A view of Trunk Bay, a beach that offers some of the best things to see and do in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Don’t let St. John’s size fool you — the smallest of the three main U.S. Virgin Islands packs a punch! While the island’s famed beaches and natural beauty will leave you breathless, there’s much more to discover. This guide on what things to see and do in St. John unveils how to go beyond the beach and discover the island’s magic.

Get ready to explore hidden coves, delve into rich history, and discover activities that cater to every adventurer.  St. John awaits — a tiny island brimming with surprises!

Natural Attractions

Cinnamon Bay | St. John Things to See & Do

Unwind on the expansive shores of Cinnamon Bay, one of St. John’s longest beaches. Stretch your legs with a leisurely walk on the soft sand, feeling the gentle rhythm of the waves. Across the crystal-clear waters lies Cinnamon Cay, a small island offering a touch of off-shore exploration. Turn your gaze toward Peter Bay, where luxurious homes grace the hillside, adding human artistry to the natural canvas.

Lovango Cay

Pamper yourself at Lovango Cay, a private island offering a unique blend of relaxation and natural beauty. Savor delicious food and drinks served directly on the beach. In between lounging, take a dip in the infinity pool or engage in a friendly game of cornhole. You can also explore the island’s hiking trails or the underwater world by snorkeling.

Other Beaches | St. John Things to See & Do

St. John’s beaches are the stuff of daydreams. Imagine powdery white sand, crystal-clear waters, and palm trees swaying in the breeze. Trunk Bay boasts an underwater snorkeling trail perfect for families. For a more secluded vibe, head to Maho Bay, where gentle waves lap the shore and sea turtles cruise beneath the surface.

Virgin Islands National Park

Home to two-thirds of the island, Virgin Islands National Park is a paradise for nature lovers. Hike through emerald forests teeming with colorful birds and playful monkeys. Explore hidden coves, kayak through tranquil mangroves, or challenge yourself on a rugged cliffside trail.

Petroglyphs | St. John Things to See & Do

Hike the Reef Bay Trail and stumble upon a hidden gem — ancient petroglyphs etched into the rocks. These mysterious carvings, created by the island’s indigenous people centuries ago, are a window into their lives and beliefs. While their exact meaning remains lost to time, sparking your imagination is half the fun!

North Shore Road

North Shore Road winds along St. John’s coastline, showcasing a string of postcard-perfect beaches. Take a scenic drive and pull over at overlooks for jaw-dropping vistas. Imagine capturing the turquoise waters framed by verdant hills in your perfect vacation photo! Don’t miss the iconic overlooks at Trunk Bay, Maho Bay, and Caneel Bay.

Annaberg Plantation Ruins | St. John Things to See & Do

Step back in time at the Annaberg Plantation Ruins, a poignant reminder of St. John’s colonial past. Dating back to the 18th century, these ruins were once a bustling sugar plantation. Explore the remnants of the factory, windmill, and slave quarters, offering a glimpse into a bygone era. Since Annaberg is close to Francis Bay Beach and Waterlemon Cay, you can have a combined cultural and beach adventure.

Adventure Activities

Dive into a Snorkeling Paradise

St. John is a snorkeler’s dream, with thriving coral reefs teeming with colorful fish at nearly every beach. The Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument surrounds the island, offering rich marine life. Don’t worry if you haven’t packed your gear — rentals are available at Maho, Trunk, and Honeymoon beaches. Venture beyond the popular spots and discover Hansen Bay, Haulover Bay, and Waterlemon Cay, where snorkeling adventures await.

Island-Hopping Adventures | St. John Things to See & Do

St. John’s sparkling waters beckon for island-hopping adventures! Explore the nearby gems of the U.S. Virgin Islands, like St. Thomas and captivating cays. Venture even further to the British Virgin Islands, all within easy reach. Chartering a boat unlocks hidden coves and superb snorkeling spots inaccessible by land.

For a customizable experience, book a private boat for the day. Larger group tours offer a fun and social way to explore. Charter the Caribbean can arrange a luxurious crewed yacht vacation for you and your group.

Kayak Through Secluded Hurricane Hole

Unwind in the protected waters of Hurricane Hole, a secluded haven within Coral Bay that shelters boats during storms. Hurricane Hole’s hidden coves are best explored by kayak. Paddle at your own pace, weaving through the picturesque inlets and discovering secret corners.

