Get ready to fall in love with the U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s an American paradise in the Caribbean that’s perfect for a beach getaway. This enchanting archipelago boasts a tantalizing array of sun-soaked, sand-filled locales that will leave you awestruck. And I’m here to guide you through the best US Virgin Islands beaches that you simply must add to your bucket list.
I grew up on St. Thomas, spending most weekends at the beach either on my home island or on St. John. Now, I return frequently to visit family and on travel writing assignments. Needless to say, I have a number of favorite beautiful beaches on all the islands.
Here are twelve of the top beaches in the US Virgin Islands, with enough variety to find one that’s perfect for you.
Dreaming of a Getaway in the US Virgin Islands? Check out our list of all the best things to do in the US Virgin Islands, with answers to frequently asked questions. For even more inspiration for a tropical vacation, see our recommendations for top Caribbean Islands to visit now.
Best Beaches On St. Thomas
Savor The Scenery At Magens Bay
Shaped like a heart, Magens Bay is one of St. Thomas’s prime attractions. With its calm waters, ample amenities, and lush surroundings, it’s a fantastic spot for swimming, kayaking, and picnicking. There’s a small admission fee, but the well-maintained facilities and stunning views are well worth it.
Tip: Stop at Udder Delight on your way in for a boozy milkshake, you’ll thank me later.
Explore Underwater Wonders at Coki Point Beach, St. Thomas
If you want to learn how to snorkel, your best bet is Coki Point Beach. This small, vibrant beach located next door to Coral World Ocean Park is teeming with tropical fish, and many come right up to the water’s edge. With vendors renting out gear right on the beach, you don’t even need to bring your own equipment. Besides snorkeling, the crystal-clear waters are also great for swimming and diving.
Delight In The Blue At Sapphire Beach
Sapphire Beach, living up to its name, presents a stunning array of sapphire-blue waters against a backdrop of lush green hills. Because it’s located at Sapphire Beach Resort & Marina, this beach has it all. There’s a casual beachside bar with live music, a coffee shop, and a wide variety of watersports. A dive shop offers beach rentals, and you can even parasail in the bay.
Tip: The marina is a popular jump-off point for fishing and sailing excursions.
Find Out Why Lindquist Beach Is A Local Favorite
Pristine Lindquist Beach was one of St. Thomas’s secret beaches not too long ago. Then in 2006, it was turned into what’s now Smith Park, a 21-acre beachfront park with lifeguards, picnic tables, restrooms, a parking lot, and entrance fees.
Now, it’s often quieter than before, and it’s not unusual to have the white-sand beach all to yourself at sunset.
Best Beach On Water Island
Practice Limin’ On Honeymoon Beach
In the Virgin Islands, limin’ means to hang out, and Honeymoon Beach is the perfect place to practice this essential vacation skill. There are two grills and one excellent beach bar–Dinghy’s Beach Bar and Grill–with plenty of on-the-beach seating.
A perfect day on Water Island might have you returning to Dinghy’s for refills between switching from floating in the ocean, napping in a hammock, or swaying on a palm tree swing. Rinse and repeat.
Tip – To get to Honeymoon Beach, take the little red ferry from Crown Bay in St. Thomas to Water Island, and walk or ride the free shuttle the short distance to the beach.
Best Beaches On St. John
Snorkel An Underwater Trail At Trunk Bay Beach
This is arguably one of the most photographed beaches in the U.S. Virgin Islands and for good reason. A jewel of the Virgin Islands National Park, Trunk Bay’s crystalline waters and soft white sands make it a veritable tropical paradise. Its well-maintained facilities, lifeguards, and underwater snorkeling trail make it an all-around favorite. It’s one of the most popular beaches, but since the stretches of sand extend over three miles, it never feels crowded.
Embrace Tranquility At Maho Bay Beach
If you’re looking for tranquility coupled with natural beauty, Maho Bay is the place to be. This beach’s gentle, shallow waters make it perfect for snorkeling novices. It’s not uncommon to spot sea turtles gliding through the seagrasses here. There may be fewer amenities, but the quiet atmosphere and rich marine life more than make up for it.
