Travel Planning

Getting to the campIronwood with rainbow

All workshops and evening programs take place at Camp Mokulē‘ia: 68-729 Farrington Hwy., Waialua, Hawai‘i, 96791.

The camp is about one hour from Honolulu and 45 minutes from the airport. If you’re renting a car, it’s easy to find. From Honolulu, take H-1 West (toward Waianae). Once you pass Pearl Harbor, look for H-2 North (toward Wahiawa/Mililani). From there, you keep bearing left at every fork, all the way out to Farrington Highway in Mokulē‘ia.

Want something a little more precise? The Camp Mokulē‘ia site has directions from Honolulu International Airport .

You might want to consider a carpool or shared commercial shuttle from the airport. We may try to help coordinate so that a group can take a shuttle together. This works for those coming early, or arriving between 11 and 3 p.m. on Sunday. Carpools and shuttles will work as well for those leaving Friday afternoon or evening.

(Once you are at the camp, a car is not necessary. If you are bringing a companion and he or she would like to use the time to check out the North Shore or have some adventures, though, it would be great to have a car, as there is no public transportation that goes out to the camp.)

Can you advise on airfares to Hawai‘i?

Give yourself enough time to check around and compare fares. We have found that Hawaiian and Alaska often have the best fares from the West Coast.

We are also connected with an organization that is an affiliate of Hawaiian Airlines. That enables us to get discounts on some airfares. Click here for information.

What should I pack?

Very little. Bathing suits. Flip flops. The camp is low-key and relaxed. Shorts are fine. Sundresses are fine. Hawaiian shirts are excellent. Jeans may be too heavy — cotton or linen are better. A mu‘umu‘u or some facsimile (i.e., flowing cotton dress with floral motif) is as formal as the women will need.

Hawaiians often remove their shoes before entering homes, so shoes you can get in and out of easily are good. You may also want “slippers” (as we call flip flops) to wear around the camp and leave on the seawall when you step onto the beach. You’ll also want at least one sturdy pair of walking or hiking shoes.

Other key items:

  • Toiletries, shampoo, soap, toothbrush. (No sundries shop.)
  • Camera and film. (Ditto.)
  • Tea if you’re a tea snob, munchies if you are a between-meals eater. (No snack bar.)
  • A daypack.
  • Sunhat with a wide enough brim to protect your face.
  • Loose T-shirts to protect your shoulders.
  • Aloe or some other after-sun lotion.
  • Bug repellent.
  • A beach towel.
  • A sarong or lavalava for both women and men—throw it over a wet suit after the beach, throw it over your shoulders in the evening, wrap it around your body instead of a bathrobe.
  • Flashlight/lantern.
  • Tablets, journals, notebooks, and lots of pens. We are going to be low-tech, without the ability to print things out, so keep that in mind when packing.
Do you have any advice on where to stay if I’m arriving early or staying late?

Coming early helps with jet lag and the adjustment to the tropics, and it’s great to be able to unwind a bit after the retreat. Here are some general suggestions from the locals and travel writers among us.


AirBnB has made it to Hawai‘i, but Honolulu is a large city and can be hard to navigate. The easiest thing is to stay in Waikīkī (there are hotel shuttles and city buses to take you there). The key is to be as near to the beach as you can be. (Try to stay off Kuhio Avenue and some of the back streets of Waikīkī, which are crammed full of cheap hotels, noisy, and hot.)

If cost isn’t an issue, the three Grandes Dames (the Royal Hawaiian, the Moana, or the Halekulani), have history, luxe, and great entertainment in the evenings. If nothing else, go there for a Mai Tai and pūpūs (hors d’oeuvres, literally “little shells”) at sunset time.

The New Otani/Kaimana Beach Hotel has my favorite breakfast spot in all the world, the outdoor Hau Tree Lanai. (Make reservations!) Sip your coffee under the hau tree, which has been standing since the McInerney family lived here in 1903. (That is the same family that bequeathed the piece of land that started Camp Mokulē‘ia.)

Other options on the beach include the Outrigger and the Waikiki Beach Marriott, which also have great music. (There is no better welcome to Honolulu than sitting on a lanai for a light repast and listening to slack key guitar.)

The Outrigger also owns two lower-cost “family” hotels: the Ohana East and West, described as (“casual quarters with a tropical vibe, plus an outdoor pool, multiple dining options & a game room”). Connie’s mother recommends the Parc Hotel and the Doubletree Alana as two boutique hotels run by reputable corporations and on the less expensive end. Another budget option, right on the beach, is the Diamond Head Beach Hotel, which has condos and VRBOs.

Connie’s favorite budget hotel (and she always does budget) is the Ewa Hotel, tucked away in a fantastic location, on Cartwright Road, one block from the best sunrise swim spot at Kuhio Ponds and three blocks from Queen’s Surf.

If you don’t need budget, but you’re not up for the Grandes Dames, look on Hotwire, Kayak, or Trivago for anything on the “Gold Coast,” which is the end of Waikiki near Diamond Head, Kapi‘olani Park, the Zoo, the Aquarium. Quieter, and there are fantastic swimming beaches there — from Sans Souci to Queen’s Surf.

North Shore:

Find lodging near the camp through AirBnB or VRBO using the keywords “Mokule‘ia,” “Hale‘iwa,” and “Waialua.” The camp is just a short drive away from each of these towns.

Rent a beach house just down the road from Camp Mokulē‘ia at Owen’s Retreat.

Another option is at the opposite end of the North Shore, the Turtle Bay Resort. For that you’ll need a car.

Of course, if you don’t mind Googling, there are vacation rentals all over the island.

Mokule`ia Writers Retreat, May 3–8, 2015