St. Thomas is one of the busiest cruise ports in the Caribbean with as many as six cruise ships docked on a given day. It’s an island torn between commercialism, with U.S.-based fast food chains and department stores, and its strong Caribbean history from Christopher Columbus discovering the island in 1493 to regaling tales of pirates such as Blackbeard. There is great duty-free shopping and world class restaurants, but above all, there are spectacular beaches.
Magen’s Bay is perhaps the most popular beach on St. Thomas. Many even say it is the world’s prettiest beach with its calm waters and heart shaped inlet. With popularity though comes crowds and this beach is crowded every day. The beach is about a twenty minute cab ride from downtown Charlotte Amalie. If you chose to visit, there are changing facilities, a restaurant, bar and even a casual wear store in case you forgot that beach cover-up.
But this island has many other beaches that are tucked away, nestled in coves amongst swaying coconut palms and sea grape trees. Imagine secluded beaches where you might be the only one there for hours or beaches where the locals hang out.
Sapphire Beach on the east end of the island, close to Red Hook, has a very large reef close to shore which makes for excellent snorkeling. There is a Doubletree Resort at this beach but don’t let that fool you. The beach is large and wide and there are no crowds. The views are spectacular as it faces St. John and other islands. There is a small stand which rents snorkel gear as well as beach umbrellas and wind surfing equipment.
Nestled on the island’s north shore and adjacent to the Ritz Carleton is Bluebeard’s Beach. This beach is best known for its excellent windsurfing with just-right tropical breezes and great year round weather. Islanders come here on weekends for family picnics and snorkeling here is decent with a small reef located just offshore. There are no equipment rentals at this beach so rent elsewhere before you come.
Also located on the north shore of the island, just west of Megan’s Bay is Hull Bay. This local favorite spot is popular with residents and fisherman who use the bay to anchor their small boats. It’s also considered one of the best places to surf on the island. There is a local dive shop across the street as well as a local restaurant and bar. The beach itself is almost deserted during the week and the snorkeling is decent as long as the boats aren’t stirring up the water a bunch.
While not actually on St. Thomas, Turtle Cove is worth the trip. Take a 3 ½ hour tour (no, not to Gilligan’s Island!) onboard the Dancing Dolphin Catamaran to Buck Island and swim with sea turtles. Along the way there will be plenty of tropical fish and awesome coral formations. The island has a wonderful white sand beach for lounging after snorkeling but be careful not to step on the sea urchins while swimming to shore.
Perhaps the best way to experience the many beaches that St Thomas has to offer is to charter a yacht. There are several luxury charter services available and yachts can be charted by the day or by the week. This will provide access to beaches that you would normally need a four wheel drive to get to. These companies will provide the food, drinks and equipment you will need to explore the many unexpected beaches of St. Thomas.
6501 Red Hook Plaza
St. Thomas, VI 00802
Magic Moments Luxury Excursions
6501 Red Hook Plaza
St. Thomas, VI 00802-1306
Phone: 340-775-5066 or 1-800-734-7345
Dancing Dolphin Catamaran Tours
Phone: 340-775-7245 or 1340-775-2676