Maho Bay Beach is another great St. John beach. The water is usually calm and it is nicely protected from the wind. It is usually the calmest spot on the North Shore and a great spot for beginner snorkeling and paddleboarding and families with kids. When you stay close to shore, inside the bay, you will be safe even if the wind is howling.
The beach is very long so there is plenty of space and you will also always find a spot in the shade. There is parking right across the beach, so you will not have to carry your beach gear to far.
How to get to Maho Beach
Follow North Shore road from Mongoose Junction up the hill, you will be passing Caneel, Hawksnest, Cinamon, Trunk and after another crazy hill you will reach Maho. It is only about 5 miles from Mongoose Junction but it will feel longer.
Sea Turtles at Maho Bay Beach
Maho is also a great beach if you want to see some sea turtles. We usually see them in the middle of the bay, near the end of the swimming zone. If you have trouble spotting them, ask a Stand Up Paddle Board that you might see at Maho to help them spot for you, from their elevated point of view they can usually see them all.
Snorkeling at Maho
is best along the western side of the bay. Aside from the aforementioned sea turtles, Maho is also a great place to see Ray as well as young tarpon and schools of bait fish that travel up and down the waters edge.
Where does the name Maho Beach come from?
Maho Bay was named after the Hibiscus tilaceus also called beach hibiscus, sea hibiscus or , a flower tree of the mallow family commonly found on St. John. The flowers of H. tiliaceus are bright yellow with a deep red centre upon opening. Over the course of the day, the flowers deepen to orange and finally red before they fall. The wood of H. tiliaceus has a specific gravity of 0.6. It has been used in a variety of applications, such as seacraft construction, firewood, and wood carvings. It’s tough bark can be made into durable rope and used for sealing cracks in boats. The bark and roots may be boiled to make a cooling tea to cool fevers, and its young leafy shoots may be eaten as vegetables
Source & more info on Hibiscus tilaceaus
How did Maho Beach get so narrow?
The beach that is quite narrow today used to be really wide, so wide that horse races were conducted there. Sand was however removed by the government for construction of Cruz Bay roads and a school, that was during a time where there was little awareness for the long-term effects of such actions.