Hawksnest Bay

Located on the northern coast of St. John, Hawksnest Bay is an easily accessible beach perfect for the whole family. The waters and shallow reefs make swimming and snorkeling a great activity, while the beach's sandy shores create a perfect lounging enviroment. Facilities include restrooms, picnic areas, and grills that are conducive to grilling out with friends.

Positioned near the heart of the island of St. John, in the vicinity of downtown Cruz Bay, Hawksnest Bay is on the West edge of the island, You might think about stopping by whether or not you are staying nearby. Those of you who might prefer a beach that's a little less crowded, but still fun and active, might enjoy stopping by Hawksnest Bay for a few hours. It's not the type of beach that gets packed every day, but it also doesn't completely lack a social atmosphere.

How to Access The Beach

The beach is located off of Route 20, which features a small parking area for vehicles.

Amenities and Ambiance

Close to Cruz Bay on St. John, Hawksnest Bay is a great beach with pristine sands and crystalline waters. Swimming and snorkeling are especially popular here, for the waters are calm and tranquil with a good number of small reefs close to shore for prime underwater viewing. Rocks to the east provide excellent shelter for novice snorkelers, as the water is shallow and calm.

The concession stand at this spot is also an option. On some days, it may be possible to buy food from one of the mobile vendors who typically set up on this shoreline.

Whether you're eating lunch or just a snack at, you'll appreciate the available picnic tables.

Yes, public restrooms will be available here. You'll find the waters off-shore to be clear and good for snorkeling, so grab some equipment if you are looking to do some underwater exploration. Hawksnest Bay's close proximitiy to the town of Cruz Bay makes this beach very popular with the locals. It is often very crowded with people swimming along the shores or enjoying a picnic, especially on the weekends.

Be mindful that Hawksnest Bay's location is highly urbanized, so you may find quite a few people competing for the use of the same services.

What's Nearby


This spot is on the West coast of St. John; it will be near other attractions like Denis Bay Ruins, which is one of the closest attractions.

If you're interested in mixing a cultural experience with your visit to the beach, you might want to consider visiting Ivan Jadan Museum. It's not far from the shores at Hawksnest Bay, so it could be a welcomed alternative to hot afternoon activities.

If you're looking for other nearby attractions or activity options, you'll find the closest ones in the following table.

Activities and Attractions Near Hawksnest Bay
Attraction Type Distance Direction Island
Denis Bay Ruins Historical Site 0.5 mi. NE St. John
Bajo El Sol Art Gallery 1.2 mi. SW St. John
Best of Both Worlds Art Gallery 1.2 mi. SW St. John
Friends of the VI National Parks Environmental, Conservation and Wildlife Organizations 1.2 mi. SW St. John
Ivan Jadan Museum Museum 1.3 mi. SW St. John
VI National Park Visitor Center Tourist Information Service 1.3 mi. SW St. John
Catherineberg Ruins Historical Site 1.3 mi. E St. John
Cruz Bay Battery Historical Site 1.3 mi. SW St. John
Rebellion Gut Historical Site 1.4 mi. SE St. John
Parrot Club Gambling Arcade 1.5 mi. SW St. John
Virgin Luck Games Gambling Arcade 1.5 mi. SW St. John
Cinnamon Bay Plantation Ruins Historical Site 1.8 mi. E St. John

Cities and Towns

Cruz Bay is nearby and is in an area with plenty of worthwhile sites, while still remaining less developed and congested as some other places.


The mood here——social and lively, or virtually empty—— will depend on if you visit during a popular season, which is often indicated by how busy the hotels are. At this beach, you can expect to encounter quite a few vacationers who are staying in the area.

Vacationers will find a fairly wide selection of accommodation options to pick from near Hawksnest Bay. The most accessible of which can be seen below.

Accommodations near Hawksnest Bay
Hotel Distance Direction Type
Caneel Bay Resort 0.4 mi. SW Resort
Trinidad Charlie's Cottages -- -- Lodge
Estate Lindholm 1.1 mi. SW B & B
Inn at Tamarind Court -- -- Hotel
St. John Inn -- -- Hotel
Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel 1.4 mi. SW Hotel
Hillcrest Guesthouse -- -- Guest house
Garden by the Sea -- -- B & B
Westin Resort, St. John 1.6 mi. S Resort
Coconut Coast 1.7 mi. SW Hotel


When you're starving for a midday meal, the area around this beach has plenty to offer, so you won't have to wander too far from these sands. One of the nearest places to eat is ZoZo's Ristorante. The restaurant serves Italian food. They're perhaps most famous, though, for their appetizers and pasta.

Some nearby restaurant options are listed in the following table.

Restaurants near Hawksnest Bay
Restaurant Name Phone Cuisine Distance Direction Island
ZoZo's Ristorante (340) 693-9200 Italian 0.4 mi. SW St. John
Turtle Bay Estate House (340) 776-6111 Contemporary 0.4 mi. SW St. John
Caneel Beach Bar & Grill (340) 776-6111 ext. 334 American 0.4 mi. SW St. John
Caneel Beach Terrace (340) 776-6111 ext. 334 American, International 0.4 mi. SW St. John
Gwen's (340) 642-0338 Caribbean -- -- St. John
Asolare Restaurants (340) 779-4747 Asian Fusion, Caribbean 1.2 mi. SW St. John
North Shore Deli (340) 777-3061 American, Caribbean 1.2 mi. SW St. John
Ocean Grill (340) 693-3304 Caribbean, Contemporary 1.2 mi. SW St. John
Sun Dog Cafe (340) 693-8340 American 1.2 mi. SW St. John
Virgin Fire (340) 777-3473 Caribbean, Creole 1.2 mi. SW St. John
Margarita Phil's (340) 693-8400 Mexican -- -- St. John
Morgan's Mango Restaurant (340) 693-8141 Caribbean, International 1.2 mi. SW St. John

Other Beaches

St. John has several beautiful beaches, so perhaps you can explore more than one.

Travelers who like this beach might also enjoy Cruz Bay Beach, which also provides plenty of opportunities to relax. However, if that's not exactly what you're looking for, Oppenheimer Beach could provide more action, and isn't far from additional things to do and see nearby. It's located a short distance away to the northeast.

Another sun-drenched spot to consider is Caneel Bay, which is an additional nearby Virgin Islands destination. Caneel Bay, a chain of seven pristine beaches on St. John, offers one public beach to guests which can be accessed through the exclusive Caneel Bay Resort, where fantastic swimming and lounging areas, and basic facilities line the shore.

While the Virgin Islands has many alluring attractions, visiting Hawksnest Bay or the other beautiful beaches in the area can make your time in the Virgin Islands even more memorable.


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