Discovering a military camp within confines of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is an unexpected surprise to the majority of the park’s visitors.
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.
KMC has also experienced the power and destruction of Kilauea Volcano. While the camp still maintains its historical charm, renovations to the camp in the last decade have enhanced KMC’s facilities and services making it one of the military’s favorite vacation resort.
LOCATION & DRIVING DIRECTIONS
KMC is located within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. There are direct airline flights from the continental U.S. and from other locations that land in Kona International Airport. Inter-island airline flights land at both Kona and Hilo Airports.
For convenience and ease, most guests will fly into Hilo Airport.
From Hilo Airport, turn left onto Hwy. 11 and travel south for about 28 miles until you reach the main entrance of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (mile marker 28). It will take about 1 hour.
From Kona International Airport, take Hwy. 19 south which will become Hwy. 11 south until you reach the main entrance of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It is about 105 miles away and it will take about 3 hours or so.
Enter the park to get to KMC. Drive 1 mile, past the Kilauea Visitor Center and steam vents. There will be a grassy front lawn and row of cottages. In the center of the row is the Headquarters/Front Desk building for check-ins.
Available to and from the Hilo Airport at $10 per person, one way. 48 hours advance reservations required for shuttle to be dispatched. Allow 1 hour travel time each way. Schedule as noted below:
Depart from KMC Lobby: 8:30am, 12:00 pm, 2:30 pm
Pick-up at Hilo Airport: 11:00 am, 1:30 pm, 3:45 pm