A sprawling expanse of reef—1,600 feet at its widest and one of Hawaii’s longest spanning two miles—looms just off the thin strip of white sand at Anini Beach. Parrotfish, moray eels, trumpet fish, needlefish, pufferfish and much, much more color the clear waters, popping against the drab coral rock. A thin sandbar beyond the residential area on shore often hosts fishermen and waders searching for seashells within view of the lighthouse and offshore Island at Kilauea Point in the east.
Despite steady winds that whip up light action for windsurfers that sometimes cruise its length, the coral acts as a protective barrier for the shallows making Anini one of the calmest and best snorkeling beaches on Kauai’s North Shore.
Anini Beach access is located off Highway 56 on Kalihiwai Road where parking is abundant. Camping, restrooms, showers and picnic tables are all available here. Several snorkeling tours (that operate without boats) guide visitors through the underwater scenery at Anini.
Though the park is generally less crowded than those at Poipu or Hanalei, there tends to be more snorkelers and campers on weekends.
Beyond the reef and in the clear channels between coral mounds, strong currents can be present. There is no lifeguard here, so use caution.