Imagine awakening to dawn's first light glistening on a sleepy blue ocean. The day's sun bathers and swimmers haven't yet arrived. The silence is broken only by the rising tide splashing into tide pools, kissing the starfish and urchins. The beach is yours! Or imagine pitching a tent in Volcanoes National Park. As daylight fades and a soothing fragrance from the rain splashed Eucalyptus wafts through the cool air, an outdoor fireplace provides cozy warmth.
The sounds are soothing: rain gently splashing on the pavilion's roof and the broad shiny leaves of surrounding plants, the crackling fire, and the hushed chirping of native birds nesting in the high canopy of massive Koa and Eucalyptus that stand sentinel. E komo mai (welcome) to camping in the Hawaiian Islands!
While Hawaii's world renowned luxury resorts are tempting, one might do well to trade in those plastic lei and simulated waterfalls for a taste of true Paradise, at least for a night or two.
And spending less at pricey resorts (that tend to stress fragile coastlines and often support mega corporations outside of Hawaii) means more to spend on special mementos, good fun and local merchants and artists. Shopping at a grower's market for example is a nice alternative to spending $4 for half a papaya in a resort. For a great campsite breakfast, pick up some fresh fruit (how's five papayas for a buck sound?), mac nut bread and Kona coffee (“talk story” with locals while you're there, and you'll learn a lot more than you will lounging at a resort). Then there are the kayaking adventures, sunset dinner cruises (even frugal, backpacker types appreciate a little wining and dining!), horseback riding on the beach, snorkeling with the dolphins…well you get the idea!
Pitching a tent on a tropical beach or in a fragrant volcano forest is easy in Hawaii where campgrounds range from drive-up parks with full amenities to wilderness settings accessible only to hikers. Public campgrounds are run by Hawaii's National Parks, State Parks and County Parks and are as prolific in Hawaii as papayas.
Those planning on spending all their vacation nights at campgrounds and limiting their vacation to one island would do well opting for the island of Hawaii (Big Island) or Kauai. Both offer several choice campgrounds. However, island hoppers shouldn't overlook the islands of Oahu, Maui, Molokai and Lanai. Depending on the time of year, some reservations fill up months in advance. Apply for permits as early as possible. A good place to start is at Hawaii State Campgrounds which tend to be nicer and cheaper (from $5 for most tent camping to $55 for your own, screened A-Frame at Hapuna Beach on the Big Island).
For details,visit Hawaii State Parks online at
Click on “Permits and Fees.”
If you're planning on combining a Big Island visit with a tour of Oahu (often it costs less to fly to Oahu and from there to an outer island), you might be interested in reading
Hawaii - 7 Nights, 8 Days, $750: an Eco-Budget Guide to Oahu
Written by an award-winning journalist and long-time Hawaii resident, this book shows you how to plan the perfect eco-tour. Many of the tips in this book can be applied to the Big Island.
© 2005 Cindy Blankenship Coconut Roads.com
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