Malaekahana Campground

Malaekahana Campground, Oahu

The Malaekahana State Recreation Area (Kahuku Section) is located on Oahu's windward coast, between Kahuku and Laie, about 55 yards (50 m) off Kamehameha Highway, directly on the beach (look for the "ENTER" sign along the highway).

The 37-acre campground (see more photos, view panorama) is surrounded by pine trees and has picnic tables, restrooms, security, warm showers and a comfort zone, a little hut where people can go in case it is raining. Every campsite also has a fireplace.

The campground has 40 campsites for tent camping, 5 round camping yurts with beds that sleep from 2 to 6 people, 6 rustic cabins that are fully furnished and feature refrigerators and stoves and that can accommodate from 4 to 20 people, and 10 small grass shacks that are equipped with a bench where one can put one's own mattress (these sleep two adults comfortably).

The campground is easy to reach by bus number 55, which stops right in front of the entrance of the campground. If you don't want to bring food, groceries are available in Kahuku and Laie. It's about a mile to Kahuku and two miles to Laie. You can take the bus there or drive with your own car.

Malaekahana Bay is a great spot to go swimming and bodysurfing. The waves aren't as big as on the North Shore, but it can still be a lot of fun. The beach is a bit busy on weekends, but usually calmer during the week, especially further south. But the best area for swimming is the northern part of the bay because the nearshore ocean bottom is sandy here. Further south where the beach homes are, there is a coral reef.

Another fun thing to do there is to visit Mokuauia Island (Goat Island). There are no goats on this tiny island, only nesting seabirds. This seabird sanctuary is situated at the southern end of Malaekahana Bay. During low tide, it is possible to walk there. But if you don't have shoes to wear in the water, it's better to swim, because there is reef and this can be quite sharp. Also, the current can become strong when the tide changes or the surf is high. Most people, who paddle out there, have their bodyboards, surfboards, or small boats with them. The center of the island is off-limites to people because the birds build their nests here.

Most campgrounds on Oahu require permits, which have to be obtained at the State Park Office in advance. But to make a reservation at this campground, which is a community-based non-profit organization called Friends of Malaekahana, you have to call their office directly. It is recommended to make your reservation as early as possible. During peak seasons (June to August and December to January and on long holiday weekends), they are often times booked out. A few years ago, a reservation was often times not necessary. However, the campground has gotten a lot busier in recent years.

Currently, the fee for a tent campsite is $8.34 per person per night. Kama'aina rates (for Hawaii residents) are available. Call 293-1736 for more information and to make a reservation. Two weeks after your checkout, you have to call them to get your security deposit back (if you rented a cabin, yurt or grass shack).

Editor's Note: This campground is very popular, but unfortunately some of its facilities (such as a small rusty shack called the "comfort zone") are not maintained. Here are some photos from February 2012 showing the problem areas (see here).

Malaekahana Campground Overview

  • 40 tent campsites
  • 10 grass shacks (sleeps 2 adults)
  • 5 furnished camping yurts with beds (sleeps from 2 to 6 people)
  • 6 rustic, fully-furnished cabins (sleep from 4 to 20 people)
  • 1 eco-cabin (sleeps up to 6 people)
  • 1 eco-duplex (2 studios, each has room for 4 people)
  • Group camping section (Tutu's Hale - room for 20 people in 5 yurts)
  • Fire pits
  • BBQ facilities
  • Picnic tables
  • Toilets
  • Warm outdoor showers
  • Comfort zone
  • 24-hour on-site security

Location: 56-335 Kamehameha Highway, Laie, HI 96762
Directions: Malaekahana Campground is located between Laie and Kahuku on Oahu's northeastern shore. It's a 35-mile drive from Waikiki. After you pass the town of Laie (driving north), it's about 2-3 more minutes. Look for the white/blue sign that says “Enter.” Follow the driveway to the first building. This is the main office where you check in.


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Reviews and Comments:
 
This is one of the best spots on Oahu to go camping. The beach that fronts the campground is pristine and has good surfing conditions (when the ocean is calm, which is usually in the summer). Many of the campsites are quite big, which is nice if you come with a larger group. Some of the oceanfront spots can get pretty windy though.
Chris, Fri Feb 10, 2012
 
This was the best vacation ever! I wish the showers were "hot" not just warm but besides that, it was still an awesome place to spend a week! Would definitely visit again!
MS, Sat Oct 29, 2011