15 Best Things to Do in St. John

St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
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St. John is one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean for many valid reasons.

This island should be your next destination to treat yourself to ultimate relaxation and experience tropical island vibes.

It's because the island has a reputation of giving its visitors unforgettable experiences for both having beautiful sceneries and white-sand beaches.

St. John is part of the three main islands of the U.S Virgin Islands, where more than a million tourists flock each year.

It is approximately located four miles east of Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas Island, the main city of the U.S Virgin Islands.

St. John's entire size measures up to nine miles long and five miles wide, but it is packed with coves, harbors, and bays teeming with wildlife.

There are many ways to experience the fun and adventure at St. John Island's untamed natural beauty.

You can either swim, hike, shop or do watersports and others.

So, it's completely up to you how you'll spend your time there.

To help you list down the most unforgettable things to do there, here are our 15 recommended things to do in St. John Island.

Fall in Love With St. John's 'Love City'

Aerial View of Cruz Bay
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Cruz Bay is locally known as the "Love City" in St. John Island.

It is filled with bars, restaurants, and shops that line beside each other along the street.

An afternoon walk around Cruz Bay is the perfect activity to experience the laid-back atmosphere of the island.

Cruz Bay town pier on St.John's island
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Get captivated by the town's charm, especially the hospitality of the locals and the delicious food and drinks served on the menu.

After finishing your meal, you can relax and stroll along the stretch of white sand at the nearby Wharfside Village.

Love Nature's Beauty at the Virgin Islands National Park

Annaberg Sugar Cane Plantation in the St. John
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The entire national park covers around 3/5 of the entire island's landmass.

It has a total of 12,624 acres of marine and land area consisting of hiking trails, pristine beaches, vegetation, and coral reefs.

The national park also protects the remnants of the old plantations of the Virgin Islands during the colonial period.

To experience the beauty of nature, sign up with the national park's hiking activities that feature 22 hiking trails covering roughly 20 miles.

Lind Point Trail, through Virgin Islands National Park
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Get Into Action With the Arawak Expeditions

Once you're done unwinding and want some action around St. John, you should try the Arawak Expeditions.

It offers the best watersports experience and one of the best activities to do on the island.

The Arawak Expeditions is a family-owned company that pioneered the water sports activities on the island.

They are equipped with the best watersports gears and vessels to give you the ultimate experience.

Kayaking is Arawak's specialty, but they also have canoes, paddleboards, and a lot of other water vessels to choose from.

Unwind at the Beautiful Trunk Bay

View of the Beautiful Trunk Bay
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First on the list is St. John's iconic Trunk Bay which is commonly seen on tourism advertisements and brochures.

Its breathtaking white sand beach is every visitor's first stop when they arrive on the island.

This area sprawls for about a quarter-mile and is surrounded by turquoise foliage that has an unspoiled ecosystem.

View of the Beautiful Trunk Bay
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Trunk Bay is perfect for those who want to relax and destress as the area is known for its quiet and peaceful atmosphere.

Plus, visiting this area is very convenient as the entrance fee only costs a few bucks.

From relaxation to fun-filled water activities, Trunk Bay offers both relaxation and fun-filled water activities.

The area's most popular activities include snorkeling, kayaking, and canoeing on its crystal-clear waters.

Uncover Interesting History at Annaberg Plantation

Windmill Ruin in Annaberg plantation in Virgin Islands National Park
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The former Danish plantation which used to produce sugar, molasses, and rum now stands as a museum taking you back in the early years of the Caribbean Island's history.

The museum's historical trail will tour you around the old factory, windmills, and slave quarters of the plantation.

Boiling Room in Annaberg Plantation
Pi3.124, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It also has a collection of ruins from the island's rich history making it a recommended place to visit while in St. John.

However, there is an admission fee for visitors going there, but the small amount of money will go a very long way in maintaining this place that holds a lot of St. John's history.

Learn History at the Elaine Lone Sprauve Library and Museum

While most tourists flock to its white-sand beaches, but exploring its past is also an unforgettable experience you must not miss.

Thus, a visit to the Elaine Lone Sprauve Library and Museum should be on your list of things to do in St. John.

This place gives you a better understanding of the island's history as the building that houses this library and museum is also one of the oldest structures on the island.

The library was named after one of St. John's innovators, Elaine Lone Sprauve who spent her life uplifting the lives of St. John's locals.

What lies within the library and museum is a massive collection of literary resources, documents, art, and photos relevant to the island's history.

Experience Island Vibes at Coral Bay

Aerial View of Coral Bay
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St. John is teeming with beautiful bays, one of them is Coral Bay.

Compared to the private resort vibes that Trunk Bay is known for, Coral Bay is packed with cafes, shops, and restaurants.

It is technically a small village that the locals wonderfully maintained its tropical beauty until today.

The area is popularly known for its white-sand beaches and charming landscapes.

Like Trunk Bay, Coral Bay is also a perfect spot for water activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and canoeing.

Also, the area is known for being a perfect spot for sailing.

After you enjoy its beaches and picturesque scenery, immerse yourself in the quaint village appeal of the area.

The village has a collection of restaurants and shops at the beachside that serves delicious food to add some flavorful memories while you're in St. John.

Appreciate Local Wildlife at the Carolina Coral

Speaking of wildlife, the Caribbean Islands have a thriving and diverse ecosystem where different wildlife depends on.

One place you shouldn't miss to visit for local wildlife is the Carolina Coral, the home of the Caribbean Islands' wild donkeys.

