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 Miltary 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 eighty-nine 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 and 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.
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KMC at Kilauea Volcano, an MWR Recreation Center, Crater Rim Drive, Hawaii National Park, HI, 96718. 808-967-8333