Hawaii state parks are great because they give you a little beach, a little wilderness and a whole lot of beauty. The parks are a great way to spend time with family and friends outdoors, but it can be expensive to keep visiting the state parks!
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Since Hawaii has so many different islands, each island is responsible for managing their state parks. They may have different rules and fees from island to island so always check with the one you’re visiting first!
Save money visiting Hawaii state parks.
Visiting Hawaii state parks is not too expensive, but the vehicle entry fees can really add up if you’re visiting on a regular basis. Those who are tourists or who are just visiting the island may have to pay a $3 fee for parking at the parks. The fee pays for your entrance to the park as well as parking. It will cover most passenger vehicles unless there is seating for more than nine in the vehicle. If your vehicle seats more than nine or seats more than 15, you might have to pay additional fees since you’ll count as a group.
Since Hawaii is divided into many small islands, the parks are not at all close to each other. The islands are responsible for governing the state parks on their island and they set different rules and fees. For that reason, the fees can range anywhere from $2 per vehicle up to $5 per person. Most of the parks do have a free walk-in entrance for both residents and tourists. Checking with the state park you plan on visiting before you plan your trip is a great way to ensure you won’t be surprised with fees to enter the park.
The charge to get into Hawaii state parks is a recent change the parks are taking to keep the areas open. Because of this, they’re relying heavily on tourists in the parks. Residents rarely have to pay any fees to get into any of the parks. While it may be different from island to island, most agree that Hawaii residents should not pay to get into the parks. If you are a resident of one island in Hawaii, you likely won’t need to pay to get into a state park even if it’s on a different island.
Since the parks are all governed differently, Hawaii does not offer an annual park pass.
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Some Hawaii state parks offer no entrance fees.
There are some Hawaii state parks that offer free admission. The parks don’t have a residency requirement. While this list is up to date at the time of publication, it’s important to check with the park before visiting because things could change depending on new laws and even the season.
Most of the parks have additional opportunities you may have to pay for. Inside tours are usually extra and cost an average of $1 per person.
These parks are free to get into and do not charge vehicle parking fees:
- Waiʻānapanapa State Park
- Mālaekahana State Recreation Area
Puʻu O Mahuka Heiau State Historic Site
- Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area
- Ulupō Heiau State Historic Site
- Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park
- Kōkeʻe State Park
- ʻIolani Palace State Monument
- Keaīwa Heiau State Recreation Area
- Kīholo State Park Reserve
- Kekaha Kai (Kona Coast) State Park
- Manukā State Wayside
- Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline
Get discounts on camping and activities at Hawaii state parks.
Hawaii offers some of the cheapest camping of all the state parks in America. The campsite fees start out at $12 per night for primitive sites. When we checked, the highest cost for hookup sites was $37 per night. These fees are not season-based and are the same year round. Each state park can choose to set its own fees for camping. Some state parks may offer discounts to those who are disabled, veterans and seniors.
Most of the state parks have historic sites within them that you can visit while you’re at the state park. Many of the historic sites charge a fee. Military members can get into most state park historic sites and tour locations for just $1. Families that are low-income, seniors and people who are disabled may also qualify for discounts on the state park tours. Since Hawaii is restructuring its state park system, it’s important to check for these discounts before you visit because they could change at any time.
There are lots of things to do in the parks.
The rich history of Hawaii offers visitors a chance to experience more than just sandy beaches and fun opportunities. There is a vast archaeological history offered at nearly all the parks. You can enjoy free educational programs in these areas and you can even learn more about the parks through the archaeological options the parks have to offer. Some of the sites require an additional fee, but once you’re into the site, you can enjoy museums, classes and additional information for free.
From whales to coconuts and everything in between, wildlife learning opportunities at Hawaii state parks are always included with your entrance into the state parks. Some of the events may cost extra if you’re visiting during celebrations or special events, but many of the options they have are free. Most state parks have free educational buildings and even interpretive centers you and your kids can learn about the state parks in.
All the state parks have hiking and walking trails. These trails range from beginner to expert. The state parks each have different maps you can use to plan your trip in advance. They may even offer some free first-day hikes to those who are interested!