Beautiful Anini Beach on the North Shore of Kauai, Hawaii

Anini Beach Park, Kauai: Complete 2024 Visitor Guide

A coral reef structure so big it can be seen from outer space?

Yes, along Anini Beach on the North Shore of Kauai, lies just such a reef structure, one of the largest in Hawaii!

Extensive coral reef all along Anini Beach, one of the best Kauai snorkeling beaches on the North Shore
Extensive coral reef all along Anini Beach, one of the best Kauai snorkeling beaches on the North Shore

And with this extensive natural fringing coral reef comes protected, sheltered and shallow waters, making Anini Beach one of the best Kauai snorkeling beaches, especially for families and beginners.

But not only that, strong winds and shallow waters makes Anini Beach a magnet for adventure tourists trying their hand with windsurfing and kitesurfing!

Anini Beach, a thin strip of beach that stretches more two miles, was our favorite destination when planning a family beach day while vacationing on Kauai, a beach that all of us could enjoy and find something to do.

Join us and learn more about Anini Beach, and I’m sure you’ll also love what the beach offers!

Hey, by the way! Visiting Kauai? The only way to get a real feel for the rugged beauty of this incredible island is through a helicopter tour! Check out the five highest rated Kauai helicopter tours for 2024!

Beautiful Anini Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
Beautiful Anini Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

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Anini Beach Park Directions

Anini Beach is located on Kauai’s beautiful northern shore, between Princeville and Kilauea.

If you’re coming from Lihue or Poipu, take Highway 56 north (Kuhio Highway). You will cross Kapa’a and Kilauea, cross Kalihiwahi Bridge over Kalihiwahi River, and take the Kalihiwahi Road, which comes up between mile markers 25 and 26.

This is the second Kalihiwahi Road exit, and comes after you cross Kilauea.

If you’re coming from the other direction, from Princeville or Hanalei, again take Highway 56 to the Kalihiwahi Road exit.

From Kalihiwahi Road, take a left onto Anini Road, a scenic road that winds along the coast and Anini Beach, often just a few yards from the Pacific Ocean waters.

Anini Beach, a thin stretch of beach easily accessible from the Anini Road, parallel to the beach
Anini Beach, a thin stretch of beach easily accessible from the Anini Road, parallel to the beach

If you are staying in Princeville near the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, you also have an option of hiking the Anini Beach Trail, starting from the parking lot near the golf course.

This scenic hike offers great views of Anini Beach and the Pacific Ocean from the Princeville cliffs. You will cross Wyllie’s Beach and Anini Stream to Anini Beach and the westernmost end of Anini Road.

Anini Beach Park Parking

Anini Beach has ample parking. You have a large parking lot at the Anini Beach Park, if you want to be near the main beach, showers and restrooms.

Or you can choose to park anywhere along the 2.5 mile long Anini Road, which may be more convenient depending on where on Anini Beach you wish to make your base.

Anini Beach Park Map

The below map shows the location of Anini Beach and nearby attractions.

Anini Beach Access

Anini Beach is one of the few beaches on Kauai where you can literally get off your car and be in the water in a few minutes, a boon if you have a lot of gear for water activities.

Parking at the main Anini Beach Park parking lot is convenient if you need quick access to the showers and restrooms, and the beach is directly in front of the parking.

You also have a boat ramp road directly into the ocean waters if you want to launch a boat.

Anini Beach Park Reservations

No reservations are needed for Anini Beach Park. If you plan to camp here, you will need to buy a permit from the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Anini Beach Park Amenities / Facilities

Location: North Shore of Kauai, near Hanalei
Lifeguard: No
Beach Amenities: Restrooms, showers, picnic tables, pavilions, shade trees, camp sites
Food Nearby: Head to Princeville or Kilauea for food options
Parking: Road parking
Directions: Anini Beach, Anini Road, Kilauea

Anini Beach is a great place for a long, leisurely hike
Anini Beach is a great place for a long, leisurely hike

Though no lifeguards are on duty, Anini Beach is still one of the safest beaches on Kauai’s North Shore, with shallow waters and reef-protected beaches.

As with any Kauai beach, you should exercise caution and take commonsense safety precautions, especially in winter and high surf conditions.

Also, Anini Beach is notorious for strong currents along the outer edge of the reefs and the open channels, and even strong, experienced swimmers have been caught unawares.

Enter the water at your own risk. For safety, stay closer to the shores and away from the channels.

>> Book these 5 star rated, highly popular, Kauai Tours now!

Best Things to Do at Anini Beach Park, Kauai, HI

Anini Beach is one of the best Kauai beaches for snorkeling, windsurfing and kitesurfing, and you’ll see locals and tourists enjoying these activities here.

Shallow, clear and calm waters on Anini Beach, great for snorkeling
Shallow, clear and calm waters on Anini Beach, great for snorkeling

As with the other North Shore Kauai beaches, swimming and snorkeling are typically summer activities, when the waters are calm.

