Hawksnest Bay Beach ranks among the most popular on St. John. It’s not quite as protected as other beaches, so a bit of surf is common. Snorkelers will find a shallow reef of Elkhorn corals just off the center of the beach, where it’s possible to spot juvenile fish and the occasional sea turtle. Many full-day snorkeling excursions include time in the water in Hawksnest Bay, as well as other popular snorkeling spots, like Little Buck Island, Honeymoon Beach, or the bays of Virgin Islands National Park.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Hawksnest Bay is a popular beach for families and visitors in Cruz Bay.
- Don’t forget to bring a towel, change of clothes, and reef-safe sunscreen.
- Avoid snorkeling directly over the reef, as Elkhorn coral is extremely fragile.
How to Get There
Hawksnest Bay Beach is off Route 20 (North Shore Road) 2 miles (3 kilometers) outside Cruz Bay. If you have a car, there’s plenty of parking a few steps from the sand.
When to Get There
Hawksnest Bay faces east and gets lots of morning sun, and shade arrives earlier than on other St. John beaches. For the best chance of dry weather and sparser crowds, plan to visit between April and June.
The Beaches of Hawksnest Bay While Hawksnest Beach is the most popular stretch of sand along Hawksnest Bay, it’s not the only one. If you want to get away from the crowd, head over to Little Hawksnest, a quiet stretch of white, sandy beach, lying west of the main beach. Oppenheimer and Gibney Beaches share the same cove as well.