The iconic trees of Sherwood Forest, the local name for the grove of imported ironwood trees near the campground, and the Waimanalo Beach Campground tie the mainland and island together like few other places on O'ahu. Waimanalo is much more modest in comparison to the wealthy nearby towns of Kailua and Hawaii Kai. That gives Waimanalo Beach charm and solitude.
The strong on-shore winds blow the long thin needles rhythmically as you stare at the Ko'olau Mountains catching the morning light. The 3-mile-long beach made of soft white sand sits just feet away, and Rabbit Island rises in the distance offshore. There are no heavy waves, so the water beckons to be played in with no reef or rocks to worry about while in the water.
This is a great campground and an all-time beach. There are 10 sites available that can be booked online, indoor and outdoor showers, bathrooms, and picnic tables. Keep in mind that saltwater breeze ruins everything. If you like campsites because of the amenities, then this is not your spot. Nevertheless, it is hard to find a place you can legally sleep a few feet from a world-class beach on the cheap. It's not for everyone, but if you can rough it a bit, this is a pretty amazing spot.