Travel Stories: Camping in Hawaii with Kids

camping-in-hawaii-with-a-baby-toddler-preschooler

Travel Stories: Camping with a Baby & Preschooler in Hawaii

I DO NOT CAMP.  However, I might consider camping in Hawaii–even with kids! I loved reading about Jessica’s unintended Kauai camping adventure with her (then) baby and preschooler, and I hope you will too!

camping-on-the-beach-in-hawaii-with-kids

Camping in Hawaii with Kids… Our Kauai Camping Adventure with a Baby & a Preschooler

My husband and I love to travel to a new country every winter with our two cutie kiddos Violet now five years old and Nova two years old.

A year ago we got ready for our adventure living for three months on a farm in Hawaii on the island of Kauai. Such a dream! We were all set, had a place to stay for free, providing we worked 10 hours a week (piece of caaaaake) and we could eat food fresh from the farm. 

We arrived to find the farm was not the paradise as advertised…not even close. They were really banking on us loving salad, because they only grew lettuce. Staying there with kids was just not an option we felt comfortable with. 

So we quickly found ourselves in a new country, not knowing anyone, and any car rentals or hotels/Airbnbs were so far beyond our expected budget we would never be able to stay. At one point we were just sitting on a sidewalk with all our backpacks and the kids… what the f*%# do we do now?! 

I had been following a few accounts on Instagram of people living their best lives on the island, I reached out to them for help or advice. Two got back to me and said the campgrounds around the island were great, especially Anini Beach for kids.

The next day we bought a sweet SUV (waaaaaay cheaper than renting for three months) a yurt-style tent, air mattress, propane burner, and sleeping bag. We set up camp at Anini Beach, and just like that we were back on top.

Our tent on the beach when camping in Hawaii with kids

Our home for 3 months camping in Hawaii with kids | courtesy Jessica Low

Our day-to-day lives camping with kids in Hawaii:

All Kauai campgrounds around the island close once a week just to prevent people from living there, so every week we would pack ourselves up and move to the next slice of heaven. Oh and did I mention camping was $3 a night per adult!! Basically free!

Our typical day was unzipping the tent to the sun, sand, and sea, playing on the beach, followed by naps in our hammock. Searching for shells, snorkelling, surfing, making friends (everyone is insanely nice), dinner, stories, and falling asleep to the sweet sound of the ocean… for three months… we almost didn’t come home. 

Toddler in backpack carrier hiking in Hawaii

Nova in her backpack carrier. We used it for every hike! | courtesy Jessica Low

We did a ton of hiking up mountains, and down to waterfalls and secret beaches. We could not have done that without our baby carrier backpack from Mountain Equipment Co-op. Nova sat in hers for every hike, and would often fall asleep. There were some little trails she could walk through, but most were a heavy incline, steep, or involved wading through rivers or ankle deep mud. I would say a baby carrier backpack is really the only must-have item we packed.


Hike down to Wailua Falls while camping in Hawaii with kids

Our hike down to Wailua Falls | courtesy Jessica Low

A few lessons learned camping in Hawaii with a baby & preschooler:

Don’t overthink packing. Especially when it comes to toys, we brought a small backpack full. Turns out two barbies and a colouring book would have been more than enough. If you give kids the chance, they actually prefer to use their imagination. Seashells, sticks, digging holes, and finding treasures is wayyyyy more fun than anything you could ever pack. 

Besides, anything you may forget they definitely sell there already. 

Find the local library! Even if you can’t get a library card (which you can in Hawaii for $10) it’s a great place to take the kids on a rainy or super-hot day. Libraries always have different activities and it’s an awesome place to meet other kids and parents 🙂

Beach time at Polihale while camping in hawaii with kids

Beach time at Polihale | courtesy Jessica Low

Most importantly, don’t underestimate your kids!!! They are so much more adaptable and versatile than we think. Sometimes it’s our own insecurities and fears that get in the way rather than theirs. I have never seen my kids more in their element than I did on Kauai. Let them be wild and free! 

Tent life for three months with two kids had its expected challenges, but I would never change our experience for anything. The universe works in mysterious ways and we are forever grateful. 

jessica-low-family-travel-barefootfourJessica Low is exploring the world with her husband and two adorable daughters. “We are a Canadian family that loves nothing more than travelling the world together. We are all about living simply, truly being in the present moment, and having absolutely amazing adventures!!! Life is not work, it’s play.”

See where they are now on Instagram @barefootfour.

Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say about camping in Hawaii at Tripadvisor



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