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The 7 Best Snorkeling Spots on St. Thomas

Soft Coral found while snorkeling at Coki Beach in St. Thomas, US Virgin Island.

Snorkeling is one of the most popular activities on St. Thomas, and for good reason. With a stunning array of marine life and constantly warm waters, it’s always a good time for a swim. There are coral reefs teeming with wildlife just off the coast, so you don’t have to go far to enjoy the best snorkeling on St. Thomas. Check out the top snorkeling spots on the island and get ready to dive in!

Coki Point Beach

Best for: Easy, kid-friendly snorkeling

You’ll probably visit this beautiful white-sand beach, also known as Coki Beach, at least once during your St. Thomas vacation. You’ll find plenty of visitors and locals enjoying this beach thanks to its lively atmosphere and gorgeous views. With plenty of amenities and shops nearby, you can find convenient beach rentals, snorkel gear, snacks, drinks for the adults, and everything you need for your day on the beach.

The clear turquoise waters are calm, making them perfect for relaxed swimming and snorkeling, even for first-timers. The rocky reef area near the shore is a great spot to enjoy the corals, fish, rays, and crabs that call this area home. The fish are used to swimming with humans here, so they’ll come right up to you! However, remember to abstain from feeding them as this is harmful to wildlife.

a close up of an animal

Photo by Roger Darnell on Unsplash

Secret Harbor Beach

Best for: Easy snorkeling and abundant marine life

Located on the east end of the island, Secret Harbor is a great beach for wildlife enthusiasts. This picturesque beach has a sandy shoreline featuring palm trees and hammocks that add to the tropical vibe. Part of the Secret Harbor Resort, it has plenty of amenities on site. There’s even a floating raft anchored in the middle of the bay, offering endless fun for all ages!

The waters of this protected bay are always calm, making for easy snorkeling, and they have an abundance of wildlife to discover. Part of the St. Thomas East End Reserve, these waters are home to colorful fish, coral, octopus, squid, and more! Snorkel along the rocky coastline on the right side of the beach, the reef in the middle, or head to the seagrass meadows to discover sea turtles and manta rays. You can easily spend the whole day here and not run out of exciting sights.

Lindqvist Beach (Smith Bay Park)

Best for: Uncrowded snorkeling

Lindqvist (or Linquist) Beach is part of the 21-acre protected area of Smith Bay Park. While much of the island has been developed with resorts and other tourist accommodations, this area remains pristine, retaining its natural charm. Frequented by locals, this spot isn’t as popular among cruise ship tourists, making it a quiet place to enjoy the day playing on the soft sand and swimming in the warm water. There aren’t many amenities on site, but there is a lifeguard on duty as well as picnic tables and bathrooms.

Lindqvist has beautiful blue waters ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Just off the shore, there are seagrass beds where turtles and rays often swim. A little further offshore, you can find a colorful coral reef as well as tide pools full of wildlife.

When you’re ready to get out of the water, you can build sand castles in the soft sand, kick back and enjoy the views (including St. John across the water!), or get a break from the sun in the shade of the nearby coconut grove and sea grape trees.

a turtle swimming under water

Photo by Ana Singh on Unsplash

Brewers Bay Beach

Best for: Swimming with sea turtles

It’s hard to believe that this calm, sandy beach is right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of St. Thomas, located on the University of the Virgin Islands campus and home to the Center for Marine and Environmental Studies. The beach is right next to the airport, but it feels like a calm little oasis as you swim in its crystal-clear waters and encounter the beach’s most popular residents, sea turtles!

You don’t have to swim too far or too deep to encounter the seagrass, frequented by green sea turtles and hawksbill turtles. You won’t find coral or many fish here, but seeing the turtles is exciting enough to make up for it. Just remember to keep your distance, as it’s important to protect these turtles and their environments.

When you’re ready to get back on dry land, the ample shore of Brewers Bay provides plenty of space to throw around a frisbee or ball, and you can find food trucks nearby for a delicious snack. There are some amenities onsite, including bathrooms and showers, but there’s not much shade, so be sure to bring a tent or umbrella.

Sapphire Beach

Best for: Coral and a beautiful white-sand beach

The beautiful Sapphire Beach is worth a visit just for the wonderful white sand, but it’s also a great spot for snorkeling among the coral reefs. With a shallow rocky ledge and calm water, it’s ideal for snorkelers of all levels. The most exciting sights include brain coral, tropical fish, and the occasional turtle and ray. The reef is well protected, so you can expect to see the Snorkel Police keeping a close eye on snorkelers who get too close to the coral.

Located on the Sapphire Beach Resort, this beach has convenient amenities including chairs and restrooms. You can also find water sports like windsurfing and kayaking. At the nearby man-made pond, you can see iguanas and ducks. There are convenient food and drink vendors along the shore where you can pick up lunch, drinks, and snacks.

Beyond the Island

St. Thomas is known as the gateway to the Caribbean because it gives you easy access to other can’t-miss destinations in the Virgin Islands. Head off-island with a boat tour or charter and explore amazing snorkeling spots!

Buck Island Reef National Monument

Best for: Pristine coral reefs

Buck Island is a protected wildlife refuge, preserving its unique ecosystems and many endangered and threatened species. This popular snorkeling destination has an abundance of coves where you can come face to face with sea turtles, stingrays, and more. But what draws visitors to these crystal-clear waters is the barrier coral reef system, which is one of the most pristine in the Caribbean.

Turtle Cove and Shipwreck Cove are some of the top spots to snorkel on Buck Island, with excellent visibility and unique features like the Cartanza Senora wreck. In addition to marine life, you can also see a variety of birds on the island.

a fish swimming under water

Photo by Roger Darnell on Unsplash

St. John

Best for: Abundant wildlife at a national park

If you’re looking for Virgin Islands history and lush forests along with your snorkeling adventure, you can’t skip a visit to St. John. The majority of this island is part of Virgin Islands National Park, featuring mangrove shorelines, seagrass beds, and coral reefs. Depending on where you snorkel, you can encounter fish, octopus, crabs, and even nurse sharks. Some of the most popular snorkeling spots include Hansen Bay Beach, Hawksnest Beach, Maho Bay Beach, and Salt Pond Beach.

There’s a magical world waiting for you beneath the surface of the water on St. Thomas. Snorkeling with the island’s wildlife is sure to be the highlight of your vacation! Check out a variety of snorkeling tours and start planning your dream trip.