Three Virgin Islands beaches have scored high rankings in Travel + Leisure magazine's inaugural Best Beaches survey. The results published in the January 2013 issue highlighted Trunk Bay on St. John, Turtle Beach on St Croix's Buck Island and Magens Bay on St. Thomas in their list.
This recognition maintains the territory’s ongoing reputation as one of the world's leading beach destinations for vacationers, the Tourism Department said in a press release issued Monday.
"It's no secret that St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas are home to some of the world's best beaches," Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty said. "This endorsement by one of the world's leading travel publications reconfirms the attraction of our beaches and its importance to the territory's tourism industry.”
Doty said, “Paired with the Foundation of Environmental Education Blue Flag certification of seven USVI beaches and marinas, we can also boast some of the most pristine and ecologically sustainable waters for visitors and residents to enjoy."
Travel + Leisure polled their travel-savvy readers through an online survey to reveal their favorite beach destinations. Respondents were asked to rate their favorite or favorites of 54 beaches chosen by the magazine’s editors in a selection of categories that included seclusion, activities, dramatic landscapes, families, people-watching and wildlife viewing.
St John's Trunk Bay placed second in the best wildlife viewing category. Travel + Leisure wrote that the beach “is famous both for its marine life – an underwater snorkeling trail has signs to identify coral, sea urchins, and other fish – and the surrounding 7,000 acres of protected jungle.” First place in this category went to Bahia Gardner, Española Island, Galapagos.
Turtle Beach on St. Croix's Buck Island ranked fourth for seclusion. Travel + Leisure wrote that “the offshore reefs on Buck Island, less than two miles north of St. Croix, get most of the attention, which means that the long, forest-lined beaches like this one are often empty.” First place in seclusion went to Polihale Beach, Kauai, Hawaii.
The calm waters of St. Thomas' Magens Bay came in fifth with families. Travel +
Leisure wrote that the “glassy waters make this almost-mile-long Caribbean beach a carefree spot for swimming, snorkeling and setting sail in the small boats that are available for rent along the shore.” First went to Seaside Beach, Seaside, Fla.
For a full list of winners, visit www.travelandleisure.com/articles/best-beaches-on-earth.