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Places in Hawaii: The Kilauea Military Camp

Basic Information

Picture from the Kilauea Military Camp

Narrative

When driving through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park one of the places everyone passes is the Kilauea Military Camp.  The camp is located right along the main road to the park’s biggest attraction, the Hawaii Volcano Observatory.   The camp is easy to spot due to the large parade field with a flagpole in the center of it visible from the road:

Picture from the Kilauea Military Camp

This year the camp just like Hawaii Volcanoes National Park celebrates 100 years of history.  Here is a short history of the camp from the KMC website:

While Kilauea Military Camp occupies about 50 acres of the park’s 300,000+ acres, its history is as old as Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, having been established in the same year 1916.

What once began as an idea by Hilo Board of Trade members for a training ground for the National Guard and an Army “vacation and health recruiting station” has become one of Hawaii’s most unique resorts for the military. However, its first visitors to the camp may have felt differently.

On November 6, 1916, a group of 68 enlisted men from Company A, Second Infantry of the United States Army, arrived to find Kilauea Military Camp’s three main buildings unfinished and unfit to be occupied. As a result, the men were forced to sleep under whatever shelter they could find during that rainy weeklong stay.

Since then, the wonders of Kilauea Volcano have drawn millions of soldiers, their families and guests to KMC. In its one hundred years of existence, KMC had served as a training facility, housed a Navy camp, hosted numerous dignitaries including General Dwight D. Eisenhower who later became the president of the United States, and briefly served as an internment camp and later as a prisoner-of-war camp during World War II.  [Kilauea Military Camp website]

The camp doesn’t look like much due to its rustic looking buildings, but my family and I found this place to be a great place to spend a few days in Hawaii at.  We stayed in a two bedroom apartment that cost me $121 per night which is a bargain in Hawaii.  Here is a picture of the building we stayed in:

Picture from the Kilauea Military Camp

This old military barracks building has been converted into multiple apartments that can be reserved by military servicemembers and retirees:

Picture from the Kilauea Military Camp

The camp also has a number of small cabins that can be rented as well:

Picture from the Kilauea Military Camp

For those needing bigger lodging even larger cabinet are available:

Picture from the Kilauea Military Camp

Picture from the Kilauea Military Camp

There was even cabins available that were made of lava rock:

Picture from the Kilauea Military Camp

The area of the camp that used to house the horses for the cavalry has been converted into apartments:

Picture from the Kilauea Military Camp

For those of high enough rank they can actually stay at the cabin used by former President Dwight Eisenhower:

Picture from the Kilauea Military Camp

Inside the accommodations are just like you would expect from a hotel in Hawaii:

Picture from the Kilauea Military Camp

One difference though is that this hotel room comes with a fire place which is a rarity in Hawaii:

Picture from the Kilauea Military Camp

Since the Kilauea Military Camp sits at an altitude of 4,000 feet on the side of the Kilauea volcano the temperatures can actually get chilly during the winter time.  During our visit the temperatures every night were dropping into the 40’s Fahrenheit.  Besides being a hotel the Kilauea Military Camp also provides every type of amenity anyone would need during a visit to Hawaii.  For example it has a really good cafeteria that we ate at each night with affordable meals:

Picture from the Kilauea Military Camp

Here is some examples of the great food we ate that featured a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables from the Big Island:  For example here is a tasty steak:

Kilauea Military Camp Food

Here are the sides that came with the steak:

Kilauea Military Camp Food

Here is a plate of pork chops:

Kilauea Military Camp Food

The cafeteria also had food like hot dogs for little kids to eat as well:

Kilauea Military Camp Food

The camp also has a fully stocked general store with plenty of simple meals that can cooked in one’s room for those that do not feel like eating in the cafeteria:

Picture from the Kilauea Military Camp

The camp’s coffee shop is a great place to get a brew in the morning:

Picture from the Kilauea Military Camp

It also has a gas station which has the cheaper prices you will find on the Big Island:

Picture from the Kilauea Military Camp

The camp even has a bowling alley located in a old quonset hut:

Picture from the Kilauea Military Camp

The camp has laundry facilities as well as game room:

Picture from the Kilauea Military Camp

The camp also has a movie theater:

Picture from the Kilauea Military Camp

Then there is also a chapel:

Picture from the Kilauea Military Camp

The official National Park Post Office is located at Kilauea Military Camp as well:

Picture from the Kilauea Military Camp

Something interesting about the camp is that part of it used to be a Japanese-American internment camp as well as a POW camp for Japanese prisoners during World War II.  The area that held the prisoners is now a maintenance support area for the camp:

Picture from the Kilauea Military Camp

Another thing the camp has is great views of the gigantic 13,679 foot Mauna Loa volcano hovering over the camp in the distance:

Picture from the Kilauea Military Camp

Conclusion

Overall for anyone in the military or a veteran I highly recommend staying at the Kilauea Military Camp.  The prices are affordable, the accommodations a very nice and the amenities on the camp can’t be beat.  Plus I find it kind of cool to stay in such old military buildings and experience in a small way what the troops that were once stationed here experienced 100 years ago.  On my next trip to the Big Island my family and I will definitely be staying at KMC again.

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