Over the holiday break we went camping at Spencer Beach Park. This beach park is on the other side of the island from us, about a 2 hour drive from Hilo. It's just south of Kawaiahe Harbor, and north of Kona.The funny thing about camping here is that it's so far off from any outdoorsy camping experience we've had on the mainland, that it's almost laughable, (in a good-natured way). You basically drive your car up, pick a spot in the dirt, pitch your tent and throw your stuff on a picnic table, and spend the day at the beach! There isn't a lot of maintenance involved, since there's bathrooms and showers right there, and there isn't much privacy, either, since you are sharing the campgrounds with dozens of other campers.
There also aren't any bonfire pits, so without a fire, there isn't much for our family to do in the evenings. It seems to be the same for most people who come there, which is why at dark, we see everyone congregate in the giant pavilion The giant pavilion is overlooking the ocean, and has electrical outlets and lights. People wander in from their campsights to cook dinner, hang out, and charge their cell phones. The sunsets are breathtaking.
The first night we were there we met a large, gathering of Micronesians, line-dancing to electric- keyboard music, a small band of old-timer-hippies, playing their flutes, and children running everywhere, chasing paper airplanes in the wind. Our kids took to playing with their flashlights and chasing each other in circles, until they got too tired out.
I'm not sure if Micah found our camping holiday as humorous as I did. It was windy as hell, our tent broke in the night, and he kept having to fix it! Our toddler was up all night, cursing the tent, and I was laughing at the whole situation, realizing that you just can't compare camping experiences. This is not like anything else; It's Spencers! But, if you come with the right spirit, it can be a lot of fun!
Besides hanging out in the pavilion at night, our other favorite thing to do is hike on the little trail heading just south of the camp-sights, to a secluded beach called Maumae. This was my first time going to this beach, as Micah had taken the boys last Summer on their own, camping adventure. They named it "the hiking beach," because the trail is about 1/2 mile long and leads right up to a gorgeous, white sand beach.
So, despite the incredibly windy nights (our tent pole actually snapped in two!), and the fact that I was up all night because Jonah hated sleeping in a tent, and that Micah secretely wishes this was Arches National Park, we had fun! Yes, we had fun. And every experience outside having fun with the family is worth it!