Beautiful Anahola beach at Kauai in Hawaii USA

Anahola Beach Park, Kauai: Complete 2024 Guide

Have time on your Kauai vacation to explore the island and its many beautiful beaches?

Anahola Beach on the northeast coast of Kauai is definitely worth a visit, if your intention is to find an off-the-tourist-radar Kauai beach, frequented mostly by locals.

On weekdays, Anahola Beach is typically deserted, especially in the mornings, but still offers all the facilities that a family-beach day would need: restrooms, showers, lifeguard, beach park, parking and more!

We stumbled on this pretty beach en route to Hanalei and Princeville, when we stopped for a coffee break at the sleepy Anahola town.

We chatted with a friendly local couple who mentioned that Anahola Beach offered some of the best snorkeling in the neighborhood!

Anahola Beach, Kauai, a tropical beach paradise
Anahola Beach, Kauai, a tropical beach paradise

Sheltered by Anahola Bay and protected by fringing underwater coral reefs, the ocean waters here are usually calm throughout the year, making Anahola Beach great for swimming and snorkeling, all year round.

As with other Kauai north shore beaches, Anahola Beach is your prototypical tropical paradise: finely powdered white sands, clear blue waters, and tall swaying palm trees!

Visiting Kauai? The only way to get a real feel for the rugged beauty of this incredible island is through a helicopter tour!

Secluded and uncrowded Anahola Beach Park, Kauai, early in the morning
Secluded and uncrowded Anahola Beach Park, Kauai, early in the morning

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Anahola Beach Directions

Anahola Beach is about midway between Lihue and Princeville on Highway 56, Kuhio Highway, near mile marker 13.

Take Anahola Road exit all the way to Anahola Beach Park, less than a mile from the exit. Keep left when the road splits into Mana I Road.

Anahola Beach Parking

Free public parking is available at Anahola Beach Park, located at the end of the road, past the restrooms.

The parking lot is a dirt lot, and usually empty on weekdays.

Anahola Beach Map

The Anahola Beach map below shows the location of Anahola Beach, and the main attractions nearby.

Anahola Beach Access

The sandy beach is directly in front of the parking lot, and the bulk of the beach extends to your left (north).

Anahola Beach Reservations

No reservations are needed for Anahola Beach, and there are no entrance fees.

Camping is available at Kumu Camp in Anahola Beach Park, and you will need a camping permit.

Anahola Beach Amenities / Facilities

Location: Anahola, North Shore of Kauai
Lifeguard: Yes
Beach Amenities: Restrooms, showers, picnic tables
Food Nearby: Anahola town
Parking: Anahola Beach Park lot
Directions: From Kuhio Highway, take Anahola Road exit (MM 13) to the beach park

You won’t find restaurants or food trucks close by, we actually ordered some sandwiches to go at Anahola Cafe where we stopped. We enjoyed a picnic lunch at Anahola Beach Park.

Lifeguards are on duty from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Best Things to Do at Anahola Beach Park

Anahola Beach, in its entirety, stretches northwards from Anahola Beach Park for more than 3 miles.

The main portion of the sandy beach is immediately north of the park, and is very wide and about half a mile long. The remainder of the beach further up north is distinctly narrower.

Towards the end of the wide portion of the beach is a freshwater stream, Anahola Stream, that empties into the Pacific Ocean.

Freshwater stream flowing through the Anahola Beach into the Pacific Ocean
Freshwater stream flowing through the Anahola Beach into the Pacific Ocean

Depending on the rains and the month you visit, there may or may not be water, as the flow varies.

Be cautious if you intend to cross the stream, as flash floods are possible. Also, avoid the area near the mouth of stream for swimming and snorkeling as rip currents here are common.

Also, at the edge of Anahola Beach Park are the ruins of an old pier or ramp that extends to the ocean.

Remnants of an old pier extending into the ocean at Anahola Beach, Kauai
Remnants of an old pier extending into the ocean at Anahola Beach, Kauai

While they make for great Instagram photos, do not swim or snorkel around the ruins as the wood has rotted, and you are likely to get splinters if you touch them.

The Kalalea mountain range in the background provides a dramatic setting for sunsets!

1. Anahola Beach Snorkeling

Anahola Beach offers some of the best Kauai snorkeling in the area.

Though the underwater terrain is not as colorful and dramatic as Tunnels Beach, one of the most spectacular Kauai Beaches, the tropical fish here are plentiful in the fringing coral reefs.

Underwater fringing coral reef, excellent snorkeling close to Anahola Beach shore
Underwater fringing coral reef, excellent snorkeling close to Anahola Beach shore

Best of all, you’ll likely have the beach to yourself!

We spent hours snorkeling here, and got to see large schools of yellow tangs, convict tangs, parrotfish, butterflyfish and triggerfish.

To identify and recognize these beautiful reef fish, consult our Hawaiian fish snorkeling guide.

Due to the remote, secluded nature of the beach, you won’t find snorkeling gear rentals here.

We usually carry our own snorkeling gear instead of renting, check out these light travel-ready ones that we love to take to Hawaii!

