When I found out my friends were planning to get married on Oahu, I knew I wanted to extend that trip into a Hawaii multi-island journey. Luckily my friend Richard could also manage a month off of work, so we set off to plan a month-long trip to 5 Hawaiian islands (Maui, Moloka’i, Big Island, Kauai and Oahu).
As soon as we started planning, we realized that paying for a month of accommodations in Hawaii would be exorbitant. Traveling around Australia has prepared me for camp life ;D We decided to camp on Kauai and Maui, and figure out alternate accommodations on Moloka’i, Big Island and Oahu.
I found Kauai Camper Rental online, and I love that they rent camp gear. They also rent vans, but we prefer the flexibility of tent camping. Josh and Sarah are super nice and responded to our questions quickly. We ended up getting a tent, sleeping bags, sleeping pads and pillows for sleeping. Other camping gear we had included: camp chairs, lanterns, a cooler, beach umbrella, beach towels, a propane stove and “The Kitchen”. We had everything we could have wanted, but make sure your rental is large enough to hold all this gear! We ended up renting a Jeep Wrangler and it was perfect. We met Josh at their pick up spot in Kapa’a and started our week-long adventure.
The best part of tent camping on Kauai is that you can set up *very* close to the beach. Falling asleep to the sound of waves crashing was a fantastic experience. We ended up camping at 4 spots over the course of a week: Salt Pond Beach Park, Anini Beach Park, Polihale State Park and Kumu Camp.
Salt Pond and Anini are both county parks, which means you have to visit a permit office (only open Monday-Friday) to obtain your permits. However, it only costs $3/person per night! Both Salt Pond and Anini have flushing toilets and cold outdoor showers. We camped at Salt Pond for two nights. Salt Pond is close to Hanapepe, and we got to visit the Friday art night on our first night!
We knew we wanted to stay at different sites to allow us to explore more of the island (without driving a ton each day). After Salt Pond, we packed up and headed to Anini Beach Park (on the north side of the island). This beach was SO calm and stays shallow for quite a while.
After our stay at Anini Beach Park, we decided to camp at Polihale State Park for a night. We debated for a while because of the unpaved road, but ended up deciding to go ahead since the weather seemed ok. DISCLAIMER: Know that if you choose to drive out to the park, your rental insurance is most likely void, so it’s 100% on you if anything happens. We decided to take that risk, and the drive was as bumpy as promised 😀 We made a reservation online (after making an account) before we got there because cell phone coverage at Polihale is spotty at best. There are flushing toilets and outdoor cold showers. The beach was lovely (sand is so fine), but we heeded all the warnings to not go swimming because the currents are strong.
There are 4 camping sections at Polihale, and I think we chose the 3rd one. We scoped out a couple possible spots with a better beach view but chose our spot (header image) because of the shade. It gets *hot* out there during the day. After we cooked a quick camp dinner, we watched the sunset and the stars come out. Without light pollution, on the far western end of Kauai, the stargazing at Polihale is incredible. The moon didn’t rise til around 9:30pm so we had a solid hour of trying to identify constellations. (Spoiler alert: it’s hard when the sky is full of stars…)
The last spot we camped at was Kumu Camp. It’s a private campground (with an indoor hot shower)! It’s also closest to Kapa’a (where we had some food dreams to fulfill). We were also able to return some gear early (since we were close to Kauai Camper Rental’s gear drop-off spot)- which was necessary since we exchanged our Jeep Wrangler for a Mustang convertible (red, no less) on the last day.
All in all, we had a fantastic experience with Kauai Camper Rental. We got to camp on all 4 sides of Kauai (south, north, west then east) to fully experience the island. It’s great to show up with a rental car and pick up all the gear you need (without having to bring it from home). All four campsites we chose were great and I only wish we had more time to stay on Kauai.