Hike To A Hidden Gem At Waterlemon Cay (Leinster Bay)
If you’re an avid snorkeler, you can’t miss Waterlemon Cay. First, park at Annaberg Ruins and walk a mile on the dirt path that leads to the beach. The snorkeling here is outstanding, but first, you’ll swim or walk through a long stretch of water that’s so shallow it could double as a marine park touch tank.
Eventually, you get to deeper water, where the snorkeling begins to be excellent. Strong swimmers will find parrotfish, purple sea fans, and sometimes even a bevy of starfish around a tiny offshore island.
Best Beaches On St. Croix
Experience Serenity at Sandy Point Beach
Nestled in the southwest corner of St. Croix, Sandy Point boasts one of the longest stretches of sand in the Caribbean. Its pristine white sands and azure waters create a stunning backdrop that’s been featured in films like “The Shawshank Redemption.” This wildlife refuge is also a nesting site for endangered sea turtles, so its accessibility varies by season to protect the nesting areas.
Pack A (Rum) Punch At Rainbow Beach
Only a 10-minute walk from the Frederiksted cruise port, Rainbow Beach has one of the most popular beach bars in the US Virgin Islands, Rhythms at Rainbow Beach. Cruzan Confusion rum drinks, Mahi Tacos, and lovely sunset views are all good reasons to while away an afternoon.
But in addition to being very convenient, you can rent lounge chairs, floats, standup paddleboards, and jet skis. And even snorkeling is worthwhile.
Dive into Adventure at Cane Bay Beach
The real star at Cane Bay is the Cane Bay Wall, an underwater cliff that drops over 3,200 feet into a deep ocean trench, making it a top attraction for scuba divers from around the world. Even without venturing into the deep, snorkelers can enjoy vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life just off the shore.
The beach itself is a vision of tranquil beauty with its warm, sandy shores and palm-fringed landscape. After a fun day in the water, you can chill out at the local beach bars and restaurants. Enjoy tasty Caribbean food and watch beautiful sunsets to wrap up a perfect day.
Stop At Turtle Beach (Buck Island Reef National Monument)
A day trip to Buck Island is an absolute must-do St. Croix excursion.
Frequently cited among the Virgin Islands’ most beautiful beaches, Turtle Beach has some of the most transparent waters in the Caribbean and some of the finest sand. As a result, most charters stop here before sailing around the island to the reef trail.
The highlight is snorkeling through a real-life Jacques Cousteau documentary, where colorful fish dart around gigantic orange corals and purple gorgonians.
Travel Tips For Your Best Day At The Beach
Before you pack your bags and set off on your sun-soaked adventure, here are a few tips to ensure your Caribbean beach experience is nothing short of magical.
1. Pack Smart
Apart from your regular beachwear, be sure to pack a broad-brimmed hat, UV-protective sunglasses, and plenty of sunscreens. The Caribbean sun can be intense. Also, consider packing water shoes as some of the region’s most beautiful beaches can have rocky areas.
Local dive shops are your best bet for finding high-quality snorkel equipment. Still, you might do better to pack an inexpensive set purchased at home or online. And help protect coral reefs by packing sunscreen that’s free of oxybenzone, octocrylene, or octinoxate.
2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Remember, tropical climates mean heat and humidity, which can lead to quick dehydration. Always carry a reusable water bottle and keep sipping throughout the day.
3. Respect the Sea Life
The Caribbean is renowned for its vibrant marine life and delicate coral ecosystems. When snorkeling or diving, remember to look but not touch. Touching coral or marine animals can harm them and disrupt their natural habitat. And Fire Coral leaves a nasty burn while stepping on sea urchins can be extremely painful.
4. Protect Your Valuables
Leave valuable items in your hotel safe and only bring the essentials to the beach. Waterproof pouches can protect your phone, keys, and cash from sand and water.
5. Watch for Riptides
Even calm-looking waters can have strong, potentially dangerous riptides. Pay attention to any posted signs or flags indicating the current water conditions. If you do find yourself in a rip tide, keep calm and swim parallel to shore until you escape it.
7. Respect Local Customs and Regulations
Bathing suits are required on public beaches, but they are frowned upon in town. Do wear a coverup when leaving the beach.
MORE CARIBBEAN GETAWAYS
- St. Thomas, USVI: The Definitive Travel Guide
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