Hiking and history are essential activities on St. John, where most of the island is preserved as a national park. Although it's the smallest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. John still offers plenty of appealing options for hitting the trails, exploring on water, or sampling local nightlife.
Hike the Reef Bay Trail
The Reef Bay Trail is the most popular hiking trail in Virgin Islands National Park. The path descends 2.2 miles through dense tropical forests and past pre-Colombian petroglyphs and the ruins of Danish sugar mills before reaching the shore of Genti Bay. (Note: The way back can be challenging, so some hikers opt for a boat pickup instead.)
Swim and Snorkel at Trunk Bay
The beauty of Trunk Bay is enhanced by its calm and clear waters, making it the perfect family destination for a day at the beach. A snorkeling "trail" includes U.S. National Park Service interpretive signs highlighting underwater features along 400 feet of the bay, including coral formations and the sea creatures that make their homes in the reefs.
Roam the Annaberg Plantation
The Annaberg Historic District contains extensive and well-preserved remains of what was a thriving Danish sugar plantation in the 18th century — albeit a business that exploited enslaved people for its profits. The site includes the remains of a windmill tower, factory buildings, and an animal mill, all located steps away from the beaches of Leinster Bay.
Charter a Boat for a Taco Run
The popular Lime Out floating taco stand in Coral Bay Harbor is a featured stop for many St. John charter boats as well as a shuttle service from nearby charter companies in Coral Bay. You can chow down on tacos stuffed with everything from ceviche to jerk-style cauliflower while floating on a “lily pad" or sipping cocktails at the swim-up bar.
Swim With Sea Turtles in Maho Bay
Green sea turtles inhabit many of the seagrass beds surrounding St. John, but your best bet for spotting (or swimming with) a turtle is in Maho Bay. You can swim or snorkel to the swaying seagrass in the middle of the shallow bay to find turtles paddling and feeding; early morning or late afternoon are the best times to go.
Shop Local Finds at Mongoose Junction
The fine stone and mahogany buildings of Mongoose Junction house a variety of specialty shops, clothing boutiques, galleries, and restaurants, plus a tap room pouring pints of St. John Brewers beer. You can easily spend an hour or two wandering the shady courtyards and stores to find hook bracelets — the ultimate USVI souvenir — as well as locally designed clothing, island rum and spices, and duty-free goods.
Sample the Nightlife in Cruz Bay
Cruz Bay is St. John's ferry terminal and headquarters for Virgin Islands National Park, and it’s the location for most of the island's restaurants and nightlife. A few favorites are: The Beach Bar, which is the unassuming name of Cruz Bay's top spot for sunset cocktails by the shore, and the nearby Rum Hut for a lively daily happy hour. The Longboard is the go-to spot for poke bowls in St. John. Cruz Bay Landing brings live music to the ferry dock area nightly, and the Parrot Club has casino gaming until midnight.
Want To Go?
When the sunny skies of the U.S. Virgin Islands call, answer with a stay at The Westin St. John Resort Villas. Start your day with a walk around the surrounding area and discover picturesque beaches, cool, blue waters, and local treasures. After a fulfilling day of sightseeing and swimming, retreat to the resort for a rejuvenating evening poolside or in your room.
The spectacular quarter-acre pool is the perfect place to relax and cool off. Lay underneath a cozy umbrella or take a dip in the pool itself as you overlook Great Cruz Bay. Replenish your energy at Snorkels Bar & Grill with delicious eats and a cool drink. Or retreat to your villa for a home-cooked meal in your fully equipped kitchen and a relaxing evening on the patio. When it’s time for bed, drift off into healthy slumber on your Westin Heavenly® Bed.
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