On Anini Beach, with the coral reefs providing a lot of shelter, some winter snorkeling and swimming may be possible, but be cautious of large wave swells and high surf conditions, especially since there are no lifeguards.

1. Anini Beach Snorkeling

Anini Beach, with Hawaii’s longest coral reef running parallel, is a snorkeler’s paradise, one of the best Kauai snorkeling beaches, with the extensive corals providing shallow, protected waters and an abundance of tropical marine life.

Extensive fringing coral reef along Anini Beach, one of the largest in Hawaii
Extensive fringing coral reef along Anini Beach, one of the largest in Hawaii

You have 2.5 miles of Anini Beach to find your own private spot for snorkeling, or you can head to popular snorkeling spots in the waters near the boat ramp and the main parking lot.

We saw a lot of common, beautiful Hawaiian fish including yellow tangs, convict tangs, butterflyfish, triggerfish (including the state fish of Hawaii, the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a), and wrasses.

To identify and recognize them, check our detailed Hawaiian fish snorkeling guide!

Anini Beach is known for frequent Hawaiian green sea turtle sightings, with these gentle giants either resting in coral reef crevices or feeding on algae along the shallow ocean floor and reefs.

Endangered Hawaiian green sea turtle swimming in the coral reefs
Endangered Hawaiian green sea turtle swimming in the coral reefs

We found underwater visibility for spotting fish while snorkeling best in the mornings, and with the amount of tropical fish we saw, including some big fish, we had no real need to explore further off shore, especially with the risks of stronger currents.

2. Windsurfing and Kitesurfing on Anini Beach, HI

Later in the morning, when the winds picked up, our teenage kids switched from snorkeling to windsurfing and kitesurfing, and they had a ball!

Many of the local outfits rent the gear and provide lessons for windsurfing and kitesurfing, so even beginners can enjoy this thrilling water sport!

Our kids took 2-hour beginner lessons and we watched while lounging on the beach. By the end of the class, they were cruising at speeds of 20-25 miles per hour on the relatively shallow waters over the coral reefs.

>> Book these 5 star rated, highly popular, Kauai Tours now!

3. Anini Beach Swimming

Anini Beach is one of the best swimming beaches in Kauai, with shallow, clear waters extending for some distance off shore.

Shallow, calm waters on Anini Beach, perfect for a relaxing swim or dip
Shallow, calm waters on Anini Beach, perfect for a relaxing swim or dip

With waves breaking far away on the outer reefs, families with kids can enjoy wading in the water or swimming near the shores.

The sandbar on the westernmost end is also a great shallow area for dipping your feet or body into the water.

Though the open channels clearly visible in the aerial photo above look inviting, I urge you to stay away since even strong, experienced swimmers have difficulty navigating the underwater currents here.

Anini Beach also has currents parallel to the outer reef barrier, so you should swim only within the reef, and ideally close to the shore.

4. Stroll along or Relax with a Book on Anini Beach, Kauai

With a 2.5 long stretch of beach, one of the best things to do on Anini Beach is to enjoy a leisurely stroll while taking in the stunning beauty of the surroundings and gawking at the swanky mansions on the bluffs above, where several celebrities live.

We even found a nice tree swing along the beach!

Relax with a tree swing on Anini Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
Relax with a tree swing on Anini Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

The sand on Anini Beach is not finely powdered like many of the other Kauai beaches, so make sure you a picnic blanket or similar to lay on the ground if you plan to sunbathe or relax with a book.

>> Book these 5-star rated, highly popular, Kauai tours now!

5. Stay Back to Watch Spectacular Sunsets from Anini Beach, HI

Anini Beach is yet one more Hawaiian beach with superb, colorful sunsets!

The sun sets over the tropical Pacific Ocean waters with warm orange and red colors, and we saw many couples strolling along the beach or sitting together at vantage points to admire the sunset.

Spectacular sunset at Anini Beach on Kauai
Spectacular sunset at Anini Beach on Kauai

Watching the sunset from Anini Beach with your loved one is one of the most romantic things to do on Kauai!

6. Come Early for a Golden Sunrise over Kilauea Lighthouse

When we stayed at Princeville while vacationing in Kauai, an early jog along Anini Beach was my morning workout!

I would hike the Anini Beach trail from behind the Westin Villas down to the Anini Beach, and jog the roughly 2.5 mile length of the beach.

One of the star attractions for me on those early morning jogs was the sunrise, which I would catch roughly half the time, depending on when I started.

And boy, that’s definitely something to wake up for! Golden and orange skies, and a yellow ball of fire slowly emerging from behind the Kilauea Lighthouse, one of the best places on Hawaii to visit!

