Obscured from view from Kamehameha Highway in Kahuku on the North Shore of Oahu, is what may be the purest definition of a hidden gem. Malaekahana is a beautiful crescent moon shaped beach that is camouflaged by slight hills, brush, and trees. The sand is a powdery beige and the water is the color you expect from an isolated island in the North Pacific. It’s almost always uncrowded, and consistently idyllic aside from strong winds that batter the cove from time to time. While obscure its allure is strong enough to invite adventurous travelers to spend a night or significantly more in the state park. You’re thinking about joining them, but want to learn more before you do, which is why you’re online and searching for Malaekahana Beach Campground reviews. Below is everything you need to know.
Comprehensive Review of Malaekahana Beach Campground Accommodations, Activities, and Attractions
Malaekahana Beach Cabins
There are a series of hales (cabins) at Malaekahana Beach to accommodate groups of up to four. Nightly rates range from about $59/night to $119/night. There is also an option to rent out a grouping of hales to accommodate large parties (up to 20) for roughly $389/night. Lower price range options are without electricity or plumbing, while higher priced options include the expected conveniences of civilization. Don’t expect much as far as luxury is concerned in these rusty, rustic, and weather battered cabins. More likely than not there will be geckos (fun) and insects (not so fun) in your hale. If you want to avoid the latter, camping in a tightly sealed tent or vehicle is the preferred option.
Check cabin availability here.
Malaekahana Beach Camping
If you love camping in a tent or vehicle, it doesn’t get much better than this North Shore nook. For just under $9.50/night per person you and your camping companions will enjoy starry nights before falling asleep to the sound of waves lapping the shore. In the morning you will awake to the vibrant spectacle that is Malaekahana Beach.
Check camping availability here.
There are restrooms facilities throughout the campground.
The camp store is open daily from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. The store carries all of the expected camping supplies along with snacks and treats.
Malaekahana Beach Crowd
The camping crowd varies at Malaekahana Beach. On one visit you may find the grounds flooded with backpacking students from Europe. On another you’ll be greeted by groups of locals who have come to enjoy a low-budget staycation. There are adventurous families of four, caravanning couples, and more. There are many characters to be found camped out at Malaekahana. Will you become one of them?
Malaekahana Beach Snorkeling
Curious travelers ask about about Malaekahana Beach snorkeling. This really isn’t the place for that. The reef is further out beyond the shore-breaking waves and it doesn’t invite many fish into its fold. You may see a sea turtle and a few rogue Uku, but that’s about it. The reef’s position about 20 to 30 yards from shore is a good thing for swimmers and waders however. It’s all sand-bottomed which is a rarity for most of the North Shore.
Malaekahana Beach Surfing
There’s a slight surf break on the western end of the beach about 30 or 40 yards out depending on the tide. It’s often smaller, windblown, and inconsistent but it can be fun if you don’t take your sessions too seriously. It does get better (from an intermediate perspective) in the winter when seasonal swell arrives on this side of the island. If you don’t have a board, you can rent hardtop NSP longboards and soft-tops at the camp store. They also have stand-up paddle boards and boogie boards. You may not need a board at all, as Malaekahana offers some pretty fun body surfing.
While Malaekahana feels remote, there are upscale beachfront homes on the eastern side of the beach. This is comforting for those who may be concerned about “roughing it”, and it’s fun to walk along the beach to enjoy the view of these homes along with creative beach shacks and exterior decor. Beachcoming in the fall and winter is also enjoyable as the beach gets littered with treasures such as driftwood and even the odd fishing float.
Outside of the campground, you’ll be pleased to find two of the North Shore’s top attractions. The first, is the Kahuku Roadside Food Court which has the best collective of food trucks on Oahu. It is also home to the island’s best banana bread. The other big attraction is right across the road – the Climb Works Keana Farms Zipline Tour.
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