Coral Reefs & Marine Life
More than half of St John is a marine park with an abundance of coral and sea life. Ensuring that this life is able to continue and thrive is one of the best things to do in St John.
- Reef safe sunscreen can be bought at Low Key Watersports .
- Be careful when you snorkel so you dont accidentally kick or touch the reef.
- Do not touch any of the sea life or chase them.
When at Maho Bay, do not touch or chase the turtles. The turtles are everywhere, they are close and quite placid. But touching them or chasing them can cause stress this can lead to disruption of their immune system.
Lime Out Floating Bar
- This has got to be the coolest bar/restaurant on the island.
- Serving amazing tacos , they also are run on solar, with a desalination system.
- Drinks are served in reusable cups .
- Where: floating just off the Coral bay harbor, you can access it by boat. They have a floating bar, and circular floats to sit on.
Incredible Things To Do In St John Us Virgin Islands
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Looking for tips for one of the most beautiful places to visit this year? This is a guide to the best things to do in St. John and reasons why you should visit !
Are you planning your trip to St. John last minute?
Below are some of the top-rated tours and hotels for your US Virgin Islands trip!
Top Tours on St. John and the USVI:
Top Accommodation and Lodging in St. John:
The stunning island of St. John in the US Virgin Islands is one of the main three islands along with St. Croix and St. Thomas. It is known for its picture-perfect beaches with crystal blue water and white sandy beaches.
The islands history is somewhat mysterious, with artifacts and petroglyphs from ancient people hidden amongst the valleys and rock pools. In the small settlements on the island, the atmosphere is jovial and there is no shortage of bars and restaurants where you can enjoy the Caribbean way of life.
This perfect mixture makes Saint John one of the best islands to visit in the US Virgin Islands. This guide will take you through what to do on St. John from the best beaches to where to drink a refreshing craft beer. Click here if youre looking for the best things to do in St. Thomas instead.
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Fall In Love With St John’s ‘love City’
Cruz Bay is locally known as the “Love City” in St. John Island.
It is filled with bars, restaurants, and shops that line beside each other along the street.
An afternoon walk around Cruz Bay is the perfect activity to experience the laid-back atmosphere of the island.
Get captivated by the town’s charm, especially the hospitality of the locals and the delicious food and drinks served on the menu.
After finishing your meal, you can relax and stroll along the stretch of white sand at the nearby Wharfside Village.
Best Snorkelling On St John For Corals
Annaberg This unlikely spot is a hidden gem for coral lovers. Right off the Annaberg Ruins carpark, the coral reef starts right at the shore. You can follow the reef edge out and around into the bay.
- It is full of colourful fan corals, brain corals and small fish.
- It is very shallow so be careful to swim along the edge of the reef and try not to swim over it!
- Be aware of your flippers and hands so that you dont accidentally touch the coral.
Salt Pond Offshore from Salt Pond Beach are two rocky outcrops . These are worth swimming out to!
- The two underwater rock mounds are teeming with coral life .
- Between the rock mounds is a canyon that has some impressive coral formations and fish life.
- Beware of waves as they can create some currents around this spot for those how are inexperienced.
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Virgin Islands National Park
When on an island like St. John where 2/3 of land is covered by forest then you are bound to explore nature. The Virgin Island National Park located on the northern side of St. John covers 60% of the island.
You can spend hours and hours on end in this park. It has plenty of beautiful beaches such as Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Honeymoon Beach, Hawksnest, Salt Pond and many others. Apart from the beaches, it has plenty of hiking trails too.
This trails cut through its varying landscape from thick rain forests to semi-arid areas. The trails help explore flora, fauna and even the islands history. With trails that take you through sugar plantation ruins and petroglyph rocks by the Taino Indians.
Some of the most popular trails include Reef Bay Trail, Lind Point Trail, Bordeaux Mountain Trail, Ram Head Trail, and Cinnamon Bay nature trail. A day trip to the park will create some of your most memorable experiences in St. John.
Dine In Style At Zozos
While St. John eateries mostly consist of laid-back beach bars, there are a couple opportunities for fine dining. One of the most popular spots for this is ZoZos, which is located at Caneel Bay, right on the water.
Currently, ZoZos is doing a nightly four course dinner with seatings at designated times. Dinner is a set price of $130 per person and is served at a leisurely pace over two and a half to three hours. There is a selection of dishes available to choose from for each course.
Reservations are only available thirty days in advance, and are highly recommended. If you wait until the last minute, you may still be able to enjoy the a la carte menu at their bar, where seats are available on a first come, first serve basis.
On St John, the dress code at every establishment is generally very islandy and casual. However, when I go somewhere like ZoZos, I like to wear a light dress and my husband normally wears a button down.
