Camp at Wai'anapanapa State Park
Hawaii › Wainapapa State Park
Added by Sonja Saxe
Wai'anapanapa State Park is often listed as one of the many stops on the road to Hana but it warrants more than just an afternoon. Camping at Wai'anapanapa allows more time to explore the lava fields, sea arches, black sand beaches, and witness the fiery sunrises and sunsets.
Wai'anapanapa State Park is located at mile marker 32 on the Hana Highway. The park has limited parking, but many of the tourists are making quick stops on their journey to Hana and the turnover for parking is fast. Once parked, check in at the office to obtain your overnight permit (must be ordered online ahead of time) and stake out a camping spot on the lawn.
After your camp is set up you can begin exploring Wai'anapanapa. The park is incredibly scenic and has much to offer: a beautiful black sand beach, sea arches, cliff jumping for the brave, hikes through lava fields, and a blow hole.
A great half day hike to take here is the north route on Kings Trail from the black sand beach. The black sand beach is the most visited spot in the park and is easily accessed from the park entrance via steps. If you continue onward (north) from the black sand beach and follow Kings Trail you will find yourself hiking in a lava field along jagged cliffs with huge waves crashing below you. Many people don't hike past the black sand beach so you will be mostly alone on this trail. The trail meanders along the coast and becomes increasingly more strenuous and difficult to find, but there are cairns that mark the path the entire way. After 2.5 miles you will find yourself at a gulch, follow the gulch down the trail to Kainalimu Bay. This is the best turn around point after you've rested up and enjoyed the views.
- Permit for overnight camping
- Water and snacks
- Camping gear
- Boots if you plan to hike on the lava
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Camping, Chillin, Hiking, Photography, Swimming
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Must Have A Permit
You MUST have a permit to camp here, and you have to print it out in advance. The fee is $18 for up to 6 people that are non-Hawaii residents. There's basically this open grass field where everyone camps. It's nice, but don't expect privacy. The bathrooms here work, but the showers are outdoor and do not have hot water. Nevertheless, it's a good way to freshen up. Do not attempt to car camp here without an "authorized camper van." In Hawaii, that means a Westfalia with a camper top, a motorhome, or something similar. If you try to just camp in an SUV or something, the park ranger will come around to each car and make sure no one's sleeping in the parking lot. Also, GET THERE BEFORE 6PM! If not earlier! The parking lot fills up quickly and if you don't get a spot, it can be a pain to have to walk all the way to your car from the campground. Tip: hike down to the Black Sand Beach just northwest of the campground. You will see a small opening to a sea cave that you have to duck down to get into. Just after sunrise, this cave lights up with a beautiful golden color and is a great spot to photograph.
Good spot for groups
I camped here with a group of friends while on a backpacking trip around Haleakala and east Maui. The campgrounds have bathrooms and outdoor showers. I took my first freshwater shower here after five days of roghing it so that was a real treat. I was very tired after hiking and hitchiking so unfortunately I did not explore most of what the park has to offer. The campgrounds consist of mostly an open grassy area, and a smaller wooded area closer to the beach with park benches; If I recall correctly, there are charcoal grills there as well. There are no marked spots for camping so as long as you have a permit, you're free to camp wherever provided you are within the camping area. Also, please ensure that you have a permit as the park's workers do go around and check; The permit number written down on a paper attached to one of the tents in the group sufficed in our situation.
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