If there is one thing that the U.S. Virgin Islands are known for, it is our beautiful bays and expansive beaches. The North Shore of St John is lined with secluded areas that each provide their own unique experience. Here is a quick summary of each beach and bay on the North Shore and what you can expect to see during your day trip or excursion.
Caneel Bay is home to the Caneel Bay Resort making it only accessible through the resort or by boat. The generally calm waters create a great snorkeling experience on the east side of the bay making it a very popular attraction for our visitors.
Francis Bay & Maho Bay have good boat access and usually very calm waters making it great for snorkeling. There is also a good chance you’ll get to see some sea turtles that like to stay in the area.
Coral Bay is a charming town that is like taking a step back in time to the 60’s. It’s a remnant of how all of St John used to be – full of color and local flair. Coral Bay is a great place to shop and eat at some casual restaurants on the beach.
Cinnamon Bay is a gorgeous view from a yacht or boat. Currently made famous by country music star Kenny Chesney, the nice sandy beach is perfect for relaxing as well as getting some good snorkeling opportunities in.
Honeymoon Beach is only accessible by boat or through the Caneel Bay Resort and is a very popular beach for many boat and yacht tours. The soft sandy beach is decorated with shady coconut palms creating a secluded, romantic setting for couples.
Trunk Bay is known as the most popular and most photographed bay on St John making it best to visit by boat. Most notably, Trunk Bay has its own self-guided underwater snorkeling trail with a chance to view lots of topical life beneath the sea. After spending some time in the water, you can use the facilities to change your clothes and grab some food and drinks at the nearby establishments.
Salomon Beach is the most secluded beach on St John with access via one-mile hike from Cruz Bay, or by boat. The white sandy beach is quiet and relaxing, as well as a good place to do some snorkeling.
Hawksnest Bay is a beautiful, usually quiet bay accessible by boat with a nice little sandy beach on the east side. Here you can do some good snorkeling along with the chance to occasionally come across a few sea turtles.
Lovango & Congo Cay are right next to each other and surrounded by usually crystal clear waters. There is a protected snorkeling area here along the reef, and it's an excellent spot to soak in some beautiful island scenery.
Christmas Cove has a nice reef and usually very calm waters. The Pizza Pi boat is also here making it a great place to stop for lunch or a snack anytime of the day.
Leinster Bay was previously a sugar cane plantation with sugar mill ruins that can be easily seen from the boat. Leinster Bay is home to Waterlemon Cay which is known for an abundance of starfish and sea turtles.
Little St James has an excellent reef just off its northwest corner and is a very easy island to access by boat.
Buck Island is know for its calm water and, more importantly, for having lots of fish and sea turtles!
Water Island has a beautiful sandy beach and a lovely beach bar with a great afternoon lunch.
Charlotte Amalie Harbor provides a great opportunity for a scenic waterfront tour of the main town of St John, its colonial buildings and architecture, and beautiful views around Hassle Island and Water Island.
Cruz Bay is the scenic entry to St John and we recommend this as a wonderful place to end your day on the water. Lined with nice restaurants along the beach, you can watch the sunset over St Thomas while enjoying a delicious meal of our local cuisine.
Snorkeling on St John
On the St John North Shore, snorkeling at Trunk Bay is one of the best excursions for families and couples providing a self-guided 2000-foot snorkeling trail around the Trunk Cay island. Here you are sure to see all sorts of tropical fish and coral. Snorkeling at Waterlemon Cay is also a top destination and largely regarded as the best snorkeling on St John. There are a large number of starfish and tropical Caribbean fish inhabiting these waters, plus you can skip the 20-minute hike from Leinster Bay when visiting by boat. If sea turtles and manta rays are something you hope to see, we highly recommend snorkeling at Maho Bay Beach where many turtles and rays feed. Honeymoon Bay has a small reef with shallow waters on the west end making it another great snorkeling destination for viewing sea turtles, manta rays, and tropical fish.
Restaurants on St John
Eating on the island will give you the chance to experience our signature flavors and local cuisine. Cruz Bay is full of restaurants but, if you want the true local experience, stop by De’ Coal Pot for oxtail soup or whole red snapper. Another Cruz Bay local favorite is the Sun Dog Café. With their large menu, there’s something great for vegetarians and meat lovers alike. If you’re looking for a classy top-notch restaurant, visit La Tapa in Cruz Bay for an excellent meal that you will not soon forget. If you’re on the other side of the island looking for restaurants around Coral Bay, there is a local favorite called the Coral Bay Caribbean Oasis. Though it may look like a small shack, it has earned its reputation as an affordable, low-key restaurant with excellent home cooking. For a restaurant in Coral Bay with a lively yet relaxing atmosphere, look no further than Skinny Legs Bar and Grill. The staff is sure to have you smiling with their jokes, and the food and drinks are delicious.
Take a boat tour with Magic Moments around St John and see the U.S. Virgin Islands for yourself. Our captains are happy to customize your day allowing you to choose where you want to visit and what you would like to see depending on weather and time restrictions. Contact Us with any questions or make a Reservation today!