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Camping in Hawaii
This summer, we want to go camping on Oahu with our two kids (5 and almost 2yrs). Any recommendations concerning campsites? Malaekahana Beach Park seems to be good from what we've found on the internet. Has anybody been there? Does anybody have recommendations for other sites? Thanks and aloha
I would advise extreme caution going anywhere on Oahu away from the tourists-especially on the west side. If you must go camping do so only in places where there are numbers of other campers around you. I feel safer in Mexico and Thailand than I do on Oahu traveling with a child. Be very aware of your surroundings. Cars are stolen and scrapped for parts. There is alot of hostility in locals pushed out of the prime areas by developement and forced to live their lives on low incomes in less desireable parts of the island. We found the north shore more welcoming but never got fully comfortable anywhere on Oahu after our experience on the west side. Never leave your car with valuables inside. Never go to places where you are isolated far from help. The lifeguard described the west side as the wild wild west-completely out of control where even the police are afraid to venture. We have had similar experiences on Maui and other islands but not to the extreme we found on Oahu. Be very careful if you must venture out of the tourist areas and perhaps you might consider another island. We saw a family like yours parking their rental van in the lot where the monster truck was oblivious to the dangers all around them and a van full of valuables preparing to walk down the hill to the beach where they would be all alone and vulnerable as they left their van for the thieves above. I was blown away by their lack of common sense and oblivian to the world around them. Don't make their mistake! been there
I've stayed in Local neighborhoods without any incident -- of course, I don't stray on the Local's beaches when they're having their fun (bon fires and parties), and I don't try to take stray pictures in places where I might be violating others' privacy -- but that's not to say one will not experience some modicum of hostility or even violence. I've met with some hostility, but for the most part, stand-offish is the worst I've gotten and downright friendly and inviting by several people I've met in my travels (I've even been invited to private luau's and other bbq's by Locals).
Read some history of the islands before you go, read the guide books, ask the Locals in the tourist industry -- they will tell you where you are not welcome, and given my experiences, they are the knowledgable people as to what/where is safe and what/where is not. They don't want you where you don't belong, and don't really want you get into trouble.
I guess in the end result, it's best not to try camping out anywhere that isn't for the tourist trade (i.e. will be by the lottery system, probably), and I would be culturally very sensitive. Hawaii is a State that really is it's own world; they need tourism, but they don't really want it. We are welcome as long as we keep to their rules, not intrude on their private worlds and respect them for their rich ethnic and cultural heritage.
At the very least, learn to say aloha (hello and goodbye)and mahalo (thank you!) when appropriate. It's the least you can do. Oh, and don't camp out where you're told not to. Given another posters experience, clearly that's a bad idea. -- A respectful hauli
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