2. Anahola Beach Swimming

Anahola Bay and the large underwater coral reefs that stretch to the shore protect the shallow waters of Anahola Beach from rough waves, with the waves breaking in the distance.

With a lifeguard on duty, Anahola Beach is one of the best swimming beaches in Kauai, offering shallow calm waters for swimmers of all abilities.

Anahola Beach Park, Kauai, against the Kealala mountains backdrop
Anahola Beach Park, Kauai, against the Kalalea mountains backdrop

Take normal precautions, check with the lifeguard on duty when in doubt, and avoid the mouth of Anahola Stream where treacherous rip currents can form.

3. Sunbathe or Relax with a Book on the Anahola Beach

The wide part of Anahola Beach offers plenty of space to spread out your beach towel and soak in the rays for your vacation tan!

Wide beach with plenty of shade trees for relaxing at Anahola Beach Park, Kauai
Wide beach with plenty of shade trees for relaxing at Anahola Beach Park, Kauai

Apart from sunbathing, you’ll find lot of shade trees including palm trees and ironwood trees under which you can relax and read a good book while taking in the peaceful, serene settings.

4. Stay Back for Spectacular Sunsets

Sunsets at Anahola Beach Park are among the most spectacular in Kauai, with the golden orb gracefully sliding behind a dramatic Kalalea mountain range and the famous King Kong peak!

Colorful sunset over the Kalalea mountains from the Anahola Beach, Kauai
Colorful sunset over the Kalalea mountains from the Anahola Beach, Kauai

5. Admire Turtles and Monk Seals on Anahola Beach

Our kids spotted a few Hawaiian green sea turtles while snorkeling the reef waters at Anahola Beach.

Hawaiian green sea turtles in the coral reef waters
Hawaiian green sea turtles in the coral reef waters

Sightings of turtles on the beach are also quite common, but usually towards the evening.

While we didn’t see any monk seals, a local couple we struck a conversation with mentioned they too are common!

6. Surf or Boogie Board at Anahola Beach

Anahola Beach is a popular surfing spot for the local youths, and when the waves pick up you’ll find quite a few surfers here.

Kids' boogie boards on the golden sandy beaches
Kids’ boogie boards on the golden sandy beaches

The waves are not too large or rough unless a storm is in the making, so a great place for beginners to hone in their skills.

There are underwater rocks and you have to be wary of the reef, so check with the local surfers or the lifeguard on the safe surfing spots.

7. Camping at Anahola Beach Park, Kauai

If you’re an avid camper, check out the Kumu camp site at Anahola Beach Park, which requires a camping permit.

Beach camping is great fun, with the soothing crash of the waves and early morning beach ambiance making for unforgettable memories!

Serene early morning ambiance at Anahola Beach Park from Kumu Camp
Serene early morning ambiance at Anahola Beach Park from Kumu Camp

Other Activities at Anahola Beach Park and Nearby

The gentle waves at Anahola Beach are a good spot to try your hand at bodyboarding, if you have never tried it before.

Though the sport looks fun, you do need to be careful the waves don’t slam you to the ocean floor.

Fishing is also very popular here, with anglers looking to hook exotic tropical fish.

Snorkeling and Water Activities Gear Checklist

Though you can rent snorkeling gear or use the ones that come with tours, we invested in our own gear, mainly due to Covid-19 (why take the risk?).

Kalalea Mountain range, a stunning backdrop to Anahola Beach Park, Kauai
Kalalea Mountain range, a stunning backdrop to Anahola Beach Park, Kauai

Ocean Safety Tips

Hawaii’s beaches are beautiful, but ocean activities can be dangerous. Ocean conditions are dynamic and can change without warning.

Here are some tips to enjoy the ocean and beaches safely:

  • ALWAYS heed posted warning signs.
  • Check conditions just before you arrive at your chosen beach, and watch conditions at the beach for a bit before you decide to enter the water.
  • Swim at a lifeguarded beach and ask the lifeguard for advice before you enter the water.
  • Never turn your back on the ocean, whether you are standing at the shore or on a cliff above. If you see wet rocks or sand, it means the water has been here recently.
  • Know your limitations, especially if you are not an experienced swimmer. If in doubt, do not go out.
  • If you choose to enter the water, go with a partner or in a group.
  • Know that alcohol can impair judgment and motor skills in the water.
  • Keep children close and always keep your eyes on what they are doing in the water.
  • Watch for sharp coral or rocks or sea urchins.
  • Check advisories regarding water quality at various beaches here.

Best Kauai Tours

Have you booked these top Kauai guided adventures yet?

Sunset catamaran tour of the Na Pali Coast (relatively more stable ride, insane views on good weather days!)

Doors-off helicopter tour of Kauai (unobstructed views, chance to see more of the island than you can by land, no middle seats!)

Kayak on the Wailua River plus hike to a waterfall (a super fun activity for active travelers, albeit a little muddy sometimes!)

Raft trip to the Na Pali Coast plus snorkeling (prepare to get wet on this exhilarating adventure!)

Eurocopter ECO-Star helicopter tour over Kauai (the most booked Kauai helicopter tour on Viator with close to 2K reviews and a 5-star rating!)

