Ninini Beach

Ninini Beach/Running Waters – Enjoy Sandy Seclusion but Watch for Quickly Changing Tides
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

When you want to chill in seclusion while enjoying the raw power of nature all around, Ninini Beach is a great place to go in East Side Kauai. Also known as Running Waters, this beach features dual sandy coves perfect for sunbathing and enjoying the view. When waters are calm, you can go swimming, snorkeling, and bodysurfing, but just be ready for the conditions to change fast.

- The Local Expert Team

Located right between Ninini Point and Kukii Point, you can find Ninini Beach, a rather secluded yet gorgeous sandy strip in East Side Kauai. This beach is known by locals as Running Waters because it once served as an irrigation runoff point for sugar plantations of the past. Nowadays, it’s surrounded by sprawling five-star resorts and is backed by a golf course.

Although there are tourists all around, Ninini Beach sees relatively few visitors on a daily basis. Instead, they jet off to larger, friendlier beaches with lifeguards and facilities. At this beach, you’ll find none of that. There are no bathrooms, showers, or even garbage cans. Lifeguards are never on duty, although they likely should be due to how fast the surf can change moment by moment.

When the waters are relatively calm, Ninini Beach is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and even bodysurfing. But when the tides change, look out! There’s no chance of having a safe, peaceful swim then. At that point, it’s just best to leave the beach to its own devices and find somewhere else to enjoy the water.

Alternatively, you can park yourself on the sand and get in as much sunbathing as you can muster. The golden sands on the larger of the two beaches are always a great spot to relax in the sun and take in the gorgeous views.

The top activities at Ninini Beach include:

Want to perfect your swim strokes or just leisurely kick around in the water? Don your swim attire, grab your boogie board, and hit the northern beach. You’ll have plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy the surf. Just be aware that there are no lifeguards on duty at any time.

Although there are no reefs to explore, it’s still a chill spot to snorkel around and watch the tropical fish swim about. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a couple of turtles as you kick around the shallow waters. Remember to keep your distance from all marine life for your safety and theirs.

Want to catch a few waves without breaking out the surfboard? You can do just that by enjoying a little bodysurfing at Ninini Beach. Just go out to where the waves begin, and then ride them toward the shore like a pro. Without any other beachgoers in your path, you can zoom in without worrying about obstacles in your way.

When the water doesn’t cooperate with your other plans, sunbathing is a fantastic way to enjoy this beach. Just lay out a towel and get cozy in the sand to soak up the sun in style. You can bring a book, listen to a podcast, or simply enjoy the picturesque views as you relax.

Between the open ocean and nearby mountain ranges, Ninini Beach always serves as the perfect backdrop for all your vacation photos. So, be sure to bring your camera along for the ride to capture yourself in paradise. Put your phone or camera in a waterproof case before you go, and you’ll get to take pictures under the water as well. Plus, it’ll help protect your devices from accidental splashes and sand as you play along the shores.

Insider Tips:
-Always pack out what you take to the beach with you. Plus, use reef-safe sunscreen to avoid harming the local marine life and their habitats.  
-Park at any of the nearby parking lots in order to get to Ninini Beach!
-When in doubt, stay out of the water. If it just seems like a little too rough for your own good, skip that beach and try again another day. Keep a close watch on the conditions as you play, too, because the surf changes quickly and without warning.
-Since there are relatively few visitors and no lifeguards on duty, you’re likely on your own if you get into trouble.