If you’re looking to carouse with the locals and enjoy safe swimming beneath a lifeguard’s gaze, then consider a visit to Anahola Beach Park. Anahola Beach Park lies in a unique (mostly) protected swimming cove on the North Shore of Kauai and at the edge of the sleepy town of Anahola. You’ll find this county park along a designated stretch of land on the eastern end of a crescent beach that wraps around Anahola Bay. A slow-moving river by the same name flows into the bay at the beach’s center. Further out to sea, extensive outer coral reefs buffer large ocean waves and keep most of the inner area protected from ugly surf conditions.
While every foot of Anahola Beach looks inviting with its soft golden sand and tranquil waters, it is important for swimmers to stay close to Anahola Beach Park as the water flowing out at the river mouth can create the occasional dangerous rip current. Additionally, the remains of an old broken apart boat dock stand just on the outskirts of the park and pose their own underwater hazards.
The presence of a lifeguard at Anahola Beach Park further makes this a safer area to swim in, and makes it a good choice for families. Visitors, especially those with children, are often encouraged to check in with these friendly lifeguards for any safety updates in the area, such as whether a rip current is present, or for information about snorkeling and diving further from the shore. In fact, snorkeling and diving here are quite good here thanks to the calm surf and swarms of fish dashing in and out of the corral.
We say visitors because Anahola Beach Park is largely a local’s park. Most days here, you’ll find but a handful of visitors scattered amidst a crowd of local families and kids and dogs. Sometimes, things can get rowdy here, and sometimes this area does have a problem with homeless encampments. So if what you are looking for is a pristine, resort-styled beach time or a quiet, secluded beach, don’t add Anahola Beach Park to your itinerary.
But if you enjoy hanging out with locals and want to see a more visited part of the island, then Anahola Beach Park is a great stop during one’s stay on Kauai. When you tire of swimming, tall ironwoods and a grassy knoll above the golden sand provide a nice shady spot to relax and take in all the sights and local atmosphere. There are even a few picnic tables and grills here for a good BBQ picnic afternoon.
Anahola Beach Park boasts its own parking lot at its far right end, just past the restrooms and lifeguard stand. To get here from a town outside Anahola, you’ll typically take Kuhio Highway and between mile markers 12 and 13 you’ll find a residential sign stating “Anahola”. Simply turn at that sign to head eastward, go through the town, and follow signs for the county park.
-While camping is allowed at parts of the camp and nearby, it generally is not recommended due to some safety concerns. Overnight vandalism and car theft have been occasional problems in the area.
–Anahola Beach Park is foremost a local’s park. While there are times when you might find it just yourself, your party, and a few others, this should be appreciated and not expected. Things like off-leash dogs, dirt bikes, and loud parties are more often the norm and not the exception.
-Snorkeling here really is fantastic for beginners thanks to the mix of calm surf and plenitude of things to see underwater (many visitors report sighting sea turtles here). Plus, its more relaxed environment combined with an active lifeguard can help the timid beginner feel more confident overall.