Admiring a golden sunrise behind Kilauea LIghthouse from Anini Beach, Kauai
Admiring a golden sunrise behind Kilauea LIghthouse from Anini Beach, Kauai

7. Admire Turtles and Monk Seals on Anini Beach, Kauai

Didn’t snorkel because you don’t like getting wet? Don’t despair, you’ll likely still get to see some of the iconic Hawaiian marine animals that frequent these waters!

Some of the Hawaiian green sea turtles and endangered monk seals do come ashore to the beach for an afternoon nap or rest!

Endangered Hawaiian monk seal resting on the beach
Endangered Hawaiian monk seal resting on the beach

On most of our afternoon and early evening strolls along Anini Beach, we’ve seen turtles resting on the beach, and an occasional monk seal playfully rolling on the sand!

Both are protected species, so make sure you keep your distance and let them enjoy their time on the beach!

8. Kayak or Canoe on Anini Beach, Kauai

Anini Beach has a convenient boat ramp, and we’ve seen groups launching kayaks and canoes from here, for a leisurely workout on these calm, open ocean waters.

Standup paddle boarding is also very popular here, especially in the mornings when the waters are calmer.

Standup paddle board on  Anini Beach, next to placid waters
Standup paddle board on Anini Beach, next to placid waters

9. Anini Beach Park Camping

Anini Beach is one of the most popular camping spots on Kauai, and one of the few beaches where you can camp (other beaches are the Salt Pond Beach Park on the southwestern shore of Kauai and the Lydgate Beach Park on the eastern shore of Kauai).

Stunning dawn from Anini Beach, what campers wake up to!
Stunning dawn from Anini Beach, what campers wake up to!

You will need to purchase a camping permit from the Department of Parks and Recreation.

You have many facilities here that make camping easier, including shaded campsites, showers, restrooms, picnic tables and pavilions.

Going to sleep against the backdrop of rhythmic ocean waves is the ultimate relaxing experience on your vacation!

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?).

Tips for Your Visit to Anini Beach Park, Kauai, Hawaii

Anini Beach Park is an excellent beach for families with kids, and swimmers and snorkelers of all skill levels during summer.

However, even in summer, you should still be careful of the strong currents along the outside of the reef and the open channels. Stay close to shore and the reefs.

Check weather forecasts and surf conditions before entering the water.

While placid most of the time, high surf conditions do occur, and often result in waves breaking over the natural coral reefs.

In winter, swimming or snorkeling in most of the North Shore Kauai beaches is not recommended. Anini Beach, with its extensive natural reef barrier, is better than the other beaches, but you should still exercise considerable caution.

Anini Beach, lush vegetation lining a sandy beach
Anini Beach, lush vegetation lining a sandy beach

I recommend you use bug spray or mosquito repellent, we encountered mosquitoes here at dawn and dusk.

You should use reefsafe sunscreen protection, the Hawaiian sun can be harsh, especially when you are exposed while swimming or snorkeling or other open water activities.

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.

What Else to Do Near Anini Beach Park

Best North Shore Kauai Hikes near Anini Beach

North Shore of Kauai with its dramatic cliffs, beautiful coastline and lush, dense rainforests is a great place for hiking.

Some of the best Kauai hikes are on the North Shore including the epic Kalalau Trail and smaller subsections, the Okolehao Trail, and the Wai Koa Loop Trail and the Queen’s Bath Trail.

Rainforest jungle along Okolehao Trail, one of the best easy Kauai hikes near Princeville and Hanalei
Rainforest jungle along Okolehao Trail, one of the best easy Kauai hikes near Princeville and Hanalei

Hanalei

Hanalei is a charming town on the North Shore of Kauai, with many attractions and things to do, including views from the Hanalei Valley Lookout, exploring Maniniholo Dry Cave and other wet caves, and, of course, eating!

Hanalei Pier, one of the most photographed spots on Kauai
Hanalei Pier, one of the most photographed spots on Kauai

Princeville Botanical Gardens

One of the best botanical gardens in Kauai, Princeville Botanical Gardens, is a few minutes from Anini Beach, and well worth a visit.

A lush tropical garden, you’ll find native Hawaiian plants, canoe plants and rare plants from around the world, along with colorful flowers.

Princeville Botanical Gardens, a lush tropical garden, one of the best on Kauai
Princeville Botanical Gardens, a lush tropical garden, one of the best on Kauai

Princeville Botanical Gardens can only be visited on a guided tour offered by the garden. You can book online at Viator.

We were pleasantly surprised to learn that the tours include tastings of seasonal fruit and honey!

>>> Check pricing and availability for the Princeville Botanical Gardens tour now!

The 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 Anini Beach with calm waters in summer, Kauai, Hawaii
Beautiful Anini Beach with calm waters in summer, Kauai, Hawaii

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!

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.

Learn about the best things to do in Hanalei, the charming town that sits in the middle of Kauai’s scenic north 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!

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

Discover the complete guide to visiting Anini Beach Park on the north shore of Kauai, Hawaii!

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