Where Do You Camp?

Should You Bring The Kitchen Sink?

CONTRIBUTED BY JOELLE YAMADA

Or maybe the correct question is, DO you camp?  I have friends who hope to never repeat the camping experiences of their childhoods and maybe you are one of them.  But me?  I loved it then and I love it now.

I’ve found that without throwing the TV and the computer and the phone out the window, it is hard to get more than an hour of QUALITY time as a family.  But go AWAY for the weekend (even if it is a mile down the road) and VOILA — massive amounts of togetherness time!  My parents spent thousands of dollars one summer and took us to Hawaii, but I don’t think my memories of that are any better than those I have of us camping each spring and summer on the coast in Southern California.  Sandwiches never tasted better, doing the dishes was never such fun, playing “fort” never so awesome, hot chocolate never such a treat and going to bed never as much of an adventure as when you are camping — and it probably didn’t cost them much more than the same time spent at home.

As I’m writing, my husband and son are still napping in our massive tent on our big blow up mattress (I camp, but I’m not crazy!).  And I’m ruining my carbon footprint for the weekend by writing to you from the little computer room at Okuma.  Which is where WE are camping, by the way.  Granted, it’s a bit windy and chilly up here this weekend — my husband mentioned in the middle of the night that it sounded as if we were sleeping on a helipad — but we’re having fun!

So, do you camp?  And if so, where on Okinawa have you camped?  I love coming up here because it makes a day at the Aquarium seem like a shorter trip (though it isn’t really), but would love to know of some other places to try out our new tent and to let the boys roam free…

Info on Okuma camping:  $8 a night ($7.20 with the club card).  You can rent almost everything at the Outdoor Rec building on Kadena near Overton pool, but I was surprised to find you can rent almost everything up here, too (lanterns, tents, mattresses, sleeping bags, pack n plays, ice chests, etc).  Firewood and ice can be bought as well.

Or tell me just how much you hate camping!  🙂

23 COMMENTS

  1. Just camped at the Ie island Youth Excursion site on Ie island and had a nice time. It costs 400¥ per night for adults and 250¥for kids….my son, 6 yrs old was free. Yes!! PET ARE ALLOWED!!!! AMAZING!! But please, always be responsible and pick up after your pet and respect others quiet time by avoiding letting your pet bark/whine excessively. Keep ur pets under control, it reflects on all pet owners.
    The camping so first come first served, so it’s hard to get a beach-view site unless u get there early. The camping area is an open wooded area–no obvious camp sites… And there r NO grills, firepits or picnic tables, so bring ur own. It is just a wooded area with a barhroom on one corner. There is a small bathroom in one corner of the wooded area near the beach, but there is also a larger bathroom and showers facility a little further (past the beach volleyball pit). Showers (open from 0900-1800 I think) r prepaid, 200¥ per person and u have to pay at the little store in the covered area.
    If u bring ur vehicle, u must make a reservation at the Motobu ferry port and I don’t know the prices, but we paid 7200¥ roundtrip for our Delica van which included the drivers fare. For my husband and 2kids ferry round trip tickets were about 3000¥, so roughly 12000¥ for the transportation. Having a vehicle on the island was nice for us because we could explore the island faster. You can also take/rent bicycles to/onto Ie island. The sites to see r the Ernie Pyle memorial, lily park and festival, and hibiscus park, as far as I know. We couldn’t find the cave ourselves but the ITT tour that goes to the lily festival takes u to the cave and the Ernie Pyle memorial. Also, the summit if the mountain in the middle of the island–not sure if the name if it…. But the tour takes u there too, or u can go by urself… It’s a good hike for those looking for a nice leg workout, it’s fairly tough…. Stairs almost all the way up…. But the view is amazing.
    The Ie Island Youth Excursion campin site is pretty nice if u come prepared–bring ur own grills and tables. And reasonably priced–roughly 12000¥ for transportation (depending on the size of ur vehicle) and 1050¥ for a family of 4 for camping. To get to the camp site, exit the ferry boat and turn right. Follow the road up to the light (Family Mart on the left) and turn right. Follow the signs to the Ie Youth Excursion site–it is past the YYY resort….but there is a sign for it. Pay at the entrance and then find ur perfect camp spot! Have fun!!

