You might be surprised to learn that for a state that’s all about the outdoors all year long, glamping in Maui (and, well, glamping in Hawaii in general), isn’t really an established “thing.” At least, not yet.
But on Maui’s west side, just 10 minutes from Lahaina, Camp Olowalu is one unique retreat that’s offering Hawaii visitors a more laidback alternative to expensive beachfront resorts.
I’d been following Camp Olowalu on Instagram for years, hoping to one day experience what it’s like to ‘glamp’ (which literally means “camp glamorously”) just steps from the ocean in my home state. And this year, while planning a birthday trip to Maui, I was finally able to make it happen!
As you guys know, I’m never one to shy away from a nice hotel. I love the amenities, the wifi, the hotel lobby bars, and the no-worries approach to travel. But I will just as quickly sleep in a tent on the ground as I will in a king-sized bed.
But wait! Fortunately, even if you don’t camp and the idea of sleeping on the ground is just not your style, Camp Olowalu offers a happy medium that enables you to easily disconnect and embrace west Maui’s beautiful landscape without foregoing basic comforts.
And the best part? Being able to wake up just steps from the beach, for a fraction of the cost of any other beachfront accommodation you’ll find in Hawaii.
Wondering where to stay in Maui, and considering glamping at Camp Olowalu? Read on for my Camp Olowalu review!
About four miles south of Lahaina, Olowalu is a small community in west Maui that you’ll pass when heading up or down the Honoapi’ilani Highway.
Olowalu was long considered a place of refuge to Hawaiian people. Hawaiians would come here to seek sanctuary, and use Olowalu as a safe space to resolve disputes. Today, that idea of refuge and sanctuary lives on in the environment Camp Olowalu has created – one designed to help you escape, disconnect, and really appreciate your surroundings.
Olowalu also represents other cultural ties that are worth noting. From its traditional farmer population to Olowalu Valley’s official designation as a Native Hawaiian cultural site, Olowalu provides a lens into the relationship between people and the environment that is a cornerstone of Hawaiian culture.
Glamping in Maui takes place here, right next to your own private beach and to Coral Gardens, one of Hawaii’s most unique marine systems and most popular snorkeling sites!
What Is Glamping? What Is Glamping in Maui Like?
Glamping is a portmanteau of glamorous + camping. Basically, it’s a concept that has exploded massively in the past several years enabling travelers to connect with nature without sacrificing creature comforts.
Glamping is a perfect solution for those who want to experience the outdoors but do not love the idea of full-on camping.
What I appreciate most about Camp Olowalu, and what really makes it unique, is that it has a little bit of something for everyone, from full-on outdoor enthusiasts, to couples, families, and groups of all adventure levels, looking to enjoy some time under the stars.
Have a tent? Great! They have 35 campsites by the beach.
Have a rooftop tent, camper van, or RV? They offer car camping for vehicles each night.
Want to sleep in a bed? Have zero camping experience? That’s fine too! They have tentalows (tent bungalows) for either couples or groups of up to 4, as well as cabins for even larger groups!
The Camp Olowalu Property and Amenities
The 700-acre Camp Olowalu property is, in a word, stunning. Set in the beautiful Olowalu Valley, on its own private beach, Camp Olowalu is an oasis that immediately feels removed from everything else, even if you are just a quick exit off the highway.
Camp Olowalu Property Amenities Include:
- Secure gated access
- Onsite convenience shop
- Picnic tables
- BBQ stands
- Fire pits
- Private and communal showers + toilets
- Communal snack machines
- Dishwashing stations
- Private and communal coolers
- 2 communal charging stations
- Wifi near the reception
- Cheap kayak + paddleboard rentals
- Kayak tours
While the property itself is fairly simple, it’s also super secure with gated access only for overnight guests. There’s a small reception office at the entrance, and a convenience shop that sells coffee, firewood, and I believe s’mores kits (I’m sure there’s more, but I just bought firewood so I can only vouch for that!).
Throughout Camp Olowalu, you’ll find picnic tables, BBQ stands, and fire pits for all to use, first-come, first-served. While tentalow and cabin guests have their own private showers and designated bathrooms (more on that below), campers also have access to communal hot showers and bathroom facilities. All guests also have easy access to snack machines, a communal ice chest, sinks and soap to wash off any BBQ equipment, and outlets for charging devices. The only downside is you either have to stay with your device or leave it at the charging station. Leaving your device out of sight may not bother you (the area is super safe), but it’s worth noting regardless.
While staying at Camp Olowalu, guests can rent kayaks and paddleboards from reception for cheap (I believe the rates were super inexpensive – maybe $25-$35 for the day) or take a guided morning kayak tour. You also have uninterrupted access to the camp’s private beach!
