Magens Bay Beach is the most popular beach on St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, and one of the island’s top attractions in general. A scenic shoreline, crystal clear water, and beautiful trees and forest nearby, plus the park’s amenities; make this beach a favorite with visitors and residents alike. With all the love and enthusiasm, Magens Bay can get crowded. An excursion to Magens Bay is available on all the major cruise ships that call on St. Thomas, and this is the biggest factor that affects crowds on the beach. If people-watching and a busy beach are your thing, then you probably don’t need to read this article. If, on the other hand, you’d prefer to find some peace and quiet on Magens Bay Beach, then keep reading.
Tip 1: Check the Cruise Ship Schedule Before Going to Magens Bay Beach
Whether you are a visitor staying on island, a cruiser or a resident – check the cruise ship schedule for St. Thomas before you go to Magens Bay Beach. If there are no ships in port, the beach should be relaxing. Same situation if there is just one ship in port. If there are two or three ships in port, the concession and the beach area nearby will be busy. If there are four, five or six cruise ships in port, Magens Bay will be packed. Using the cruise ship schedule, you’ll have an idea of how crowded the beach will be, and you can plan your time at Magens Bay Beach accordingly. View the St. Thomas Cruise Ship Schedule
Tip 2: Choose a More Secluded Spot on Magens Bay Beach
If you do go to Magens Bay on a busy cruise ship day, keep this in mind. The majority of cruisers stick around the concession area, where the beach chairs, restaurant and bar are located. If you go to the left of the concession, you’ll find fewer people. You will however be giving up convenience for tranquility. If you are far from the concession area, you’ll have to walk to get food/drinks. You can bring your own picnic. You’ll also have to bring your own chairs, use one of the picnic tables, or sit/lay on your towel or beach blanket. The far-right side from the concession has fewer people too. It is however busier than the far left and a smaller area.
Tip 3: Visit Magens Bay Beach During Off-Peak Times of the Day
Head to Magens Bay during off-peak times and experience the beauty and serenity with fewer people. The beach is generally quiet in the morning before 9:30 am and after 4pm. This tip works well if you are staying on St. Thomas for vacation, or you live on island. Cruise ship passengers can benefit from this tip too. Look into whether you can leave the ship early. Try to beat the arrival of the cruise ship excursions by going on your own, via taxi. Read the Ultimate Guide to Magens Bay Beach
Tip 4: Consider the Day of the Week when Planning Your Visit to Magens Bay Beach
Magens Bay Beach is St. Thomas’s most popular beach for visitors, and the most popular beach with residents also. The biggest beach days for residents are Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. It’s very common for residents to have family picnics and parties on the weekends at Magens Bay Beach. Residents often head to the left side of the beach.
Tip 5: Bring Your Own Supplies for Your Magens Bay Beach Day
The busiest area at Magens Bay Beach tends to be around the concession. The conession is home to the restaurant, bar, chair rentals, and the gift shop. It’s also very close to the entrance and to the taxi stand. The watersports booth is not at the concession area, but it’s close by. If you can go to Magens Bay Beach and be self-sufficient, then you can avoid this area and the crowds that gather there. Pack the essentials: a towel to sit/lay on, a rash guard, hat, sunglasses and reef-safe sunscreen, beverages, and a picnic lunch. If you are staying on the island and renting a car, or you live on the island – you can bring more stuff including your own beach chair, umbrella, cooler, etc.
Tip 6: Take Advantage of Kayaking or SUP at Magens Bay Beach
Rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard from the Yak Shack at Magens Bay Beach and explore the calm waters of the bay away from the crowded beachfront. There is magic in floating on top of crystal-clear water and looking at the beauty of the bay all around you. It’s exciting when a turtle or sting ray passes below, or a pelican dives for a meal nearby.
Tip 7: Take a Hike at Magens Bay Beach
Take a break from the beach and discover the nearby nature trail. Its part of the Magens Bay Watershed Preserve. The trail is around 1.5 miles roundtrip. It’s an out and back trail. You can hike the whole thing or just a part of it. Read About the Magens Bay Watershed Preserve and Tropical Hiking Trail
Tip 8: Explore Little Magens Bay
If you are at Magens Bay Beach and can’t find some peace and quiet somewhere along the long sandy shore, you can head over to Little Magens Bay. Little Magens is a tiny sandy shore within the larger bay that is often sparsely populated. Heading there is possible via kayak, standup paddle board, rock scrambling along the right side of the bay, or wading/swimming along the right side of the bay. Read About Little Magens
Tip 9: Visit St. Thomas During Off Season
If you can, plan to visit St. Thomas during off season. This will help avoid possible crowds in general. Off season comes with other perks like discounted rates at hotels and vacation rentals. The off season in St. Thomas is around May to October.
Tip 10: Be Mindful of Local Events Held at Magens Bay Beach
There are a few community events held at Magens Bay annually. The two biggest are both food tournaments that are all-day events, usually on a Saturday. Both are typically held in late May or early June respectively. Those events are the Annual Slider Showdown, and the Annual King of the Wing Tournament. They are both a lot of fun and draw very large crowds.
Other annual events held at Magens Bay draw a small crowd. These include Rotary Sunrise Kids Triathlon, which is typically on a Saturday morning, 7am to noon. And St. Thomas Olympic Day Run, usually in June, on a weekend, starting at 7:30 am.
One other event to keep in mind as it relates to Magens Bay, is St. Thomas Carnival. While none of the carnival events are actually held at Magens, the after-carnival Sunday funday is. St. Thomas Carnival is held in April/May. The adult’s parade is usually the last Saturday of April, or the first Saturday of May. Magens Bay is a favorite gathering place the day after the adult’s parade.
That’s a wrap folks. Magens Bay Beach is St. Thomas’ most popular beach. The crowds are greatly affected by the number of cruise ships in port. The busiest time of day is generally 10am to 4pm. It gets crowded, but the beach isn’t always filled with people. Magens Bay is peaceful in the early morning and late afternoon.
The bottom line is to check the cruiseship schedule for the day(s) you want to go to Magens Bay Beach. Look at the number of ships in port and their passenger capacity. Then, if needed, consider the tips above for visiting Magens Bay Beach and avoiding crowds. If you think Magens Bay will be too busy for you, then consider another beach on the island. Visit the St. Thomas Beach Guide