Maui is truly a Hawaiian gem considering how it features 30 miles of red, white and black sandy beaches including golden-crescent Kapalua, that’s sheltered from the strong currents of the pacific by lava-rock promontories. It has 80 beaches in total and has the most miles of accessible beaches than any Hawaiian island. It’s the perfect destination for a getaway given how the place is sprawling with fun-filled activities and culture. Despite its relatively small landmass, the valley Isle provides the most diverse camp terrains in the world. It has seven clear climate zones that offer something for every camper.
Drive-In Campgrounds At Haleakala National Park
Haleakala National Park offers two drive-in campgrounds, Hosmer Grove and Kipahulu. They both have amenities like BBQ grills, picnic tables and pit latrines but there’re no showers at either site. Every car entering the park is required to pay a 3-day parking fee. Free camping is based on a first-come, first-serve. Haleakala is world famous for a Maui sunrise at 10,000 feet above sea level with stellar views above the clouds. Make sure you make your sunrise reservations.
1. Hosmer Grove
This camping spot is located at 7,000 feet between the Haleakala summit and Kula, half an hour from each other. It symbolizes a grove perfectly – a cluster of grass and trees amid a barren, volcanic landscape. There’s access to drinkable water, restrooms, parking and the temperatures are cool. Hosmer Grove is a great camping spot for people wanting to explore Haleakala. Camping here makes the infamous Haleakala Sunrise very convenient. It can take up to 3 hours to travel up to the Haleakala summit for sunrise from other parts of the area. Camping at Hosmer Grove you are getting a big head start considering you’re already at 7,000 feet and the summit is just over 10,000. Please be prepared for the cold night temperature. Just because you’re on a tropical doesn’t mean it doesn’t get cold when you’re at 7,000 feet above sea level. Keep in mind the nighttime temps can reach near freezing so, be prepared with warm sleeping bags and warmer clothes. The area tends to be a bit wetter as well which can add to the cold. Hosmer Grove camping is a first come first serve place. Campers can camp up to 3 nights per month.
Kipahulu is best known for having ‘Oh’eo Gulch also referred to as “Seven Sacred Pools.” You can access the freshwater pools from the grassy campgrounds of Kipahulu on the Kuloa Point Trail. Its located as sea level and is the perfect place for swimming in freshwater, hiking and enjoying the beautiful coastal scenery. Restrooms and parking are available. Kipahulu is usually paired with your trip to Hana side of the island. One Maui’s most epic hikes begins at Kipahulu Visitor Center of Haleakala National Park. There are two waterfalls on either side of the forest: Makahiku Falls and Waimoku Falls. It is a four-mile round trip hike to the waterfalls. The hike is easy and suitable for a wide range of visitors. It can be a bit muddy and even more so during the rainy winter season. Kipahulu is a must stop while camping in Maui.
Hike-In Wilderness Camping
In the Haleakala wilderness, there are three remote, hike-in cabins you can stay the night: Holua, Paliku, and Kapalaoa. Holua and Paliku provide tent camping only with a permit. You can make reservations and obtain a permit from the Haleakala Visitor’s Center. The cabins come with a burning wood stove, 12 bunks, dishes, and cooking utensils but there’s no electricity available. Ensure to plan and pack accordingly for the freezing night temperatures, heavy rain and high elevation.
1. Paliku Hike-in
Paliku seats at 6,380 feet and is the most strenuous area to hike. Depending on the trail you take, it’s a 9.3-10.4-mile hike in. The temperatures are cold, but there are cabins available.
In contrast, Holua has the shortest mile hike in all the three. On the Halemau’u Trail, it’s 3.7 miles or 7.4 miles when using the Sliding Sands Trail. A mixture of tall grass and volcanic rock are what features the camping location. The site offers pit latrines, non-potable water and a capacity of 25 campers.
This hike-in camping cabin sits at 7,250 feet. Using the Halemau’u Trail, it will require a 7.3-mile hike down or a 5.5 mile with the Sliding Sands Trail. Be on the lookout for the silversword, a rare plant with silver hairs and sword-like leaves that can only be found in the Haleakala. The cabin has minimal amenities but it’s better than facing the harsh Haleakala conditions.
Papalaua Wayside Park
This is a county campground and the most easily accessible camping spot. You can pull off the main road and enter the campsite. You have beach access just footsteps in front of you, convenient and budget friendly.
This is a state park that’s located just outside of Hana with freshwater caves, black sandy beach and lava arch. It’s a top stop when on the Road to Hana which is 10 miles from the town. This is a great pit stop on the road to Hana. There are some fun trails to explore and plenty of activity for the day. Make sure to add this to your stop on the road to Hana. The park does have cabins to rent with a two-night minimum stay or feel free to use the campgrounds for $18 per night for visitors.
When you visit paradise, you’ll need a place to stay, and this review provides a complete list of Maui campgrounds you can chill at. Note that Maui camping grounds are categorized into state, Haleakala National Park, county, private and unofficial. Mahalo and make sure to obtain a permit when camping in designated campgrounds.