Located on the North (Atlantic) side of the island, Magens Bay features a well-protected white sand beach stretching for nearly three quarters of a mile. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the island, as well as a gathering place for locals.
The beach sits at the head of a deep bay, the arms of which are Peterborg peninsula to the east and Tropaco Point to the west. The bay's northwest exposure means its waters are usually calm, although storms in the North Atlantic can occasionally generate large waves in the winter months. The sandy bottom means snorkeling is of limited interest, although turtles, conch, tarpon and other fish are commonly spotted. Local fishing boats anchor in the eastern part of the bay where there is a boat ramp.
The beach and surrounding park are currently administered by the semi-autonomous Magens Bay Authority. The services provided by the Authority include lifeguards, parking, showers and bathrooms. There is a snack counter, bar and souvenir shop. Beach chairs, floats, windsurfing gear, paddleboards and small sailboats can be rented. The Authority is a self-sustaining entity which funds its operations through a per-person entrance fee (currently $4.00 for visitors and $2.00 for locals), parking fees, and payments received from the park's restaurant and rental concessions.
The beach property also includes a coconut grove, a mangrove, and an arboretum. In 2004, The Nature Conservancy and local organizations opened a trail to Magens Bay from a spot off the road in the hills above. The trail provides signs identifying native trees.
In 1947, Arthur Fairchild donated 56 acres of the beach and surrounding areas to the Municipality of St. Thomas and St. John in 1946 for use as a public park. The far Western portion was donated by Fairchild's nephew's widow, Christine Wheaton, in 2002.
In popular culture
- "Magens Bay". VInow.com. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
- "Magens Bay Rates". Magens Bay Authority. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
- Vivian WIlliamson-Bryan. "Philanthropist in Paradise". USVI.net. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
- "Magens Bay Nature Trail". Magens Bay Authority. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
- "Arthur S. Fairchild Marker". The Historical Marker Database. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
- Aldeth Lewin. "'Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 1' filmed at Magens Bay over the weekend". Virgin Islands Daily News. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
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