Did pirates really have the pleasure of spending any of their booty? I tend to think they loved the sport and what they gained was either lost or confiscated and sent back to the motherland. In any case, what they did enjoy were the beaches of the Caribbean. Colombus discovered it, hurricanes have ravaged it, and many a Spanish galleon have graced its ports. With quite the history, it’s no wonder St. Thomas must have been a beautiful place to relax and unwind. And that tradition has not slowed down.
One thing you can say about St. Thomas that may not be true on any other Caribbean island is that there is definitely a beach for everyone. If you have been searching for a party beach, St. Thomas has them. If you are looking for a beach perfect for sun tanning, you’ll find it right here in St. Thomas. If you love water sports, from snorkeling to scuba, parasailing to riding those funny banana shaped floats they tow behind jet skis, oh, and if you want to Jet Ski, there’s a beach for all of that, too. Perhaps you want a more laid back beach, one where the wind gently blows and waves lap up on shore as they’ve done for thousands of years, no problem – we have that beach getaway as well right here on St. Thomas.
And remember this – as you plan your vacation to the U.S. Virgin Islands, all beaches are open to the public. Now what does that mean, exactly? Well, the sand is yours to wander upon and use, but right about where the tree line starts and heading inland, that’s normally private property. You’ll find that some of the Virgin Island beaches have huge resorts built close by. This means that you can’t fake that you’re a guest and use their chairs and umbrellas, towels, sports gear, swimming pools – you get the picture. Don’t get in trouble. If in doubt, ask. To find our top three was a challenge, but we’re happy to start out with number three.
Lindberg Bay Named after the famous aviator, Charles A. Lindberg, Lindberg Bay is one of the beaches where people looking for a quiet day hang out. Sea Grapes and Palm trees line the beach that is home to the beautiful Emerald Beach Hotel and the Island Beachcomber. Why they didn’t name the hotel Lindberg Bay Resort is anyone’s guess. This beach is perfect for kicking back. You can rent all of those fun floaties and not worry about waves. For sports, the hotels have rentals from snorkel gear to windsurfing to kayaks. You can even take a Hobie Cat out and enjoy the blue water.
Kids will have fun in the shallows. And guess what?! This beautiful beach has a playground located at one end of the beach. And as if they thought of everything, you can snack or eat right at the restaurants or bars at the hotels. They are open-air and always fun. You’re a short drive from the airport – not like you would land and come right to the beach, but so you know, you don’t have to go far. The beach is a few minutes from Charlotte Amalie. You can get here by rental car, taxi or even the public bus. We recommend getting a rental car when visiting St. Thomas. This will afford you the freedom of coming and going when you choose. You’ll find that if you rent in your home city you will get a lower rate. Make sure you follow the rules that come from the rental agency; some roads can be challenging.
- Sand – soft, fine grain
- Facilities – full service
- Shade – sea grape and palm trees abound, umbrella rental from the hotels
- Sports – rental available at the hotels
- Notes – child friendly, not over-populated, clean water
Coki Point Beach
This is the beach that the cruise ships bring their crowds, but wait! Don’t let that keep you from visiting. St. Thomas offers up the luxurious white sand gem that is popular among the locals as well. This beach offers a little more action. If you have snorkel gear, bring it. It’s awesome.
As you can see, you could lie out in the sun all day and go home with wonderful memories. And that’s fine – but – we would be remiss if we didn’t tell you that right under the surface, right along shore is one of the world’s best snorkel spots for beginners. How so? Coki Beach gets little wave action, and because of this, there isn’t much cloudy water caused by wave action with sand. On top of that, there is the rocky area near the shore. The less sand, the more coral growth activity and the better chance you have for seeing beautiful, colorful tropical fish. You’ll see when you get in how super clear the water is.
Wear a T-shirt because the water will wash off your tanning lotion and you will want to stay in longer than the sun takes to burn your back. Be prepared for what comes along with the cruise tours: vendors, hair braiders, and pickpockets. You’d think St. Thomas would want to spend a little more effort here. The bathrooms are primitive. What they have for restaurants are a couple of bars and beach shacks with a few picnic tables. On the positive side, there are chair rentals, taxis readily available, a great local dive shop, Jet Ski rental and a place called Coral World Marine Park right next to the beach. Now why would the locals and cruises come here in droves? And why do we even give it a mention? Because it’s that good. The beach is just great and the fact the reef is that close is an added touch that is too good to pass up. So when you are on St. Thomas, don’t miss Coki Beach. Spend a day with the locals and do some power-people watching. (Get some great snorkeling in, as well!)
- Sand – soft, fine grain
- Facilities – full service
- Shade – some along the tree line
- Sports – local dive shop, jet skis
- Notes – can get a little crowded when the tours arrive, get your spot and enjoy, snorkeling world class
Imagine a Christmas present of unimaginable magnitude. Shortly after that holiday in 1946, the people of the Virgin Island received the generosity of Arthur S. Fairchild, former Wall Street genius, long time island resident, and philanthropist. So what was the gift? Land. Mr. Fairchild knowing what local governments could do deeded the land to the people – 56 acres of the most beautiful area of St. Thomas – Magens Bay.
Magens encompasses a former sugar cane plantation called Louisenhoj, named after Louisa Rohde, nee Magens – the daughter of a prominent Danish family. Thus the name, Magens Bay. So today, it’s a public park on a grand scale. Rated by National Geographic Magazine as one of the world’s top ten, Magens Bay, St. Thomas, is quiet during the week and picks up a little during the weekends. The turquoise, shimmering water isn’t known for snorkeling – that nice sandy bottom makes for kind of boring snorkeling scenery. But if you insist, locals say go straight out to the buoys, just about center bay, and you might be lucky enough to see one of the turtles that often hang out there.
Many films and commercials are shot here. Scenes from Weekend at Bernie’s 2, Kawasaki Jet Skis, Doublemint Gum and Monsoon Perfume to name a few. That gives you an idea just how precious this place is. It is a recommended beach. There is a concession stand offering food, drink, rentals and a small boutique. Some cruise ships do send their tourists here, normally around noon. The beach can get busy on Sunday and local holidays. There is an entry fee of $3.00 per person, $1.00 for your car, and 25 cents for each child.
- Sand – white powder/fine-medium grain
- Facilities – full service Shade – adult palm trees
- Sports – a kayak/sailing center offers limited rentals
- Notes – don’t miss this beach, the best of the USVI