If arriving to ZoZos by car, you will need to park in the designated spots at Caneel Bay. From there, a complimentary shuttle will take you back to the restaurant. Note that North Shore Road is pitch black at night, so drive with caution. It is also possible to arrive at ZoZos by private boat at the Caneel dock .
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Have An Adventure With Virgin Islands Ecotours
Virgin Islands Ecotours offers a variety of ways to experience the best of Virgin Islands National Park in one day. Choose among a variety of full or half day trips based on your interests. If youd like to get on the water, but dont know where to start, then a guided kayak and snorkel tour is a must!
Most tours offer a combination of kayaking and snorkeling from Honeymoon Beach, with some adding in a stop at Pizza Pi or a hike on the Lind Point Trail. Seeing St John with a guide helps you get a better understanding and appreciation of all the unique nature and wildlife around you.
Top 18 Fun Things To Do In St John Usvi: Activities For Adults Kids And More
Note: This post may contain affiliate links! Check our disclaimer if you need more info!
The US Virgin Islands is a paradise for residents and visitors alike. The sun, the sand, the sea its no wonder that people flock to these islands for their vacation time year after year.
One of the most popular destinations is St John USVI which offers breathtaking views and some of the best snorkeling in the world! In this blog post, you will find 18 fun things to do in St John USVI featuring activities For adults, kids, and more!
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Elaine Ione Sprauve Library & Museum
St John is home to a thriving public library, located on the old Enighed Estate. Constructed in 1757 as a plantation great house, it fell into disrepair before being restored to its former glory in 1980. In addition to book loans, periodicals, video rentals and research facilities, the library offers an extensive reference collection focused on the Caribbean. Downstairs a small museum features displays on the history and culture of St. John, including Indian pottery and colonial artifacts. The library also hosts book discussion groups, Spanish language classes, children’s story hours and occasional craft demonstrations.
Recommended for St. John’s Best Attractions because: The library is a great place to escape the heat and learn a little about island life.
Karen’s expert tip: The library building is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Reveal Pieces Of The Past At America Hill
This area on the island has a story waiting to be told.
Its ruins atop a green hill provide you a 360-view of the entire St. John Island.
Historically, the ruins were formerly an estate house built in the 19th century.
In the early 1900s, the estate house served as a guesthouse for visitors who can’t afford to rent rooms in the neighboring villages.
It was rumored that the late Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Leonides once stayed there.
While it offers a beautiful landmark but getting there isn’t that easy.
The trek leading to the ruins usually starts at the Cinnamon Bay trail and ascends to a steep trek.
However, the top of the hill rewards you with a backdrop of St. John and its surrounding bays.
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Watch The Sunrise In Coral Bay
The Coral Bay side of St John faces east, which means it has beautiful sunrise views. Since we usually stay on this side of the island, Ive enjoyed several quiet mornings sipping coffee as I take in this beautiful sight.
Many vacation rentals in Coral Bay are perched up on hills with sweeping views. This means there are many options if youd also like to wake up to a magnificent sunrise.
Catching the sunrise in St John does mean waking up before 7 am, and sometimes even 6 am, during your vacation. I promise its worth it though. That said, theres been some instances where Ive headed right back to bed due to clouds blocking the view.
Discover The Hidden Gem Of Salomon Bay
Hiking along the Salomon Bay Trail is very challenging.
Hikers need to conquer steep rolling hills and rocky trails that make the entire journey very challenging.
However, once you reach the end of the trail, you will discover a hidden gem of beautiful white sand beach and crystal-clear waters making the hike very rewarding.
What makes it nicer to go to Salomon Bay is that few visitors know of the area.
Like the rest of St. John’s beaches, you should not miss snorkeling around there since it also features a vibrant underwater environment filled with colorful fishes and coral reefs.
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How To Get To Saint John
To get to Saint John, first you will have to fly to Saint Thomas. There is no airport on Saint John.
From Saint Thomas, take a ferry to Cruz Bay, Saint John. There are two types of ferries: car ferries and passenger ferries.
If you plan to rent a car on Saint Thomas, you will take the car ferry from Red Hook. There are several car ferries that travel between Red Hook and Cruz Bay: Love City Car Ferry, Global Marines Tug Life, Big Red Barge Company, and Boyson, Inc.
Love City Car Ferries makes frequent trips back and forth between the islands each day . You can see the ferry schedule and get updated pricing on their website.
In general, there is no need to reserve a spot in advance . With four ferry companies running, there almost always seemed to be a ferry coming or going. We simply showed up and got in line for the next available ferry and never had to wait longer than 20 minutes. We took the Big Red Barge Company ferry from Saint Thomas to Saint John and the Love City Car Ferry from Saint John to Saint Thomas.
