Snorkeling Around Red Hook

Photo Credit: © Island Wilson Excursions

With ferries coming and going out of Red Hook on a regular basis, you may wonder if the waters of this northeast coastal town on St. Thomas are healthy enough to promote the type of snorkeling worth traveling for.  The answer is a resounding yes.

Despite the constant ferry traffic, the marine world of Red Hook is extremely important to the island chain, and every effort is made to keep things as pristine as possible.  For this reason, you can bring your gear to nearly any beach in Red Hook and be treated magnificent scenery and a healthy world of sea life.  If you don't have your own mask and snorkel, any one of the area's dive shops can help you out with a rental, and there are even stands at some of the more popular beaches.  You'll usually spend around $10(USD) for a day of snorkeling gear. 

If you'd like to venture out a bit, there are lots of other options throughout the chain.  You can hop on a ferry to St. John and see sites such as Henley Cay and Hawksnest Bay Snorkel Site.  You can also travel across the island to Charlotte Amalie and take the ferry to Water Island for some snorkeling.  There are also snorkeling tours available from local tour guides, dive shops, and sailing charters available.  With this option, a knowledgeable local will take you in a group to some of the top snorkeling sites in the area that may only be accessible by boat.  

Snorkeling Sites

If you're ready to experience what's down below you should consider a visit to Coki Bay. Most agree that this spot has the best beach snorkeling on the island thanks to its calm and clear conditions. Families with children especially love it here. This snorkeling site is located within Coki Point, a short distance away Northwest of central Red Hook.

Secret Harbour Bay is another option. Some of the island's healthiest reef can be found here, with colorful coral and interesting rock formations making a home for a huge array of sea life. In addition to lionfish, butterflyfish, parrotfish, and trumpetfish you may also encounter sea turtles, porcupine puffers, manta rays, and spotted eagle rays.

A third location to consider is Saint John Bay. Close enough to the shore that even new snorkelers will find this an easy spot to locate, the reef here is shallow and busy with sea life. Staghorn coral dominates, and fish include trumpetfish, four-eyed butterflyfish, trunkfish, blue tang, squirrelfish, beaugregory, and parrotfish. Grass beds at the center of the beach are favored by rays and sea turtles.

A fourth place where you can go snorkeling is Lindquist Beach. There is a small fee to enter the park that this bay is located in, yet it can still be crowded on weekends. If you swim in a few hours before low tide you'll find the water level to be perfect for exploring wit your snorkel and mark. If you want to check it out, this site is located in Red Hook.

Water Bay is a fifth site to consider. Staghorn coral, sea fans, and interesting rock formations are fun enough to explore on their own, but when you add in the four-eyed butterfly fish, blue tang, squirrelfish, trumpetfish, trunkfish, parrotfish, grunt, and beaugregory, it is easy to see why this site is so popular among snorkelers.

Some basic information concerning 5 of the most popular locations to experience snorkeling in this area are listed below.

Snorkeling Sites Near Red Hook
Site Location
Secret Harbour Bay 0.6 mi. South of Central Red Hook
Saint John Bay 0.8 mi. North of Central Red Hook
Lindquist Beach 0.9 mi. North of Central Red Hook
Water Bay Coki Point, 1.8 mi. Northwest of Central Red Hook
Coki Bay Coki Point, 1.9 mi. Northwest of Central Red Hook

Snorkeling Boat Trips

Independence Sailboat Charter

Some people believe the best snorkeling is located off shore.

If you'd like to go snorkeling during a boat trip, you might want to contact Independence Sailboat Charter. Sail with Captain Pat Stoeken aboard Independence, her 44' Clipper-Bowed Ketch. Let Captain Pat's passion for the Caribbean waters rub off on you during your adventure.

Another option worth investigating is VIBE Charters. At Virgin Island Boat Charters (VIBE), you are in the hands of US Coast Guard Certified Captains who have extensive knowledge of the area and insight to the hottest spots in the Virgin Islands. They're located in the heart of Red Hook.

Still another option is Oh Be Joyful Sailing. These sailing charters can accommodate 2-10 people. They are respective of your schedule as well.

Take some time to look through the table just below for a listing of boat trips and day sails that offer snorkeling opportunities.

Day Sails and Boat Trips In Red Hook
Name Phone Location
Caribbean Blue Boat Charters (340) 690-2583 Central Red Hook
Daysail High Pockets Adventure (340) 690-0587 Central Red Hook
Good Day Charters (340) 514-3458 Central Red Hook
Hakuna Matata Charters (626) 824-5039 Central Red Hook
Independence Sailboat Charter (340) 775-1408 Central Red Hook
Nate's Custom Charters Day Tours (340) 244-2497 Central Red Hook
Oh Be Joyful Sailing (340) 244-0605 Central Red Hook
Rumbaba Charters (340) 690-1659 Central Red Hook
Sail With Liberty (443) 831-1911 Central Red Hook
Sail with Captain Max (340) 775-7467 Central Red Hook
Simplicity Charters (340) 774-9348 Central Red Hook
Stormy Petrel and Pirate's Penny Tours (340) 775-7990 Central Red Hook
Sun Sea Charters (340) 626-6785 Central Red Hook
VIBE Charters (340) 626-2875 Central Red Hook

Snorkeling Services

Island Wilson Excursions

If you're looking for a business that offers snorkel rentals, excursions, or similar services, you might want to contact Red Hook Dive Center. When you're snorkeling on vacation you want to make sure you have all the proper gear. The collection here is extensive and high in quality and the team that's on hand will help you to make sure you have the perfect set for you. They are located in the heart of Red Hook.

Another company that offers snorkeling related services is Island Wilson Excursions. All trips are private and can accommodate up to six passengers with Captain Wilson. They include snorkeling gear, soft drinks and bottled water, and snacks. Note that half day trips are limited to the islands in the USVI chain only, while eight hour trips can go to the British Virgin Islands as well.

A third option is Aqua Action Dive and Water Sports Center. Their 30 foot dive boat Ocean Express visits one of 40 different sites each morning and afternoon, and many of them are great for snorkelers as well. They're located within Nazareth, a short distance away South of central Red Hook.

Be sure to look through this table for a listing of 5 companies that provide snorkeling related services.

Snorkeling Services In And Around Red Hook
Name Type Phone Location
Aqua Action Dive and Water Sports Center Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (340) 775-6258 0.6 mi. South of Central Red Hook
Captain Nautica Snorkeling Excursions Snorkeling Tour Operator (340) 775-9360 1.1 mi. West-Southwest of Central Red Hook
Island Wilson Excursions Snorkeling Tour Operator (340) 626-2583 0.2 mi. West of Central Red Hook
Patagon Dive Center Snorkeling Tour Operator (340) 775-3333 0.7 mi. East-Southeast of Central Red Hook
Red Hook Dive Center Snorkeling Tour Operator (340) 777-3483 Central Red Hook

To learn more about snorkeling, including useful tips and suggestions for both "old pros" and beginners, read our comprehensive Caribbean snorkeling article.

When it comes to snorkeling, the possibilities are seemingly endless when you vacation in Red Hook.  It may be near impossible to hit all of the snorkeling sites that are popular here, but you can certainly give it a try.  


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