ST. CROIX

Cane Bay Beach is known for its clear, warm swimming waters and easy shore access to the famous Cane Bay Wall. This steep oceanic drop-off is part of the Puerto Rico Trench, where the ocean floor plummets more than two miles deep. The on-site Cane Bay Dive Shop offers diving gear rental and guided snorkel excursions. For sunbathers, there are several bars and restaurants accessible right from the beach, adding to the enjoyment of a relaxing day. Some areas of the beach are rocky, so water shoes are recommended. 

Salt Pond Bay on St. Croix’s southeast coast is one of just a few mangrove ecosystems in USVI. The beach is protected, so there isn’t much surf most days, making it perfect for swimming. The long, curved beach gently slopes toward the calm blue waters, making this an excellent spot for beginner snorkelers, where sea turtles, rays and giant hermit crabs can be spotted in the seagrass beds. Bring your binoculars: Salt Pond Bay is a popular bird-watching destination, and you’re bound to spot egrets, herons and white-crowned pigeons nesting in the mangrove trees. The beach is accessed by a .25-mile uneven, rocky trail with a moderate slope. Visitors may catch the VITRAN shuttle to and from the beach.

On the west end of St. Croix, Rainbow Beach is popular among locals and visitors for its clear, calm swimming waters. The bottom can be rocky in places, so water shoes are recommended. It’s also a good spot for snorkeling, paddle boarding and jet skiing, all of which are available for rent at West End Water Sports. Although Rainbow Beach is a great spot for sun worshippers, you may want to rent a beach umbrella, as there isn’t much shade here. The oceanfront Rhythms at Rainbow Beach serves colorful frozen cocktails and casual bites. Expect live music and impromptu beach volleyball matches.

ST. JOHN

Palm-fringed Honeymoon Beach is celebrated for its soft white sand and vibrant, snorkeler-friendly coral reef. Access Honeymoon Beach by hiking Lind Point Trail, which begins near the Visitor Center parking lot. Look for the trailhead near the Virgin Islands National Park sign off North Shore Road. Sun on the sand or relax under the shade of the sea grape trees. Take a swim or dive in and snorkel the narrow reef that follows the shoreline towards Caneel Bay, where you’ll spy coral colonies that shelter schools of technicolor fish.

Ranked #1 on the prestigious list of The World’s 50 Best Beaches™ 2024, the turquoise waters and half-crescent of white sand make Trunk Bay Beach a paradise for sunbathers and swimmers. Part of the Virgin Islands National Park, the beach is enveloped in emerald flora. The 225 yard-long Trunk Bay Underwater Snorkel Trail just off the shoreline invites visitors to meet the marine creatures living on the magical bay’s bustling reef. Beach amenities include a snack shack, restrooms, showers and snorkel gear rentals.   

Cinnamon Bay Beach is the longest stretch of white sand in Virgin Islands National Park, making it the ideal spot for sunning and swimming. It’s also the only beach with an adjacent campground, Cinnamon Bay Beach & Campground, so you can spend the night under the stars in a deluxe eco-tent. Rent snorkel gear from the on-site water sports facility to meet the graceful rays that linger at the beach’s rocky eastern end and around Cinnamon Cay, a tiny island about 600 feet from the shoreline. Windsurfing, kayak and mountain bike rentals are also available. Hike the Cinnamon Bay Nature Loop and Accessible Trail, a half-mile loop that meanders from the beach through a forest of native trees to the ruins of a former sugar plantation.

ST. THOMAS

Magens Bay Beach is one of the most photographed beaches in USVI, thanks to its half-mile-long, sugary sand beach. Nestled in a protected cove, its swimming waters are smooth and crystal clear. It’s also one of the most family-friendly beaches, thanks to on-duty lifeguards, changing and shower facilities, and plentiful picnic tables. Lounge and beach chairs, as well as umbrellas, are all available for rent from the beach’s gift shop. Order a tropical cocktail from the beachside bar, and it will be delivered directly to your lounge chair. Set off on the Discovery Nature Trail and see if you can spot some of the native and migratory birds that call this beautiful bay home, including the golden warbler, stilt sandpiper and peregrine falcon.

Located within the 21-acre Smith Bay Park, a protected nature reserve, Lindquist Beach is home to coconut groves, sea grape trees and iguanas. Calm waters, lifeguards, picnic tables and soft, pink-tinged sand make it a good pick for families looking to swim and frolic in the sun. Soak in sweeping views of the picturesque nearby cays (small islands) and enjoy the cooling trade winds. 

Secret Harbour Beach is located in a protected bay on the quiet East End of St. Thomas, and is home to the Secret Harbour Beach Resort. Rent chaise lounges for sunbathing or water sports equipment, and enjoy lunch or cocktails at one of Secret Harbour’s restaurants. The anchored raft is perhaps the best spot on the island to catch some rays.

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