Palaau State Park
Although Molokai offers a wealth of excellent camping opportunities, there is only one state park with a campsite: Palaau State Park in the central part of the island.
Set on nearly 234 acres and offering a scenic overview of the historic Kalaupapa Peninsula, Palaau State Park has tent camping in a grove of ironwood trees. Like the island of Molokai itself, the park is rarely crowded, and there’s a good chance you’ll have the entire run of the place. The park has pavilions, picnic tables, grills and fresh water.
Palaau State Park is home to Kauleonanahoa, Molokai’s famous “Phallic Rock.” According to Hawaiian legends, if a woman goes to Kauleonanahoa with offerings and spends the night there, she will return home pregnant. Translated, Kauleonanahoa is a legendary Hawaiian figure and symbol of fertility.
Camping is free at the park, but you’ll need a permit (good for seven days) from the camp headquarters or from the Division of State Parks on Maui. Call (808) 567-6618 for more information.
Molokai’s State Forest Reserve
Camping is also available at Molokai’s State Forest Reserve. Located in central Molokai, the Waikolu Lookout is accessible by 4-WD vehicle. No drinking water is available, but the site does have picnic facilities, restrooms and spectacular views of Waikolu Valley. The maximum stay is two nights. For permits, call (808) 984-8100.
Papohaku Beach Park and One Alii Park
Papohaku Beach Park and One Alii Park on Molokai’s west side has restrooms, drinking water, outdoor showers, grills and picnic facilities. Papohaku Beach Park fronts Hawaii’s longest white sand beach (over three miles long). One Alii Park, meanwhile, was said to be a favorite playground for Hawaii’s alii (royalty).
Camping permits for Papohaku Beach Park and One Alii Park can be obtained by contacting the Maui County Parks & Recreation, (808) 553-3204. The cost is $3 per person, per night, and camping is limited to three days (if nobody else has applied, however, the time limit is waived.
Waialua Pavilion and Campground
Waialua Pavilion and Campground is a private facility located east of Kaunakakai. Operated by the Waialua Congregational Church, this site is a favorite spot for retreats. Call (808) 558-8150.