Hawksnest Bay is a deep bay home to several excellent beaches. The most prominent is glorious Hawksnest Beach, a wide, long strip of pale sand fringed by a canopy of mature trees and sandwiched between rock promontories. Small reefs lie in the shallow water, perpendicular to the beach. On calm days, it is also fun to snorkel around the rocks on the eastern end of the beach.
Hawksnest is the closest beach you can drive to from Cruz Bay , making it popular with day-trippers and residents. You will find some of the newest facilities in Virgin Islands National Park here, including picnic tables, grills, group pavilions (reservations are required), bathhouses, and showers.
East of Hawksnest is Gibney’s Beach, also called Oppenheimer Beach or Little Hawksnest Beach. This lovely shoreline is often less crowded than the main bay, mainly because it’s a bit harder to access. To find it, drive past the Hawksnest parking lot and look for an unmarked white gate on the seaward side of the road. Parking is extremely limited; be sure not to block the road or the fence.
The history of Gibney’s Beach is rather involved, but interesting. Beatniks Robert and Nancy Gibney bought 40 acres of land here in 1950. In 1957, the Gibneys sold a small piece of beachfront land to J. Robert Oppenheimer, inventor of the atom bomb. When Oppenheimer’s daughter died, she left the land and house to “the children of St. John.” The upshot of this is that the yellow building you can see on the shoreline (the old Oppenheimer house) is maintained by the Virgin Islands  government and can be rented for community functions.