North of Lihue and south of Kapaa on Kauai, the snorkeling at Anahola Beach Park is known for its protected eastern shore that is good for beginners.. You can expect to see convict tangs, unicorn, zebra moray eels, goatfish, butterflyfish, humuhumunukunukuapua’a (Hawaiian state fish aka rectangular triggerfish), wrasse, parrotfish and green sea turtles among the rocks and califlower coral. This shore-accessed snorkeling dive has waters from 0 to 15 feet deep.
The Anahola area is a special hometown region of Kauai. Make sure you are very respectful to the locals living in the area. Since this beach serves the community, it can be crowded on the weekend, so it is recommended to snorkeling at Anahola Beach Park on the weekdays. The ocean off Anahola is known for its year-round easterly trade-winds that kick up surf all year-round, so make sure to stay inside the protective cove.
To reach the snorkeling in Kauai by air, fly into the Lihue airport (LIH). There are direct flights from Los Angeles, Denver, San Francisco, Seattle and Honolulu. While most visitors to the island rent a car, it is possible to use the public bus but keep in mind that its small and slow. Plus, most of the main snorkeling beaches are well off the bus route requiring some hiking. If you do rent a car, make sure to leave the inside empty when at the beach to avoid attracting break-ins.
To reach the Anahola Beach Park snorkeling from Lihue, head north on Kuhio Highway (SR56) through Kapa’a to Anahola. As you are about to enter Anahola, turn right at milemarker 13 on Anahola Road heading east along the cove to the beach parking area.
Before snorkeling at Anahola Beach Park, make sure to check the current surf report. The waters off Kauai are known for potentially strong currents, high surf and rogue waves. Luckily, there are excellent up-to-date surf reports that can provide guidance on these adverse conditions. WIth the usually rolling surf, it is strongly discouraged to use open-tube snorkels which are common at snorkel rental locations -- only use snorkels with a dry-top splash-guard and a sump purge-valve in the mouth piece.
Overall, Anahola Beach Park is the 20th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 23 snorkeling dives in Kauai.