Last Updated on February 4, 2024

The beaches of the U.S. Virgin Islands are paradisiacal, boasting pristine, white sands, turquoise waters, and lush tropical surroundings.

Comprising the islands of St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix, each destination offers its own unique coastal charm. With a perfect blend of natural beauty and tranquility, the U.S. Virgin Islands’ powdery-sand beaches beckon travelers to unwind in a tropical haven.

My family has a vacation club fractional ownership in St. Thomas, and we know all the islands well. Here are my recommendations for finding your perfect beach in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Favorite Beaches of St. Thomas

Megan’s Bay Beach

Likely the most celebrated of St. Thomas beaches and widely regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Megan’s Bay is a picturesque crescent-shaped stretch of soft white sand framed by lush verdant hillsides.

The bay is surrounded by a protective barrier of hills and is known for its calm clear waters, making it an ideal spot for swimming, snorkeling, paddleboarding and kayaking. Along with its picnic areas and walking trails, it’s a great spot for a family beach day.

Lindquist Beach

Also known as Smith Bay Beach, Lindquist Beach is a relatively secluded gem on the northeastern coast of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. This stunningly beautiful beach is characterized by its powdery white sand, clear waters, and backdrop of lush vegetation.

What sets Lindquist Beach apart is its quieter and more serene atmosphere compared to some of the more popular beaches on the island.

With its calm waters and gradual slope, Lindquist Beach is an excellent spot for swimming and snorkeling. The coral reefs near the shoreline provide opportunities for observing colorful marine life, making it a favorite among snorkelers. The beach is part of the protected Smith Bay Park, contributing to its unspoiled natural beauty.

Sapphire Beach

Located on the eastern end of St. Thomas, this beach is a popular destination known for its stunning scenery and recreational opportunities. Sapphire Beach is characterized by its soft white sand and azure waters, creating a postcard-worthy setting.

This stretch of sand and water is renowned for its excellent snorkeling conditions. The coral reefs just offshore are home to a diverse array of marine life, making it an ideal spot for underwater exploration.  

The beach offers a range of amenities, including beachside bars and restaurants where visitors can savor Caribbean cuisine while enjoying the view. Water sports enthusiasts will find opportunities for activities such as windsurfing, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

Additionally, charter boats often depart from Sapphire Beach for excursions to nearby cays and snorkeling spots.

Favorite Beaches of St. John

Snorkeling Underwater Trail of Reefs at Trunk Bay.
Snorkeling Underwater Trail of Reefs at Trunk Bay. Photo by Noreen Kompanik

The smallest of the three U.S. Virgin Islands, St. John’s beauty motivated Laurance Rockefeller, venture capitalist, financier, philanthropist and conservationist, to purchase and donate 60% of the island to the United States National Park Service. In 1962, Congress expanded the boundary of Virgin Islands National Park to include 5,650 acres of submerged lands to protect and preserve the stunning coral gardens, seascapes and sleepy lagoons.

What this means for visitors is that the beaches here are also part of the National Park Service, and they are beyond beautiful.

Trunk Bay Beach

Check any number of best beach lists and odds are that you’ll find Trunk Bay Beach on it. With sugary white sand and the bluest of blue water, it’s no wonder Trunk Bay is called the crown jewel of Virgin Islands National Park and one of the most beautiful in the Caribbean.

Additionally, this 0.3-mile beach has the added benefit of housing the unique Trunk Bay Underwater Snorkel Trail. This underwater trail includes markers guiding visitors to important spots within the oceanic coral ecosystem providing lifetime memories for kids. Rent or bring your own snorkel gear for this unique underwater experience as you look for angel fish, puffer fish and possibly even a sea turtle to swim by among the various types of coral.

Other family-friendly amenities include a snack bar, lifeguard, showers, and restrooms.

Cinnamon Bay Beach

Cinnamon Bay, St. John.
Cinnamon Bay, St. John. Photo by Noreen Kompanik

This stunning stretch of sand, part of the Virgin Islands National Park, is renowned for its natural beauty, soft sand, and crystalline waters.

The beach stretches along a crescent-shaped shoreline, providing an inviting space for sunbathing, beachcombing and other recreational activities. Cinnamon Bay is not only a popular destination for sun-seekers, but also for water enthusiasts due to its excellent snorkeling conditions. The underwater world near the rocky outcrops is teeming with colorful coral formations and diverse marine life.

One unique feature of Cinnamon Bay is the historical Cinnamon Bay Plantation ruins located nearby. Families can explore the remnants of a historic sugar plantation, adding a cultural and historical dimension to their beach experience.

If camping is on your family’s agenda, deluxe eco tents are available for rent at the Cinnamon Bay Beach & Campground.

Maho Bay Beach

Another stunning stretch of sand known for its serene setting and crystal-clear waters, Maho Bay, located on the north shore of St. John, is also part of the Virgin Islands National Park, ensuring its preservation and natural beauty.

With its light surf, shallow water entry, and a sandy bottom extending out some 20 yards, this is an amazing beach for families with little ones in tow.

Here’s a little secret tip we’ll happily share: humans aren’t the only ones who love this St. John Beach as sea turtles are big fans as well.

Favorite St. Croix Beaches

Rainbow Beach

Rainbow Beach, St. Croix.
Rainbow Beach, St. Croix. Photo by Noreen Kompanik

Located on the west side of St. Croix and situated near the town of Frederiksted, Rainbow Beach offers clear, calm waters, making it a good choice for those visiting with children. The water conditions also offer a great option for water sports.  

The beach is aptly named for the colorful sunsets that paint the sky in hues of red, orange and purple.

Snorkeling is popular along the rocky areas due to the abundance of marine life and coral formations. Calm waters provide ideal conditions for swimming and wading.

As a bonus, the beach is located near historic sites such as Fort Frederik, built in the 18th century, and an important historical landmark on the island.

Salt Pond Bay

With its long curving shape and gentle sloping into the water, Salt Pond Bay is great for swimmers and snorkelers of all levels. Part of the Virgin Islands National Park, the beach is only accessible via a 1/4-mile trail. However, visitors may catch the VITRAN shuttle to and from the beach.

Don’t let this little bit of effort deter you and the family from spending a day here. The crystal-clear shallow water and powdery-white sand will make it worthwhile, with the added benefit of fewer crowds.

Sandy Point Beach

Located directly south of Frederiksted, Sandy Point is the largest beach in all the U.S. Virgin Islands with pristine white sands. Unlike beaches filled with umbrellas and snack stands, Sandy Point Beach is part of the Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, as it’s formally known, created in 1984 to protect the nesting habitat of the endangered leatherback sea turtle.

With that in mind, it’s closed to the public between April and August. During other months, on weekends only, this two-mile-long stretch of sandy white beach is a great place for hiking, wildlife observation and native photography.

The next time you’re planning your trip to this Caribbean paradise, we hope you’ll enjoy playing and relaxing on one or more of our favorite U.S. Virgin Islands’ beaches.

Author

  • Noreen Kompanik

    Noreen Kompanik is a retired registered nurse, legal nurse consultant and military spouse turned travel writer. She launched her travel writing career in 2014 and has over 1,000 published articles in a variety of digital and print publications.