Thursday to Monday, which has you covered for breakfast, lunch and dinner from its big menu.
Families wanting to spend time outdoors shouldn’t miss Malaekahana Bay, as it offers the best camping in Oahu.
- You can spot sea turtles, seabirds and even whales from a nearby sanctuary.
- The site has tents, plantation huts and suite rentals available.
- You can rent paddle boarding and snorkelling equipment from the stores nearby.
Address: 56-335 Kamehameha Highway, Kahuku, Oahu.
Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens
Drive out to Kaneohe from the Kamehameha Highway, where you’ll find the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens, located at the base of the Ko’olau Range. This is the only non-beach campground on the island, run by the county and housing 29 campgrounds.
The rainforest and mountains will encase you from all sides as you set up camp in this 400-acre park, home to a 32-acre reservoir. The Botanical Gardens have rare plant species from around the world, making the camping area incredibly gorgeous. You can also explore the grounds, go for a nature walk and hike the hills and trails found in the Gardens.
In addition, there are restrooms, cold showers, washing stations, and picnic tables on the campgrounds for guests.
Don’t miss Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens for a serene stay, as its grounds offer the best camping in Oahu.
- Reservations open up two weeks in advance on the camp’s website.
- Campers can also go fishing in the lake and feed ducks.
- The closest shopping center and gas station are 2-miles away in Kaneohe.
Address: 45-680 Luluku Rd, Kaneohe, Oahu.
Kualoa Regional Park and Campgrounds
The Kualoa Regional Park spans 150 acres on the Kualoa Bay and consists of two camping grounds, A and B. However, campground A remains occupied during the summer months for a children’s camping excursion, with only four sites available in other seasons.
You’ll want to stay in Campground B instead, which has 14 campsites in a grassy area with views of the infamous islet known as Chinaman’s Hat. You can access the islet by foot when the tide is low or rent a kayak during high tide and make your way close to it. Other attractions in this area are the Hawaiian fishponds known as Heeia and the Kualoa Ranch.
The campsite B has restrooms and showers, but the rest is up to campers to prepare for themselves, offering a more rustic camping experience.
We highly recommend booking the Kualoa Regional Park on your next trip, as they offer some of the best camping in Oahu.
- The lush ranch nearby was a filming site for Jurassic Park.
- You can get camping permits for up to three days on these gorgeous grounds.
- The campgrounds are accessible for those with mobility issues, as they’re in a plain area.
Address: 49-479 Kamehameha Highway, Kaneohe Oahu.
Winding Up The Best Camping in Oahu
Due to its commercialization, Oahu often gets branded as a crowded island packed with tourists. However, Oahu exists outside of resort-laden Waikiki, consisting of gorgeous beaches, botanical gardens, rainforests and lush mountainscapes.
You’ll find well-maintained camping sites in State Parks and recreational areas on the island, which are perfect for spending quality time in nature.
So head to Bellows Field for camping with the most facilities, Malaekahana Bay for the safest grounds, Ho’omaluhia Gardens for stunning surroundings, and Kualoa Park for an old-school camping experience.
The best camping in Oahu is a must-try for everyone!
Last Updated on March 28, 2023 by Brigitte