Just one bay west of Chocolate Hole, Great Cruz Bay is surrounded by island villas and the Westin Resort. The beach was man made but hosts multiple water sport activities from boat charters to paddle boards.
Frank Bay is a cute small beach a short walk out of Cruz Bay past Grande Bay and Gallows Point. There are a few spots to park your car and even a small art gallery just across the road. Frank Bay is a perfect spot to just sit, jump in the water for a few minutes, or bring a beverage and watch the sunset - 99 times out of 100 you’ll be all by yourself.
Located within the (still closed) Caneel Bay Resort, Caneel Bay Beach faces west. Since the resort remains closed, this beach is only accessible via hiking trail.
A 20 minute hike from the main road to find this sandy spit of beach. The trail path goes up hill and then over the crest and then down hill for another 10 minutes or so to the water’s edge. You should be able to find a shady place to rest along the sandy and pebbly shoreline. Chances are pretty good that you will be able to enjoy the beach in privacy.
You will find decent snorkeling along the eastern side of the bay. If you have energy left for more exploring look for the ruins on the western side of the beach.
Just south of North Haulover Beach and on the other side of the road, the sandy beach is worth the drive to get to this sandy and often protected beach.
Just out East End Road (Highway 10). North Haulover beach has great snorkeling and hiking and you will find it just off East End Road (which is a great drive).
Located right next to the former Vie’s Snack Shack, Hansen Beach is a wonderful spot to get away from it all. Check out this photo by St John beach guide to really appreciate how wonderful a spot this is. For a small fee of $3, they offers parking and a beach chair. Hansen Bay has the soft white silky sand that St John is known for. It also has a very easy and shallow entrance so it is a good option for the little ones or those who are not great swimmers. Most days it also offers lots of protection from big waves but, make sure you bring lots of sunscreen as there is one large area with shade up near the picnic tables.
Often moored off the beach is the new floating taco bar Lime Out. Due to safety concerns they do not let you swim out, but there are plenty of kayaks and SUPS for rent on the beach.
Because this is a private beach, there are some other fun things: pickup barbecues on some Sundays and dogs are allowed (always on their leash).
This cobblestone beach is more out of the way and less traveled than its’ neighbor to the west — the sandy Little Lameshur beach. Locals and very experienced snorkelers are the most often visitors to this out of the way beach
The beach located in front of Cruz Bay’s Wharfside Village commercial area is home to many moored charter boats, deck chairs, The Terrace, Banana Deck, The Beach Bar dinner seating, Dr!nk & Rum Hut bar seating, High Tide, not to mention a whole lot of nighttime hanging around. As of Jul 11, 2019, Beach Bar & Rum Hut are still not completed.
Not really meant for swimming and sunning, but you’re in the islands – do what you have to do! It is the happenin’ place to be if you want to enjoy sunsets with other like minded limin’ people many of whom will be roaming the beach and visiting some of the many shops or restaurants which line the harbor.
Cruz Bay harbor is the main people ferry dock that can take you to St. Thomas and the BVIs. The northern section of Cruz Bay harbor is home to the Virgin Islands National Park offices and is where the water taxis load and unload their passengers.
Cruz Bay is also home to The Battery which is where you will find many of the USVI government offices and the US Customs office (where you will arrive when coming from the British Virgin Islands), which is currently under renovations.
Cinnamon Bay is another National Park beach with multiple services (like Trunk Bay) including fixed tent and adobe camping and a full-service restaurant. There is plenty of parking and a complete water sport rental shop on the beach for everything from snorkel gear to paddle boards.
Cinnamon Bay beach is wide providing lots of opportunity for building sand castles and playing frisbee. There are also plenty of places to find a shady spot, if that is your preference. Good snorkeling can be found at both ends of the beach as well as out around the island off the beach. As with virtually all the National Park beaches, Cinnamon is a wonderful spot for the little ones who are just learning to swim. The shallow entrance, silky sand, and clear, clear water allow for people to see fish while still in very shallow waters.
The Cinnamon Bay self-guided trail offers boardwalk access which meanders through the historic ruins. You can find the trail entrance located across from the exit gate of the Cinnamon Bay Campground. There is great wildlife to be found as well as ruins left by the Danish settlers which can be seen along the trails, including the ruins of the original Cinnamon Bay sugar mill.
Taxis are readily available to transport people to and from Cruz Bay.
NOTE: Since the hurricanes of 2017, the services at Cinnamon Bay are limited. There is no fixed building camping and limited tent space camping.
