The other day, I was talking to an acquaintance who was born and raised on Maui and discovered that he had never been to Hana. I suspect that this is not as uncommon as it sounds. Living on Maui is a remarkable experience, but it can also be difficult. Going to work, which we must do to pay the rent, we drive by tourists on vacation experiencing the beauty and relaxation of Maui. Sadly, some residents haven’t experienced as much of their own island as tourists.
Enough with that. We can all find time to walk away from our busy lives. It should be argued that we can’t afford not to, since modern life causes stress and stress causes unhealthiness and unhappiness. What better way to walk away from the hectic pace of life for a weekend than camping? Being in nature, unplugged from the devices that have come to define our modern existence, can rest your brain and make you feel alive in ways that a weekend spent indoors watching Planet Earth never can.
There are a few ways to camp. One is to pack up all the gear, hike it somewhere remote, build a fire with your own two hands and earn the experience of being in nature. If that doesn’t sound appealing, or you don’t have a tent, there are other ways to get similar benefits without having to do all the work.
“Glamping,” a portmanteau of glamour and camping, isn’t just an Instagram fad. It’s also a way to reap the benefits of camping without needing all the gear or having to do as much work. Luckily, there’s a great spot ot do it right here on Maui.
Just off the Pali, Camp Olowalu occupies the peninsula right across from the General Store. The park-like venue offers several levels of camping: campsites for those who want to bring a tent but still want access to a bathroom and hot shower ($20/adult, $5/kid, under 8 years free), cabins for large parties (six A-frame cabins sleep six people each) and tentalows, or large tents on a raised wooden platform, for those who want to reap all the benefits of camping, but in style and with much less of the work. Tentalow rates start at $95 per night for a standard size, or $150 per night for a family size. Pet fees are $3 and extra cots run $20.
With the backdrop of Mauna Kahalawai rising steeply in the background, Camp Olowalu is gorgeous. The owners have put in a lot of recent work, and the place is cute. The picturesque grounds have stretches of green grass with papaya, palm and banana trees rustling in the breeze. The tentalows are scattered across the field, punctuated by picnic tables, benches, grills and a communal campfire pit.
This “glamping” setup includes a canvas-style tent on a wooden platform. Each tentalow comes with a lockable chest containing a safe to store your things. There are two chairs on the front deck, small but comfy beds, solar lights and a sink. Under the bed, a bin full of linens, blankets, washcloths and towels means you can show up with your clothes and some food and still be pretty set. The best part is the private outdoor shower, best experienced at night under the stars. True to a camping experience, there are no outlets in the tentalows, which is a great opportunity to unplug for a weekend.
Across the street is Leoda’s, which has great food and epic pies, the Olowalu General Store and a daytime farmer’s market. On the dark sandy beach that runs along the front of the camp just steps away from the campsites, campers can rent kayak and stand up paddle boards.
A bit more of a glamorous and easy way to camp along the Pali, Camp Olowalu offers some peace and privacy, and a mini-escape from the daily grind. Sitting around the stone pit campfire at night, you can feel the wind and fire and stars. In the morning, wild roosters crow you awake to watch the sunrise. By the end of the trip, you can walk away refreshed and maybe a little more connected.
800 Olowalu Village Road
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