Kauai: the Anini Beach Paradox


With a two-mile reef (one of Hawaii’s longest) that always keeps the shorleline calm, and a backshore of parklands and shade trees, Anini Beach on Kauai’s north shore is a picture-perfect family beach. Its vibe is friendly and access is plentiful, with many places to drop beach towels and call your own.

But watch out: At at least two place along the tranquil shore are rip-current channels that will take an unsuspecting swimmer on a ride out to the deep blue sea. One channel is between the campground and main beach, and the other is farther down, at Wyllies Beach.

The rip channels occur since all that wave water breaking over the reef into the shallow bay has to find a way back out. You can see the currents: Look for a blue channel, ripples in the water, and a break in the surf offshore on the reef. If you do get caught in the rip current, don’t tire yourself out by swimming against it. Swim to either side, not back to shore. If you do get swept out, don’t panic. Rip current is a near-shore event, and it will release you beyond the breakers. But the safest approach is not to get caught in the first place!

All Trailblazer guides carry safety warnings particular to each beach and trail.