Oahu is a beautiful (albeit expensive) vacation destination. With a rich history, scenic hiking trails, pumping surf, bustling reefs, and moderate temperatures year-round, Oahu sees 450,000 to 570,000 visitors each month.
If you are one of them, here’s where to find the best spots to pitch camp. Although staying at a beachfront resort or hotel can be nice, camping is an affordable way to visit the island and escape the crowds.
I moved to Oahu in the spring of 2021 and have spent a lot of time scouting out the best campgrounds on the island. Here are six of my favorites.
The 6 Best Campgrounds on Oahu
Ahupuaʻa ʻO Kahana State Park
Located on the windward side of the island, Ahupuaʻa ʻO Kahana State Park is tucked between Ka’a’awa and Punalu’u. The campground has 10 tent camping sites, water spigots, and barebones restrooms, and it’s open for camping Friday through Wednesday.
Beachfront and on the bay, the campground offers stunning views of the bay and easy access to two hiking trails: Kapa’ele’ele Ko’a and Keaniani Lookout Trail and Nakoa Trail. The bay is also a great place to kayak or standup paddle — if the wind is up, there’s a calm river across the street (I highly recommend the river).
Reservations and overnight permits are required — $20 per night for residents and $30 for non-residents.Learn More at Camping eHawaii
Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden
In Hawaiian, Ho’omaluhia means “peaceful refuge,” and the botanical gardens are exactly that. Located in Kaneohe on the windward side of Oahu, the gardens span 400 acres and have plantings from major tropical regions around the world grouped by region.
The only city campgrounds that aren’t on the beach, Ho’omaluhia has three separate camping areas, accounting for 30 campsites in total. Additional amenities include comfort stations, outdoor showers, picnic tables, and fire circles and pads.
The campgrounds are surrounded by a lush, tropical rainforest. With the Ko’olau Range serving as a backdrop, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more picturesque campground.Learn More at Camping Honolulu
Bellows Field Beach Park Campground
Situated on the windward side, Bellows is a beachfront campground on an active military training area. Located on a stunning stretch of beach, the campground is home to 50 campsites as well as two comfort stations, outdoor showers, and two lifeguard towers.
White sand meets turquoise water, making the beach a great spot for sunbathing, swimming, and wind sports. A printed permit is required to camp, and campsites cost $30 per night.Learn More at Camping Honolulu
One of the harder-to-reach campgrounds, Peacock Flats is in the Waianae Range on the west side of the island. Due to its more remote location, it’s typically not crowded and offers incredible views of the North Shore and an impressive display of stars come nighttime.
Apart from the Mokuleia Forest Reserve, there is nearby hiking access to the Mokuleia trail. There are six official campsites: each comes with a shelter, table, and fire pit, and is available for car or tent camping. There is no water available and no restrooms, so be sure to plan accordingly.
To reach the campground, you follow a long, dirt road, so a four-wheel drive is essential. Sites begin at $12 per night.Learn More at Camping eHawaii
Spanning 153 acres, Kualoa Regional Park is located in Kaneohe, across the road from the Pali-ku of the Koʻolau Range. The campground is home to 21 sites and offers incredible views of the surrounding mountains, as well as Mokoli’I Island.
If you’re looking for a fun activity, swim or paddle out to the island and do the short climb to the top for some of the best views on all of Oahu. Additional campground amenities include outdoor showers and a comfort station. Permits are required for camping, and campsites cost $50 per night.Learn More at Camping Honolulu
Malaekahana Beach Campground
Located on the North Shore, Malaekahana is one of the most popular campgrounds on the island. The campground has multiple options including tent camping, vehicle camping, plantation hales, plantation suites, and a pavilion for large groups.
The park has plenty of activities on offer including fishing, swimming, surfing, and body surfing. There are 37 tent campsites, and amenities include showers, bathrooms, electric hookups, fire pits, picnic tables, a market, and equipment rentals.
The campground requires reservations, and the cost varies depending on the site and the number of campers.Learn More