Anahola Beach Park – the East Side Aberration!
The east side of Kauai is known for beautiful beaches with pounding waves. Most of the time the east side beaches aren’t safe to swim at. This is likely why a lot of these beaches are way less crowded and there aren’t as many resorts built around them.
Anahola Beach is an awesome combination of the two. You get the beauty and lack of crowds of most east side beaches, but you also get a protective reef that generally allows you to swim and snorkel as well.
I love Anahola Beach as do the local Kauai residents. You are much more likely to run into locals at this beach than you are other tourists.
- Other Names: Anahola Beach Park
- Known For: East side beach WITHOUT strong waves and currents
- Facilities: Showers, restrooms, picnic tables
- Lifeguards: Yes
- Parking: Plenty
- Cost: Free
WHAT TO PACK FOR KAUAI
- Dresses – Packing a few good dresses is essential for Hawaii. Dresses have become my go to on trips to help quickly put an outfit together. Revolve is one of my go to shops for beach dresses. ASOS also has great summer dresses.
- Shorts – Anyone who is traveling to Hawaii needs a good pair of shorts. Khakis are great for guys. For women, cute athletic shorts or denim shorts are perfect for a breezy summertime look. These Levi denim shorts are my current favorites! These high waisted athletic shorts have gone viral on instagram and for good reason, they are AMAZING.
- Sandals – LOVE these Teva’s! They are my new go to travel sandal. Shop my favorite Teva’s here. They are great to wear in the water snorkeling and also amazing for hiking in Hawaii.
- Sports bra – This SKIMS bra is the most comfortable sports bra you will ever wear! Trust me. I travel with 5 of them. Also, highly recommend checking out the SKIMS fits everybody bra is to die for as well.
- Tank tops – Free people is my go to place to buy cute and affordable tank tops. I have this tighten up tank in almost every color.
- Hat – essential. Shop the newest hats at Nordstrom.
- Beach cover-up – Having at least one good cover-up is essential on any beach trip. I recommend ASOS, Nordstrom and Revolve as well.
- Hiking boots – I have two pairs of hiking boots that I love. My Columbia waterproof boots and my Salomon hiking boots. Highly recommend checking them both out! Warning – they both sell out really quick.
- Tennis Shoes – I guess you could wear sandals hiking this trail but I would recommend tennis shoes. It can get narrow and slippery in parts. These Nike high tops are my current favs. They look so cute with shorts too!
- Packing cubes – I always go to Urban Outfitters for my packing cubes. They have the cutest ones!
- Quick Dry Travel Towel – This quick dry towel is amazing to travel with. It really will come in handy when you need extra room in your suitcase.
- Snorkeling gear – for obvious reasons.
Located at Anahola Bay
Anahola Beach is on the east side of Kauai and part of Anahola Bay. It is about a 30 minute drive from the airport and another 30 minutes from the Princeville resort area.
The good news is that you are likely going to drive right past this beach as you head up to the Princeville or Hanalei resort areas.
To get to the actual beach you turn off the main road and go through a local neighborhood. It isn’t the nicest neighborhood, but don’t let that trick you into thinking that the beach isn’t nice.
The wide sand stands in contrast to a gorgeous mountain backdrop.
What to Expect Once There
The last time I was there there were only a few groups of people spread out along the shores. We were able to lounge and hardly talk to anyone. When we went up to the pavilions we were greeted by some friendly locals grilling their early dinner.
An Actual Park and Facilities
There are restrooms, picnic tables, lifeguards, and wide stretches of grass for you to enjoy at this beach park. I saw a few different groups of locals grilling and watching the sunset the last time I was there.
There are multiple large parking lots. Even if you get there at a busy time it is still likely to be very easy for you to find a spot. If you like, can take one of the dirt paths into the trees and park just inches away from the sand.
The water is likely going to be much more gentle than other east side beaches. I love that you can get the best of both worlds, a less crowded beach along with a beach that is suited for swimming and snorkeling.
As always, conditions can change though so make sure you verify before getting too far into the water.
If you want a beautiful east side beach that avoids the crowds but also allows you to swim, then look no further than Anahola Beach!
Planning a trip to Kauai? Read everything we know about Kauai here:
My husband and I have been to Kauai many, many times and have written up more guides to help you plan your trip. These are my most popular blog posts and Kauai travel guides to help you plan your trip.
Best Beaches for Snorkeling on Kauai
- TUNNELS BEACH IN KAUAI (amazing snorkeling, swimming, seals) – one of my personal favorite beaches own the entire island!
- KE’E BEACH ON KAUAI – great snorkeling, swimming, but you have to make reservation in advance – it was a nightmare.
- Hideaway’s Beach – Amazing snorkeling on the North Shore.
- Anini Beach – (Snorkeling, fishing, swimming) Great for basically everything.
- Kalapaki Beach in Kauai – Kids beach. Perfect beach for families, beginner snorkeling and swimming!
Best Cliff Jumping in Kauai
- SHIPWRECK BEACH ON KAUAI – Amazing cliff jumping beach
- QUEEN’S BATH KAUAI: COMPLETE GUIDE – Another must visit!
More awesome beaches
- MOLOA’A BEACH ON KAUAI – Insanely underrated. Giligans Island was filmed here. This beach was another one of my favorites. Practically empty.
- Lumaha’i Beach Kauai – What you need to know before going
- Secret Beach Kauai! (aka Kauapea beach) – MUST see beach!
- Haena Beach – We saw a Monk Seal on this beach!
- Gillin’s Beach – Fairly secluded beach where you can ride horses!
- Donkey Beach – Underrated – practically deserted beach
- Hanalei Beach – Gorgeous beach, perfect for sunsets.
- Salt Pond Beach Park – Amazing beach for kids and families (You can camp here as well)
- Black Pot Beach
Kauai Hiking Guides
- WAILUA FALLS HIKE ON KAUAI – AMAZING WATERFALL HIKE! Probably my favorite hike I have ever done.
- KALEPA RIDGE TRAIL – BEST HIKE IN HAWAII…SERIOUSLY. Trust me, don’t leave this one off your list! It’s GORGEOUS!
- MAKALEHA TRAIL – Amazing trail that is extremely muddy. 100% worth it!
- CANYON TRAIL TO WAIPO’O FALLS
- Pihea Trail – Easy hike on Kauai with Na’pali Coast Views!
- Makauwahi Cave Trail – Kauai Hidden gem
Read about all the hikes we have done in Kauai here.
Read all other posts on Kauai here.