Pro Tip: If you’re staying for a couple days, consider buying a cheap hammock or beach chair for lazy mornings lounging by the ocean. Thank me later.
Some articles on the web will tell you that Camp Olowalu doesn’t have WiFi. To clarify, there is WiFi near reception which I actually had no issues connecting to most of the time. It’ll likely depend on where you’re staying and how far it is from the office, but there is definitely WiFi! Also, as you’re only a couple miles away from Lahaina, you might get cell signal too.
Camp Olowalu has multiple accommodations from basic to full-on glamp, depending on your price point, group size, and desired amenity level:Tent Camping in Camp Olowalu Tentalow Glamping in Camp Olowalu
- Tent Camping: There are 35 campsites at the front of the property, closest to the beach.
- Car Camping: If you have a rooftop tent, van, camper, or RV, you can park at Camp Olowalu and sleep here overnight while still enjoying the property’s amenities. The only thing is that there’s no water, electric, or sewer hook-ups for your campers or RVs.
- Single and Family Tentalows: Camp Olowalu’s 21 tentalows come equipped with two twin beds (single) or four twin beds (family), as well as a private shower, sink, cooler, safe, and lanai (patio). While the cots are fairly basic, you are provided with bed linens and the beds can be pushed together if you want something bigger. The tentalows do not have AC or fans, which is fine in the winter (bring a layer or two!) but in the summer, just know you may be woken up early by the sun. That really just means more time for the beach!
- Single tentalows are $140/night/2 adults
- Family tentalows are $195/night/4 adults
- Kids 8 and under are free, and kids 9 and up cost $25/night
- Cabins: There are 6 A-frame cabins that are designed for bigger group gatherings of up to 36 (6 per cabin). Perfect for family trips, reunions, or birthdays, cabin guests also get access to Camp Olowalu’s mess hall and a full kitchen, with kitchen gear that you can rent as needed.
- $1500/night (weekly discount is $1250/night)
Pro Tip: All Hawaii residents with a Hawaii state ID can snag a Kama’aina rate and take 10% off accommodations when camping or glamping in Maui at Camp Olowalu!
Food and Drink
Outside of coffee, s’mores, and other light snacks that you can buy onsite, Camp Olowalu is really designed for BBQing and communal cooking. The closest grocery stores will be 15 minutes up the road, in Lahaina.
Immediately across the street from Camp Olowalu, you’ll find Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop, a popular Maui institution using farm-fresh, sustainable ingredients to cook up solid breakfasts, sandwiches, and pies. A must-stop if you’re staying at camp!
If you plan on dining elsewhere, know that Camp Olowalu is pretty centrally located and you won’t need to drive far. For reference, you’ll only be about 15 – 45 minutes from Lahaina, Pa’ia, Kihei, and Wailea.
Volunteer and SAVE on Glamping in Maui (The Mālama Hawaii Program)Image Credit: Kipuka Ololwalu
You may have noticed earlier that I mentioned Hawaii residents can get 10% off. But there is a way you can still snag a discount, even if you aren’t local!
How? By volunteering!
Next to Camp Olowalu, you’ll find the Olowalu Cultural Reserve (also known as Kipuka Olowalu). Every Wednesday and Thursday from 7:30 am – 12pm, you can spend a couple hours volunteering and learning about Hawaii’s cultural and environmental values.
All you need to do is volunteer 1 day during your stay on Maui and show your volunteer confirmation email to the reception at Camp Olowalu, and you’ll get 10% off!
More info about volunteering at Kipuka Olowalu can be found here.
Is Glamping in Maui for Me?
Camp Olowalu has a little something for most groups. I’d say friends, couples, families with kids, locals with pets, and larger group celebrations can all be accommodated here.
The only things I want to reiterate are that the tents are on the glamping-lite side, meaning the beds are fairly simple, there’s no AC or heating, there are no outlets (though they’re nearby), and the bathrooms are semi-private. So if you’re looking for ultra-luxe glamping, this is definitely a bit more scaled down.
However, if you’re looking for:
- An accommodation that’s couples-, kid-, pet-, or group-friendly
- Something cheaper than most Hawaii hotels
- Camping / Glamping options in Hawaii
- An experience to relax, disconnect, and slow down
- Opportunities to volunteer and / or appreciate nature close-up
- Something super unique you won’t really find anywhere else in Hawaii
Then I’d say you’ll love spending some time at Camp Olowalu!
Ready to pack your bags and go glamping in Maui? Book your stay at Camp Olowalu here.
Book Activities In Or Near This Hotel Here:
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