If you love lush hiking trails, exploring ruins and snorkeling with sea turtles, you’re going to love St. John. This island is home to the Virgin Islands National Park and a string of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the world. Best of all, it’s just 20 minutes from St. Thomas. You might even be able to catch a glimpse of the island from one of our St. Thomas villas! Read on to learn our favorite things to do on St. John.
St. John can be seen from the private pool and deck of Waters Edge Villa
Getting to St. John is Easier than You Think
Getting from St. Thomas to St. John is easier than you think. You can tour the island via a boat charter or make the 15-minute trip by ferry. You can even bring your rental car over on a ferry, which we highly recommend so you can explore the island when you get there. See the ferry timetables here (people only) and here (car barge).
Pro tip: Arrive at the ferry station about 45 minutes before your departure time. Be sure to note the last time back to St. Thomas.
Grab a Bite
Once you’re on the island, it’s time to get some food. One of our favorite things to do on St. John is eat at Windmill Bar, once the site of a sugar plantation called Estate Suzannaberg. You can soak up the view of Hawksnest Bay, Lovango Cay and St. Thomas while you enjoy a burger and a drink. It’s also one of the best places on St. John to watch the sunset.
Enjoy the view from The Windmill Bar
Take a Hike
If you love exploring historic ruins or visiting ancient petroglyphs, you’re going to love hiking in St. John. Try the Reef Bay Trail, a challenging 2-4 hour hike through Danish sugar plantation ruins and pre-Columbian carvings left by Taino people. We love hiking this trail after a heavy rain so we can see the Reef Bay waterfall in its full glory.
Taino carvings along the Reef Bay Trail
Looking for something a little easier? The Francis Bay Trail leads you through a tropical forest and past a salt pond perfect for bird watching. You can find a guide to all major St. John hikes here.
Now that you’ve worked up a sweat, you’re ready to cool off at one of the beaches that make St. John famous. The Virgin Islands National Park is made up of five beautiful bays, and they’re less developed than many others in the Virgin Islands. These beaches are located closely together along the North Shore Road so you can explore one or several - and each offers something a little different. If you’re looking for quiet, travel the North Shore Road all the way to the end where you’ll find the remote Great and Little Lameshur Bays. Maho is a great place to find sea turtles and stingrays, and Cinnamon Bay has plenty of shade.
Stingray spotted in Maho Bay
If you only have time to visit one of St. John’s beaches, you can’t go wrong with a stop at Trunk Bay. Not only is this beach routinely ranked as one of the most beautiful in the world, it also features a unique underwater snorkeling trail that will lead you past colorful coral reefs and tropical fish. Look for the markers on the seafloor that share information about the flora and fauna you’re seeing.
A quiet afternoon at Trunk Bay
Things to Do on St. John - What’s Your Favorite?
St. John is one of the easiest day trips from St. Thomas, so we hope you venture over to this beautiful island. If you’ve already visited the island, make sure to leave a comment below and tell us about your favorite things to do on St. John!