St. John is sometimes referred to as the “Beverly Hills of the Caribbean. It has become the place to travel in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s not easy to get to because there is no airport on St. John. But the capital of the Us. Virgin Islands, Charlotte Amalie, is only four miles away. So, St. John is easy to get to by ferry or by boat. On the island you will find gorgeous, sun-baked beaches, a national park that covers almost two-thirds of the island, coral reefs, and friendly locals. On St. John, you can stay in an eco-friendly cabin, a campground, a beautiful resort or in villas and vacation rentals that range from quaint to super luxurious. Cruz Bay is the main town on St. John., and this is where the ferry is that connects St. John to St. Thomas. St. John offers nature lovers an array of activities. One of the most popular activities of course, is going to the beach. St. John beaches are protected by the National Park Service. St. John offers rest, relaxation and an adequate amount of sporting activities. Plan the activities you would like to do most and have a great vacation! Visit the beautiful beaches of St. John here on our Lesser Antilles Beach Guide. Let our St. John travel guide lead the way for you to plan your next beach destination!
St John Weather – When to Visit
It is warm year-round on St. John. The average max temp. is 84-89°F, with August being the hottest month and Dec-Jan the coldest. The average min temp is 73°F-80°F. The average water temperature is 82°F. February to May are the driest months, October to January the wettest. It can however heavily rain any day of the year, but usually it is gone as fast as it came. Rain is actually a welcome relief from the heat. September is the low season and many businesses are closed. Other than that, any time is good to visit. The climate is most agreeable in December through February, but these are also the most expensive months (however some good deals can be made in the 2nd half of February). If you are a surfer or like waves, you are more likely to find them from November to April. But tropical storms can generate some random big swells as well.
St John Attractions
Built in the 1780s, the partially restored plantation at Leinster Bay was once an important sugar mill. Although there are no official visiting hours, the National Park Service has regular tours, and some well-informed taxi drivers will show you around. Occasionally you may see a living-history demonstration—someone making johnnycakes or weaving baskets. For information on tours and cultural events, contact the V.I. National Park Visitors Center.
Trunk Bay Beach
St. John’s most photographed beach is also the preferred location for snorkelers because of its underwater trail. Crowded or not, this stunning beach is one of the island’s most beautiful. There are changing rooms with showers, bathrooms, a snack bar, picnic tables, a gift shop, phones, lockers, and snorkeling-equipment rentals. The parking lot often overflows, but you can park along the road as long as the tires are off the pavement.
Virgin Islands National Park
If you’re interested in bird-watching, snorkeling, camping, history, or just strolling in beautiful environs, then Virgin Islands National Park is the place for you. At Francis Bay there’s a boardwalk through the mangroves where birds may be plentiful; Salt Pond Bay offers pleasant snorkeling; Cinnamon Bay has camping facilities; and the plantation history can be explored at Annaberg Sugar Mill ruins. There are more than 20 trails on the north and south shores, with guided hikes along the most popular routes. A full-day trip to Reef Bay is a must; it’s an easy hike through lush and dry forest, past the ruins of an old plantation, and to a sugar factory adjacent to the beach.
Cinnamon Bay Beach
Cinnamon Bay Beach ranks among the most beautiful and pristine beaches within the National Park. Towering palms rule majestically over a 1/2 mile of soft white sand beach. Snorkelers can explore the small cay located less than 100 yards off the shoreline. With plenty of “elbow room” and shallow water entry, Cinnamon Bay makes a great destination for families with kids. And the water sports concession will keep even the most active adults and teens busy kite boarding, paddle boarding, windsurfing, and snorkeling. Facilities include a snack shop, showers and restrooms, as well as a small souvenir shop. Cinnamon Beach has it all, enough coconut palms and sea grape trees to offer plenty of shade; and long stretches of sandy pink beach to the left and right.
Reef Bay Trail
The secrets of St. John’s tropical forests, petroglyphs, freshwater pools and sugar mill ruins come alive on the three-mile Reef Bay Trail Hike. You will also see a 40 ft waterfall, various plants and animals like deer, bats, land crabs, termite nests. Look for the petroglyphs, mysterious carvings that surround a freshwater pool at the base of a 40 waterfall just off the trail. Archeologists believe them to be sacred symbols carved by Taino Indians over 1000 years ago.
