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The beautiful beaches of St Thomas - brief descriptions/opinions

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Great thread. :) So we are two women in our 50s that just want to relax on a non-crowded beach. Chairs would be nice. Snorkeling would be nice. Restrooms would be really nice. But the biggest thing is no drama, no big crowds. Would you recommend Sapphire or Smith's Bay/Lindquist?

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RoxiRoo, when are you coming? During summer months the only beaches likely to be crowded are Magens and Coki and Magens won't be crowded if you go left from the snack bar.

 

Coki is the only beach that has had drama but it's not an every day situation.

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Great thread. :) So we are two women in our 50s that just want to relax on a non-crowded beach. Chairs would be nice. Snorkeling would be nice. Restrooms would be really nice. But the biggest thing is no drama, no big crowds. Would you recommend Sapphire or Smith's Bay/Lindquist?

 

Hi Julie,

Both are gorgeous beaches, Smith Bay perhaps a bit more, and as mentioned neither get as crowded as Coki. We like stopping in to Lindqvist for a bit to enjoy the scenery there, but we love Sapphire for the quieter vibe and the amenities and the views. Smith Bay didn’t have lounges, snorkel gear, or food and drinks last I knew. If you are there in January and get to Sapphire earlier you can put your lounges in a quiet,shaded spot along the water, most other day visitors will stay close to the swimming area and dive center. There is now a small beach bar and music, and food and drinks are available from a couple places. So our vote would be Sapphire for everything you’re looking for.

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Thank you Blu Water and MS411. We will indeed be there in January. We will bringing our own snorkel gear as we hope to snorkel at St. Kitt's also. :) Sapphire looks busy on the webcams, but you have reassured me that we will be okay there. :) Thank you!

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Hi- We are heading to St. Thomas for the first time on July 23rd (Sunday) We have 2 teenagers. I'm torn between Magens and Sapphire. I don't love big crowds but I always hear you have to go to Magen's. Looking for a great beach day and beautiful beach. Thoughts for a first time visit? Thank you so much

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I usually travel to the Caribbean in the Winter but I just booked a "last minute" cruise that will take me to St. Thomas in mid-August. I haven't been to Magan's bay since 1996 because I have read about how terribly crowded it is. How will it be in mid-August? I know there are chair rentals are there umbrella rentals as well? Thanks!

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The beach is big enough not to be crowded, but most people congregate near the snack shop so that area gets crowded. If you bring your own food and drinks you can get away from the crowd by walking away from the snackbar.

 

Usually sufficient shade from the trees, so no umbrella rentals.

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For the first-timer - and even a return visitor - there are indeed a ton of opinions about the various beaches, and we too are certainly biased in our rankings. But each beach has a unique or distinctive vibe or setting that can help one choose based on their situation that day. Some are located near a port while some take much more effort to get to but reward that effort.

 

The East End beaches of St Thomas are preferred by many who are looking for the nicest beach on STT. These include Coki, Smith's Bay, Sapphire, Secret Harbor, and Cowpet Bay (Coki and Smith's Bay are actually on the north side but are on the east end of the island). But others are also very nice and may work best if you have limited time or just want a nice beach to relax at that is closer to port and may be less crowded. And of course the beaches of St John are also gorgeous and should be experienced when possible. Trunk Bay, like Magens Bay, is highly-touted and so a bit touristy most days, but Cinnamon Bay and others less frequented are also beautiful.

 

For St Thomas -

 

Coki Point is a gorgeous beach set in a very small bay with good snorkeling off the beach. You'll find one of the nicest beaches you've seen here, but it will have a lively vibe as it gets very crowded. Several vendors renting stuff and selling food and drink. Taxis are readily available. We love Coki and find it a very intimate and romantic beach when ships are not in port.

 

Smith's Bay Park and Lindqvist Beach is a beautiful, maintained beach (both Smith's Bay Park and Magens Bay are maintained by the Magens Bay Authority and charge a small entry fee) but is much quieter and offers very few amenities. Here you would find natural beauty and relative quiet that you might have expected to see decades ago and not today. Grab your towel and a lunch and drinks from Gourmet Gallery and enjoy the beauty while it's still here. There may be chair rentals and portapotties there now, and you may need to have a taxi return for pick-up.

 

Sapphire Beach is a gorgeous beach in a larger bay with abundant natural shade, nice island views and great snorkeling off the beach. There is a reef area, a sandy swimming area, and a sea grass area where turtles and rays may be spotted. Home to 3 condo properties with food and drink options, but currently there are no chair rentals or public restrooms. So a very nice spot to be for condo guests on big ship days. And those cruisers young at heart (and body) that can be happy with a towel in the sand and the sapphire-colored sea for relief will be rewarded with paradise here. Taxis were stationed here but with fewer cruisers coming here you'll want to have the driver return or call a taxi when ready.

