Best beaches to explore in the US and British Virgin Islands
The epitome of laid-back Caribbean vibes can be experienced on a yacht charter to the US and British Virgin Islands. As some of the first islands to be settled on in the Caribbean, you will find a wealth of history and culture as well as the characteristically stunning beaches and pristine waters ripe for exploring. Read on to discover our absolute must-see beaches to visit during your luxury yacht charter to the US and British Virgin Islands.
Magens Bay Beach, St Thomas
Found on the northern shore of St Thomas, the vast white sand of Magens Bay Beach extends an entire mile (1.6 kilometres), with water so piercingly turquoise it could feel like a dream. Many US Virgin Islands yacht charters start off on St Thomas, as it has a developed superyacht marina infrastructure and commercial airport, so Magens Bay Beach could well be your first chance to take a dip in the sea on vacation.
Why visit Magens Bay Beach?
As the archetypal Caribbean waterfront haven, there’s plenty to do both on the water and ashore at Magens – pronounced ‘May-gens’ – Bay Beach. Being sheltered by land on three sides, it makes a great spot to enjoy some watersports activities with all the family. Think paddleboard yoga or kayak races across the bay. On land, take a hike along the nature trails to observe the plentiful native wildlife, such as the colourful birds, exotic flora and mangrove trees.
Trunk Bay, St John
Trunk Bay is located on the north west shore of St John, one of the largest and most developed islands in the US Virgin Islands. It is named after the enormous leatherback turtles that are endemic here, which are locally called ‘trunks’. As well as its attractions in the water, this idyllic beach would make a marvellous spot for a sunset dinner or cocktail hour.
Why visit Trunk Bay Beach?
Be sure to take in the submerged national park at Trunk Bay, where you can pull on a mask and fins to explore the Underwater Trail, which is renowned as one of the best places to snorkel in the whole Caribbean. This 205-metre underwater path through the calm and shallow waters of Trunk Bay features informative stone markers that highlight interesting facts about the native sea life and coral structures. And with depths ranging from one to six metres, all the family can enjoy great visibility of the entire trail from the comfort of their snorkels at the surface. Local fish species you can expect to see include grouper, angelfish, parrotfish, lizardfish, goatfish, snapper and trumpetfish, among others. Keep an eye out for inquisitive sea turtles going about their daily business, too.
White Bay, Jost Van Dyke
The sheltered, shallow waters of White Bay to the south west of Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands have attracted visitors from land and sea for decades, if not longer. The exceptionally clear water, lush green hillside surroundings and vibrant attractions will be sure to lure you in for an overnight stopover during your yacht charter. It’s no wonder Forbes Magazine has listed White Bay as one of its top Caribbean beaches to visit.
Why visit White Bay?
Drop anchor and enjoy some snorkelling in the calm, shallow bay or jump on the yacht’s jetski to take a tour of the nearby coastline. If you’re in the mood for a some shoreside fun, then White Bay could be just the ticket. Head to the legendary Soggy Dollar Bar to get your fix of strong cocktails and upbeat music, or enjoy a romantic sunset dinner at the White Bay Villas and Beach Club.
Smuggler’s Cove, Tortola
Another favourite on the yachting circuit, Smuggler’s Cove is found on the western coast of the popular island of Tortola. As one of the less crowded beaches in the British Virgin Islands, the secluded splendour of Smuggler’s Cove makes it a particularly special waypoint during your charter trip.
Why visit Smuggler’s Cove?
Snorkelling is a particularly popular activity at Smuggler’s Cove, with a bustling reef teeming with vibrant sea life to keep the whole family enthralled. After an active morning, why not pop over to the legendary Nigel’s beach shack for a glass of the local tipple and a lunchtime snack before you return to your yacht for an afternoon of R&R? Then as the day draws to a close, enjoy a romantic sunset cocktail hour set up right on the beach by your yacht crew. Sample freshly caught fish from the local waters, grilled by your chef, while you dine by candlelight with the sand between your toes.
