More than half of the land on St. John is contained within the U.S. Virgin Islands National Park. A large portion of submerged land surrounding the island is also federally owned. That ensures this spot of paradise will be protected, accessible to all and safe from commercialization. I have visited St. John and basked in its beautiful park for a wedding, for a getaway and for a vacation with small children. It proved its versatility to me by making all three very different visits equally enjoyable.
Underwater Coral Reef Snorkeling Trail @ Trunk Bay.
Free for park. Trunk Bay day fee is $4 for (Adults 16+, free under 16).
Families with young kids will like:
Trunk Bay, providing a gorgeous beach and snorkeling trail for the grown-ups. The snack bar, bath house, water rentals and souvenir shop to make it easier to keep the kiddies happy & entertained.
Families with teenagers will like:
Windsurfing and sun bathing at Cinnamon Bay.
Other travelers will like:
Visiting the Annaberg School and hiking to the Sugar Mill Ruins to take in a view of the British Virgin Islands.
Easy site seeing:
Safari taxi drivers offer 2 hour driving tours around the island.
Best hotel in the park:
Caneel Bay Resort is the only hotel in the park, though amenities are not flashy. Maho Bay Campground offers Harmony Studios which are essentially small hotel room/apartments. Their sister facility, Estate Concordia, offers studios as well. The Westin is not in the park but is close enough, in Great Cruz Bay.
Best campground in the park:
Maho Bay – offers tent cottages and studios. Cinnamon Bay – offers bare tent sites, prepared tents and cottages.
Cinnamon Bay is noisier and a more traditional camping environment while Maho Bay is spiffier, as well as eco-friendly.
Best months to visit for weather:
December – May
Best months to visit to avoid crowds:
May is still safe from hurricane season, but the snow bird tourists are winding down and school vacations have passed.
Nearest major cities:
The closest thing to a city on St. John is Cruz Bay. Take the ferry back over to St. Thomas if you want city living.
More info from the National Park Service:
By Molly G. @ The Bumbles Blog
Photo credited to Molly G. @The Bumbles Blog