The island of St Thomas is a popular cruise ship stop for duty-free shopping and jaw-dropping sightseeing. It’s also one of the world’s most famous — and rewarding — beach scenes. With a delightful mix of calm, quiet bays and bustling surf spots, St Thomas beaches are truly the jewels of the Caribbean.
Hundreds of online travel blogs and magazines pinpoint Magens Bay Beach as one of the top 10 beaches in the world. They’re right. If you’re planning a visit to St Thomas, you’ll surely run across one or several of these sources.
All will agree that Magens Bay, with its u-shaped beachfront, protected cove and fun tiki bar offers the perfect vacation mix of warm salty water and hopping beach vibe.
But St Thomas is home to dozens of beaches so don’t stop short at Magens. On your visit to “the Rock,” as locals call it, be sure to plan a day at some of our favorite island beach spots.
Secret Harbour is on the south side of St Thomas, heading toward the east end. It’s quietly tucked into a small cove of calm turquoise water lined with a breathtaking coral formation. If you like sightseeing with a snorkel and mask but don’t like fighting a current, you’ll be smitten with Secret Harbour.
A beachfront restaurant serves casual fare and often offers live music to welcome the sunset. Sports fans also will find televisions at the bar broadcasting first come-first serve games. There’s also a terrific dive shop and several charter boats available for day trips to see turtles and sunsets.
Tip: Secret Harbour has one of the most glorious sunsets on St Thomas!
Venture a little farther East to Sapphire Beach, a long-famous spot for Sunday Funday dance parties and midweek cruise ship gatherings. There’s a huge bar serving tropical cocktails and made-to-order lunches, as well as a dive shop and beach chair rentals.
But the real reason to visit Sapphire Beach isn’t the food and fun. It’s the spectacular wide-open view to St John. You’ll also see tiny Shark Island where more adventurous swimmers like to challenge themselves to a hardcore swim and back.
Tip: For a serious thrill, book a trip with the parasailing experts at Sapphire Beach and see the fish and turtles swimming around the beach-goers.
Hull Bay Beach is a favorite for laid-back surfers and guitar-strumming island musicians. On “big swell” days, this is where locals gather to watch the waves crash against the enormous rocks that tower like bookends on either side of the sandy beach.
There’s also a tiki with delicious homemade island food and live music on most weekends. If you’re a surfer, bring your board or rent one. You might be surprised how big the waves can get at this particular spot.
Tip: Hull Bay is a little out of the way so you’ll probably want to drive your own car. If you’re depending on cabs while you’re visiting St Thomas, you might need to skip Hull Bay and that would be a shame.
Water Island is a tiny rock accessible by ferry or private boat from St Thomas’s main port. It’s well-known for its hotel ruins and raucous beach bars at Honeymoon Beach.
What’s less known about Water Island except to a handful of locals is its bejeweled beach on the uninhabited grounds where a hotel once stood before Hurricane Hugo destroyed it in 1989. If you have access to a private boat, you can reach this precious spot for romantic solitude and one of the richest deposits of sea glass anywhere in the Caribbean.
Tip: If you find a favorite piece of sea glass on Water Island, stop by Renaissance Jewelers in downtown St Thomas. We can talk with you about creating a custom ring or necklace from your hand-plucked beach souvenir. But we warn you, your friends and family back at home will want one, too. You might want to plan ahead when gathering all of that sea glass.