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Beaches

Camping at Honeymoon Bay – Water Island

Honey Moon Bay US Virgin Islands
Looking down the beach at Honey Moon Bay

Recently listed at Yahoo Travel as #5 on the list of top ten hidden beaches, Honeymoon Bay on Water Island offers a different experience from Magens Bay or other popular beaches in the US Virgin Islands, such as Sapphire Beach, and is noticeably less crowded. Arriving mid-afternoon at Crown Bay Marina we boarded the Water Island Taxi under the control of the affable Captain Joe. The ferry leaves from the foot of Tickles if you become lost.

We enjoyed an 8-minute ride to Water Island and once arriving at Phillips Landing hopped off the boat to be greeted by both Kelly of Kelly’s Karts and Paul who can be found at Dinghy’s bar. Loading up supplies, we jumped on the back of Paul’s truck and headed to Honeymoon Bay, which happened to be a quick jaunt up a hill, and then right back down.

Dinghy’s Moon Bay

If you are not lucky enough to be with a local, head over to Dinghy’s and order up a bushwhacker, a wonderfully intoxicating concoction to enjoy in the warm Caribbean weather. For a slight change, order up a paddle-whacker, which includes chocolate and peanut butter, the dessert lover in your family will probably prefer it.

Spending two nights “glamping” in the Shaffer Hall facility, our tents were set up about 20 feet from the waterline. There is nothing like the sound of waves rolling along the shore to lull you into a relaxed state. Waking up, you can head out skin diving and enjoy the natural aquatic life of the area.

Fort Segarra

After eating breakfast, you can arrange to rent a golf cart from Kelly for $40 and drive around the island taking in sights, both man made and natural. Flowers and cacti abound, as do a number of nice houses. Venturing to Flamingo Point, you come to the remnants of Fort Segarra. While tours may be available – ask Kelly – you can walk into the tunnels and step back in time to WWII, which is when construction on the fort commenced. The end of the war saw construction abandoned.

 

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Beach Beaches St Croix

Rainbow Beach

LOCATION: Take Route 63 north of Frederiksted.

Crucians are especially vocal about the dramatic snorkeling opportunities off Rainbow Beach. It has gorgeous sandy shores with full facilities, friendly bars and grills that serve tasty burgers and sandwiches.

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Beaches Beaches St John

Reef Bay

LOCATION: Between Fish Bay and Lameshur Bay on the south side of the island. Hike 40 minutes from the petroglyphs to the beach on the popular trail.

This is a short beach on a large protected bay. Attractions include good snorkeling and the remains of a sugar plantation. It is a 40-minute hike from the beach to VI National Park’s famed petroglyphs.

The popular Reef Bay Hike takes place every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., hosted by the Virgin islands National Park. The three-mile downhill hike begins at the National Park Visitors Center and includes taxi to the trail head and boat pickup return.

Participants should bring lunch, water, good hiking shoes and a swimsuit to enjoy a quick dip at the trail’s end. Stops along the way include tropical forests, the petroglyphs and sugar mill ruins. Reservations required. Call 776-6201 ext. 238.

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Beaches Beaches St John

Rendezvous Bay

LOCATION: From downtown Cruz Bay travel east long route 104.

Here you will find a sandy, unspoiled beach east of Cruz Bay. This spot is a favorite anchorage for sailboats.

This is usually a grand spot for charter yachts to stop for swimming and snorkeling. During the week, vacationers on day sails make up the majority of sun-worshippers but on weekends, local yachtsmen add to the mix.

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Beaches Beaches St John

Maho Bay

LOCATION: Four miles beyond downtown Cruz Bay on Route 20, North Shore Road.

Here you can enjoy a sandy beach situated within a protective cove. The celebrated Maho Bay campground property offers a general store, restaurant/bar and water toy rentals. Nearby, you will find Harmony, the newest addition to Maho.  At Harmony, you can rent cottages designed and contructed entirely of recycled materials.

Maho Bay is truly one of the prettiest beaches on this side of St. John. However, do not expect to drive up, get out of your vehicle and step onto the snow-white beach. First of all, you have to travel along a very rocky road to the campground. Then it is time to traverse a rambling array of stairs that (eventually) lead to the beach.

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Beaches Beaches St John

Great Cruz Bay

LOCATION: From downtown Cruz Bay, follow Route 104 to Great Cruz Bay and the Westin Resort.

The 282-room Westin St. John Resort & Villas is set on a crescent-shaped beach on Great Cruz Bay.  The intriguing complex offers guestrooms, suites, townhouses and vacation villas. Stop for a cocktail and check out the huge waterfall pool.  The resort features four dining and entertainment facilities, snorkeling, diving, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, para-sailing, fishing, a full fitness center, and more.

 Virtually every convenience you could want by the sea is available at the Westin Resort, but keep in mind it is a very popular destination and you probably won’t find a secluded spot on the beach.

 

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Beaches Beaches St John

Cinnamon Bay

LOCATION: Three miles beyond downtown Cruz Bay on Route 20, North Shore Road.

Cinnamon Bay is a National Park campground with a glorious beach. Larger than Trunk Bay, Cinnamon has a full range of facilities and services for the day visitor. A concessionaire rents windsurfing equipment, kayaks and mountain bikes. The Tree Lizard Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in an upbeat, rustic setting. Across the road from the campground is the Cinnamon Bay Self-Guided Nature Trail. The loop takes about an hour to complete and passes through an old sugar-factory site. On your journey, you will see giant kapok trees as well as bay, mango and cacao trees.

A unique complex by the sea, Cinnamon attracts campers with a variety of preferences ranging from bare campsites to cabins with cots, sheets and basic comforts. Day-trippers can join the vacation atmosphere by dining in the on-premise restaurant, shopping in the general store, and walking the beach where an historic archeological dig is maintained.

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Beaches Beaches St John

Francis Bay

LOCATION: From downtown Cruz Bay, follow Route 20, North Shore Road, to the one-way division and turn left to the beach.

You will not find changing facilities here but you can enjoy crystal clear waters and a magnificent view of the nearby British Virgin Islands. Feeling energetic? Follow the well -marked Leinster Bay Trail around the bend to Waterlemon Cay.

If you want amenities of any kind, this is the beach to skip. But what a beauty it is! Francis Bay is a favorite spot for yachts in search of protected waters where snorkeling is a joy! Sunday boaters usually take up the moorings quite early in the day, particularly in season.

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Beaches Beaches St John

Caneel Bay

On the grounds of the exquisite Caneel Bay Resort, this sandy, crescent shaped beach offers a peaceful paradise with stylish upscale amenities. You can mix and mingle with the rich and famous in a laid back atmosphere that is second to none. Food and cocktails can be a tad pricey but the exclusive ambience offered at this Rosewood property is well worth it to many.

Just about everything you would expect at a first-class Caribbean beach resort is available at Caneel Bay including restrooms and changing rooms and the beach is delightful. It is usually quiet calm and quiet on all counts. However, there is a price to pay for exclusivity; refreshments are costly but worth it if you want to indulge!

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Beaches Beaches St John

Leinster Bay

LOCATION: From downtown Cruz Bay, follow Route 20, North Shore Road, to the one-way division and turn right to the beach.

At this sweet, serene get-away, you can enjoy a peaceful swim and view some strikingly dramatic coral. Basic changing facilities are available. The Annaberg Ruins, an historic sugar plantation, is located nearby, making Leinster an especially appealing destination.

This protected bay is rarely occupied by more than a few adventurers at a time. Snorkeling is grand, all the way around the bend to Waterlemon Cay. You won’t find snack bars or water sports facilities but you will find very basic changing rooms.