Magens Bay, United States Virgin Islands


THE BUILD-UP This picture-postcard bay is lined by a white-sand beach stretching for more than half-a-mile (1 km). It has virtually no tides or waves, and the gentle slope into the azure water, as well as the presence of lifeguards, makes it perfect for children. Trees offer respite from the sun, and a concession rents chairs and lockers, has shower facilities, and sells food.

THE LETDOWN Magens Bay can get very, very busy, especially when the cruise ships have docked and the tour buses spill out their hordes.
There’s no coral reef here, and the big rock pools boast only average snorkeling conditions. Alas, the beach charges for the privilege of a visit: there’s a US$3 entrance fee plus US$1 for parking.

ABOVE Sun-worshipers crowd the beach at Magens Bay on the island of St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
ABOVE Sun-worshipers crowd the beach at Magens Bay on the island of St Thomas, US Virgin Islands

The road to the beach is also unnervingly steep.

GOING ANYWAY? If you like exercise, you can hike to the beach via the Magens Bay Discovery Trail. Try to time your arrival for when the cruise ships aren’t in port, or for late afternoon when passengers have departed. No nude sunbathing is allowed, but you can get an all-over tan at Little Magens Beach, a short swim away.

Lying on the northern (Atlantic) side of the island, Magens Bay (Estate Zufriedenheit) features a well-protected white sand beach stretching for nearly three quarters of a mile. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the island, as well as a gathering place for locals.

The beach sits at the head of a deep bay, the arms of which are Peterborg peninsula to the east and Tropaco Point to the west. The bay’s north-west exposure means its waters are usually calm, although storms in the North Atlantic can occasionally generate large waves in the winter months.

The sandy bottom means snorkeling is of limited interest, although turtles, conch, tarpon and other fish are commonly spotted. Local fishing boats anchor in the eastern part of the bay. Wikipedia

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