Though known as one of the top shopping destinations in the Caribbean and an easy getaway for American travelers, St. Thomas also boasts some of the world’s top beaches and a wide assortment of recreation options. While excellent beaches can be found at all corners of the island, the stretch of sand regularly cited as one of the best overall beaches in the Caribbean region can be found along St. Thomas’ scenic northern coast. Magens Bay is an idyllic destination, a mile-long stretch of white sand dotted with palm trees. As this incredible beach remains largely undeveloped, there is also plenty of space to relax in the sand or play in the calm, blue waters offshore. Throughout the year, Magens Bay offers excellent opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, picnicking and a variety of other activities.
Despite being located on the windswept and dramatic northern shore of St. Thomas, Magens Bay has become one of the island’s best family-friendly beaches thanks to some unique geography. Unlike most of the beaches on the north end of the island, Magens Bay is protected by a pair of offshore peninsulas that prevent the steady Caribbean surf from entering the bay. As a result, the water offshore remains calm, warm and safe for family activities throughout the year. Activities like swimming and wading have become incredibly popular at Magens Bay, as the pebble-free sand extends well into the Caribbean Sea, adding to the comfort of the warm tropical waters. Magens Bay is also one of the island’s most successful public beach projects, as small entrance fees have helped St. Thomas implement regular maintenance, staff the beach with lifeguards and construct unmatched restroom and shower facilities. In recent years, a number of snack shacks have popped up along the beach, while several charming restaurants and bars rest within easy walking distance of the shore.
Magens Bay is also a great destination for water sports such as snorkeling, kayaking and sailing, as on-site rental shops offer affordable equipment and tour options. While interesting underwater sights can be found throughout the area, the secluded western end of the bay has become one of the northern shore’s most popular snorkeling sites. Home to a wide variety of tropical fish species, the placid cove found at the western end of the beach serves as one of St. Thomas’ most captivating, but family-friendly snorkeling sites. Families can also enjoy the calm water in kayaks, paddleboats and other unique watercrafts, or take part in sailing tours offshore where the consistent trade winds provide excellent recreation opportunities year-round.
Those that want to admire the beach at Magens Bay and the Caribbean Sea from above should visit the adjacent attraction known as Drake’s Seat. Perched atop the majestic seaside cliff beside Magens Bay, Drake’s Seat is rumored to have been a lookout for Sir Francis Drake, the famous 16th century colonial captain and explorer. Having seized command of St. Thomas, Drake is thought to have watched his own ships and encroaching vessels from this now popular scenic destination. Visitors to the site will find a bench perched on the highest point of the cliff and a view overlooking Magens Bay and the Caribbean Sea beyond. As a result, Drake’s Seat has become one of the most popular photographic destinations on the island, especially during the late afternoon and early evening hours when the setting sun highlights the exotic scenery. This popular sightseeing destination is visited by most of St. Thomas’ guided tours, but travelers with rental cars or recreational vehicles will also be able to reach the site with ease. Drake’s Seat is located just off Route 40, the main road running along St. Thomas’ northern shore.
Though Magens Bay attracts plenty of visitors throughout the year, this spacious beach always has ample room to relax or play in the water. As Magens Bay also promises a truly unique Caribbean experience – often more relaxed and family-friendly than many of the region’s most famous beaches – this charming coastal destination has become one of St. Thomas’ can’t-miss sights.