Locals sometimes referred to Denis as Secret Beach as it is primarily accessed through an small parking lot marked “Peace Hill Trail” off of the North Shore Road and requires a hike down a 300+’ trail (and a hike up when returning to your vehicle). Denis Beach lies in front of a couple of private residences and, while it is a great spot to just relax and be alone, make sure you respect the neighbors.
Easy access and silky white sand are wonderful attributes of Denis Beach, however, because of our prevailing winds you might find some high surf and waves. The snorkeling is reputed to be good especially on both ends of the beach as well as the rocky coral outcroppings/
Because of the limited parking you might well have the beach to yourself to enjoy.
Europa Bay, located on the southeastern side of St John, is best accessed via the Lameshur Trail. You will arrive at Europa Bay beach after trekking about 20 minutes from the Trail (at the westernmost end of Little Lameshur Bay Beach). Once there, you will be glad you made the effort for the views are spectacular. Be aware that while the beach is fairly sandy you will also find sea urchins.
Home to the famous Oppenheimer house and many weddings/private parties, Gibney Beach (Oppenheimer) is a small beach with very limited parking (room for 3-4 parallel jeeps) on one side of the driveway in front of the wrought iron gate. Famous for not only its previous scientist owner, but also the small concrete building that is now owned by the government and can be rented for wedding reception or other functions. The beach is fairly small but can be a nice break from some of the busier areas and not a very long drive from Cruz Bay.
Technically, the western beach is the original Gibney family beach and the eastern portion in front of the pavilion Oppenheimer (sold to him by the Gibneys decades ago).
During the summer months it is harder to find a shady spot.
We had our wedding & reception as well as 10th anniversary dinner here in 2002 and 2012.
Francis Bay is a beautiful west-facing beach that is perfect for a day of sunning & swimming, reading, picnic or just plain relaxing. The beach area is quite long and has plenty of room for large groups.
Access to the beach his off the North Shore Road and then down the Francis Bay Trail to a small parking area.
Just around Maho Point, this beach used to be accessible through the Maho Eco-tent camping area but now can really only be gotten to by boat or by swimming/snorkeling around the point from Maho Bay or down the shore from Francis Bay.
If you want to enjoy a nice snorkel alone or with your partner, then sit quietly in the sand on a beach with no other humans, this is the place to do it. Park at Maho Bay, find a spot for your chairs and cooler, then snorkel around to Maho Point to the north or ‘right’ when standing on the beach.
This small beach near Waterlemon Cay has some of the best snorkeling on the north shore. You can park in a small lot near the head of Leinster Bay Trail, then walk along (and near) the shoreline about ⅓ of a mile to the beach. The remoteness almost guarantees a quiet and peaceful experience daily.
Not really any beach to speak of, and quite a hike to access it, but the off-the-beaten path make this a special place worth visiting (maybe more than once). Typically calm waters and a good snorkeling adventure awaits you off the shore all the way around this tiny island.
A beach with some great hiking to boot. There a a dozen or more parking spots (plus some more roadside room) and usually a small snack stand just off the ‘highway’ 107. Park and unload your towels, chairs, cooler and snorkel gear and it’s a casual walk down a the Salt Pond Bay Trail. The Vitran bus will also stop at Salt Pond Bay trail-head so for $1 you can get to Salt Pond from Cruz Bay!
Salt Pond is also a great spot for hikers. From Salt Bay trail-head you can either take the trails to Ram Head Point or Drunk Bay. Both are hikes with great vistas.
Even further out of the way than Grootpan or Great Lameshur, Little Lameshur is the farthest beach from Cruz Bay and the literal end of the end of the road. The entire beach is a nice sand and there is a few feet of small stones as you enter the water.
This is one of Steve’s favorite beaches on the island. There are parking spots, a new style outhouse bathroom, awesome snorkeling along both east and west rock shores, as well as some nice pinnacles out in the middle right of the bay.
Pack a picnic and cooler and stay for the day, with maybe a stop at Skinny Legs or Wok on the Beach on the way back to the villa.
Also, consider bringing water bottles and comfortable shoes/boots and hike up and over to the petroglyphs and sugar house on the lower part of the Reef Bay Trail.
Just west of Salt Pond Bay, this rocky (cobblestone) beach is secluded and private. In early 2016, private landowners blocked access to the beach which was actually found through their land.
There is wonderful snorkeling off the point where you will see a number of rocks jutting above the waterline. The best spots are about 10′ – 15′ deep so good snorkeling (or diving) skills required. If you are less inclined to dive deep there is still plenty to see along the rocks on either side of the bay.
This is also a great spot to picnic. We have done so and in the middle of our last picnic we heard the sound of ‘thumps’ on the water and looked out to watch whales breaching! They entertained us for several minutes before moving on. What a thrill is was!