We’ve been back in the cold Northwest for two weeks now. When we arrived it was unseasonably cold, in the twenties, clear blue skies, crisp, dry air. It’s been quite a shift from the warm, 80 degree temperatures of St Thomas. The weather has shifted to the typical Northwest December, rainy, grey with increasingly shorter days. It’s been great seeing family and friends but we are missing St T.
In the cold grey of the Northwest it’s hard to imagine that there are people in St Thomas going to the beach, sitting under the blue skies, soaking up the sun and enjoying the warmth of the crystal turquoise water. I think of the beaches every day and it occurs to me I haven’t written a blog post about the beaches.
Now, I don’t pretend to be an expert on the beaches of St Thomas, however, we did visit a few. Beaches, like cities, have their own unique personalities. I’ll share a bit of what we learned from our adventures.
Magen’s Bay Beach is about 5 minutes from Nate’s house. It is the most well-known beach on St Thomas and is often listed as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The beach is a mile long and the park includes 15 acres of mangroves and wetlands, 5 acres of coconut groves, a 2 acre campground and trails. Many of the “cruisers” (people off the cruise ships) catch a safari cab and spend the day at Magen’s when in port. It’s the first beach we visited and the one we went to most often. It is one of only two beaches that charge entrance fees. The fees help to keep the beaches clean, pay for the facilities (lifeguards, gear rentals, bathhouses, group shelters, chairs, paddleboards, kayaks, paddleboats, and gift shop). The facilities are nice and well kept. There’s a restaurant-bar with one or two waitresses that work the beach.
Magen’s beach is a great place to walk since it’s long and flat, and since it’s close to the house we found ourselves going there fairly regularly. We witnessed (not officially) many beach weddings from the simple to the more involved with lots of people and lasting most of the day.
There are nice Sea Grape Trees around picnic tables at the edge of the beach which are great for making your day-camp in the shade.
You drive past the St Thomas Dairy on the way to Magen’s and must, of course, stop for some ice cream after a long, hot day in the sun. Take a look at the most inviting menu. Yes, there is alcohol in those shakes.
Hull Bay is a “surfer’s beach”. There is a restaurant-bar with decent food and live music at least once a week. Doug and I went to yoga Monday and Wednesday mornings at Hull Bay. We also spent a few days hanging out. There are trees and old, broken picnic tables at the edge of the beach so it’s easy to find shade. Small, private fishing boats are moored at Hull Bay. People bring their dogs to this beach. The beach has a bigger drop off which means it’s good for swimming without having to go a long way out. There are big boulders and coral reefs close in which also makes it good for snorkeling without having to swim a long way. This is where Nate dove for the lobsters. Not a ton of people come here so that’s nice. It was the perfect place for me to learn to use the Stand Up Paddleboard. No lifeguards or beach waiters at Hull Bay.
Koki Beach is an interesting and colorful beach as well as a great place to go snorkeling. There’s a marine center, Coral World, at one end of the beach and the fish are accustomed to being fed. In fact, whether you snorkel or stand in the water, you will see fish up close. Dog biscuits are the preferred fish food.
Parking is next to a cemetery which was sort of weird. The walk to the beach is a bit of a haul so if you have lots of stuff, chairs, cooler, water toys, etc, it can be a challenge. There are wait staff that cover the beach and offer more than alcoholic drinks to get your buzz on. The beach has a gentle sloping, sandy bottom with snorkeling mostly on the far ends. So sorry I don’t have a picture of the beach to share, however, this link, https://www.google.com/search?q=koki+beach+st+thomas&rls=com, will give you a good taste of Koki Beach. Just hit your back arrow button to return to the blog. I’d planned on returning… Here’s a shot you won’t see on the link.
Mandahl Bay is just below Nate’s house, however, not visible. We only made it to Mandahl once since it’s a beach requires a truck to get to. It’s a good place to fish and watch for sea life. Nate and Alisa report seeing quite a bit of sea life when at this beach. It’s rocky and you’ll see lots of coral and some shells.
Frenchie’s are folks of French heritage on the island who pretty much stick to themselves. Mandahl is a place where they’ve set up a fishing/party camp. It’s all public.
Carat Bay Beach
Nate drove us to Carat Bay Beach one day in his truck. This is on the northwest end of the island, the farthest beach for us and a bit of a drive. We went about a mile down a steep, dirt road with lots of switch backs. The view was amazing. The road ended in the jungle where there were ruins of a large home or sugar plantation with graves just before you leave the jungle walking out onto the beach. This was another incredible experience.
The beach was deserted when we arrived. By the time we left there were three other small groups/couples on the beach. Still, it was as if we were alone. It felt like we were on Survivor. Nate managed to wrangle down some coconuts for us. Click on the small pictures to enlarge them.
We visited other beaches that I don’t have pictures of. Another of our favorites was Secret Harbor. However, the post with our special visitors has pictures from there. You get the idea, St Thomas has many, many gorgeous beaches, take your pick, follow your fancy, your needs, personality or how you feel on a given day. There’s a place for you in the sun, just waiting…