5 Reasons Why Hamakua is a Campers Paradise
While pitching a tent may not be the first idea that comes to mind when you’re planning your Hawaiian vacation, the beauty and expansive landscape of the Big Island lends itself perfectly to a night or two spent under the stars. And with so many campsites spread across the island, your options are staggering in number. But for the following reasons, we think the northeastern region of Hamakua is uniquely suited to camping out and roughing it for a few days during your Big Island stay. Here’s why:
A former agricultural hub, the Hamakua Coast is now populated by smaller, specialized farms growing fruits and vegetables that can be found at regional farmer’s markets. But the lush natural beauty extends beyond the endless farms and grazelands – dense tropical rainforests, scenic lookouts, and extensive coastal areas populate Hamakua at every turn, leaving countless opportunities to explore the great outdoors.
Quiet and Secluded
Sparsely populated and lacking major highways, the winding roads of Hamakua will keep you well away from the bustling tourist areas along the western coast and in Hilo. While there is only one major campsite in the area in the Kalopa State Recreation Area, the site offers public restrooms, hiking trails, a pavilion, drinking water, and even cabins for private use.
Plentiful Hiking and Exploration
The Hamakua Heritage Corridor is a scenic coastline that stretches from Hilo to Waipio and offers unbelievable opportunities for outdoor adventuring. There are two botanical gardens along the drive and a network of hiking trails exist throughout the area, but the main attraction here is the Waipio Valley Lookout, an access trail into the valley that takes you through staggeringly high cliffs, waterfalls, lush tropical areas, and a black sand beach.
Access to Supplies and Services
Honoka’a, the largest town on the Hamakua Coast, offers restaurants, shops, and a farmer’s market every Saturday morning. While it lacks for big box retailers and a hospital, nearby Hilo and Kapaau have medical services available and care for many on the island. While no one plans to need emergency services during their vacation, it’s always better to be prepared in case something happens while you’re camping.
Plenty of Camping Styles Available
Aside from the Kalopa State Recreation Center (while a worthy camping spot in its own right), Hamakua is home to a few other non-traditional camping options. The affordable and quaint Hamakua House offers outdoor, covered cabanas with sleeping rolls or hammocks, depending on your preference. Nearby, the Laupahoehoe Beach Park offers basic camping options, but campers who really want an adventure can seek out the Waimanu Valley Campsite in the Kohala Forest Reserve for a more remote Big Island experience.