Best Beaches

FOR FAMILIES

FIND THE IDEAL SPOT FOR SWIMMING AND SNORKELING WITH KIDS

Mention the word beach to nearly anybody and their eyes will undoubtedly light up as they imagine the sound of gentle waves and the feeling of dipping their toes in warm sand. But for parents, beach visits can also mean navigating any number of challenges. These nine beaches have families in mind, with plenty of amenities and activities to ensure your kids — and you — can enjoy our tropical paradise to the fullest.

St. Thomas

While Magens Bay Beach is popular with locals and visitors alike — attracting cruise ship tours, wedding celebrations, nature lovers and morning strollers — it’s also a terrific spot for children. Its mile-long, horseshoe-shaped beach is protected by two peninsulas and features a gradually sloping bottom, ensuring calm waters. Family-friendly amenities include restrooms, lifeguards, a designated swim area with buoy markers and handicap access. When the little ones get hungry, the snack bar offers plenty of options, including pizza, hamburgers and hot dogs. There’s a full-service bar for the adults, too. Specializing in families and first-timers, Yak Shak makes sure the older kids are happily occupied with stand-up paddleboards and kayaks for rent. Magens Bay Beach also features the Discovery Nature Trail, filled with colorful birds, exotic flowers and native mangrove trees. Pavilion rentals are available, complete with charcoal grills, picnic tables and electrical outlets.

For those looking for a low-key family beach day, Lindquist Beach is just the spot. Part of Smith Bay Park, a 21-acre protected preserve, Lindquist Beach offers calm, clear blue waters to go along with its soft, white sand. Large bushes and palm trees provide a break from the sun. A well-kept restroom steps from the beach features showers and changing stalls. Located on the east end of the island, Lindquist Beach is home to colorful birds and marine creatures that will keep kids of all ages entertained. Lifeguards and picnic tables add to its family-friendly appeal.

With lush green hills on one side and the University of the Virgin Islands campus on the other, it’s no wonder Brewers Bay Beach is popular with beachgoers of all stripes. Known as one of the calmest beaches on St. Thomas, Brewers Bay features an easy sloped entry to the water with a seafloor that’s mostly sand, making it great for wading. Or perhaps you want to engage the family in some frisbee throwing? With one of the widest shores on the island, Brewers Bay is perfect for family games. Public bathrooms and outdoor showers are other family-friendly amenities. While there aren’t any concessions stands, local food trucks are often parked nearby, providing a taste of local dishes.

St. John

Check any number of best beach lists and odds are Trunk Bay Beach will be on it. With stunning powdery white sand and the bluest of water, it’s no wonder Trunk Bay is called the crown jewel of Virgin Islands National Park. But this .3-mile beautiful beach also has the added benefit of housing the unique Trunk Bay Underwater Snorkel Trail. This underwater snorkeling trail, with markers guiding visitors to important spots within the oceanic coral ecosystem, provides lifetime memories for kids. Rent or bring your own snorkel gear for this unique underwater experience as you look for angel fish, puffer fish and possibly even a sea turtle to swim by among the various types of coral. Other family-friendly amenities include a snack bar, lifeguard, showers and restrooms.

Part of Virgin Islands National Park, Cinnamon Bay Beach is one of the longest beaches on St. John with over 1/2-mile of soft white sand, giving your family plenty of space to spread out. Beyond its brilliant blue waters, this spot offers kayak, paddleboard, snorkel gear and chair rentals. Refuel with a visit to the snack bar. Not far away, the Cinnamon Bay Nature Loop and Francis Bay Trail offer relatively easy hikes. The more adventurous can opt for the one-mile Cinnamon Bay Trail. Restrooms, showers and a souvenir shop make Cinnamon Bay Beach a top family-friendly spot. And should camping be on your family’s agenda, deluxe eco-tents are available for rent at Cinnamon Bay Beach & Campground.

With its narrow, sandy beach offering plenty of sun and shade, Maho Beach has earned its fair share of favorite beach votes. And that’s especially true for those with littles in tow. Light surf, shallow water entry and a sandy bottom that extends out some 20 yards make it great for wading. Rentals for snorkeling gear, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are available, as well as covered pavilions that are perfect for larger family gatherings. Restrooms are situated at the western end of the beach, and nearby food vendors satisfy those inevitable hunger pangs. Humans aren’t the only ones who love this St. John beach — huge sea turtles are fans, as well.

St. Croix

Located on the west side of St. Croix, Rainbow Beach offers clear, calm waters, making it a good choice for those visiting with children. The water conditions also make it a good option for water sports. West End Water Sports provides rentals for a variety of water activities, including paddleboards, kayaks, jet skis and snorkeling gear. If your idea of a perfect beach day leans more toward relaxing, West End rents loungers, umbrellas and floats. For food and drinks, head to the fun Rhythms at Rainbow Beach. Should your afternoon at Rainbow Beach extend into early evening, your family will be rewarded with stunning sunset views.

With its long, curved shape and gentle slope into the water, Salt Pond Bay is great for swimmers and snorkelers of all levels. Part of Virgin Islands National Park, the beach is only accessible via a 1/4-mile trail. However, visitors may catch the VITRAN shuttle to and from the beach. Don't let this little bit of effort deter you and the family from spending a day here. The crystal-clear shallow water and white sand will make it totally worthwhile, with the added benefit of less crowds.

Just as important to what Sandy Point Beach is — one of the longest and most pristine white-sand beaches in the U.S. Virgin Islands — is what it isn’t. This isn’t a typical beach filled with umbrellas, snack stands and kids digging in the sand. Rather, Sandy Point Beach, or Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge as it's formally known, was created in 1984 to protect the nesting habitat of the endangered leatherback sea turtle. With that in mind, it's closed to the public between April and August. But during other months, on weekends only, this two-mile-long stretch of sandy white beach is a great place for hiking, wildlife observation and native photography.

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