Exploring the Best Beaches in the US Virgin Islands

The US Virgin Islands are renowned for their stunning beaches, with soft white sand and crystal clear blue waters. All of these beaches are open to the public, with a few exceptions, and are mostly free. Even private resorts, which often dominate some of the most beautiful stretches of sand, are required to offer public access. The Virgin Islands are fortunate to have a wide variety of beaches, each with its own unique characteristics.

In St. Thomas, active tourists will find plenty to like at Cinnamon Bay Beach. Located within the Virgin Islands National Park, visitors can explore the old Danish beachfront building, which houses a temporary museum that shows some of the National Park Service's archaeological findings from excavations in the area. Travelers can also hike the self-guided, half-mile Cinnamon Bay Trail, where coconut trees and seaweed trees provide shade for long stretches.

Hull Bay beach is a favorite of local anglers and surfers and is said to offer St. Thomas's best surf when there are waves from the north.

Cane Bay Beach

on the north side of St. Croix is popular with visitors and locals alike. Families like to come here with their children because it offers easy access to a few restaurants and bars right next to the beach and plenty of space to run and dive in the crystal clear waters.

Cane Bay is ideal for snorkeling and is known for its famous dive site, the Cane Bay Wall, where divers can observe lobsters, moray eels, turtles, crabs, seahorses and other species of fish. There is a dive shop, chair rentals and water sports rentals. Try to avoid weekends when there can be a lot of people. Walk along the iconic Cruz Bay shoreline in St. John will discover Salomon and Honeymoon Beaches, the first stretch of coastline that can be accessed on foot.

The latter is located within the Virgin Islands National Park and offers beautiful views under the shade of palm trees and spectacular snorkel diving. Kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding are popular beach activities, although we wouldn't judge you if you decided to waste the afternoon reading a book.

Maho Bay

is another beautiful stretch of white sand beach overlooking a quiet, shallow turquoise bay. The coast isn't just a paradise for tourists seeking privacy; green sea turtles also live here and make their beds on nearby seagrasses. Get to the beach early or stay late to increase your chances of seeing gentle reptiles in their natural habitat.

Hawksnest Beach

is just 5 miles down North Shore Road from Cruz Bay.

If you feel like snorkeling and diving, a few meters from the coast you will find a shallow reef that is home to fish such as parrotfish and the blue herringbone of the Atlantic. Parking is abundant and there are several picnic tables and barbecue grills available for visitors.

Magens Bay

is famous all over the world and is one of the most popular beaches on the island of St. Thomas. The 1-mile stretch of sand along Magens Bay is a public park, donated to the Virgin Islands by renowned philanthropist Arthur Fairchild.

Trunk Bay Beach

is a must see located within the Virgin Islands National Park.

The beach stretches over a quarter of a mile and surrounds the beautiful crescent-shaped formation of the waters of Trunk Bay. Visit the self-guided underwater diving trail and keep an eye out for sea turtles, stingrays and giant hermit crabs.

Salt Pond Bay

on the south shore of St. John offers colorful corals and vibrant sea fanatics as you snorkel in its underwater paradise, as well as cacti that grow along its coast. Hikers are recommended to take the short trail that surrounds the pond to Drunk Bay; for more adventurous hikers, don't miss out on the 4-mile hike to Ram's Head Trail.

Sapphire Beach

is much more than its vibrant blue waters that give this coastal getaway in St.

Thomas its name; it's also a destination full of water activities such as windsurfing, kayaking, jet skiing and snorkeling. After spending an afternoon from one water sport to another, travelers can enjoy a tropical cocktail (or two) at Crystal Cove Beach Resort in Sapphire Bay. For travelers interested in a beachside resort but not so interested in crowds, consider making a reservation at Peter Bay Estate in St. John. Surrounded by Virgin Islands National Park, its private beach is an oasis for travelers who love luxury (and who seek solitude).

The best part? You can access Peter Bay Beach via island trails and garden paths from your own private villa without needing human contact.

Cinnamon Bay Beach

is another great option located just one shoreline from Peter Bay in St Thomas; it has spectacular conditions for sailing and windsurfing as well as shops for tourists, bathrooms, bars and cocktail bars.