The Virgin Islands owe their name to Saint Ursula and the 11,000 Virgins, as christened by Christopher Columbus during his second voyage to the New World in 1493. More than 500 years later, this stunning Caribbean archipelago retains much of the beauty Columbus admired, and the paradisiacal beaches of its islands continue to be one of the area’s biggest draws. From Trunk Bay to Sandy Point, we’ve compiled a list of the top beaches worth visiting during your stay in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
At the Westin St. John Resort, enjoy the splendor of Great Cruz Bay along a pristine, 1,200 foot-stretch of beach just steps from your room. The Cruz Bay Watersports desk, located next to Snorkels Bar & Restaurant on the beach, offers paddleboards, rafts, and kayaks for guests who are ready to hit the waves. If you’d rather soak in the Caribbean sun, relax under palm trees in a lounge chair with an umbrella and treat yourself to frosty tropical beverage from Snorkels—delivered straight to your chair.
A pair of goggles is all you need to explore the colorful, wave-kissed world just below the surface at “the most beautiful beach in the world.” Trunk Bay is stunning both underwater and on shore. In fact, Condé Nast Traveler has nominated the beach here as one of the best worldwide. Even the most novice snorkelers or divers will enjoy the underwater trail that stretches more than 225 yards out towards Trunk Cay. Plaques guide explorers through the off-shore coral reef and explain sights along the way. Keep your eye out for angelfish and purple triggerfish.
Another beach well-suited for snorkeling and underwater adventure is in Hawksnest Bay. If you follow the fringe of the bay to the east, you’ll run into rocks protruding from the water that are home to abundant underwater life. Sea grape and palm trees kiss the sand and caress the narrow stretch of beach that gives way to shallow reefs. To experience ocean life without leaving the shallows, spend an afternoon at Cinnamon Bay. Beds of sea grass and warm waters attract leatherback turtles and schools of bright, colorful fish. The alabaster sand tends to attract swarms of people as well.
St. Thomas has some of the most luxurious beaches and island shopping in the USVI, making it a popular stop for yachts and cruise ships docking on the port for a day. The white sand of Magens Beach spans 1 mile, wrapping around the heart-shaped bay that contains some of the calmest, warmest waters of the Virgin Islands. The bottom of the bay is sandy and flat, making it the ideal, must-visit beach for swimming and sunning.
If you’re looking to get away from the crowds, Sandy Point offers 3 miles of practically untouched beach and one of the longest in the Caribbean. A National Wildlife Refuge, it’s best to visit this beach with friends or a group of people during the weekend. Pack a picnic lunch and pair of binoculars to enjoy the over 100 different species of birds that inhabit the island, and bask in the quiet time. Sandy Point is closed weekdays and between the months of April and August to protect hatching sea turtles.
Whether you have time to explore just one or all of the islands, the beaches of the U.S. Virgin Islands have plenty of white sand and warm water to give you a memorable Caribbean experience.
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