A tiny but mighty island enveloped by the Caribbean Sea: Our St John travel guide

Published

3 November, 2022

Edited

18 November, 2022

With its breathtaking natural beauty, vibrant culture and rich history, this little patch of paradise is sure to capture your heart. The smallest of the US Virgin Islands, you’ll find some of the world’s most beautiful beaches scattered along the coastline of St John - ideal for anyone craving a dose of Vitamin Sea.

Beaches, bars & boutiques - jump straight into St John​

With two-thirds of the island reserved as a national park, you’ll feel yourself instantly relaxing amidst the lush, unspoiled landscape, leaving the worries of everyday life far behind. Welcome to island life.

Experience St John’s ​breathtaking beaches

Although the isle may be petite, the shores of St John are world-famous. Framed by palm fronds gently waving in the breeze, these serene beaches are visions of warm white sand stretching out into crystalline waters and cerulean skies. Many of our St John vacation rentals are set steps away from the sand, so you can simply stroll down and soak up the sunshine in no time at all.

Trunk Bay

Whilst all the beaches on St John are stunning, the widely-beloved Trunk Bay is a particularly special spot. Named after the giant leatherback turtles who used to nest on the beach, pearly sands and sparkling water make this bay a popular choice with holiday-makers. Explore the incredible world below the waves with the underwater snorkelling trail, or else simply sit back and relax with family and friends on the silky soft sands.

Mermaid’s Chair Beach

If you’re looking for somewhere more off the beaten track, then Mermaid’s Chair Beach is a great option. This little gem of a beach is harder to reach than some of the other more popular spots, but those who are willing to swim, snorkel or kayak over from the east side of Hawksnest Bay will be rewarded by their own tiny but private pocket of paradise.

Maho Bay Beach

A much-loved destination for locals and visitors alike, the impossibly white sands of Maho Bay Beach feel like confectioner’s sugar beneath your feet. Backed by coconut palms that offer a cool retreat from the summer sun, this gorgeous bay is a fantastic spot for families to while away an afternoon. The warm, shallow shores extend for quite a few yards, providing plenty of opportunities for safe paddling and splashing.

Explore the island’s most dazzling destinations

Obviously, a relaxing beach day has to be on the cards during your time on St John, however there’s also plenty to do for those craving a little more action. The island boasts a wealth of hiking trails, scuba diving spots and exhilarating watersports - ideal for those wishing to explore the lush natural beauty of the area. Meanwhile, culture vultures will adore discovering the island’s vibrant arts & crafts scene and any keen foodies in the group will want to tuck straight into the delicious local cuisine. Awash with endless beauty and flavour, everyone will find something they love on this tiny island paradise.

Discover the delights of Cruz Bay and Coral Bay

As well as outdoor activities, you’ll also find plenty of opportunities for retail therapy on St John. The island’s two main towns, Cruz Bay and Coral Bay, are bursting with stores, shacks and stalls selling bright tropical clothing, handmade jewellery and an array of local arts and crafts. What’s more, the quaint buildings and bustling harbour fronts make these towns the perfect places for a spot of people-watching. When you’re done with shopping, spend the rest of your afternoon sipping on rum-based cocktails and watching the world go by.

Soak up splendid coastal sights along the Ram Head Trail

Enjoy great views along the scenic Ram Head Trail - a two-mile hike along a craggy peninsula on the south coast of the island. This fairly challenging route will take you through wild, rocky terrain before dipping down into a sandy bay, so be sure to wear your walking boots or trainers. And plan plenty of time to stop and take in the views every once in a while - they’re particularly spectacular.

Uncover the historic ruins of the Cinnamon Bay Plantation

Cinnamon Bay isn’t just renowned for its glorious white sand beach. Less than a mile from the coast lies the historic Cinnamon Bay Plantation - a 300-acre property in which archaeological digs have uncovered activity from indigenous Taíno peoples, dating all the way back to 2000 BC. The ruins that still stand on the grounds today are the bare bones of the sugar plantation buildings, used during the 18th century.

Find your own slice of secluded paradise

We’re certain that your St John villa rental will provide all the peace and seclusion you need. But, if you feel like doing a little island exploration, here are some of St John’s most tranquil spots where you can truly appreciate the wild and wonderful beauty of the Caribbean.

Explore the island’s dense forest along the Reef Bay Trail

For a change of scenery, head a little further inland from the coast and discover the island’s wild, forested heart. The Reef Bay Trail is one of the most scenic hiking routes on St John, winding through dense forests with crashing waterfalls, plantation ruins, and ancient Taíno petroglyph carvings. You’ll eventually end up on the golden sands of Reef Bay Beach, where you can rest up before making an easygoing journey back to your villa.

Bask in the peace and quiet of Salomon Beach

If the idea of lounging on a secluded beach without seeing a single soul sounds like heaven, then Salomon Beach is the place for you. The mile-long hike from the visitor centre in Great Cruz Bay puts most people off, but if you do decide to venture out you certainly won’t be disappointed. Aquamarine shores, powdery white sands, and gently swaying palms - this peaceful beach is a true Caribbean paradise.

Where to Eat & Drink in St John

Thanks to its rich cultural heritage, the island of St John is full of fresh local flavours. Feast on succulent seafood, fresh from the boats that day, or fill up on barbecued chicken, served with spicy rice and beans and a side of grilled plantain. Whatever your tastes, you're sure to discover a new favourite dish on St John.

La Tapa Plage

If you are seeking to enjoy an oceanside view paired with a round of mouth-watering contemporary Mediterranean tapas, La Tapa Plage provides the ideal warm ambiance for a fabulous and flavourful meal.

The Terrace

If you’re looking for something more upmarket, then The Terrace is a great choice. Sip on a glass of something chilled, whilst watching the sunset over the ocean, before tucking into a French-inspired menu, full of simple but elegant flavours.

The Longboard

Planning on staying close to Cruz Bay? Those craving fresh Caribbean flavours and creative cocktails will want to head straight down to The Longboard. The atmosphere here is completely relaxed - don’t be surprised if a local chicken struts past your table - and their speciality cocktail ‘Frozen Painkiller’ is the stuff of local legends.

The Tap Room

If you prefer beers and a low-key brewpub vibe, then you’ll find a fantastic selection of local craft beer in The Tap Room by St John Brewers, also in Cruz Bay. The easygoing, relaxed atmosphere of this friendly pub makes it a great spot for evening drinks - and, if you start to feel peckish, there’s a great pub-style menu to browse.

The onefinestay experience

Whether you’re after relaxation, adventure or pure foodie indulgence, here at onefinestay we know exactly what it takes to make your getaway special. With an incredible range of exclusive concierge services available at all our St John villa rentals and retreats, you’ll have a host of sumptuous experiences at your very fingertips. Relax with a sumptuous in-home spa experience, feast in the comfort of your villa with your own personal chef, or explore the waves in style on a gleaming private yacht. What’s more, it can all be booked pre-stay, meaning all you have to do when you get there is relax. Pure bliss.

Seeking the sunshine and splendour of St John?

SPEAK TO ONE OF OUR TRAVEL ADVISORS TO BEGIN PLANNING YOUR ST JOHN GETAWAY TODAY. WE’LL FIND THE PERFECT VILLA FOR YOU AND CRAFT THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME.