St. Thomas is one of the Caribbean’s most stunning tropical paradises. If you’re in need of an escape from the winter cold, fly south to lie on the white sand and float in the turquoise water.
Traveling can sometimes leave you feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good trip to the big city — but few things are better than relaxing on a lounge chair, strawberry daiquiri in hand, watching the waves lap against the white sand.
That’s why I chose to spend a week in St. Thomas with my boyfriend: the Caribbean island embodies pure relaxation. Though Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated St. Thomas in 2017, the island has since recovered, and resorts like Marriott’s Frenchman’s Cove are welcoming visitors with open arms. As we touched down at Cyril E. King Airport, we could see the turquoise waters and reefs; by the time we got off the plane, we were ready to kick off our week of lying oceanside on the island’s best beaches.
This mile-long strip of pure white sand and calm, clear water is a must-visit during your time on the island. Magens Bay is St. Thomas’s most popular beach, so we arrived ready to face the crowds — but were pleasantly surprised to find plenty of places to set up our rental chairs.
We decided on a spot in front of the water, and then we grabbed a few reasonably priced club sandwiches and beers from the beachside restaurant. After a post-lunch nap, I rented snorkel equipment and spent the next hour swimming with the most graceful sea turtle I’ve ever seen.
Get here early or come at sunset because the beach fills up fast, especially when the cruise ships are in town.
What’s better than lounging on a sprawling private beach? In my opinion, pretty much nothing. That’s what I spent most of my time doing at The Ritz-Carlton Club®, St. Thomas. After my breakfast, made up of mostly bacon, I walked out onto the white sand and chose a comfy cabana to lounge on while looking out over the boats on Great Bay.
For the next few hours, I alternated between reading my book, taking dips in the water and lying peacefully in the sun — all with a Mai Tai in hand. And as an avid snorkeler, I made sure to find time in my day to grab a mask and marvel at the colorful island fish.
Honeymoon Beach is one of St. Thomas’s less-crowded, more serene beaches. It’s located on Water Island, just south of the main island, and is easily accessible by water taxi from Crown Bay Marina. From the dock, you can take a free shuttle to the beach or a short, hilly walk with stunning views.
We spent the entire day here, and the two shoreside bars and restaurants kept us fueled up between naps in the sun and dips in the clear blue water. The food is fairly expensive, but the convenience of it — and the luxury of a near-empty beach — made it well worth the cost.
Secret Harbour is known as one of the best snorkeling beaches on St. Thomas, but it’s also a good place for families to simply relax away from the crowds. We arrived by cab and quickly found the beach chair and umbrella rental hut. After a few hours of lounging in the sun, I rented snorkel gear to see what all the fuss was about — and I was not disappointed. I swam out toward the rocks and discovered a lively coral reef inhabited by my favorite fish: the rainbow-colored parrotfish.
Brewers Bay is conveniently located less than 10 minutes from the airport, so we couldn’t resist stopping by to catch our last few rays of sun before leaving the island. The beach — a favorite with locals — is maintained by the University of the Virgin Islands, which does a fantastic job of keeping the sands pristine and garbage-free.
We asked the cab driver to wait as we quickly jumped in the water for one last dip. Then we took a few minutes to dry off while reveling in the hot afternoon sun before getting back into the cab and heading for the airport.
Bring cash: Food trucks often park at Brewers Bay at lunchtime and serve local food like johnnycakes (a cornmeal pancake) and fried chicken.