St John Tours & Activities
Day Cruise to the British Virgin Islands
Explore the British Virgin Islands during this full-day boat trip from St John or St Thomas. On this 9-hour excursion, enjoy a breakfast boat ride to Virgin Gorda’s Baths. Explore the grottoes, arches and chain of tidal pools formed by eroded rocks along the beach, then head to Diamond Reef to snorkel among schools of tropical fish on the living coral reef. Visit a local restaurant, The Top of the Baths for lunch (own expense), then head to Jost Van Dyke to enjoy some time swimming, lounging or visiting some beachside bars. Breakfast, snorkeling equipment and unlimited open bar on the boat are included. Read more about Day Cruise to British Virgin Islands
Private Boat Excursions around the US and British Virgin Islands
Escape the tourist crowds and explore the US and British Virgin Islands at your own pace on a private boat excursion from St. John or St. Thomas. Sunbathe on the boat’s deck, snorkel and swim in the refreshing waters, or island hop for an intimate sightseeing experience, benefiting from insight and tips provided by your captain on a fully customizable tour. Read more about The British Virgin Islands Private Full-Day Boat Excursions
Caneel Bay Kayak, Hike, and Snorkel with Sea Turtles
Kayak, hike and snorkel in Caneel Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed National Park. Choose from two tour lengths, and follow your adventure guide to trek down forest trails on Turtle Point, paddle a kayak in the bay’s serene waters and snorkel through beds of sea grass inhabited by the local sea turtles. Along the way, enjoy informative commentary about the history, ecology and natural resources of this unique ecological zone. All equipment is included, and the longer tour includes lunch. Read more about Caneel Bay Kayak, Hike, and Snorkel with Sea Turtles
BVI – Island Hop & Beach Bar Tour
Thirsty Thursday is strictly for those who want to Island and Bar hop their way through the BVI. No snorkeling or climbing around rocks. Just Island hopping, Beach Bar stopping FUN! We will be visiting Foxy’s and Corsairs on Jost Van Dyke, White Bay (home of the Soggy Dollar and Hendo’s Hideout), Copper Island Beach Club, The Willy-T off Peter Island, and if time permits, Pirates Bight on Norman Island. Read more about BVI – Island Hop & Beach Bar Tour
BVI Snorkel, Baths on Virgin Gorda & Cooper Island Beach Club
Sail to three snorkel and beach hotspots in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in a day without having to organize anything yourself on this cruise from St. Thomas. Snorkel at The Caves, Indians, or Aquarium on Norman Island; explore or snorkel at The Baths on Virgin Gorda, and refuel with lunch and drinks (own expense) at a beach club. An onboard open bar, snacks, and snorkel gear are included. Read more about BVI Snorkel, Baths on Virgin Gorda & Cooper Island Beach Club
Best St John Restaurants
Mirador by Chef Benny $11 – 30
Mirador by Chef Benny features an array of options from all over the world with a special touch of Caribbean flavor. Mirador is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday. Chef Benny believes in serving the best ingredients possible, which include Wagyu Beef, Korabuto Pork, Free Range Chicken along with locally caught Mahi, Wahoo and Lobster. Telephone: 340-775-7200 Web: Mirador by Chef Benny
Extra Virgin Bistro $31 – 60
At Extra Virgin Bistro they are dedicated to locally grown and sourced products, so much so that they grow most of their own herbs on site. They buy most of their fish from local fishermen and you will often find their names printed on the menu next to the fish they brought in that day. Telephone: 340-715-1864 Web: Extra Virgin Bistro
The Longboard – Coastal Cantina $11 – 30
The Longboard is a Caribbean-inspired Coastal Cantina, focusing on fresh, local ingredients, offering light and healthy fares and creative cocktails inspired from coastal regions around the globe. The bar menu offers a wide selection of house-crafted cocktails, beers, wines, and specialty drinks, including their world-famous Frozen Painkiller. Daily Happy Hour is from 3 PM – 6 PM. Telephone: 340-715-2210 Web: The Longboard – Coastal Cantina
Morgan’s Mango Restaurant $11 – 30
At Morgan’s Mango, they try to reflect the life of the islands, a place of dazzling light and color, tropical breezes and starry nights, a relaxed and sensory experience. Join them to share in the culinary history of an island world crowded with so many wonderful cultures that it takes your breath way. Their food covers many Caribbean and South American cuisines—Creole, Bahamian, Cuban, Jamaican, Haitian, Puerto Rican, Argentinian and Mayan. Telephone: 340-693-8141 Web: Morgan’s Mango Restaurant
Lime Inn $11 – 30
Their menu consists of perennial classics such as our famous clam chowder and frozen key lime pie, and features fresh local fish and ingredients. Enjoy a taste of the Caribbean. Telephone: 340-776-6425 Web: Lime Inn
Best St John Bars & Nightlife
Centrally located in Cruz Bay, Umami Bar is the place for sushi, fresh seafood, and eclectic cocktails. The vibe is casual and the food and drinks fresh. One special is the Guava Mama, this cocktail is almost too beautiful to drink. Vibrant pink and made with Milagro, Campari, St. Germaine, fresh guava juice, lime juice and jalapeno syrup, the rim is spiced with dramatic black smoky jalapeno ash. Stop in for Happy Hour from 3 – 6pm and enjoy 2 for 1 cocktails everyday. Telephone: 340-244-2824 Web: Umami Bar.