The first and last ferries of the day tend to be the fullest. If you plan to take the last ferry of the day, get here at least 30 minutes early to make sure you get a spot. With Love City Car Ferries, you can make a reservation, which is a good idea if you plan to catch the last ferry of the day.
Reef Bay Trail In Virgin Islands National Park
There is more to St. John than just multiple, gorgeous beaches. And one of the must-dos is to explore Virgin Islands National Park on foot. There are numerous hiking opportunities in the park and the majority of the hikes are short and easy .
There are also some historical sites like the earlier-mentioned plantation ruins that you can discover along the trails. Its also a great opportunity to see all sorts of birds. The most popular trails for bird watching are the Salt Pond Trail and the Reef Bay Trail, which is considered the best hike on Saint John.
Reef Bay Trail is one of the longer and more strenuous hikes on Saint John, but it also offers the biggest variety of sights. Its an in-and-out steep hike of about 2.5 miles each way with a 900 ft elevation difference. You walk down to the sea and have to climb back up on your way back. Luckily, theres usually some breeze that makes it more bearable on the way back.
On the way, you pass various sugar plantation ruins, some of the oldest and tallest trees on the island, stone walls from cattle grazing, and ancient rock carvings by pre-Colombian Taino people. There is also a waterfall that is nicest during the rain season. At the end of the hike, you reach a secluded beach, where you can go swimming and snorkeling . Reef Bay Sugar Mill ruins here are also not to be missed. You may also get lucky and see some birds and wild animals along the trail.
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Maho Bay Beach & Snorkeling With Sea Turtles
Maho Bay Beach is one of the most scenic and serene bays of the famous North Shore of Saint Jonh. Here, youll find turquoise waves, white sands, palm trees, and various opportunities to snorkel, kayak, and swim. Maho Bay is best known for its abundance of sea turtles. This is the best place to go snorkeling where youre almost guaranteed to see these beautiful creatures. You may get lucky and see stingrays here as well.
Since this is one of the most popular beaches on Saint John, youll also find some facilities, such as beach chairs, and a few small places for drinks and some snacks, etc. There are also several places where you can rent glass-bottomed boats or snorkeling equipment.
While there are countless other nice beaches in St John, Maho Bay is one that you really shouldnt miss. Its a great place to relax and enjoy a laid-back day with friends and family.
Good to know: You can reach Maho Bay by car, by tourist bus, with a private beach-hopping day tour, or by taxi. The parking area is right nearby so theres no hiking involved. Its about 15-20 minutes drive from Santa Cruz, the main town on the island. You get some great views of the bay and various beaches on the road here, so be sure to stop for a photo if driving by car.
Spend The Day On The Water
There are so many opportunities for island hopping in the waters around St John. With St. Thomas and other small cays in the USVIs, or even the BVIs in striking distance, a boat charter is a must during your trip! Plus, a boat is often the only way to reach some of the best snorkel spots around St John.
There are many day trip options available. You can either join a larger boat tour, or book a private boat for the day. There are definitely more private tour boats available, but they also tend to be pricier. However, if you are willing to splurge, you can customize your whole day.
If you want to save money by joining a larger charter, the downsides are having a pre-set schedule and sharing the boat with more people. However, these are still very well-run and Ive had a lot of fun on them. Two great companies to check out are Bad Kitty and Kekoa. Both of these have tour options for the US Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands. .
There is also a new luxury catamaran called Voodoo that has several options for USVI day trips.
USVI trips often include several snorkel stops, lunch at Lime Out, or a visit to Water Island. BVI trips typically visit the Baths at Virgin Gorda, White Bay on Jost Van Dyke, and one or two snorkel stops. White Bay in and of itself is fun for visiting the famous Soggy Dollar Bar, where the painkiller was invented in the 1970s.
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Take A Day Trip To The British Virgin Islands
Since some of the British Virgin Islands are just near Saint John, this is a very popular day trip. Just as most other boat excursions in USVI, its all about the sea, island scenery, swimming, snorkeling, local drinks and food. In other words, a fun, relaxing day out on the water.
There are several private boat companies that provide half-day, full-day, and even multi-day trips to the British Virgin Islands. They take you to stunning islands like Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, and Virgin Gorda .
Good to know: Since you are leaving the country, youll have to pass customs and also pay a BVI and a returning U.S. customs fee of $75 per person. So keep this extra cost in mind if planning a day trip to BVI .
Here are some of the most popular tours from Saint John to BVI:
- British Virgin Islands: Explore Virgin Gordas Baths and Jost Van Dyke. This is the most popular day trip to BVI from St John . The scenery is amazing and it covers all the best places.
- Private boat charter to BVI. This is a wonderful option for bigger families/groups or those who want more luxury and dont mind the budget.