Anini beach is a narrow reef protected beach that stretches for over 2 miles. The reef at Anini is one of the largest in Hawaii but snorkeling is fairly poor because of plankton and other ocean debris.
Because of the extensive reef, Anini has the calmest ocean conditions on the north shore and is one of the few beaches that can offer swimming during large winter waves. Some exploration is in order to find the stretch of beach that most appeals to you. The best snorkeling is in the area around the boat ramp and widest section of beach (see the aerial photo).
TIP: Anini will usually have warmer water than other north shore beaches especially in shallow areas like the eastern most section (shown in the first photograph). To get to this section, look for a small parking area
as you enter the main residential road. There’s a difficult to notice path hidden under dense foliage that takes you to a supreme section of beach.
Anini Beach Safety
The calm ocean conditions inside the reef can be very deceptive. In the aerial photo below, notice all the channels in the reef. These channels can have currents even during the calmest ocean conditions. That’s because water flowing over the reef from tidal changes or wind waves gets funneled back out via these channels. Consider that people only swim at around 1 mile per hour – it doesn’t take a very fast current to overpower one. Between 1970 and 2012, eleven people have drowned at Anini (more than Hanalei Bay for example).
It’s best to snorkel and swim in the inside sections of the reef close to shore. Be careful not to be enticed by the better snorkeling in the channels or deep water at the edge of the reef. Keep a constant watch on children..