Anini Beach

One of the best things about a visit to Kauai is that you get to put yourself on "island time." What is island time, you ask? It's simple -- there's no need to rush. In fact, putting in any unneeded effort is strictly frowned upon. And one of the best examples of island time can be found at Anini Beach.

Anini Beach's name changed just a few years ago. It was originally known as Wanini Beach, and the strip of sand carried that name for decades. Then, one day, the "W" fell off the sign. Instead of fixing the sign or creating a new one, the locals just went with it. Now it's known as Anini Beach all because of the "island time" mentality.

And Anini Beach is a great place to spend some of your island time as the two-mile strip of sand is protected by a long-running reef. This creates lake-like waters that are protected from the harsh north shore surf year-round. The reef also makes for some good snorkelling when the current, visibility and conditions are right.

Anini is a great choice in the winter months on Kauai when the ocean swells to bring dangerous surf to many beaches on the island. The reef does a great job of protecting the shallow waters, but a storm or surge could still send waves up and over the reef. Make sure you keep your bearings in the water as to not get too close the waves crashing on the reef, and always check the ocean's conditions before heading down to Anini Beach.

Anini BeachHeading down to the beach is half the fun. The road barely clings to the land, and, on some of the turns, it feels like you're about to drive right into the sea. You'll notice plenty of beautiful homes up on a ridge overlooking Anini as you descend down to the water. Most of these homes are for rent, so keep that in mind for your next trip to the Garden Isle if you like secluded beaches in paradise.

The beach itself features plenty of old-growth trees for shade. Some of the older trees look like they are walking right out into the water. It makes you wonder how they survive in such salty conditions and adds to the aura of the whole scene. And you might just catch a glimpse of some locals casting nets into the shallow water to catch dinner.

Drive down to the very end of the long, windy road and you'll find a sandbar jutting out into the Pacific. Make sure conditions are calm as there are no lifeguards at Anini Beach then enjoy the shallow waters. You can find plenty of beautiful little sea shells down at this sandbar which makes the calm, shallow waters perfect for a family escape. And, with such a long length of sand, you're sure to find a secluded spot for you and your's.

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Kalihiwai, Kauai