 

Secret Harbor is a small bay that is home to one condo property and has a quieter vibe more like Sapphire. However the water is dead calm at SH and there is no shade available to most day visitors. Good snorkeling and a restaurant on site and nice beach though.

 

Cowpet Bay is very close to Secret Harbor and is home to the Elysian Resort (condo resort) with a small beach and snorkeling. Primarily suited to guests of the condo but still a public beach.

 

Magens is on the north side and is a deep bay with a a nice, calm beach that's maintained (small entry fee) and is touted as one of the top 10 beaches in the Carib by Frommer's, cruise ships, etc. It has that rating for a reason, and it sees many people and so is touristy. No snorkeling here, and for some folks Magens doesn't have the charm or character some of the other beaches do. But it is a beautiful beach that is great for toddlers and kids because it is so dead calm, and it offers restrooms, small restaurant, a gift shop and available taxis.

 

Lindbergh Bay (aka Emerald Beach) is closest to Crown Bay and is a popular beach for folks docking there. A nice enough beach with rentals and food and drinks available at the Best Western Emerald Beach Plus Resort. You can also rent a room for the day to take advantage of a shower and changing room. Nice option if Magens and the East End beaches are too much effort.

 

Honeymoon Beach on Water Island is another popular destination for folks docked at Crown Bay because the ferry to Water Island is very close. This beach has become very popular however and gets crowded during the day.

 

Morningstar Beach is closest to Havensight and is a popular spot for folks docking there who are looking for a quick beach stop following an excursion or other tour. Home to the Marriott and you can use their services or just pick a spot on the beach for your towel and take a lunch if you'd like.

 

Hopefully not confusing the choices even more! And here's a map showing the beach locations for those not familiar with the island, just click on the map for a larger view -

http://www.virginislandsthisweek.com..._road_map.html

 

Looking at Sapphire Beach. Do they still have no public restrooms? Do they have a restaurant/bar there? Can you use those restrooms?

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Kayehall, thanks for mentioning Secret Harbor beach. I have been to St. Thomas a few times, and visited some of the beaches. This time, there were 7 others with me, and my sons wanted to snorkel. I don't snorkel, but was telling them of some nice beaches we had been to. Of course, I wanted everyone to SEE what I had seen the other times I was at St. Thomas. As you know, there are many "tour guides" that want to take you around to see the sights. We were a couple blocks away, and still had not decided what we were going to do. This man came up to us, finding out there were "8" of us, still not telling us what it would cost??? He told us what he would do, which sounded find, and then I said, what is the cost? To make the long story short, he gave us a price for 8, that probably no one else would do. He took us around, from the bottom of St. Thomas, to the top, which I knew my family HAD to see the view. He then stopped by a few beaches that I had been to, and then mentioned Secret Harbor, which I had never heard of. We went by there, and my sons said, this is where we want to snorkel, and they did. It was a very nice beach as well.

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Looking at Sapphire Beach. Do they still have no public restrooms? Do they have a restaurant/bar there? Can you use those restrooms?

 

Kaye we're 1 hr east of you in Elmira :)

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Kayehall, thanks for mentioning Secret Harbor beach. I have been to St. Thomas a few times, and visited some of the beaches. This time, there were 7 others with me, and my sons wanted to snorkel. I don't snorkel, but was telling them of some nice beaches we had been to. Of course, I wanted everyone to SEE what I had seen the other times I was at St. Thomas. As you know, there are many "tour guides" that want to take you around to see the sights. We were a couple blocks away, and still had not decided what we were going to do. This man came up to us, finding out there were "8" of us, still not telling us what it would cost??? He told us what he would do, which sounded find, and then I said, what is the cost? To make the long story short, he gave us a price for 8, that probably no one else would do. He took us around, from the bottom of St. Thomas, to the top, which I knew my family HAD to see the view. He then stopped by a few beaches that I had been to, and then mentioned Secret Harbor, which I had never heard of. We went by there, and my sons said, this is where we want to snorkel, and they did. It was a very nice beach as well.

 

We looked at condos for sale at SH a couple times but the beach and the bay didn't really appeal to us like others so we didn't spend a lot of time there. Sapphire, on the other hand... :*

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This is a great thread! We'll be in St. Thomas in October, docking at Havensight. Does anyone know the current taxi cost to Sapphire beach? Thanks!

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This is a great thread! We'll be in St. Thomas in October, docking at Havensight. Does anyone know the current taxi cost to Sapphire beach? Thanks!

 

Not sure where we docked but it was $11pp each way to Sapphire beach

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