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Beaches on St. John

Now for the reason most of us are here – the beaches on St. John and of course – the Water! St. John is world renowned for having the most pristine and beautiful white sand beaches to be found anywhere in the Caribbean. The most popular of the beaches on St. John are located within the US Virgin Islands National Park. These beaches stretch along the north shore of St. John and are easily accessed along Highway 20 which traverses the northern shoreline from Cruz Bay to Francis Bay. As many of the best beaches on St. John are located within the National Park, amenities can vary greatly but a visit to the Virgin Islands National Park Visitor Center in Cruz Bay will provide compete insights and descriptions for vacationing guests. Below are photos and brief descriptions of some popular beaches found on St. John.

 

North Shore Beaches

 
Saloman Beach-St John-USVI

 Saloman Beach

This small, secluded beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on St. John. Accessible only by trail or boat, its location keeps the crowds away. If you’re willing to take a short hike on the Lind Point trail, the pay-off is sugar white sand, postcard-worthy bent palm trees, fantastic snorkeling, and possibly an entire beach to yourself if you’re lucky.

 

 

 

 

Honeymoon Beach-St John-USVI

 Honeymoon Beach

A little farther down the Lind Point trail past Salomon, in the same bay, you’ll find Honeymoon beach. A long stretch of white sandy beach lined with sea grape and coconut palm trees, you could spend all day enjoying its amenities. Kayak and stand up paddle board rentals are available as well as beach chairs and snorkel gear. Snorkel the point that separates Saloman and Honeymoon for lively coral and plentiful fish.

 

 

 

 
Hawksnest Beach-St John-USVI

 Hawksnest

Both a local and visitor favorite, Hawksnest Beach is the first of the North Shore beaches to which you can drive and park only a short walk from the water. A narrow, long beach with plentiful sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon, it’s best for just plain relaxing. Sometimes the waves can be a little rough by St. John standards, and the lack of coral makes it less than ideal for snorkeling, but the views are gorgeous and the convenience can’t be beat.

 

 

 

 
Gibney Beach-St John-USVI

 Gibney/Oppenheimer

Sometimes called St. John’s “secret beach,” this little secluded beach can be hard to plan a day around because there is only parking for a handful of cars. There is a community center that can be rented for events, so look for signs indicating a private party and choose another beach on those days. If you’re lucky enough to get a parking spot, enjoy a quiet day on a picturesque beach with a quaint tire swing and gorgeous views across the bay to Hawksnest and Caneel.

 

 

 

 
Denis Bay-St John-USVI

 Denis Bay

This gorgeous beach is usually quiet and secluded thanks to the rugged trail down to the water. If you’re feeling adventurous, hike down from the Peace Hill trail and enjoy a beach few of St. John’s visitors will ever get to see. The water can be a little rough, but during calm seas there is good snorkeling to be found.

 

 

 

 
Jumbie Beach-St John-USVI

 Jumbie

Another small and somewhat secluded beach, Jumbie is a great alternative to the larger more popular beaches. Because of its limited parking, it’s virtually impossible for this beach to ever feel crowded.

 

 

 

 
Trunk Bay Beach-St John-USVI

 Trunk Bay

A stunning quarter mile of soft white sand and crystal clear water, Trunk Bay lives up to its reputation as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. With amenities like an underwater snorkel trail, snorkel equipment rentals, shower and bathroom facilities, picnic tables, lifeguards, and a snack bar it’s perfect for the whole family. There is a $4 entry fee and the beach can get a little busy, so consider going early or late to skip the crowds.

 

 

 

 
Cinnamon Bay Beach-St John-USVI

Cinnamon Bay

Cinnamon Bay is a lot like Trunk Bay with its beauty and amenities, but bigger and more spacious. It is also the best place on St. John for numerous water sports activities such as windsurfing, kayak, sail boat, snorkel equipment, beach chair and umbrella rentals. If you want to try sailing or windsurfing, they even offer lessons! Advanced snorkelers will enjoy the back side of Cinnamon Cay for its healthy, brightly colored coral and abundant sea life.

 

 

 

 
SONY DSC

Maho Bay

One of the calmest beaches on St. John is Maho Beach which is located on St. John’s North Shore. This expansive white sand beach is ideal for families with small children or sun worshipers looking for a peaceful, sunny stretch of beach. It offers close by parking, plentiful beach space and shaded areas and easy water entry which makes it the perfect spot for kids to practice swimming and snorkeling. There’s not much coral, but the grassy/sandy bottom attracts sea turtles, sting rays, and lots of fish so there is plenty to see. The calm waters are also ideal for stand up paddle boarding. There are no facilities/amenities at Maho Beach, but you won’t miss them!

 

 

 

 
Francis Bay Beach-St John-USVI

 Francis Bay

A large and sparsely populated beach, Francis closely resembles Maho Bay with its calm waters and lack of amenities. It’s a great place to get some space and enjoy a picnic lunch. It’s also an ideal spot from which to kayak to Whistling Cay, one of the best snorkel locations around St. John.

