From underwater snorkel trails to secluded coves, this Virgin Island offers a beach for every personality. Find all the privacy or liveliness to match your idea of an idyllic island vacation.
Best for families: Trunk Bay
For facilities, no beach in St. John’s Virgin Islands National Park offers more than Trunk Bay on the northeast coast, 15 minutes by taxi from The Westin St. John Resort & Villas. In addition to food concessions, picnic tables, showers, change rooms and a store with must-haves like sun block and toys, this spot is also home to the island’s underwater snorkel trail where signs point out reef highlights. Note that it’s the island’s most popular beach, and there’s an entrance fee of $4 per person. However, its popularity is also a perk. Says Rebecca El Korchi, director of marketing for the island’s property, “Taxis are always lined up outside, so guests never have an issue coming back to town or the property.”
Best for seclusion: Francis Bay
Located approximately midway along the island’s north shore, Francis Bay is an ideal pick for those looking for sand and solitude. This sheltered cove is all about the elements — it offers a long crescent of white sand, bordering trees, a parking lot, and little else. Plus, it’s one of the calmest coves on island. Because of its remote location, El Korchi recommends that guests rent a car for the day trip if they’re comfortable driving on the opposite side of the road. If not, taxis are willing to make the trek. She adds, “You would have to arrange the return time and pay in advance.” The reward: Very few visitors see this spot, especially midweek.
Contact Your Westin Concierge To Plan Your Vacation
Our experienced, on-site Concierge Team is ready to assist you. Email us to plan your St. John excursions, or call 340-693-8000 Ext. 1751.
Best for water sports: Great Cruz Bay
It’s one-stop shopping: The Westin St. John Resort & Villas sets guests up with kayaks, windsurfers, catamarans, dinghies, Jet Skis, sailboats and other water toys suited for taking advantage of the gin-clear waters. Rent a dinghy and explore a handful of nearby beaches. “Call in advance and our restaurants can prepare a brown bag special,” says El Korchi. You’ll get a picnic-ready lunch with a turkey wrap, chicken sandwich or whichever other main you choose, plus a cold salad, chips and a drink in an ice bag. The resort’s onsite concessioner, Cruz Bay Watersports, will arrange champagne sunset sailing trips. Or, for those who prefer private affairs, Nauti Nymph rents private yachts by the day: Parties of up to six can sail or motor to the neighboring British Virgin Islands or simply see other sides of St. John.
Great Cruz Bay
Favorite local spot: Maho Bay
“The shoreline is smaller, but the water is more blue — and you can walk forever and the water is only up to your waist,” says El Korchi of why Maho Bay remains a favorite beach among locals. This pick also offers grills and picnic tables, plus a covered seating area, so it’s a smart choice for those who want to spend a full day near the water. As for swimming, because it’s so shallow, Maho Bay builds the confidence of those learning to snorkel. Kick toward the reefs and rocks to spy green sea turtles, trumpetfish and other tropical swimmers.
Best for a younger crowd: Cinnamon Bay
Locally organized volleyball tournaments on Saturdays and Sundays anchor the social scene at Cinnamon Bay. “If you’re between 18 and 25, this is your crowd,” says El Korchi. Games typically start mid-morning and continue until around 3 or 4 in the afternoon. The beach belongs to the Cinnamon Bay Campground, where you’ll find a restaurant, store and concessions. Whether you pack a cooler or buy onsite, you’re never without a cold beer or soda. The venue also offers water sports rentals with paddleboards, beach floats, kayaks, windsurfers and snorkel gear.
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