Turtle Beach, Buck Island
Buck Island is a charming and pristine uninhabited islet of 176 acres found 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometres) off the coast of St Croix. It is only accessible by boat, making it a sublime stopover for your yacht charter in the US Virgin Islands. Its jewel in the crown is Turtle Beach, found to the west of the island. Whether you fancy spending time in the water or exploring on land, there are plenty of activities to choose from on Buck Island.
Why visit Turtle Beach?
Across its 19,000 acres of submerged and dry lands, Buck Island Reef National Monument offers many options for activities. Pull on your hiking shoes and take a walk through the tropical dry forests, manchineel beach forest, rocky shorelines and perfectly white sand beaches. As its name suggests, Buck Island is home to various endangered and threatened turtles, including the hawksbill, green, leatherback and loggerhead species. You will also find the native St Croix Ground Lizard scurrying into the undergrowth.
Sandy Point Beach, St Croix
As the longest stretch of beach in the US Virgin Islands, the postcard-worthy Sandy Point Beach is also a protected nesting habitat for the endangered leatherback turtles, whose carapaces can reach more than a metre in length. Be sure to check your timings with the captain, as the beach is closed to visitors from 1 April to the end of August to protect the turtle nests and hatchlings.
Why visit Sandy Point Beach?
Come to Sandy Point Beach for the outstanding views and expansive white-sand shoreline, and stay for the island’s other interesting attractions. Why not visit St Croix’s famously ancient baobab tree, the oldest in the Caribbean having been planted in the 18th century. And an unexpected and fun family activity to enjoy is the island’s hermit crab racing, where locals gather to name and bet on their speedy crustacean of choice. The spectators can become quite loud and animated, and it’s a very energetic sport to watch. Top tip: pick a smaller crab as these tend to be faster so more likely to win!
Maho Bay Beach, St John
If your visions of the Caribbean conjure up images of bright aquamarine water lapping at a powder-soft sandy shoreline with towering palm trees swaying in the breeze, then Maho Bay Beach in the US Virgin Islands is a dream come true. Known for its population of turtles and rays as well as its stunning views above the surface, St John’s locals frequent Maho Beach Bay just as much as its visitors do.
Why visit Maho Bay Beach?
Quieter than its St John neighbour Trunk Bay, Maho Bay Beach is the epitome of laid-back Caribbean serenity. The best time to visit is in the morning, when you’re more likely to get the beach to yourself. Swim with the friendly populations of green sea turtles and rays – though be careful not to get too close or touch them. As well as the obvious allure of the beach and gem-hued waters at Maho Bay, be sure not to miss the spectacular views from the America Hill Ruins, which is reached by a challenging hike from nearby Cinnamon Bay. One of the most memorable times to go is at sunset – you will be paid handsomely for your exertions by the jaw-dropping panorama.
Which yachts are available to charter in the US and British Virgin Islands?
The stunningly elegant NERO needs no introduction. After an extensive refit with upgrades throughout in 2021, the iconic 90.1m motor yacht now boasts a state-of-the-art gym on the sun deck and a fully kitted out beauty salon, as well as an extensive interior and exterior refresh to boot.
The majestic AQUILA is the perfect yacht for those who like to mix things up and have fun on their superyacht charter. This 85.6m motor yacht boasts sprawling deck space with an abundance of options for dining and relaxation, including her forward sun deck with its large jacuzzi, day bar and treatment room. And at night, head to the dedicated party deck to make the most of the DJ booth, professional sound system, smoke machine and light show.
As an adventure-ready explorer yacht, PLANET NINE offers boundless cruising, yet her various amenities and facilities are second to none in the luxury stakes. The 73.2m motor yacht features a dedicated private owner’s deck, a panoramic observation lounge and a cinema room. To indulge in a little pampering, simply head down to the beach club for a massage by the water followed by some time in the steam room. PLANET NINE truly has it all.
The emphasis on board MUCHOS MAS is impeccable service and unforgettable ambiance. The master suite’s gorgeous onyx en suite has a central two-person Vichy shower with six shower heads and a central skylight through to the foredeck moon jacuzzi completes the spa-like ambiance. Head to the sensational sun deck for a 54-jet glass-backed jacuzzi, sit-up and swim-up bars, BBQ, dayhead and two water vapour misting systems for cool comfort.