 

 

 

 
Leinster Bay and Waterlemon Cay-St John-USVI

Leinster/Waterlemon Cay

Waterlemon Cay is considered to have some of the best snorkeling found on St. John which is directly accessed from a beach. There is a 15 minute hike involved to get to the ideal water entry point, however the trail is flat and easy. The reef is teeming with vibrant coral and large schools of fish. Less experienced swimmers should be cautious of the current on the Western side of the cay.

 

 

 

 

South Shore Beaches

Cruz Bay Beach-St John-USVI

 Cruz Bay

The bar and restaurant lined beach of Cruz Bay is a picturesque scene. Wharfside Village, one of the islands best options for shopping and dining, has various options for beach front dining, drinking, and watching the sunset. The beach stays pretty quiet most of the day but becomes a social gathering spot around happy hour and sunset. While not the pristine National Park beach the island is synonymous with, it offers fun and enjoyment in a different way.

 

 

 

 

Great Cruz Bay Beach-St John-USVI

 Great Cruz Bay

The Westin Resort is situated right on Great Cruz Bay beach. The beach is lined with chairs, has a busy dock, and a designated swim area. Facing west, fantastic sunsets can be seen from the shores here, particularly in the winter months. The bay is one of the most popular spots on the island for boat mooring so the bay is filled with boats. Dining is offered through the Westin with two restaurants available just off the beach.

 

 

 

 
Klein Bay Beach-St John-USVI

 Klein Bay

Klein Bay is a quiet, exclusive south shore beach with access from a small number of villas, among them is Belle Mer Villa {Link to Belle Mer}, a beautiful property with a rare amenity on St. John, direct beach access. The beach is smooth rock and the waters offer good snorkeling and kayaking. On a clear day you can see the 40 mile distance south to St. Croix from the beach.

 

 

 

 
Reef Bay Beach-St John-USVI

 Reef Bay

Reef Bay is a stretch of sand and stone beach in the middle of the south shore of St. John. Water is pretty shallow but decent snorkeling can be found on the western side of the bay. Most guests to this beach have just finished hiking the very popular Reef Bay Trail Hike.

 

 

 

 

 

Salt Pond Bay-St John-USVI

 Salt Pond

Due to its distance from Cruz Bay and the short hike to the water from the parking lot, Salt Pond tends to be sparsely populated even during the busiest times of year. There isn’t much shade, but it’s a great place to relax after hiking the Drunk Bay and/or Ram Head trails, and there is excellent snorkeling along the rocky edges of the bay.

 

 

 

Kiddel Bay-St John-USVI

 Kiddel Bay

Kiddel Bay is a smooth rock beach that offers solitude, calm waters, and excellent snorkeling. You can drive right down on the edge of the beach, or if you are staying at La Sirena, take a short stroll and most likely have the place to yourself. The best snorkeling is under the rocky western point of the bay where you can explore the underwater relief which includes many beautiful large arches and tunnels.

 

 

 

 

Grootpan Bay-St John-USVI

 Grootpan Bay

Undisturbed by locals and tourists, Grootpan Bay is a mixture of sand and rock, easy to access, and caters to those looking for solitude. Be wary entering the water as sea urchins cling to the rocks and at times waves can be high. The center to eastern part of the bay provides the best snorkeling and the remoteness of the bay has enabled sea life to remain abundant and undisturbed. Grootpan Bay is also an easy walk from one of our deluxe rental properties called La Sirena.

 

 

 

 

Great Lameshur-St John-USVI

 Great Lameshur

This is an isolated stony beach you will need a 4 wheel drive vehicle to access, but if you are an advanced snorkeler and willing to make the drive and the ensuing rock scramble, you can access the Tektite snorkel from here. Just inshore is the Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station, featuring a small museum on the Project Tektite Underwater Habitat.

 

 

 

 

 

Little Lameshur Beach-St John-USVI

Little Lameshur

For visitors who want to ‘get away from it all’ to a secluded sandy beach on St. John’s southern shoreline, a trip past Salt Pond beach to the end of the paved road is where to go. Arriving at this point will bring visitors to a bumpy, sometimes muddy, dirt road which passes Great Lameshur and leads to the most remote sandy beach on the island called Little Lameshur. Little Lameshur marks the end of Route 107 and is the second of only two sandy, south shore facing beaches in the National Park. Healthy coral teeming with a variety of sea life, particularly on the eastern point that separates Little Lameshur and Great Lameshur together with the uncrowded beach will delight snorkelers and make the journey to this remote location worthwhile.

 

 

 

East End Beaches

 

Haulover Beach-St-John-USVI

 Haulover

Very popular among East End residents and tourists alike, this beach is located just off the road, is easy to access and has sufficient parking. The eastern and western edges provide decent snorkeling. The views from Haulover, looking south/southwest back towards Coral Bay, are fantastic. This is a great spot to unload a paddle board or kayak to enjoy the water and sea life which can be found around Hansen Bay.

 

 

 

 

Hansen Bay-St-John-USVI

 Hansen Bay

Located on the east end of St. John, Hansen Bay consists of a few beaches with the most popular being “Vie’s beach” – located across the street from Vie’s Snack Shack which features authentic West Indian cuisine. This sandy beach is relatively small but never crowded. Calm water and easy access make this a nice beach to visit and soak up some sun. Snorkeling is decent at best but worth a visit if you’re staying out in the Coral Bay or East End areas.