Spotlight on – Brown Bay
Brown Bay is, literally, one of the off-the-beaten-path beaches. The beach at Brown Bay is sandy and wind swept with plenty of shade along the narrow sand and pebble shoreline. The water is a mix of sandy bottom and sea grasses. Shallow entry. Waves are lightest early in the morning and on days when the wind is out of the south. Located on the East End of St John your only way to get to this beach is by rental car / Jeep. And that’s part of what makes it special and secluded and worth the hike to get there.
Hiking the Brown Bay Trail from East End Road is moderately steep from the parking area to the top of the ridge ( approx. 20 minutes). You’ll follow a narrow path that zigzags its way up the hill. Once you reach the crest it’s all down hill from here (approx 10 to 15 min.). As the trail levels off you’ll see Brown Bay to your right. When you reach a “Y” in the path – go right along Brown Bay beach. This protected bay doesn’t get the larger waves common on some of the more popular north shore beaches – but you should choose a day with plenty of sunshine and wind out of the south. And remember, hike in means hike out. Save some water for your return up the hill.
Snorkeling is best along the eastern side where the corals are exposed to a stronger current and deeper water. While Brown Bay isn’t known for snorkeling it does nonetheless have some interesting structure and marine life to see. So pack that snorkel and fins and enjoy a day of secluded paradise.
Getting there: The most popular way to reach Brown Bay is by hiking the Brown Bay Trail, located just off East End Road (Rte 10). Plan on approx. 30 min. of hiking each way.
Brown Bay Ruins – there is a rambling group of foundation stones and archways along the western side of the beach. The area is pretty overgrown and difficult to explore. Also, beware of the Jack Spaniard wasp! They love to build their nests hanging from vines …at about head height ; )