One of my favorite beaches on St. John is Hawksnest. It is not too long of a drive from Cruz Bay (little under 2 miles from Mongoose Junction), parking is close to the beach and the palm trees and watercolor is just amazing.How to get to Hawksnest
- Take North Shore Road from Mongoose Junction up the hill, passing Caneel.
- After about 2 miles, you will see a parking right next to the street to the left.
Hawksnest Beach – St. John Tips
If you want sun, opt for the eastern end of the beach (park at the end of the parking lot) and go to the beach early. In winter month, the last end of the beach gets sun until around 3:30 or 4:00pm, the western end already is in shade much earlier
Hawksnest Beach Facilities:
- Pit toilet
- Changing rooms
- Grill & picnic tables
- No shower or running water
- No food or drink for sale, no smoking or glass bottles allowed on beach
it is believed that the name either comes from the hawks inhabiting the island or from the hawksbill turtles which is nesting nearby. Personally, the rocks at the point on the Western end of the bay somehow remind me of hawks.
Go for a snorkel over the reef (watch water level and make sure it is calm enough). It is amazing, the water is very clear, there is orange elkhorn coral and an abundance of fish.
Hawksnest Beach St. John – Photos
Gibney / Oppenheimer Beach History Trivia
The small beach to the right of Hawksnest is called Gibey / Oppenheimer Beach. In 1950, the property was purchased by former New York City residents Robert Gibney and his wife, Nancy Flagg Gibney. The original 40-acre (160,000 m2) parcel of land purchased by the Gibneys has been divided and sold in a number of ways through the years. Some of the beach area is now part of the Virgin Islands National Park. A small piece of land, on the far northeastern section of the beach, was sold in 1957 to J. Robert Oppenheimer, an atomic scientist and member of the Manhattan Project. This land was eventually donated to “the people of Saint John” by his daughter after her death. The house was later refurbished by the government and opened as a community center.
The remaining Gibney property is private and contains the original Gibney home, a house built for the late John Gibney, which is now occupied by his widow and son, two guest houses that are used as rental property for vacationers, many fruit trees, unique island foliage and gardens. The Gibney Beach Cottage is one of the few rentals directly on the beach in St. John and the other guest cottage is located in the garden area among the vast fruit trees. The beach area in front of the vegetation line is open to the public.
Source and more history: wikipedia