Camping on Molokai is excellent, though the sites are
limited. The only real campgrounds on the island are
at 233-acre Pala'au State Park, overlooking the Kalaupapa Peninsula and at
Waikolu Lookout in the Molokai Forest Reserve. Papohaku Beach Park and One
Ali'i Park also have campgrounds
Pala'au State Park, home to Molokai's famous "Phallic
Rock", has pavilions, grills, picnic tables and fresh water.
The park is rarely crowded, and you'll likely have the place to yourself.
The views of Kalaupapa and the ocean beyond are breathtaking, and this is the
kickoff point to hike down the sea cliffs to get
there. It is free to camp here, but you'll need a permit, good for seven
days, from the camp headquarters or from the Division of State Parks in Wailuku
on Maui. (tel. (808) 567-6618).
Camping is permitted for up to a week at Waikolu Lookout, but
you'll have to follow a tough dirt road (Molokai Forest Reserve Road) for 10
miles to get to it. A four-wheel drive vehicle is required to drive on
this road. A free permit must be obtained from the Division of Forestry
and Wildlife, Olo Ave., about one mile west of Kaunakakai (tel. (808) 553-5019).
Located at the 3,600-foot elevation, the Lookout includes a magnificent panorama
of Waikolu Canyon - from the verdant cliffs of the upper gorge with waterfalls
and plunge pools, to the ocean, sea cliffs and offshore
islands lower down. There is a picnic area, restrooms, but
no water. Picnickers and campers must bring their own drinking water. No open
fires are allowed. (Note: the view from the Lookout is
sometimes obscured in the afternoon when tradewind clouds envelop the upper
Papohaku Beach Park has restrooms, drinking water, outdoor showers, barbecue
grills, and picnic tables, as does One Ali'i Park. Get
camping permits by contacting Maui
County Parks & Recreation, P.O. Box 526, Kaunakakai, HI 96748
(tel. (808) 553-3204). Camping is limited to 3 days, but if nobody else has
applied, the time limit is waived. The cost is $3 a person per night.
Ranch also offers their own brand of "luxury camping", which is
perhaps the most luxurious camping
experience in the country. Each of their two campsites feature
"tentalows", unique bungalow-style tents with private bathrooms and
laptop computer connections. To attempt to present a rustic appeal,
tentalows do not have running water; composting toilets are used throughout both
The only other real camping option on Molokai is the Waialua
Pavilion and Campground, a private campground in East Molokai run by the
Waialua Congregational Church. The pavilion sits on the beach and has
kitchen and bathroom facilities. Rates are $3.00 per person per night, and
children under 18 are $1.00 per child per night. For information or
reservations, call (808) 558-8150. We have received reports that this
campground is now closed, so make sure to check first.
Didn't bring your gear? Molokai
Rentals rents camping equipment for $20/day.
Visit the links in the table below for more
information on camping on Moloka'i.