- The Virgin Islands Best Guide
Brewers Bay is a gem hidden in plain sight. Its sun-drenched shore is presided over by lush green hills on the right, and the University of the Virgin Islands campus on the left. It’s one of the calmest beaches on St. Thomas and the water is clear as crystal. It is a favorite for Green Sea Turtles and Hawksbill Turtles. The seafloor is mostly sand, and it deepens gradually providing an easy sloped entry. The combination of clarity, calmness and a sandy bottom make it great for wading and swimming. On weekdays Brewers Bay is delightfully uncrowded.
Brewers Bay has one of the widest shores on St. Thomas. The distance between the tree line and water line offers ample space for a game of frisbee or throwing around a football. The tree line includes palm trees and sea grape trees. Among the trees are other plant life like salt-tolerant grass and vines. They are part of a natural beachscape and play an important part in preventing beach erosion. You can sit under the trees and enjoy their shade, or rub on some reef safe sunblock and bask in full sun near the water’s edge. Bring an umbrella or beach tent if you want to have shade and sit near the water.
The sand near the water is mostly soft and fine. The sand overall however is a combination of both fine and coarse sand plus small rocks. It’s a nice beach for taking a stroll and beach combing. Explore the shore for bits of coral, shells, sea glass and things cast up by the tides. Be sure to leave the shells on the beach after looking at them. It is illegal to remove shells from beaches in the Virgin Islands.
Brewers Bay is nestled within the 388-acre St. Thomas Campus of the University of the Virgin Islands. It is right off a main road. And the Maclean Marine Science Center is located on the far left of the beach. Despite all of this, it can feel secluded. Brewers Bay is overlooked by most visitors therefore it is typically quiet and sparsely populated on weekdays. When there are cruise ships docked at Crown Bay the beach does get a few cruisers. On weekends and holidays it is a favorite with residents for family picnics and parties. It rarely gets crowded except for once a year when the beach turns into the home of the Annual Texas Chili Cookoff.
Amenities include a nice public bathhouse with flush toilets and outdoor showers. There are roadside food vans, usually two of them on any given day. They sell local dishes like pates in various flavors, johnny cakes, fried chicken, rice and beans among other options. The food vans also have drinks such as water, sodas and sometimes local fruit drinks, plus snacks. There are no other amenities and no resort on site. You will need to bring your own snorkel gear, beach chairs, umbrellas, towels and any other items you would like to have while at the beach.
Snorkeling at Brewers Bay, on the left side, and near the patches of seagrass will likely reward you with seeing a few turtles and maybe a stingray. If you do see them, swim gently, maintain a responsible distance, and do not try to pet or touch the turtles. You might see some marine science students from the University doing research and monitoring the turtles. Occasionally small charter boats pull into the bay to allow passengers to snorkel.
Aviation fans will enjoy seeing the planes take off and land in the distance from Brewers Bay. The St. Thomas airport is part of the view from shore. You are likely to see some props, regional jets, and maybe a 737/757. If you are concerned about airport noise you will be happy to know that the large planes are infrequent, and the smaller ones more common. For most beach-goers the noise is not bothersome.
Brewers Bay is a nice spot for bird watching for pelicans and seagulls; and a good choice for watching the sun set.
Access & Transportation: Free admission. Roadside, parallel parking is available. Taxis can take you there. You should arrange for the taxi to pick you up at a set time as there aren’t usually taxis at Brewers Bay. The last bus stop on the University campus is a short walk away, about .3 miles up and over a little hill, you can get off at that campus bus stop and walk to the beach. Ask the bus driver for the return schedule and bus stop location.
- Food Vendors
- Parking Available
- Diving & Snorkeling
If you want an off the (tourist) beaten track beach that is easily accessible. Want to avoid crowds. Enjoy trying local spots. Want to snorkel with turtles.
Don't Go Here
If you want an abundance and variety of amenities.
Located on the West End
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Brewer's Bay beach
This beach is wonderful, its quiet, not to many people. Its clean, the waters are clear. Great place to take children. Waters are shallow and mellow. We loved it there, and there is a mobile food van in the parking lot that has yummy local foods.
My Super-Sized Swimming Pool
Sure, there aren't a lot of things at Brewers' in the way of amenities, but the water is always calm and crystal, the vistas and sunsets from there are astounding and more often than not there are sea turtles hanging out in the turtle grass. I always tell people it's like having my own swimming pool. Hunting for sea-glass along the right side of the beach is a must!