The Caribbean Islands were formerly sugar plantations in the 18th to the 20th centuries where donkeys and horses served as the beasts of burden.

But today, wild donkeys enjoy complete freedom and protection from the locals after it was established in 1993 by Dana Bartlett.

Bartlett is an ex-pat from Ohio who has a passion for horses decided to relocate to St. John to put up Carolina Coral, a sanctuary for neglected and abused animals on the island.

Visiting this place takes you on an educational detour from the island's beautiful beaches.

The management teaches visitors grooming and feeding to different animals.

To give you the ultimate experience of visiting Carolina Coral, try horseback riding at its nearby trails.

Reveal Pieces of the Past at America Hill

View of America Hill
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This area on the island has a story waiting to be told.

Its ruins atop a green hill provide you a 360-view of the entire St. John Island.

Historically, the ruins were formerly an estate house built in the 19th century.

In the early 1900s, the estate house served as a guesthouse for visitors who can't afford to rent rooms in the neighboring villages.

View of America Hill
Hank Shiffman / Shutterstock.com

It was rumored that the late Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Leonides once stayed there.

While it offers a beautiful landmark but getting there isn't that easy.

The trek leading to the ruins usually starts at the Cinnamon Bay trail and ascends to a steep trek.

However, the top of the hill rewards you with a backdrop of St. John and its surrounding bays.

Test Your Mettle at the Reef Bay Trail

View of Reef Bay Trail
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St. John virtually doesn't run out of challenging but scenic trails, and one of them is the Reef Bay Trail.

The entire trail covers a total of 2.5 miles back and forth and usually, hikers are accompanied by park service rangers.

Compared to other trails on the island, the Reef Bay Trail is covered with vegetation, but the trail itself is rocky, so you better pack a nice pair of hiking shoes.

Melicoccus bijugatus tree on Reef Bay Trail
daveynin, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The hikers start their journey by descending from the island's highest point down to the seaside which makes the experience unique among other trails on the island.

In addition, hikers also get a glimpse of the old sugar plantations right at the end of the Reef Bay Trail.

Conquer the Scenic Cinnamon Bay Trail

St. John is also considered a hiker's paradise.

It has trails teeming with green foliage, stunning cliffs, and challenging pathways waiting for you to be conquered.

There are dozens of trails you can choose from in St. John, but you should take first everyone's favorite, the Cinnamon Bay Trail.

It offers very dynamic and exciting sceneries that captivate you instantly.

If you want convenience after a tiring hike, the area has camping grounds for you to relax.

But before you think of relaxation, conquer first its trails and discover rare tropical plants, flowers, and wildlife along the way.

Also, you'll come across old sugar mill ruins along the path.

These sugar mills have a significant role in the Caribbean Islands' history.

Cinnamon Bay Trail covers roughly two miles, but you can further extend the hike that takes you to the Reef Bay Trail.

Dive Into Salt Pond Bay's Underwater Beauty

Another popular attraction that draws locals and visitors alike to the island is Salt Pond Bay.

This area enclosed with massive limestone cliffs is located in the southeast part of St. John.

It is well-known for its beautiful coastline stretch perfect for snorkeling, sunbathing, and swimming the whole day long.

Aerial view of Salt Pond Bay
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Salt Pond Bay has shallow waters perfect for water activities.

This place is teeming with colorful fish and corals while large marine animals such as stingrays and sea turtles are often seen there.

In addition, Salt Pond Bay is also known for its hiking activity through the Ram's Head Trail.

The trail is famous for its ruggedness and elevation that will surely burn your calories.

However, the challenge is worth it as your constant backdrop is the entire bay's picturesque scenery.

Linger at the Pristine Waterlemon Cay

Aerial View of Waterlemon Cay
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Waterlemon Cay is perfect for the visitors of St. John who are planning to have an intimate experience with its natural wonders.

It is perfect for diving and snorkeling since a huge part of this area is rich in beautiful tropical fishes, coral reefs, and other marine animals.

Its thriving ecosystem continues to flourish, thanks to the protection it gets from the Virgin Island National Park.

Embrace Local Hospitality at the Starfish Market

Considered as St. John's main commercial district, the Starfish Market proudly displays the island's local produce and handicrafts.

The market offers a wide array of shops that offer mainstream and local brands.

You can find anything you need from fruits, fresh seafood, meat, handicrafts, and anything you need to supply your stay on the island.

Ultimately, Starfish Market lets you experience the local hospitality of the people of St. John.

Discover the Hidden Gem of Salomon Bay

View of Salomon Bay
Bradley Furlow, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hiking along the Salomon Bay Trail is very challenging.

Hikers need to conquer steep rolling hills and rocky trails that make the entire journey very challenging.

However, once you reach the end of the trail, you will discover a hidden gem of beautiful white sand beach and crystal-clear waters making the hike very rewarding.

Two People in Salomon Bay
Valerie Johnson / Shutterstock.com

What makes it nicer to go to Salomon Bay is that few visitors know of the area.

Like the rest of St. John's beaches, you should not miss snorkeling around there since it also features a vibrant underwater environment filled with colorful fishes and coral reefs.

Final Thoughts

St. John is a one-of-a-kind place that stands out among the rest of the Caribbean islands.

It possesses natural wonders like its national park, trails, thriving wildlife, rich history, and vibrant local community.

In addition, the activities will surely pack your schedule the entire day making your stay there unforgettable.

So, don't forget to book a visit to St. John whenever you're around the Caribbean.