It’s fun to realize that we have been in St Thomas almost a year now and that there are still new things to go out and discover. You’d think that since we are on an island, we would soon get bored and maybe even slightly claustrophobic, but we have found that this island has plenty to keep us entertained. We spend most of our days visiting the easier to reach places (given we don’t have a car), and even without wheels we are not lacking in fun things to do here, with or without kids. But last week we had a special treat.
After seeing this post circulating some of the St Thomas forums, we decided that we needed to make Mermaid’s Chair our next adventure. So we packed into a couple of cars with the Blankenhorns and Lindbergs and set off across the island. You need a car to reach this place, it’s not close, but it’s well worth the drive…even if you have 2 littles asking the whole ride “are we there yet?”
Mermaid’s Chair is a sandbar on the West Coast of St Thomas, USVI. It is found in the high end gated community of Botany Bay, a beautiful preserve, with bigillion dollar homes. The sandbar separates the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It is quite a magical place that has amazing views from pretty much every angle. We went at low tide so that we could walk along the sandbar (as it does submerge at high tide), and because that timing worked with all our kids naptimes’!
Matt (author of the original post) did a great job at explaining the spot, when we should go, what we should bring, and what to expect. If you are planning on visiting check out his post for all the details. There are a few points he makes in his article that I feel should be clearly noted:
- Bring government issued ID. They require it at the gate and without it will not let you “hike” down to mermaid’s chair.
- This is not a hike, it is paved the entire way, except for a staircase for the final decent to the beach.
- Even though it is paved, the walk back to your car is uphill for 1.3miles. So be prepared to sweat.
- You need to be in good shape, but you don’t need to be a “super athlete”. The uphill is arduous, but we did it, in flip flops, 2 strollers, and Arias (our 6 year old) walked the entire thing. So it’s doable for mommy’s do.
- Bring plenty of water and sunscreen. You will want it on the beach and for the hike back up the hill.
In total we were 5 adults, a 6 year old, a 4 year old, 2 toddlers, and an infant. (All we needed to make this hike a success were 2 strollers, a baby carrier, and Eben willing to give Ellia a shoulder ride back up. Our afternoon consisted of floundering on the beach, combing for shells, rock scrambling, splashing in some natural kiddie pools, and using the hike back up to the cars as part of my workout.