Dog House Pub
With plenty of TVs and a casual, inexpensive menu the Dog House Pub in St. John is the ideal place to watch the game, dance the night away, sing karaoke, and enjoy live music. This place is fun and features American cuisine, plus it has a large selection of craft beers sure to please everyone (over 50 different beers). Stop by for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or happy hour. Telephone: 340-777-3361 Web: Dog House Pub.
If you are looking to enjoy a fantastic cocktail with an ocean view, head to Drink, located on Cruz Bay in St. John. It’s one of the best spots on the island for sunsets, and the specialty of the house, the Bushwhackers, are not to be missed. Try the peanut butter, Nutella, or Thin Mint Bushwhackers. These delicious milkshake-like drinks are a treat after time in the sun. Drink is also known for their fabulous bar staff, mixologists that are ready to whip up whatever cocktail you desire. Telephone: 407-758-6924 Web: Drink.
The Beach Bar
As stated on their Facebook page “Toes in the sand & a drink in your hand!” The Beach Bar is a staple in St. John with outdoor games, live music, and world famous Bushwhackers and Painkillers. The Beach Bar is a great place for a night out in St. John, or a Sunday funday. The adults can drink beverages and play bag toss while the kids build sandcastles close by. You won’t want to miss out on the fun at the Beach Bar. Happy hour is 3-7pm daily. Telephone: 340-777-4220 Web: Beach Bar.
The Longboard Coastal Cantina
Offering small plates and strong drinks, order the house special Dark & Stormy. The Longboard has an extensive menu offering gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options as well as home-made sodas and ginger beer, and fresh squeezed juices sure to please everyone. Happy hour is 3 – 6pm daily. Telephone: 340-715-2210 Web: The Longboard.
Best St. John Hotels
Gallows Point Resort
Nestled on a 5 acre peninsula in Cruz Bay. Our spacious 1 & 2 story units have fully equipped kitchens with dining area, King size bed, Satellite TV, Central A/C. in room wireless internet, full living room and private balconies all with ocean views. The resort offers full maid service, pool with hot tub, concierge service and a small gourmet grocery. Eat at our fine dining restaurant or take a 5 minute stroll to town.
Historic small inn within the VI Nat’l Park, overlooking picturesque Cruz Bay harbor – walking distance to gorgeous white sandy beaches and the shopping and restaurants of town. Modern, comfortable rooms, with all amenities. Charming old-world ambiance with beautiful gardens. A rare property, with very personal attention.
The Westin St John Resort Villas
Stretched out along a cove of white sandy beaches at Great Cruz Bay is The Westin St. John Resort Villas. This 47-acre paradise provides distinctive amenities and intuitive services all framed by a picture-perfect backdrop of a lush tropical paradise. Enjoy our spacious one and two-bedroom villas or townhouses of up to 2,850 square feet that comfortably accommodates up to eight adults. Each villa features fully equipped kitchens, washers and dryers, generous living and dining room areas, private balconies with ocean views, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Sea Shore Allure
This St John Island resort features eight boutique condominiums that overlook the stunning waters of St. John. Whether you spend your days lounging at our Blue Havana pool, or touring the island, Sea Shore Allure is an exclusive resort that lets you enjoy a quiet vacation that is still close to all of the best shopping and dining on St. John Island. Whether you start your morning with coffee on the private balcony overlooking the bay or unwind from a day of sightseeing by watching a movie on the state-of-the-art home theater system with a Blue ray player and iPod docking station, you’ll live the good life at Sea Shore Allure. Complimentary wifi, beach chairs, and coolers
Coral Bay Eco Retreat
Located in Coral Bay, Coral bay eco retreat has accommodations with free WiFi and a garden with a terrace and garden views. Some units also have a kitchen equipped with a fridge, an oven, and a stove top. If you would like to discover the area, fishing is possible nearby.