Awesome Big Island Beach Campsites
Beach camping is definitely one of the best ways to explore Hawai`i! It is first, and foremost one of the most enjoyed local activities, and one of the best ways to adventure through the Hawaiian Islands. When beach camping in Hawai`i, you can take a moment away from your life and find some true natural peace. Enjoy time with your family, teach your kids how to fish, collect shells, have a campfire, grill up some meat, and just kick back and cruise!
Living in Hawaii, it’s pretty easy for us to be consumed by our everyday schedule and fall into a routine. We are so lucky to live in such a gorgeous environment and at times we forget that we live in a paradise! Sometimes, our routines can even become stagnant, lethargic, and with a lack of better words, it can become kind of monotonous… Ugh. So, when you’re feeling that bored vibe, it’s time to mix it up.
Although the outdoors are part of our everyday life, we can all enjoy camping more often. Beach camping in Hawai`i is pretty freakin’ awesome! There are so many awesome campsites and beaches that we can explore anytime we want. We are truly lucky. Although you may already have your favorite campsite in mind, read through this list of Big Island campsite selections below. Summer is coming…
The five campsites listed below are suggested to the public by the County of Hawai`i. They all provide some public facilities and amenities: restrooms, showers, fresh drinking water, electricity hook-ups, and covered pavilions. In addition, a few of these campsites are great for snorkeling and swimming (pending season). Seek more information about Hawai`i camping permits here: www.camping.ehawaii.gov.
Keokea Beach Park
Located in Niuli’i, North Kohala, Keokea Beach Park is a small cove that’s protected by a man-made boulder wall. The coastline is rocky (so, not much sand here), and inexperienced swimmers should take some precaution. The surf can be rough here depending on the time of the year. Surfers will love this spot! Just mind your P’s and Q’s. Keokea Beach is a great place for a BBQ or a family picnic because it has all the beach amenities you need for beach camping convenience. To get to Keokea Beach Park, take highway 270 North, then go West past Hawi. Take a left at mile marker 27; there you’ll find the beach.
Laupahoehoe Point Park
Located on a peninsula on the Northern coast of the Big Island is Laupahoehoe Point Park. This is a lava ridden beach, so you wont find much sand here. It is gorgeous and scenic, but the ocean can be unpredictable. This isn’t the best place to go beach camping on the Big Island if you’re looking for long days in the sand, but it is the perfect place to go for solace, privacy, and excellent fishing. Laupahoehoe Beach Park is full of convenience amenities, and is commonly visited by the DLNR, so make sure you have both a camping and a fishing permit if you choose to cruise here.
Laupahoehoe Beach is actually a historic site for this area of the Island of Hawai`i. In 1946, a tsunami hit at this exact location, and waves reached over 45-feet above sea level. Devastation definitely affected the community; lives were lost and a school house perished. The name “Laupahoehoe” refers to the kind of lava (pahoehoe) that once flowed here; shaped like a giant leaf (lau). At Laupahoehoe, all Hawai`i beach campers will definitely enjoy spectacular island views. Please take precaution when swimming during the Winter months. From the Mamalahoa Highway, Laupahoehoe Beach Park is located alongside the Hamakua Coast.
Punalu’u County Beach Park
Punalu’u Beach Park is undeniably one of the most beautiful black sand beaches in Hawai`i. Located on the South East side of the Ka`u coast, the beach site is between Na`alehu and Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Here, you will find the Green Hawaiian Sea Turtles gracing black sandy shores, coconut palm ridden shores, lots of shady areas, and a host of beach park amenities. If you do see turtles, please DO NOT touch or harass them in any way!
Punalu’u is the largest black sand beach in Hawai`i, so even if you’re not planning on camping here, it’s still definitely worth a visit. During the day, there is a snack vendor, and all beach park amenities that you need are available including public restrooms and showers. Pending the time of the year, Punalu’u Beach is great for swimming, and snorkeling. As usual, take precaution when swimming in Hawai`i’s oceans. If you’re not comfortable, don’t go out. Please be aware of all ocean safety signage here. Even if you’re not going to swim, you can still have a great time camping here and exploring the coast; breathing in the fresh Hawaiian air, and taking in the scenery. Punaluu County Beach Park is located off of Government Road in Pahala.
Spencer Beach Park
Spencer Beach Park is located in the center of ‘Ohai’ula Beach near Kawaihae. This beach is named after Samuel Mahuka Spencer (1875-1960), a graduate of the Kamehameha School for Boys, and a Big Island County Chairman from 1924-1944.
This white sand beach is amazing for sunbathing in the warm Hawaiian sunshine, BBQ’s, family picnics, snorkeling, surfing, swimming and diving. Ocean conditions are typically calm at Spencer Beach, so it’s a popular spot for visitors and families with children. The campsite is great, and offers all the beach camping amenities you could ever need; showers, restrooms, grassy lawns, covered pavilions, lifeguards, and more. Spencer Beach Park is located just up the road from Hapuna Beach near Kawaihae.
Whittington Beach Park
Located on the South side of the Big Island, Whittington Beach Park was named after Richard H. Whittington (1885-1947), an early settler of nearby Honuapu, Ka`u.
Whittington Park is almost always a sunny Hawai`i beach! In total, this beach park is less than an acre, and has one of the most beautiful cliff and Pacific Ocean views on the Big Island. The beach itself is at sea level, and the bay at Whittington Beach is actually called Honu’apo Bay. Like most of the coastal areas of the Punalu’u district, Whittington and the communities surrounding it were terribly affected by the great tsunami of 1868. In the early 1870’s, sugar mills were built close to the bay, and a wharf and a railroad for ag-transportation were constructed in the early 1880’s. In 1946, another tsunami devastated this area, destroying most of the man-made infrastructure; remnants are still visible today.
Whittington Beach Park is a great place for a picnic with convenient beach park facilities and shaded areas. This beach is definitely a popular local spot; fishing is good here, and it’s a wonderful spot to enjoy the weekend with your family and friends. In reality, there is little beach here, and it’s mostly a rocky coastline. But, there are some sweet fish ponds that are perfect for swimming and exploring with your kids. Whittington Beach Park can be found between Kona and Volcano (mile marker 61-62) off of Highway 11.
Mahalo for reading our Awesome Big Island Beach Campsites post! Do you have a favorite beach campsite on the Big Island? What makes it awesome for some and not for others? Please share this post with your family and friends, and leave us a message in the comment section below!