On days when it’s particularly windy on the north side of St. John, it’s not a bad idea to take a drive to the south side of the island where the bays are naturally protected from the blustery weather. Although getting to the Lameshur Bay snorkel takes about a 20-30 minute drive if you've rented a Jeep, you'll pass all kinds of good places to eat along the way while getting to see more of St. John--never a bad thing.
Little Lameshur Bay is a sandy, secluded beach that doesn’t seem to get much traffic, probably because it’s on the south side of the island and less convenient to get to as some of the beaches that are more closely located to Cruz Bay (the main town/ferry hub). If this beach gets too crowded, it’s just a short distance to Big Lameshur Bay where it’s hardly ever busy and offers some great access to snorkeling spots. If you plan on lounging, bring a chair with you unless you find something comforting about lying across small rocks.
The snorkeling at Lameshur Bay ranges from basic to adventurous, depending on your experience level and motivation to see some unique marine life. Little Lameshur is a good location for the tentative beginners because there are rocks just off the beach that are a nice, easy exploration point. Little Lameshur is also a gateway to the Europa and Yawzi point snorkels that are for the more advanced snorkelers who are capable of navigating the sometimes tricky water.
When snorkeling from Great Lameshur, you can access the Tektite Snorkel, a spot recommended for experienced snorkelers due to both the rough water and its distance from a convenient spot to get out of the water if you’re in distress. There are coves here, though, where you can see squid, sea cucumbers, and caves covered in cup corals and sea sponges--with risk comes reward!
Know Before You Go
I didn't notice a lot of bugs during my time in St. John, but this was the one spot I do remember spotting mosquitoes. And I don’t know if this is where I got eaten alive, but I definitely came home with more itchy bug bites (all over!) than I had anticipated. Bring along a good bug spray as well as a lounge chair if you’re planning to relax at the less crowded Great Lameshur Bay.
Beach Accessibility: 3.5-4/5
To get to the Lameshur Bay snorkel, you're going to need an all terrain vehicle. Not only is it the furthest spot I visited from Cruz Bay (which is not all that far, considering St. John is less than 20 square miles all together), but there is a rough road getting from the main highway to where the beach is located. If you've rented a Jeep for your stay, don't expect much trouble as long as you go slow over bumps and through the muddy puddles. I'm not sure if taxis will take you up to Lameshur via the steep climb, but it's worth asking if you want to snorkel here and haven't rented a vehicle of your own.
Depending on how adventurous you're feeling, this can be a pretty spectacular snorkel. Be cautious, though, about going to explore the coves if you're not a strong snorkeler, don't have a buddy, or aren't clear on where you're going. Even if you're planning to stay closer to shore, you'll have a decent snorkel. Just be smart.
This was one of the more vacant places I saw out of all the beaches I explored on this trip. The sandy Little Lameshur beach had a few visitors, but Great Lameshur was entirely devoid of tourists, I suspect in part to the black-rock laden shore. If you value privacy over a comfy place to hang out, head to the south end of St. John for a little peace and quiet. And some awesome snorkeling.