Entire Kauai Island Air Tour (super popular, less expensive than a heli tour, large bubble windows for flightseeing!)

Renting a Car in Kauai

The best things to do in Kauai are scattered all over the island.

Public transport options on Kauai aren’t great, so if you want to explore the island beyond your base, you’ll want to book a rental car for your Kauai trip.

We always use Discover Cars to book Kauai car rentals. They search across a variety of rental car companies, both budget and brand, to offer you the best deals, AND they offer free cancellations. Plus, there are no hidden fees.

>> Check availability and prices on Kauai car rentals now!

Lihue Airport-Hotel Shuttle

Not planning to pick up a rental car at Lihue airport? Pre-arrange round trip transfer from the airport to your hotel and back!

This shared shuttle serves hotels or vacation rentals in Princeville, Kahala, Poipu, Kapaa, or Lihue, and then back again. It’s convenient and inexpensive, and saves time and hassle!

>> Check prices and availability for shared round-trip airport transfer in Kauai now!

Where to Stay in Kauai

Depending on whether you want a vacation rental with more room and the option to cook some of your meals, or you want a resort or hotel experience, and depending on which part of Kauai you want to choose as your base, you have a variety of options.

Since you’ll likely want to base in a couple places on your trip to Kauai, we suggest starting your search for Kauai accommodations by browsing vacation rentals on VRBO.

We have stayed in VRBO rentals in both Poipu and Princeville and find that the choice and quality are generally great.

>> Look for a Kauai vacation rental on VRBO now!

Want detailed recommendations for accommodations in Kauai? Check out our comprehensive guide to the best places to stay in Kauai!

Beautiful Anahola Beach on the northeast coast of Kauai
Beautiful Anahola Beach on the northeast coast of Kauai

More Kauai Travel Inspiration

Considering a trip to the Garden Isle in Hawaii? You’ll definitely want to check out some of our other comprehensive Kauai travel and attraction guides!

If you are a first-time visitor to Kauai, start by discovering the best things to do in Kauai! From beaches and botanical gardens to cliffs, canyons, and waterfalls, Kauai has it all, and our round-up lists all of Kauai’s must-experience activities and attractions.

Planning to split a week between Kauai and another island? We have a 3 days in Kauai itinerary article you must read to help flesh out what you would like to see and do!

Learn about the best things to do in Hanalei and Kauai’s scenic north shore, the best things to do in Poipu and Kauai’s south shore, and the most exciting things to do on Kauai’s Coconut Side or east side.

Read our in-depth guide to visiting the Na Pali Coast of Kauai. We give you the full scoop on the best ways to visit this stunning coast in the remote northwest of the island.

Discover our round-up of the nine spectacular state parks in Kauai, which house some of Kauai’s most treasured natural wonders.

We also have visitor’s guides to popular parks like Waimea Canyon State Park, which protects the namesake canyon, nearby Kokee State Park, and the remote but beautiful Polihale State Park.

Also check out the ultimate guide to visiting Haena State Park on Kauai’s north shore, and a full guide to hiking the epic Kalalau Trail.

Check out our round-up of the most beautiful waterfalls in Kauai, from waterfalls you can view from the road to falls that require hiking and falls that are best seen from a helicopter or sightseeing flight. We also have an article on everything you need to know to visit Secret Falls Kauai on an exciting kayaking and hiking tour.

Read our guide to Wailua River State Park to discover two easy-to-access Kauai waterfalls, and our trail guide for the easy hike to Ho’opi’i Falls. We also have an article on the best Kauai waterfall hikes.

And if a helicopter tour is part of your plans for Kauai, read our article on the top-rated helicopter tours in Kauai!

Hiking enthusiasts will want to read our article on the best hikes in Koke’e State Park: the trails here are some of the best hikes in Kauai!

We have detailed trail guides for the most popular Koke’e hikes, from the scenic Canyon Trail to the top of Waipo’o Falls, to the epic Awa’awapuhi Trail, challenging but very rewarding!

Also discover the best hikes in Waimea Canyon State Park, and the best hikes on Kauai’s north shore.

We also have a trail guide for the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail on Kauai’s scenic south shore, an article on how to hike the Sleeping Giant Trail, and a guide to the Kuilau Ridge Trail, one of the easy hikes on Kauai.

Get the scoop on the best botanical gardens in Kauai, from Limahuli Garden on the north shore to McBryde and Allerton Gardens on the south shore.

Read our guide to the best swimming beaches on Kauai, from Hanalei Bay on the north shore to Poipu Beach on the south shore!

We also have a guide to the best snorkeling beaches on Kauai, a round-up of the best Kauai north shore beaches, and an article on the best Kauai south shore beaches!

And if you love watching the sun go down in a burst of color, be sure to read our article on where to go for the best sunsets on Kauai!

Did you find this article informative? Pin it on Pinterest for later!

Discover the complete guide to Anahola  Beach Park in Kauai, Hawaii. Located in the northeast of the island, Anahola Beach features white sand and swaying coconut trees. Our guide tells you what to do at Anahola Beach, plus how to get here.

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