    • Lj
      How do you get your pets out to Ie?? I have been trying to look online for some information but can’t find any!! Do I have to make a special reservation with Motobu port or do they have to be in their crates?

      TIA!! =O)

  2. Does anyone have any recommendations when it comes to camping and any areas that you can take your dog too? I read a post by “Takako and the Great Typhoon” had mentioned one by Hedo Point. Is there any others, and how do you get to Hedo Point? We live on McT.

    Thanks!

  3. Hedo Point, Northern Tip of Okinawa, has a nice long beach where you can camp. It’s VERY rustic, but you can take your pets. Also, between Nago and Hedo, while you’re driving North, you’ll go over a small bridge. Underneath the bridge is a beach and a small stream. You can pull off to the right, drive under the bridge and camp. I know, terrible directions, but there aren’t that many bridges between Nago and Hedo. It’s a great camping spot, especially during the summer. The bridge provides lots of shade and you’re right on the water.

  4. Was just reading this thread on camping and didn’t look at the dates until I already started typing. Oh well maybe somebody can still be of some help. My husband and I love to be outdoors and love to be in and around the water. We have two dogs who also love to be in the water and to go go go. We are both very good campers but have not gone yet out here. We have a tent and everything to go with it just would like to know some good spots. Everyone talks about Okuma but we are looking for a place a little more rustic and somewhere we can take the dogs. If anyone has any suggestions let me know!
    Love Okinawa hai!

  5. Wow this thred is rather old but I would like to echo this last question:

    “We’ve camped a few times up at Okuma and absolutely loved it. But we are trying to find a place where we can take our dogs with us. It’s really a shame Okuma and White Beach doesn’t allow them.”

  6. We’ve camped a few times up at Okuma and absolutely loved it. But we are trying to find a place where we can take our dogs with us. It’s really a shame Okuma and White Beach doesn’t allow them.

  7. I came across some info on non-DoD beach here http://www.time2pcs.com/2%20-%20Outdoor%20Recreation/outdoorhome.htm

    But 2 of my girlfriends and I went camping at Okuma with our 5 young kiddos on that Thunderstorm weekend few weeks ago and have a heck of a weekend.

    Because of the weather, we couldn’t get our tents up so we all stayed in the log cabin that we booked in advance that Fri night. We wanted to try camping the next day but our big tent got blown away and we got lucky that someone cancelled a Suite so we stayed there on the 2nd day. Finally, the sun came out on Sunday and we got to enjoy the whole camp ground by ourself next to the beach. It does get chilly after sun down and especially in the middle of the night so bring hoodies and thick blankets.

    What I like about Okuma is other than the shopette, restaurant, golfing, water sports, DVD free rental and internet facilities, they also have washer and dryer right next to the camp ground for guest to use. So when the kiddos were doing S’more, I was doing laundry since we stayed an extra day and need clean clothes for school the next morning. Also since Okuma’s gate is closed between midnight and 6 am, if you require medical services, they do have a 24 hours medical on call service there. And the security guard that speak good English at 3 am in the morning was helpful as well.

    Has anyone had good experience camping at Oura Wan up at Schwab or at Torii before?

  8. Does anyone know of any good restaurants near Okuma (besides the one on Okuma and the ones at the JAL)? I’m spending the weekend and want to try some new places to eat.

  9. I’ve not camped anywhere but Okuma yet. Although I’ve stayed at Ie’s YYY. I will try out Kemin no Mori park soon since I like the looks of it, but only later in the year when it warms up more. It is hidden off in forest area as you make your way north along highway 58… way before even reaching Nago. So it is much easier to get to than Okuma. The info I have so far is that the cost is only 500 yen too. Way inexpensive if you consider many of the other spots in the islands. I’ll try to remember to post an update after I’m stayed there.

  10. We have camped at Okuma and liked it as well. However, we were looking for more of a natural setting and found Higashi Villager’s Forest (Eco Park) through Schilling. I had to ask them for cabin/tent camping information and the clerk recommended this area. They have beautiful hiking trails, cabins for different group sizes, tent spots, and they are down the street from secluded beach areas. My husband and son went fishing there as well. We thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it to others. The one down side is that they speak hardly any English. The clerk at Schilling made the reservations for us and through her, all of our questions were answered. Once we arrived, it was more sign language to get us where we needed to be … but if you don’t mind that, it’s well worth the trip! Their Japanese web site is: http://www.eco-park.com/, click on the link with the cabin picture and it will give you cabin sizes. Still curious, stop by Schilling and they have English language brochures. Also, here is a link to an article in Japan Update that tells you more about their botanical garden area and directions: http://www.japanupdate.com/?id=6205. It’s basically north of Schwab on the east side of the island!

