If this photo doesn't make you want to go swimming, snorkeling, sailing, or just lounging on a tropical beach, then I don't know what will! This is one of the gorgeous turquoise bays with a sandy beach that you'll find around the island of St. John.Beautiful Trunk Bay, with its sandy beach and coral reef
Dreaming of a tropical island?
St. John is the most tranquil and least populated of the US Virgin Islands. It's small (just 9 miles long), with dozens of lovely sandy beaches around the island. About two-thirds of the island is set aside as a national park (Virgin Islands National Park), so the island has loads of unspoiled natural beauty. You won't find any high-rise buildings or massive cruise ship docks. This is an island to get away from it all!
St. John is a paradise for water babies and sun worshipers. You could pick a different beach to visit every day, including the spectacular Trunk Bay pictured above. If you're into the underwater world, you'll find places with great snorkeling right off the beach. Last time I was here, we snorkeled over coral reefs teeming with fish, and saw a moray eel peering out from a crevice and flashing his teeth. People who want to go deeper can go scuba diving, or try snuba (a cross between snorkeling and scuba). You can also go kayaking, sailing, parasailing, windsurfing, jet skiing or sport fishing.
Ashore, the island has lovely places to hike, with exotic tropical forests and expansive vistas of the Caribbean and nearby islands. You can bike around the island, take a horseback ride, or explore ruins from the island's long history. When you're tired of the outdoor activities, you can relax with a day of spa treatments or duty free shopping.
Resorts on St. John
Being a small island that's mostly a national park, there aren't too many places to stay, but here are a few resort options.
Westin St. John
Westin St. John Resort & Villas - This is a luxurious resort on beautiful Great Cruz Bay, that gets consistently high marks from visitors. Highlights include a quarter-acre swimming pool, gorgeous beach, and three gourmet Caribbean-inspired restaurants.
How to stay here? This resort is part of the Starwood Vacation Ownership group, or you can find it on Interval International (a Premiere Resort).
Grande Bay Resort
Grande Bay Resort & Residence Club - Here's another high-quality resort, though with facilities on a smaller scale. The Grande Bay is set on a hillside overlooking Cruz Bay, with views across the water to St. Thomas and the British Virgin Islands. Each of the private suites has a view, and the property is minutes from water sports and restaurants.
How to stay here? Find it on Interval International, a Premiere Boutique Resort.
Sunset Ridge Villas
Sunset Ridge Villas - This is a more casual place located up on the hill, with commanding views. It's a small place, with just six 2-bedroom villas and a pool with a view. A quiet place with no scheduled activities, the villas are 5 minutes from the main town of Cruz Bay. Facilities and reviews aren't as stellar as the first two options, but this one should be easier to find availability.
How to stay here? Find it on RCI (a Silver Crown Resort), or book it via their website.
- Where it is - St. John is in the US Virgin Islands, in the Caribbean. It's the smallest of the three USVI - the other two are St. Thomas and St. Croix. These islands are very close to the British Virgin Islands, and not far east of Puerto Rico.
- How to get here - You fly into the international airport in St. Thomas (airport code STT). From St. Thomas, there are frequent ferry rides that take you the short trip (about 20 minutes) to St. John. If you're staying at the Westin, they have their own ferry.
- Weather - Tropical! Average highs are in the 80s year round. Winter is the high season, when people up north want to escape the snow and cold. Hurricane season runs June to Nov, though Aug and Sept are the most common. Odds are that you would have a fabulous vacation during this time, but there is a risk. See weather averages for St. John.