Hidden Hideaways: Secluded Beaches in the U.S. Virgin Islands

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If you’re looking for sun, sea and solitude without the crowds, this guide is for you. From a slice of sand separating the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean to a quiet oasis tucked away in a national park, these beaches on the U.S. Virgin Islands provide a serene escape from the never-ending rows of towels, vendors and visitors.

St. John

Honeymoon Beach

Honeymoon Beach, Virgin Islands National Park, St. John. Photo Credit: Navin Rajagopalan.

A short hike from North Shore Road or via the Lind Point Trail near Cruz Bay, Honeymoon Beach is a secluded oasis on St. John’s western coast. Relax under the shady palms, soak up the sun on the sandy shores or spend the afternoon snorkeling in the shallow waters. Keep an eye out for a colorful array of tropical fish that swim close to shore.  Depending on the time of year, water gear rental stands pop up near the beach so you can paddle board or kayak. Since there are no food stands and access to the adjacent Caneel Bay Resort is closed, pack a picnic.

Salomon Bay

Salomon Beach, Virgin Islands National Park, St. John. Photo Credit: Wayne Hsieh.

You’ll probably see more sailboats than people at Salomon Bay. Located just 100 yards from Honeymoon Beach on the Lind Point Trail, this stretch of sand is shielded by trees and rocky crags. The contrast between the pure white sand and intense turquoise waters is spectacular in this area – bring a camera to snap some photos. This beach also shares a reef with Honeymoon Beach, and the shallow waters provide the perfect environment for beginner snorkelers. After a relaxing day, grab some fresh-caught seafood at The Longboard located near the Cruz Bay ferry dock.

Denis Bay

A view of Denis Bay from Peace Hill. Photo Credit: Jason St. Peter.

To reach this quiet beach, you’ll descend a narrow yet scenic trail with views of St. John’s spectacular wilderness. The trail begins at the Peace Hill parking area and weaves ¼ a mile toward the water – keep an eye out for the trail split to the right, which leads to the bay. Surrounded by towering trees and rocky ledges, you’ll most likely have this beach all to yourself. Spend the day sunbathing or enjoy a dip in the waters – watch out for swells. This bay is unprotected, and currents can be unpredictable. Before you leave, take the trail back up Peace Hill and explore the ruins of a plantation-era windmill. You might even encounter a few wild donkeys along the way.

Important Note: The Peace Hill area is also home to private residences, so it’s important to be respectful and not venture off the designated paths.

St. Thomas

Mermaid’s Chair

A view of Mermaid’s Chair. Photo Credit: Taryn Parker.

At Mermaid’s Chair, a small strip of sand separates the Caribbean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean and leads to a rocky peninsula made from volcanic rock and a beach with two shores. Your journey begins at The Preserve at Botany Bay, a gated community. Simply check in with the guard and search for the signs pointing to the beach. It’s about a 1.5-mile hike, so bring sunscreen. There is very little natural shade along the way. Once you reach the peninsula, take some time to explore the rocky shores for seashells and colorful sea urchins. On the beach, throw down a towel and enjoy some quiet time with a good book, or take a swim in the cerulean waters. The eastern side of the beach near Oppenheimer Beach is also a great snorkeling spot.

Lindquist Beach

Lindquist Bay, St. Thomas, USVI. Photo Credit: Carolyn Sugg.

Tucked away in a protected 21-acre park, Lindquist Beach offers gorgeous views of the nearby cays and crystal-clear shallow waters for snorkeling. Located on the East End, this region catches cooling trade wins, a reprieve on a hot sunny day. Visit on a weekday to have the beach pretty much to yourself. Admission is $5 for non-residents, and you’ll have access to showers and bathrooms and a lifeguard on duty. Swim amongst a narrow shelf of tide pools (watch for green turtles and spotted eagle rays), get a tan on the pink-tinted sand, or relax in the shade under a grove of coconut and grape trees. If you get hungry, Pangea Terra Table is just a mile away, serving farm-to-table cuisine and craft cocktails with an island treehouse vibe!

Bonus Beach: Dorothea Bay

From the lush and towering palms that line the shoreline to the waves that crash on the rocky shores and views of Lizard Rocks in the distance, Dorothea Bay offers visitors an untamed glimpse of St. John’s wilds. Only accessible through a condo complex near Charlotte Amalie – which quickly fades from view – this beach almost feels like you’re on a deserted island. Hunt for seashells in the pebble-covered surf, harvest a fresh coconut from one of the beach’s trees or simply enjoy the cool breezes that wash over the bay.

St. Croix

Shoys Beach

Shoys Beach, St. Croix, USVI. Photo Credit: Thelonious66.

While this beach is less crowded than most on St. Croix, it’s still a popular destination, so don’t expect to be completely alone while visiting. You’ll gain access to this beautiful expanse of sand via a short, tree-covered trail at the Buccaneer Hotel – just tell the guard you’re heading to the beach. This spot is a must for snorkelers. The rocky waters and seagrass are home to lobsters, small eels, rays and trumpet fish. Nearby, a small coral reef attracts a colorful array of tropical fish. 

Grapetree Beach

A view of Grapetree Beach. Photo Credit: Jpheym Jason P. Heym / Seascape Pool Center Inc., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nestled on the south shore between Point Udall and the Divi Carina Bay Resort, Grapetree Beach is the perfect place to catch a sunrise. Look for the parking area west of the Grapetree Bay Hotel to access the beach, and be mindful that this is a residential area. The beach is a bit rocky, but thanks to a barrier reef, the water is calm and perfect for a dip. Bring your snorkeling gear. You might catch a glimpse of sea turtles swimming along the grassy bottom.

Bonus Beach: Turtle Beach

Visiting Turtle Beach is like stepping into a postcard – vivid turquoise water, bright sandy shores and clear blue skies. Located on Buck Island, a short charter ride from Christiansted, you’ll find several tour companies make regular stops there. The shallow waters surrounding the beach on the island’s west side are great for snorkeling and are home to brilliantly-colored native species like parrotfish and angelfish. And the protected underwater trail system showcases some of the most colossal corals in the Caribbean.

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