Most of St. John is National Park land, so most of the island is undeveloped. Some of the most popular beaches in the Caribbean are located along the island’s north shore. The most spectacular and well-known of these is Trunk Bay which has consistently been voted one of the “Ten Best Beaches in The World” by Condé Nast Traveler magazine. Since the beaches are on National Park land, they are all open to the public and are free of hotels or resorts. The remaining coastal land, mostly in the north and in the east, is private property, and contains many secluded villas and cottages. The National Park Service also offers two campgrounds on the island’s beaches at Maho Bay and Cinnamon Bay. The reefs near St. John’s beaches are also world-famous for their snorkeling some of the best can be found at Waterlemon Cay and Salt Pond. In some areas, such as Trunk Bay plaques in the ocean floor identify various marine flora and fauna have been placed by the National Park Service to assist visitors. There are also sailing charters available that tour the island, as well as tours around the British Virgin Islands.
St. John US Virgin Islands Map
The sights to see in the British Virgin Islands are many. The best way to explore Jost Van Dyke is to charter a sailboat and sail to Sandy Spit / Cay a small uninhabited and beautiful island off the coast of Jost Van Dyke, have lunch at Foxy’s or Taboo’s Restaurant and then sail to White Bay, home of the Soggy Dollar Bar where the original Painkiller was created. For a full BVI adventure, charter a powerboat. Explore the Baths of Virgin Gorda (pan to the right or to the east of Tortola, on the map above) where exotic pools and grottos formed by giant boulders are strewn across sand beaches. Snorkel Diamond Reef. Dine at Pusser’s on Marina Cay, a small island with its own culture and history, at Cooper Island Restaurant with its idyllic island-life setting or on a pirate boat at a restaurant called the Willy T. See spectacular things underwater by snorkeling or scuba-diving the Indians & Caves of Norman Island (east of St John and south of Tortola, zoom in on the map above). Go to the BVI with a group tour or for a more personalized adventure, rent a small passenger powerboat or luxury yacht– either a way a day exploring the British Virgin Islands is well worth it.
When you get back to St John, swing back by the St John Concierge Service. We also have hiking and beach maps to guide you through the national park on St John and can give you invaluable tips on where to go snorkeling locally and when the best time is for hiking different trails. The beaches on the south side of St. John are considerably wilder and more remote. Some are only accessible by rough dirt roads so renting a jeep can be a good idea.
Just make sure to stop by or call the St John Concierge while you’re on St John, or before to help with planning your upcoming trip. The Concierge has a wealth of information for weddings, reunions, large or small groups.