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We will be visiting your beautiful islands in Nov. This will be our 6th. visit to St. Thomas (always via cruise ship) and we have never been to Megans Bay. Is it just too crowded to be enjoyed? I'm wondering if Hull Bay, Morningstar,Lindberg, Sapphire, or Cowpet might be less crowded and a better choice. We would like to rent chairs and umbrellas, have a beer and a snack ,swim and snorkle. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I know it's along way off but I'm trying to take my mind off the 4 feet of snow and minus 8C outside:X
gotta be coki ....
I've got to agree with Jeff and say Coki Beach offers everything you seek. It also has lots of cruise ship visitors, so I suggest, now that you're not one of them, that you check the cruise ship schedule before heading there. Go on a day with the fewest ships in port
All the other beaches have some of what you want, but none other offers all.
Try Secret Harbor as well. Each beach has something to offer. If you're there for more than a day or two you can check them all out.
I personally like Sapphire - big open beach, good snorkeling. I think I'm in the minority, but I just didn't bond with Coki and its surroundings. The snorkeling was good, but I felt hounded by "vendors" at every step and the beach is rather small by comparison to some others - doesn't take as many people to seem crowded. Magen's has much more space for the crowd to spread out, but it does draw many visitors. Less to see by snorkel, but still enjoyable. My thought was Secret Harbour doesn't "rent" beach chairs - are for registered guests - but I could be wrong about that.
All reasonable choices - have a good time!
Lindberg Bay by the Emerald Beach Hotel has all your requirements -- with fair to good snorkeling on the left side if the visibility is good.
There are two beaches that stand out for overall beauty. They are Sapphire and Linquest. But I live right next to them, but that is why I bought there!!!
Next best Cokie.
Next best Secret Harrbor.
Beach chairs and water sports equipment can be rented at the dive shop at Secret Harbor. And the bar at Blue Moon Cafe is always a good choice for a cold drink or two along with a meal.
Although Coki has really great snorkeling, it is not a place for kicking back and relaxing on the beach. First, it is too small and overcrowded. Second, you will be constantly harassed for alcoholic drinks and other mind-altering substances (hint hint). And there are many less-than-savory types partaking of those substances within feet of you in the trees/bushes. It's unfortunate that the government doesn't see fit to do something about that, considering the beautiful fish and coral that exist there.
The best place for you would be Secret Harbor. As "vi bound" said above you can rent the stuff you need from the shop there. The view is lovely, there is snorkeling on the left part of the harbor, and there's lots of natural shade (and a few hammocks). Not to mention that Blue Moon Cafe is a wonderful spot for delicious lunch and for drinks. This beach is not frequented by cruiseship passengers, so you'll have a great time. And, as someone else said above, Magens is so large that there's plenty of room for you to relax on the beach there. There's also food and a place to rent everything you need. The only thing Magens is missing is the snorkeling.
I hope you enjoy yourself when you get here!
We stayed at Secret Harbor in December. That is a lovely beach and you can snorkel easily there, or just sit in the sun. A day trip to Magens is always part of our routine, and this time the weather was iffy, dissolving into a heavy rain just before we went to the little food shack. But there were only 9 people on the entire, and huge, beach. We usually go to the VI in December, and have never had a crowd at Magens. On the other hand, the beach at Coki is just as beautiful as long as you look out to sea. The crowds, the noise, and the people selling drinks or food can be annoying if you prefer serenity. But if you want to watch people, be asked 10 times an hour if you want a drink,or a para-sail, or something else, Coki is the place. Aside from the constant wind we have found every time we went to Sapphire, we never found a beach we didn't like.
I feel a little bad that you've never been to Magens. I'm a local who goes there very often and, once you go beyond the cruise ship melee by the concession stands, the beach is a mile long and you can find a wonderfully quiet spot to the left far away from the madding crowd.
I also love Sapphire and Secret Harbour but DON'T care for Coki (C CMon you're not alone) at all and haven't been there for many years. Many years ago I would go swim there early in the morning before the melee started but that's just not my scene. Some people love it, some people hate it, all depends what you're looking for. "Local flavor" for true but that also encompasses the good and the bad with too many vendors selling the bad goods and hustling and too many idiots selling dog biscuits to snorkelers to encourage the fish to come closer - SO bad for the reef fish and a practice SO detrimental to the ecological balance.
Hull Bay is a good spot to go to because cruise ship visitors don't go there (!) but there are no facilities there (but you can enjoy it nonetheless!)
Morningstar used to be awesome but condos and villas and over-development over many years have (IMHO) left it a travesty of what it used to be and it's a beach I never recommend.
Cowpet isn't really a swimming beach. With the STT Yacht Club right there and anchored boats,t he water is less than pristine and it's quite rocky too. The Elyisian side of the beach is OK but again not really that good or special. Lindberg - so so.
You might want to add Lindqvist (now renamed Smith Bay Park) which has been purchased by the Vi Government and is now under the jurisdiction of the Magens Bay Authority. That "development" is a work in progress but a new road has been put in. The beach is beautiful.
Oops, I've rabbited on ad nausea. Sorry! Just my opinion for what it's worth. Cheers!
WOW! What a wealth of information-thank you all so much. We wish we had enough time to see them all-have to do a land based holiday one of these years. I have checked the current cruise ship schedule and there never seems to be any ships in on a Friday??? I just hope it stays like that until next Nov. as out itinerary puts us there on a Friday. We could have Megans Bay to ourselves!
A couple of comments on STTResident's post:
Hull Bay does have a great bar/restaurant (Hull Bay Hideaway) as well as a snorkeling and diving operation run by the world famous Homer Calloway!
The yacht club boats at Cowpet are not live-aboards- they are just "parked" there. The water is as pristine as any other bay. I always see turtles at Cowpet. A big plus there is Aisley's on the beach- or Robert's if you want something a bit more upscale.
And Edgie: Why always cruises? Come back and stay a bit! It is great fun to wave to the cruise ship passengers as they leave and wish them a rapid return to our shores! 😉 And Magens is popular with locals for a reason- the water is usually calm and shallow out for quite a way. Perfect for floating with a boat drink!
We love Coki beach. We were there for 9 days last June and were there 6 of those days. Also, we've never been approched there about purchasing anything other then drinks and food and if you tell them you'll let them know when you're ready (for food/drink), they leave you alone. The only time I've not felt safe there was as the sun starts to set, you really should leave before the sun thinks of setting. We didn't care for Saphire just because of the slope of the beach and the water isn't as calm as it is at Coki. We stayed 4 of the 5 nights at the Marriott and never went to Morningstar beach, that's how much we like Coki. We never made it to Magen's but plan to our next trip.
cdailey, where did you park? That is assuming you had a car. Thanks.
Patrick, if you're talking about parking at Coki, there will be "somebody" directing you where to park. If no one is there you can park on your left hand side right before the cemetary.
Sorry EE: By "facilities" at Hull Bay I was thinking more in terms of renting chairs - should have expressed myself better!
For years we have always made it a point to go to Hull Bay on every trip to the islands. We love Hull Bay Hide Away for the Arthur Burgers. There is a little dive shop there where you can rent equipment for water fun. Last year we brought a friend to Hull on his last day for a final day of snorkeling. He had spent an entire month in the water all over St John, St Thomas and a few places in BVI and told us that the snorkeling at Hull was the best he had done. Homer at the dive shop can take you on some interesting trips and spots as well.
We parked on the road above the parking lot. As long as you aren't in the parking lot you can park anywhere.