  11. Cathryn, YES that was us! Thanks for the free babysitting-so-you-can- put-your-crazy-tent-up time! Much appreciated! And glad you guys got to do the Mt. Yaedake drive.

    Has anyone ever camped where it’s not military besides Ie Island?

  12. Pamelala-
    You don’t book for tent spots here. Its on a first come first serve basis. Okuma has gotten full 1 weekend we have been there, but we go up Friday why hubby is at work and get our spot reserved. He then comes up after work with the tent and we put it up. As for the dog Okuma doesn’t allow them so we board ours. I don’t know about other places, but we don’t like to be sitting around a lot so the dog would lesson the chance of doing things (especially since our dog hates water!)

  13. I like Okuma.. but it is quite the drive. White Beach has camping trailers that you can rent for the night and it is much closer to us. (on courtney) They have put put golf, your right on the beach, sometimes they have festivals there also. they have playgrounds and they have AC in the trailers in the summer! ;0 That is what we like to do. Oh, you can also pitch a tent there on the beach tent sites!

  14. I like camping on Ie island. It’s got a more remote feeling than Okuma, but still has facilities. Not a whole lot in the way of “extra-curricular” activities, but nice when all you want to do is get away and do absolutely nothing except maybe eat a s’more and work on your seaglass collection. In a month or two though the lily festival is on the island, so you can check out that between naps. Oh, and Ie island is home of the fertility stone. Being able to lift it up is supposed to help you get pregnant. So, do what you will with that piece of information!

  15. Once you spend a summer here anything under 68 feels cold. I start feeling comfortable at about 80. When I first got here last year March I thought everybody was nuts wearing winter jackets. Now I have joined them!
    Crazy!
    Daniela

  16. For those of you campers with pets, do you bring them camping or board them? I love to camp and hope to do lots of it when I am out there! It can be hard to go camping in San Diego, everything gets booked months ahead of time. Is it the same out there?
    I consider myself a recreational camper rather than a professional one! :o) I always seem to end up trying to book too late!

  17. Oh goodness, not anywhere NEAR 36 degrees! Much more like 60 with a stong wind. So, it feels “chilly” but not frigid. Our kids were in hoodies and were comfy. The room was cool in the morning but not cold.

    You will love the “winter” here!

    ~Cathryn

  18. When you say chilly what temp. are we talking about? How cold does it get there?
    Everyday I am at the bus stop in 36 (feels like 30) degree temperatures. I think 2 months and I will be warm, and stay warm for 3 years.

  19. We prefer Okuma. Not only is it beach side camping, but the playground and bathroom are close. If you don’t feel like going in the water there are hiking trails, golfing, mazes, and mini golf. There is also somewhere to eat if you can’t get your food cooked because it is raining. We do camp, but we have air matresses and our laptop to play dvd’s on. We use that to quiet the kids down for bed and get them ready to sleep. However, we have a 10 man tent for the 4 of us and there is hardly any room because we camp in luxury!

  20. We’ve (Me and Mrs Snuff) have been to Ie Island. There’s a camp ground next to the YYY resort. The camp ground is under some nice Pine Trees and just a short hop from the beach. There are showers and toilets. Its not as nice as Okuma, but its nice to drive or bike around the island. You take a ferry from Motobu Port (North West of Nago) and can even take your vehicle to the island.

  21. Joelle,

    My family and I were up at Okuma this weekend as well. I THINK we may have run into you as you were setting up your tent on the beach. We had the little boys at the park playing with your young son.

    Hope you had a great time camping! Okuma was chilly but still wonderful. It was our first visit and thanks to Okinawa Hai (which I am totally addicted too, I just rarely post) we were able to find some gorgeous cherry blossoms at Mt. Yae! YAY! :)In fact, I printed everyones comments from the Cherry Blossom post and read them on the way up so that we would know where to go.

    Thanks Okinawa Hai!

    ~Cathryn

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