St. Thomas Beaches
Coral World Ocean Park
Voted top attraction in the U.S. Virgin Islands, this marine complex features a three-story underwater observation tower 100 feet offshore; inside, you’ll view sea sponges, tropical fish, coral, and other aquatic creatures in their natural state. One 80,000-gallon reef tank features exotic marine life of the Caribbean. Another tank presents small sharks and giant moray eels common to the Caribbean Sea. The best time to visit is during daily fish and shark feedings. If you feel more adventurous, purchase a full-immersion Sea Trek experience via helmet and a breathing tube tethered to an air source at the observatory tower while you stroll in 18 feet of water — its the equivalent of Scuba diving for 20 minutes. Reservations are required.
ADDRESS: 6450 Estate Smith Bay
Located next to Coral World, enjoy incredible beach with many tropical fish, while mixing with the locals. You can do snorkel rentals, arrange scuba lessons, or simply swim and relax. Lockers, showers, umbrellas are also available for rent. Included in the marine park are the Tropical Terrace Restaurant, duty-free shops, and a nature trail. Call waters make this beach perfect families. Vendors small bars and restaurants for a near-perfect day at the beach. There is only minor gripe, parking could be improved at this popular beach.
Hailed as one of the world’s most beautiful, this breathtaking bay along St. Thomas’ rugged north coast is ideal for sunbathing, walking, picnicing and swimming. It is known for its extraordinary white sand beach stretching nearly a mile. Tour from the turquoise waters and beautiful white sand, to the palm arboretum. The bay’s northwest exposure means its waters are usually calm, excluding the winter months. The sandy bottom means snorkeling is of limited interest. Magens Bay was previously owned by Arthur Fairchild, who donated most of it as a public park gift to the St. Thomas and St. John in 1943.
ADMISSION: small parking & entry fees
This bay manages to be both large and cozy, striking a delicate balance on the north shore of the island, next to Magens Bay, with quiet little beach and mostly calm waters. Enjoy spending few hours sunbathing, swimming or watching St. Thomas fishermen in their small fishing boats, hanging nets to dry and landing their catch of the day. It is said that many of the fishermen are descendants of settlers from Haiti and other French colonies who fled to St. Thomas more than 200 years ago. A local restaurant is nearby with restrooms, bathrooms and mild entertainment.
Often seen first by arriving cruise ships, Bluebeard’s Castle on the eastern edge of the beach is a historic site that overlooks St. Thomas Harbor and the capital city of Charlotte Amalie. Legend says, a Frenchman, Giles de Rais, became the infamous pirate Bluebeard in the late 1600s, when he picked this location to construct a watch tower on the hilltop for his love, Mercedita. Perhaps there was more to it than love, that vantage point enabled him to view all directions in case the Spanish invaders came. Strangely in 1689, the Danes built the tower as watchtower to aid the defenses of Fort Christian. So one doesn’t know who to believe. Either one is is nice tale best told over cocktails. Today, Bluebeard Beach features a modern resort dashed with history to make it the perfect gateway. This tranquil and uncrowded beach is ideal for windsurfing, snorkeling, sailboarding or watching the sailboats go by.
Take the West End to Brewers Bay, known for being busy on weekends. It usually has calm waters and you can see turtles. It is close to the University of Virgin Islands and 5 minutes from STT Airport. This lovely white-sand beach is popular with the locals.
Its a quiet spot to lounge at a beach bar, soak up the sun or enjoy water sports; rent a beach umbrella if you seek some relief from the blazing tropical sun. The pretty turquoise water deepens quickly and often has mild waves. It is wonderful for cooling off and for enjoying a nice swim. In some areas the bottom is made of course sand and tiny pebbles which somewhat discourages wading along in the water. This beach is located on the South Coast.