Kayaking Tips:

  • Plan your route based on your experience. Some currents exist, so adjust your path accordingly.
  • Conserve energy for the return trip and avoid venturing too far.
  • Pack sunscreen, bug spray, and plenty of water for your journey.

Hike the Historic Reef Bay Trail | St. John Things to See & Do

Embark on a rewarding journey along the famed Reef Bay Trail, a 5-mile out-and-back adventure steeped in history. Descend into a verdant valley with ancient plantation ruins and a wealth of native flora. The return hike presents a challenging uphill climb, so pace yourself. Take a quiet lunch at the secluded Reef Bay Beach — a perfect reward for your efforts.

Hiking Tips:

  • Wear sunscreen, insect repellent, and a hat.
  • Bring plenty of water for the trek.
  • Practice responsible ecotourism: leave no trace and refrain from taking anything from the trail (shells, plants, etc.).

 Encounter Sea Turtles at Maho Bay

Maho Bay is a haven for sea turtle sightings. Glide through crystal-clear, calm waters and witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Snorkel gear rentals are available nearby, allowing you to explore the vibrant underwater world teeming with life. Remember: Respect these gentle giants, maintain a safe distance, and avoid touching them.

Savor Fine Dining at ZoZo’s | St. John Things to See & Do

For an exceptional culinary experience, dine in style at ZoZo’s, Caneel Bay’s premier waterfront restaurant. Relish a decadent four-course prix fixe dinner ($130 per person), meticulously prepared and served leisurely over 2.5-3 hours. Savor a delightful selection of dishes for each course, with stunning ocean views as your backdrop. For a more casual option, enjoy the a la carte menu at their bar, with seating available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Shop in Cruz Bay

After a day of adventure, unwind by shopping in Cruz Bay, St. John’s main town. This bustling hub welcomes visitors from St. Thomas and offers a delightful contrast to the island’s natural serenity. Delve into a world of local treasures as you explore the diverse shops lining the streets. Browse various clothing boutiques, discover unique jewelry stores, and uncover hidden gems in art galleries.

FAQs | St. John Things to See & Do

Q1: What are the top attractions to visit in St. John?

The top attractions include Virgin Islands National Park, Trunk Bay Beach, and Maho Bay. Annaberg Sugar Plantation and Reef Bay Trail, which boasts petroglyphs, are also popular with tourists.

Q2: What are the best outdoor activities in St. John?

The best outdoor activities to enjoy are hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing, snorkeling, and scuba diving.

Q3: What are the most popular beaches in St. John?

The most popular beaches in St. John include Trunk Bay, Maho Bay, Cinnamon Bay, and Honeymoon Beach.

Q4: What can I expect to see at the Virgin Islands National Park?

You can expect hiking trails, lush rainforests, dramatic coastlines, and hidden coves at the Virgin Islands National Park. You’ll also see diverse flora and fauna and historical sites like the Annaberg Sugar Plantation.

Q5: What local dishes should I try in St. John?

Try kallaloo stew, goat water, fresh seafood (grilled or curried), whelks and rice.

Q6: What water sports are available in St. John?

The water sports available in St. John include kayaking, paddle boarding, and sailing. The island is also a haven for windsurfing (at Maho Bay for experienced adventurers), snorkeling, and scuba diving.

St. John: Where Relaxation Meets Adventure

St. John isn’t your average island escape. This Caribbean gem offers endless possibilities, from blissful days on pristine beaches to exciting adventures on land and sea. St. John has something for everyone — whether you crave family fun, a romantic getaway, or a solo exploration. Hike through lush rainforests, discover hidden coves by kayak, or unwind on the sugar-soft sand.

St. John guarantees a most memorable vacation with abundant activities and undeniable charm.

Your Dream Caribbean Escape Awaits

Are you ready to set sail on your dream Caribbean escape? As mentioned earlier, Charter the Caribbean can arrange a luxurious yacht vacation in the USVI and beyond. We are part of the CKIM Group, a distinguished company engaged in planning luxury yacht charter vacations worldwide.

Contact our sister company, ILX Travel, to help plan your trip to St. John and other Caribbean destinations. They have experts who can curate fabulous travel experiences for you and your group. Unwind, explore, and discover paradise with us!