With no airport or major ports, this isolated island requires visitors make an effort to get here. Those who do are rewarded with stunning beaches and lush forests.
With almost two-thirds of St. John protected as national parkland, a huge chunk of this tropical island remains blissfully undeveloped. Find your own perfect piece of coastline, hike through the hills of the Virgin Islands National Park or get into the Caribbean spirit with cocktails at the island’s main town, Cruz Bay.
Most visitors to the island arrive at the town of Cruz Bay on the west coast. Amble along the pier and find a table at one of the lively waterfront bars. Browse designer clothes at the shops of Mongoose Junction. For something a little more outdoorsy, go to the visitor center to organize snorkeling and hiking excursions for the rest of your trip.
Spend time soaking up the sun beside the sea. Many of the best beaches on the island can be found along the north coast. Drive north from Cruz Bay for between 10 and 15 minutes to reach Cinnamon Bay, a lengthy stretch of golden sand backed by leafy palm trees. Also on the north coast, Trunk Bay has a fantastic underwater snorkel trail while Maho Beach is a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts, with rays and turtles commonly spotted here.
Put your swimming costume away for a few hours and head for Annaberg Plantation on the north coast of the island. On a hill above yet another gorgeous beach, the estate’s old stone windmill, factory ruins and dungeon are a reminder of the slave trade that was prevalent here during the 18th and 19th centuries. Back in Cruz Bay, find restaurants serving Caribbean-style cuisine.
Reach St. John by taking a ferry from St. Thomas. Most accommodations are located in and around the town. Peak tourist season here is between mid-December and mid-April, while hurricane season lasts from June to November. Avoid the crowds by going between April and June.