We have visited St. John annually since 2002 and have lived in Coral Bay since late 2019. We still haven’t visited every place we’d like to, but here are some of our top highlights – in no particular order, of course!
Snorkel at Maho Bay
A trip to St. John isn’t complete without a visit to Maho Bay! Once at Maho, we find a parking spot and carry in our beach chairs, coolers and any toys for the day. The water is always calm and snorkeling is a must! The sea grass beds in the middle of the bay are home to Green Turtles and we often see their heads popping up for air before we even enter for a snorkel. Once you’ve found one and have the opportunity to snorkel with them, please be sure not to touch or chase them – just float above or swim along with them, it is truly magical.
2. Hike the Ram Head Trail
The Ram Head Hike begins on the Southeast End of the island and takes you past Salt Pond Bay and Blue Cobblestone Bay before reaching the cliffs of Ram Head. The trail itself is about one mile in each direction but does have some steeper sections so be sure to bring some water and wear appropriate footwear. In addition to the two bays, you’ll also pass by fields of Turks Head Cacti since the East End is hotter and more arid than the rest of the island. We have done this trail during different times of the day but one of our favorite times to hike is just before dusk on the eve of a full moon where you can see the sun set and the moon rise – amazing! But be sure to take your time hiking out and have a flashlight or headlamp along for the journey.
3. Tour Coral Bay
Into the Mystic is located in Coral Bay on the Southeast side of St. John and is quieter and quirkier than Cruz Bay. Even though the island is only around 8 miles wide, driving along Centerline Road, with all its switchbacks and hills, will get you to Coral Bay from Cruz Bay in about 25 minutes. The area offers several restaurants, including Skinny Legs, known for their cheeseburgers in paradise and several cute shops catering to tourists and locals alike. Also in the area you will find donkeys, goats, sheep, roosters and mongoose who all call Coral Bay home.
4. Explore the Annaberg Historic District
The Annaberg Historic District is one of several ruins sights on St. John. Dating back to the 1800’s, Annaberg was one of the largest sugar producers and also produced molasses and rum for export – over 600 enslaved Africans worked here under brutal conditions. The district includes the windmill tower, a kitchen, and slave quarters among other structures. The ruins are located overlooking Mary Point which offers stunning views of St. John as well as several British Virgin Islands.
5. Take in Trunk Bay
Trunk Bay consistently ranks as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and once you stop at the overlook on the North Shore Road, you’ll see why for yourself. Trunk Bay Beach is the only one requiring an entry fee from visitors but offers services such as toilets, showers, equipment rental and a snack bar. One of the highlights is an underwater snorkel trail which points out different corals and sea life that may be present in the area. Might we suggest that you set up your beach chairs all the way to the left or all the way to the right as this beach is popular with the cruise ship crowds and they tend to stay near the center.
6. Experience the Cinnamon Bay Loop Trail and Cinnamon Bay Beach
Take a hike on the Cinnamon Bay Loop Trail, which is only .5 mile in length and in a lush forest setting. The trail will take you past historical ruins of an old sugar mill plantation and also points out local flora and fauna. Once you’ve completed your hike, venture safely across the North Shore Road and down to Cinnamon Bay Beach. A favorite of many visitors, Cinnamon Bay is over .5 miles of white sandy beach and offers decent snorkeling around the cay in the middle.
7. Visit Nearby Islands
Even though St. John provides you with many opportunities to stay busy (or relax!), you also have the option of traveling to nearby islands. Whether you’d like to go shopping on St. Thomas, traverse through the world famous Baths on Virgin Gorda or visit beach bars on Jost Van Dyke, day sails options are plentiful. You can choose a snorkel tour or sunset cruise for half the day or enjoy a full day adventure. We can give you some recommendations on our favorite options when you provide us with ideas on what you’d like to see and do.
8. Enjoy Some Villa Gravity!
Take a day to relax and enjoy the views from your balcony or enjoy the sun on a comfortable lounger on the pool deck. Relax and chase away any stress you may have brought with you to St. John!
9. Catch Happy Hour and Watch the Sunset from Cruz Bay Beach
Happy Hour is an event on St. John, just make your way to Cruz Bay Beach and grab yourself a cold tropical beverage, meet some new friends and be sure to stick around long enough to catch the amazing sunset! Our favorite places for happy hour in Cruz Bay include Drink, the Beach Bar and High Tide. Or even better – stay close to home and visit Surf Club Cantina, Salty Mongoose, Rhumblines or Skinny Legs.
10.Enjoy a Delicious Dinner
After a busy day out and about, take some time to enjoy a delicious dinner before resting up for your next day’s adventures. Enjoy a cheeseburger, some fresh mahi mahi or Caribbean lobster. If you prefer something casual or a romantic dinner for two, you can find what you’re looking for in or near Coral Bay or Cruz Bay. Our Villa comes complete with a binder filled with menus from area restaurants to help you choose where you’d like to go. Our favorites are Rhumblines, Surf Club Cantina and Skinny Legs – all offer wonderful food in a relaxing setting.