Lindbergh beach, near Crown Port:
On our first cruise to St. Thomas, my husband and I wanted to snorkel, but all the snorkeling beaches were closed due to Hurricane Tomas which we happened to be following. But they did say that Lindbergh beach was open for wading around in and hanging out at the beach. So we went there. We were the only ones who went there, but we had a great time bobbing in the water and resting on the beach. The taxi dropped us off in front of the Best Western hotel and directed us to walk along the side of the hotel. Although we knew there would be no snorkeling for us, we were happy to be at a beach we could play around in. It was even a very pretty beach and quite close to Crown Port.
The other times we made it to St. Thomas, we rented a car and took off to the East side. On our 9 night land vacation, we were able to check out a couple of the other beaches, too. For the sake of order, I'm listing the next beaches as if we were leaving from Havensight Port and heading east. The first couple of beaches are actually on the south side.
Limetree beach, near Frenchman's Bay:
This beachside resort property (Bluebeard's Beach Resort) is just past the Marriott on the south side of the island, not too far from Charlotte Amelie. This is the view from the check in building to the Wyndham condos here. This is a quiet resort without many people here. There is a pool bar and a rental booth (the white building on the beach in this picture), but it only seems to have people from the resort going here. Such a shame since it is such a beautiful quiet property. We snorkeled both the left side and the right side of the bay and found both areas to be very good.
Bolongo Bay: Not far from Bluebeards Beach and still on the Southside is
Bolongo Bay. It is also quiet and the home of Bolongo Resort. It has a restaurant and bar (Iggie's) available beachside for having lunch and a few drinks. The water is shallow and grassy near the beach. This is the only place we saw a turtle---it was munching on the grass near shore. The snorkeling was fair to good out around the rocks to the far left, but the day we were here is was a bit murky. This is also where we saw a nurse shark out around the point to the left.
From the parking lot, this is the walk to the beach
Secret Harbor was the next beach heading East. It is a small, lovely beach. But the 1 time we tried to snorkel there the surf was coming in hard to the East side beaches churning up the sand and making visibility not so great, so we didn't snorkel there long. There is also a restaurant and beach bar here. I would like to have gone back there because I hear the snorkeling is really good, but just didn't get around to it this time.
This was the day we left St. Thomas. Looked like it would have been perfect for snorkeling that day!
We weren't really able to snorkel here in 2013 due to rough, murky water. So we gave it another try in 2016.
Just down the road about a mile or 2 from Secret Beach and before the Ritz is The Elysian Resort. This is where we stayed in 2013 for 9 nights and where we did most of our snorkeling. We were very impressed with the snorkeling here and the resort. It is another very peaceful little bay lined with coconut trees and has 2 restaurants and a rental booth. There is a roped off sandy area great for swimming (but shuffle your feet if you walk in there since sting rays like to hang out in the sand). We snorkeled to the left and never tired of snorkeling there! Just inches from shore there were plenty of fish.
green moray eel hiding.
Empty shells---near where we found the octopus
4 eye butterflyfish
This is one of the beaches a lot of the cruise ship passengers go to. It is a beautiful beach with outlying islands. It has vendors on the beach selling drinks and food (at least it did when we were there). There was also a vendor there selling bead jewelry. It's much larger then the other beaches I've reviewed so far. There is lots of shade here, too, but we found the better snorkeling was quite a ways out to the point at the right. There were some fish in close, but not much in the way of healthy coral until you got out by the point. We did go here a few times and really enjoyed it, but I think a weak swimmer would have a tough time getting out to the point.
The beach with the shade trees and ducks
coral getting healthier and shallow
In 2006, the Government of the Virgin Islands purchased 21 acres of beachfront property around Lindquist for the purpose of protecting it as a park called Smith Bay Park. An admission fee of $2 per adult is collected, although one of the times we went there noone was around to collect the $2. This is another not as well known tourist beach. There are pic nic tables here and portapotties. The parking lot is right on the beach practically. It is another pretty little cove, but the snorkeling was best just past the swim buoys.
Juvenile French Angelfish
Coki is a small, pretty beach located on Coki Point. Natural shade is limited, but umbrellas and chairs are available for rent. A near shore rocky reef area on the right of the beach offers pretty good snorkeling, but the area is pretty small. The fish are use to being fed here, so they will swarm you. It seems to be a favorite beach of cruise passengers and can get pretty crowded. There are lots of bar huts and beach waiters here. If you want to be waited on, this is a good place to go. To some the vendor's booths and shacks add to the atmosphere of the beach, for others it takes away from the scenery.
Looking towards the small rocky snorkel area.
Leaving the East side and heading to the Northside we went to Megan's Bay. This beautiful 1 mile stretch of beach is St. Thomas's most popular beach. The water is usually very calm with no waves or current, great for floating along and for swimming. There is a fee to use this beach ($4 per person, I believe). The cruise passengers and buses are directed to the right side of the beach. Since we drove there in our rental car, we were directed to the left where there was practically nobody. The sandy beach is immense with a very gradual depth.
Here's a picture of the bay from Drake's Seat.
We did spend a day on St. John, too. Only got to snorkel 3 of the places, though.
Tourists looking for more active pursuits than sunbathing and snorkeling can explore the park on it's hiking trails, and the ruins of historic sugar plantations near by. We went to snorkel the 225-yard-long Underwater Trail of reefs. The water was super clear and very calm. We went when it had been rainy and windy on St. Thomas and I guess people were afraid to head over to St. John's to snorkel. It turned out to be great! First view of Trunk Bay from the overlook above.
school of squid
Hawksnest Bay: St. John's:
Heading back to Cruz bay, we stopped to check out Hawksnest BAy. It looked to inviting to pass up. I don't recall there being any restrooms there. No entrance fee, plenty of parking, too.
In 2016, I was back on St. Thomas for 3 nights. We were able to get back to St. John for another day of fantastic snorkeling!
Maho beach was beautiful and the snorkeling was quite good.
(was told this is a sheepshead porgy)
After snorkeling Maho for a couple hours, we headed over to Hawksnest. We had snorkeled here once before, too, and really liked it, so wanted to snorkel here again.