Anini beach is well known as one of the safest and most protected beaches along the north shore of Kauai. It is a narrow stretch of white sand protected by coral reef, and stretches upto 2 miles. The reef here is one of the largest in the state because of which Anini beach has calm ocean conditions. The extensive reef also makes way for good swimming and snorkeling conditions- even during winter. Windsurfing, fishing and beach combing are few of the other fun filled activities associated with this beach.
Anini beach is less crowded compared to Hanalei bay and is more peaceful. It has restrooms, picnic tables, showers, grassy patches of lawn for the Keiki to play and a pavilion which can be reserved for parties. It also has a boat ramp which is used as a boat launch. The ramp is close to the parking area and extends till the ocean, making it a great access spot.
The water is shallow for a long way out because of the large reef. However, the calm ocean conditions at Anini beach can be deceptive and the presence of a large protective reef should not be a reason to be careless. It is risky to explore the reef all the way because of the numerous channels or crevices that are evident when an aerial view of the beach is seen. These channels allow the ocean water to squeeze through them, resulting in currents that can easily overpower swimmers and snorkelers.
It is a safe practice to swim or snorkel on the sections of the reef close to the shore and avoid the tempting deep waters. Also, the surf is usually strong on the reef edges, specially on the western end of the beach (where the road ends).
Anini Beach Snorkeling
There are people who snorkel at Anini beach for 7 days at a stretch and make the most of the experience. The warm water combined with the beautiful coral reef and underwater life will be the highlight of your snorkeling experience. But, it all depends on the view. For best visibility, snorkel in the morning high tides. As the day progresses, the wind stirs up the water and blurs the visibility. The best points to snorkel are near the parking lot beside the showers and near the boat ramp. If you’re a beginner, stick to the shallow portions (as there are no lifeguard on this beach.)
While snorkeling, don’t be surprised if Hawksbill and Green Sea Turtles come to greet you. Other marine life include reef fish like moorish idols, small sharks and Hawaii’s state fish- the Humuhumunukunukuapuaa (This is hard to pronounce!) For an even better game-like experience, go through some fish identification books that are available all over the island. With prior knowledge, the snorkeling experience becomes exciting as you can practically identify different species of marine life floating beside you.
If you take the Anini road all the way till the western end, you will reach a sandbar that extends into the ocean. This is a great spot for fishing, wading and beach combing.
When the winter swells have subsided and summer is right around the corner, windsurfing is one of the best activities to do in Kauai. And the perfect spot to do it on Anini beach. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pro or a beginner, there’s enough beach adventure available for everyone at Anini beach.
Though Anini beach is a paradise for people who love to spend time in seclusion, the adventurous ones can strap themselves to a kite and course over the tranquil reef filled waters at a speed of more than twenty miles per hour. You’ll have ample opportunities to take windsurfing lessons on the beach and rent the necessary equipment for a fun filled wind/kite surfing experience.
How to Reach Anini Beach
Take Highway 56 past Kilauea and follow the immediate right after the concrete Kalihiwahi bridge onto Kalihiwahi road. Drive along Kalihiwahi road until you reach Anini road towards left and continue till the beach. The coastal drive along Anini road is relaxing and there are numerous stops on the way to get down and enjoy the view.
Anini Beach Trail and Wyllie’s Beach
The second alternative to access Anini beach is from Princeville via a trail. There is a dirt trail that runs all the way to Anini beach from the Westin resort area.
The wonderful part about this option is that whole of Princeville is on a cliff. So, before starting on the trail, make sure you seep in the splendid view of Anini beach from the trailhead (which is on the top.)
The trail starts from the public access parking lot in front of Westin resort and golf course. You’ll be led through a dense foliage of mango trees, with mangoes falling all around you whenever there is a strong breeze. The trees also provide the necessary shade, resulting from the natural canopy on top. The trail starts off with views of the golf course, leading to a small waterfall and stream and gradually ends at the narrow western end or the Wyllie’s beach. Anini beach is a short walk from here and the whole area can be canvassed from the point where the trail ends.
Wyllie’s beach is on the other side of Anini beach, separated by a small stream. This is a small stretch of sand and often secluded. It is just across the river mouth at the end of the road. You can access it via Anini road by parking your vehicle at the dirt parking lot available and fording a stream to reach the beach.
So what makes Anini beach a popular tourist spot on north shore? This beach has the cleanest waters on the north shore and is perfect for novice swimmers and snorkelers. This is also a popular windsurfing destination as evident by the windsurfing schools found in the region.
Apart from adventure, if you’re planning on staying, get hold of a camping permit and set base on the beach camping area. Seeing tents up on the trees is a common sight at Anini beach. If you are not in the mood for camping, there are a few vacation rentals in the area where you can settle for the required duration and bask in the Anini experience.