St. Thomas is renowned for its gorgeous white-sand beaches, which rightfully claim their place as some of the best in the Caribbean. But the well-known ones can get crowded in high season, so those who crave a little peace and quiet would be wise to seek out some lesser-known alternatives. So if you are a little adventurous and persistent, try one of these "hidden" St. Thomas beaches. They may be a bit quirky and hard to find, but are well worth the trek.
This tiny stretch of sand is located just a few hundred feet away from its more famous neighbor, Magens Bay beach, but couldn't be more different in character. While Magens is wide, long, easily-accessible, teeming with people, and full of amenities, Little Magens is small, hard to get to, and often deserted. The beach is located in a cove on the right side of Magens Bay and can only be accessed by wading or kayaking from Magens Bay beach itself, on days when the tide and wind isn't too high.
There is some shade provided by seagrape trees and one picnic table, but that's it as far as amenities go. And families with children – or the easily offended – should note that nudists often sunbathe at Little Magens. So if you want a little solitude and nice view of Magens Bay beach without the crowds of Magens, this is a good spot to drop anchor – and your clothes.
Vessup Beach at dusk. — Photo courtesy of Karen Elowitt
This hidden gem in St. Thomas's east end is a favorite of locals and watersports enthusiasts. It actually has two parts that are only semi-connected: the stretch that starts near the bar Latitude 18 and ends at the rocky point about a tenth of a mile east; and the stretch that starts on the other side of the rocky point and continues alongside the road that runs next to the Ritz-Carlton Vacation Club.
Each section of Vessup Beach has its pros and cons: the former is a little quieter, and features access to both Latitude 18 and the West Indies Windsurfing concession, which rents everything from kayaks to windsurfers to catamarans (on weekends only). But it tends to attract a lot of seaweed, which though harmless, can be smelly and unsightly. The latter section is whiter and cleaner but is not near any bars or amenities, and on weekends often attracts hordes of partying locals who bring in huge, blaring sound systems. Both sections afford lovely views of American Yacht harbor, the offshore cays, and the ferries that shuttle passengers between STT and STJ.
To get to the first stretch of Vessup, turn off the main road in Red Hook onto Rt. 322, which leads to the Ritz. Make the first left (Vessup Lane) and head all the way down to the next left, following the signs to Latitude 18 via a rough dirt road. At the end of the Lat 18 parking lot you'll see a gap between the bushes and a dirt path leading onto the beach. The other section is accessible by continuing on Rt. 322 until the fourth left, then following that about 1/2 mile until you see beach on both sides of the road. Vessup is on the left side.
Scott Beach, St. Thomas — Photo courtesy of Karen Elowitt
Even some locals are not aware of this little beach, which is hidden on the south shore near the Compass Point marina. It's not big or splashy - just a few hundred feet of pretty white sand adjacent to the mangrove lagoon. There is little shade and no amenities, but locals love the excellent snorkeling in the shallow coral reef just offshore. Since Scott Beach is not located in a protected bay or cove, the surf can get rough on windy days, so use caution. To get there, take Route 32 west from Red Hook. After about a quarter mile you will go over a small hill. As you go down the hill after the traffic signal, turn left at the signs that say Compass Point marina and Wisdom Waves. Follow the badly-paved road almost to the marina. You'll see a metal gate on the left. You can park by the gate walk to the beach down a short dirt path.
The road to Hull Bay, and Dorothea Bay — Photo courtesy of Karen Elowitt
This northside beach is not far from the well-known Hull Bay beach, but it's more out-of-the-way and far less populated. In fact, hardly anyone goes to Dorothea Bay, except those seeking to experience the wild majesty of nature and the sea, and those wanting a quiet place to meditate. The rocky, windswept beach is surrounded by lush green hills, and the only sign of life is one small condo development. There are no bars or amenities, just rugged beauty. Dorothea Bay can be reached by heading down Rt. 37 (Hull Bay Road), and turning left at the end instead of right (which would take you into the Hull Bay parking lot). You'd then go about 1/2 mile, take a right, and go all the way to the end. Alternatively, you can access the bay by going west on Rt. 33 (Crown Mountain Road), then turning off at Rt. 333, then veering left after about 1/2 mile, at Kanal Gut Gade.
Honeymoon Beach — Photo courtesy of Karen Elowitt
This beach is not exactly hidden or obscure, but it's definitely less visited due to its location on Water Island. Though it's a bit of trek to get there, involving a drive to Crown Bay Marina, a water taxi to the island, then a 15 minute walk to the beach, it's totally worth it. The first glimpse you get of Honeymoon Beach, from the top of the hill, will take your breath away. The wide swath of powdery white sand is dotted with palm-frond huts, sea grape and palm trees, and colorful picnic benches. The water is ultra-calm and crystal-clear, making it perfect for small children. During high season a beach bar operates at the far end, and during the early afternoon a food vendor sets up near the middle of the beach. Bring your own chairs and watersports equipment though, because you can't rent any here.