Last updated: August 9th, 2023
If you’re visiting St. John or any of the US Virgin Islands, you can expect pristine white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and scenic landscapes filled with life. Hawksnest Bay is a beautiful paradise located on the north shore of St. John. It’s not as large as some of the other famous beaches but just as pretty.
The picturesque beach has all the convenient facilities of a big beach and isn’t too far away from Cruz Bay. It’s not too deep in the Virgin Islands National Park, so you can reach it in a short car ride. You’ll also find beautiful sunset views here.
Here is a complete guide on Hawksnest Bay Beach and what to expect.
How to Get to Hawksnest Beach
Hawksnest Bay Beach is located only 6 minutes from Cruz Bay, along the North Shore Road. There are a couple of other beaches along the way, but this is one of the most well-known and easy to spot!
You can take a taxi from Cruz Bay or drive yourself to the beach if you’re using a rental car. On a busy day, it can sometimes be tricky to find parking, but frequently you can find spots here after parking lots at the nearby beaches like Trunk and Cinnamon Bay have filled up.
Plus, if you do manage to snag a spot, you don’t have too far to walk from your car to the beach or go on any hiking trails. It’s an excellent location for families or those going on a picnic.
Facilities & Parking At Hawksnest Bay
You can expect to find generally clean restroom facilities, with toilet paper and more, at Hawksnest Beach.
In addition, you’ll find a scattering of pavilions, picnic tables, and grills, as well as better shade than many other beaches in the area, given its multitude of sea-grape trees and east-facing orientation.
Unfortunately, there are no restaurants or other amenities on-site, so you’ll need to bring your own food and drink. And again, the narrow beach can get busy on certain days, so we recommend arriving early to stake out your spot.
Snorkeling at Hawksnest Bay
One of the main activities in Hawksnest Beach is snorkeling! Compared to other beaches in the area, this beach is a little less protected, so you’ll have to brave a bit of surf. Remember, you won’t feel the waves as bad once you’re below the surface level.
But that means the snorkeling is generally not as busy, and Hawksnest Beach has a beautiful display of Elkhorn coral guaranteed to amaze you. Typical sightings in the area, other than coral reefs, include stingrays and a plethora of fish. If you’re lucky, you might even manage to spot a few sea turtles!
The main snorkeling section is just offshore, where the water breaks shallowly over the coral reef. To either side, you’re almost guaranteed to spot angelfish, parrotfish, and more!
Other great activities in the area involve beachcombing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Hawknest Beach isn’t the only beach in this part of St. John. You can also visit Little Hawksnest and Oppenheimer Beach.
Other nearby beaches that aren’t in the bay but are close enough for convenience include Honeymoon Beach (one of the most romantic destinations in the Virgin Islands National Park) to the west and Trunk Bay Beach to the east.
Trunk Bay is a good place to check out if you’re on the search for sea turtles since it gets its name from the turtles that swim in its waters.
Where To Stay Near Hawksnest Bay Beach
Given Hawksnest Beach’s proximity to the main town in St. John, you have a range of accommodation options regardless of your budget. Whether you’re looking for private 4 or 5-star resorts or more budget-friendly beach-side inns, you’re bound to find plenty of choices in town.
If you want to splurge, look for spots with comfortable suites, balconies with views, hot tubs, and beachfront locations. Even the cheaper (although not that cheap since St. John can be expensive) places generally have great staff, superb cleanliness, and everything you need for a tropical escape!