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Public Access to Caneel Bay Beach Via Resort Coming Soon!

Caneel Bay beach

Well friends, this is great news. Caneel Bay beach – the main beach that you can see from the Caneel Bay overlook – will soon be accessible by land. This is expected to happen within the next month or two, according to the Virgin Islands National Park.

The Virgin Islands National Park held a community meeting last night to update the public on the current happenings at Caneel Bay. I have to say, I am impressed with the progress that has been made this month. It is very clear that the National Park Service (NPS) is working hard and that their priority is public beach access. Cheers to that!

The main parking lot that used to be reserved for day trippers and those dining at ZoZo’s (when it was located in the sugar mill) has been cleared. That lot will soon open for public use. A path has also been cleared from that lot to Caneel Bay beach. The beach path will lead visitors to the north end of Caneel Bay beach, which is near building one and where the buffet used to be (for those of you who are familiar with the old resort). So for the first time in nearly seven years, we will be able to walk through the resort, once again, although we will be limited to that one beach while cleanup continues around the rest of the property. There will not be a charge to park and walk to Caneel Bay beach.

Visitors will soon be able to park and walk to Caneel Bay beach. Photos shared by NPS last night.

Access to Honeymoon and Salomon continue via the Lind Point trail. There is still a taxi shuttle from the entrance of Caneel Bay to Honeymoon beach. There is a fee associated with this taxi shuttle. The shuttle is run by the Caneel Bay Beach Club.

The Caneel Bay Beach Club, located at Honeymoon Beach, and ZoZo’s, the restaurant that is operating on Caneel Bay beach beside the ferry dock, will be able to operate for the foreseeable future, according to NPS. They have been given a temporary commercial use authorization (CUA), which allows business to be conducted in the Park. ZoZo’s will close June 14th for the season, but plans to reopen in December. The Caneel Bay Beach Club will remain open.

Park Superintendent Penelope Del Bene said that she understood people’s livelihoods are involved with regard to ZoZo’s and Caneel Bay Beach Club, and that it’s important to keep them open.

“We will do everything we can, and we are working with them,” she told the crowd last night.

The Park Superintendent said the holdup with opening access to Caneel Bay beach via land is due to the lack of restroom facilities. She is hoping to get a bathroom trailer, but may need to instal port-o-johns initially, simply to get the beach open. She hopes this will occur within a month, but admitted it may take up to two months for this to happen.

As I mentioned earlier this week, a lot of clearing has occurred on the property, specifically the historical site near the old ZoZo’s restaurant. This area has been cleared and fenced off. Visitors can view the historical site, but will not be able to explore it up closely at this time. The destroyed buildings on Caneel Bay beach have also been fenced off, so they do not pose a safety issue for beachgoers.

The historical site at Caneel Bay has been cleared and fenced off. Photo shared by NPS last night.

Because of the hazards and storm debris scattered throughout the property, there will not be 24/7 access to Caneel Bay beach club. NPS hired a security company that is currently set up at the front gate. They are still working out logistics with regard to beach hours, etc. The beach will continue to be accessible by water 24/7, as this is Virgin Islands law.

I will let you all know when the beach officially opens via the resort. Have a great day everyone!

Caneel Bay beach in 2013

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    • Jenn Manes

      I haven’t been onto the property to see for myself, but from how it’s described, I would say less than 10 minutes.

  1. Bobby Garcia

    Thanks for the update, Jenn. We’ll visit the pristine Caneel Bay beaches on our next trip.

    Are there any plans to restore the resort?

    • Jenn Manes

      Not as of yet. They plan to put out a request for qualifications soon. That will start the potentially years-long process. You know I will keep you all posted! 🙂

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