As an avid outdoor enthusiast, adventurer, and camper, I've traveled the world looking for great camping spots from cabins and tent sites to van camping and glamping. I've van camped in Iceland, hiked and camped Torres del Paine, tent camped Kalalau Trail in Kauai, canoe camped the Boundary Waters in Minnesota, and the list goes on and on. Having lived in the Hawaiian Islands since 2013, I wanted to give you my insider's knowledge of Maui camping spots. Enjoy my top five Maui camping spots. Maui No Ka Oi (Maui is the best!)
Wai'ānapanapa State Park - Black Sand Beach & Cabins
After driving the fifty-two+ mile journey on the Road to Hana, Wai'ānapanapa State Park is a great resting spot and camping destination. The park is known for its black sand beach, but it has an amazing coast for sunrise. Know that if you are wanting to drive the Road to Hana and park at Wai'ānapanapa and you are not a local, you will need to reserve a parking spot. This is to ensure that numbers don't exceed what would be a pleasurable, outdoor experience for all.
If you are interested in cabin camping at Wai'ānapanapa State Park, plan in advance and with a relatively open schedule. They take reservations thirty days out and online only. However, they are great for a couple's getaway or a family vacation. One major bonus is you can drive up to the cabins. There is no need to hike to them. The cabins have a full bathroom, a basic kitchen, and two rooms with bunkbeds for six. Additionally, the park has van camping as well, but only for approved camper vans. Previously, the park offered tent camping. Check the website for post-Covid-19 reopening.
Camp Olowalu Tentalows, Van Camping, & Tents
Camp Olowalu is a lovely beachfront property located right between Kihei and Lahaina. The camp has tentalows, van camping, and tent camping options. Plus, they offer rentals of kayaks for easy access to the beautiful coral gardens offshore. Many have the unforgettable opportunity to swim with sea turtles (honu) and different tropical fish.
Camp Olowalu is a great option if you are van camping, want a break from your condo, and/or are doing tent camping. Rates are reasonable and the sunsets are priceless.
Haleakalā National Park - Sunrise Resos & Backcountry Permits
Like most National Parks, Haleakalā has a combination of camping options from cabins, tent camping, and backcountry tent camping. However, the backcountry and cabin options require anywhere from 3-10+ miles of hiking one-way. Because of demand, there is an online reservation system for camping as well as sunrise access to the park from 3am-7am. Because of Covid-19 most camping options were closed, but as of writing this post, the backcountry camping has reopened. Check the park's website for availability of backcountry permits, cabin reservations, and tent sites at Hosmer Grove Campground (opened 6/1/21).
Polipoli Spring State Reserve - Cabin & Great Sunrise
A rather unknown, but gorgeous area in Upcountry, Maui, is Polipoli State Reserve. Unlike the palm trees and beaches of the Southside, this area is cooler in temperature with Redwood and Eucalyptus forests. It can be very cloudy, but your best bet for a great view is sunrise (featured image of post).
In Polipoli Spring State Reserve, there is one cabin (open) as well as tent sites (closed due to Covid). The cabin is rustic but well worth the experience. You can book thirty days out via phone with Maui County. Be warned: you need to call exactly at 8 am to get the cabin. AND, you must have a 4WD to access the cabin or the trails close to the campground. Check the reserve's website for campsite reopening and cabin availability.
Hip Camp Private Options - Van Camping, Tents, Yurts, & More
With the growing popularity of shared economy like AirBnb and ride shares, it is no surprise that the same has transpired with camping. Hip Camp offers private options for a bit more off-the-beaten-path experience. Owners of open land, as well as glamping options, have found a place to connect with adventurers wanting to camp on their properties with Hip Camp. By far, one of the favorites on Maui is close to Hana, Caroline's, with seven tent or van camping opportunities for a reasonable price. However, you can find more Hip Camp opportunities on Maui from yurts and more.
Please note: the State of Hawaii doesn't permit sleeping in your vehicle unless you are in an official campground or on private land with permission. There are some secluded places that you can get away with it, but the above are tried and true.
Want More Maui Adventure Travel Tips?
If you are planning a trip to Maui, please check out my other resources for your stay on the Valley Isle.
If you have camping or adventure activities that I have missed. I'd love to hear from you in the comments. FYI: I haven't had time to share all my Maui tips and tricks yet. However, I'm looking forward to it.
As always, here's to looking up!