10 Best St John Beaches
St John’s Famous North Shore Beaches
Every list of the Best St John Beaches includes the beautiful North Shore beaches! Visitors will argue about which one is their favorite. But the fact is that the top of the list is always Trunk Bay Beach, Cinnamon Bay Beach, Maho Bay Beach, Hawksnest Beach, Salomon Beach, Gibney Beach, Caneel Bay or Honeymoon Beach. Those are without a doubt the most popular beaches. And they’re all located along St John’s North Shore!
Here’s what they all have in common:
- Beautiful white sand beach
- Stunning crystal-clear aqua-blue waters
- Towering Coconut Palms lining the beach
- Shallow-water snorkeling from the beach
- Protected by the Virgin Islands National Park
- No Passport Required for US citizens!
So, here’s our list of favorite St John beaches
TRUNK BAY BEACH
St John’s most popular, most photographed, and most visited beach is Trunk Bay. It’s arguably the most beautiful beach on St John; if not all of the Caribbean! It’s a Must-See on many visitor’s STJ Bucket List. In fact, it’s so beautiful that cruise ship visitors to St Thomas will make the trek by taxi and ferry and taxi to spend a few hours enjoying everything that makes Trunk Bay famous! And we agree! Trunk Bay has it all. Guests can enjoy white sand, towering palms, crystal clear water, the Underwater Snorkeling Trail, food, drink, showers/bathrooms and snorkel gear and chair rentals. It’s also the only St John beach with a lifeguard …. and an entrance fee.
The Most Popular and Most Photographed Beach on St John!
Snorkeling at Trunk Bay is best just off the center of the beach around Trunk Cay. Keep an eye out for brain corals, seafans, gorgonians, Blue Bell Tunicate corals, and a large variety of tropical fish including French Angelfish, Yellowtail Snapper, Puddingwife Wrasse, Blueheaded Wrasse, Jeweled Damsels, Queen Triggerfish, Blue Runners and Beau Gregory Damsels.
MAHO BAY BEACH
Maho Bay is on everybody’s favorite beach list. And its should be … It’s convenient – sitting right along North Shore Road. Families will love the convenience of unloading cooler, chairs, snorkel gear and kids floaties! There are bathrooms, grills and covered pavillion with picnic tables on the western end of the beach. The beach is narrow and lined with towering coconut palms and seagrape trees for shade. The water is sandy bottom and shallow – making it a great spot for younger kids and parents with floats. Parking is plentiful by St John standards – with marked parking areas by the pavillion and a larger lot at the eastern end of the beach.
Snorkeling at Maho Bay Beach is one of the reasons people love this locations. The seagrass beds that are about 30 yards off the beach are a great place to see sea turtles, rays, conch and tarpon. In fact, Maho is our #1 recommendation for anybody that wants a chance to swim with a sea turtle on St John. Avid snorkelers will want to head towards the eastern and western shorelines. Here you’ll find thin patch reefs that are home to a good selection of hard and soft corals and a dizzying collection of tropical fish species.
Cinnamon Bay is the longest white sand beach on St John. Just like Trunk Bay, you’ll find a cay just off the beach. And just like other St John beaches you’ll find white sand, palm trees, seagrapes for shade and some good shallow water snorkeling. Cinnamon Bay is also one of the few places to camp on St John. Guests can enjoy recently upgraded eco-tents or “cottage” accommodations; and wake up to the beauty of Cinnamon Bay each day! You’ll also find bathrooms, RainTree Café, watersports rentals and a souvenir shop.
Snorkeling at Cinnamon Bay has several options. Snorkel around the Cay that’s just off the beach. You’ll discover a wide variety of fish species including large Permit and Jacks, Queen Angelfish, French Angelfish, Blueheaded Wrasse, Pork Fish, French Grunts and more. Corals tend to be hard corals like maze brain corals, fire coral, mustard coral, staghorn coral and Pillar corals. Snorkeling off the eastern end of the beach and you’ll find a large table reef in 5′ to 15′ of water. It’s an amazing spot with plenty of fish and corals – many that aren’t common in other places around St John. Snorkeling the western edge – towards Peter Bay – the corals and patch reef are thin. One point of interest is the sunken plane wreckage just off of Little Cinnamon Beach. It’s not much more than a motor, prop and portion of the wing of a small plane. But it’s a fun sight – in 8′ or less of shallow water.
While the name might imply that it’s only for lovers, Honeymoon Beach is a great beach for couples and families. Soft white sand, shallow water entry, beautiful aqua blue water, snorkeling and watersports – make it the perfect St John beach destination! Located with the Caneel Bay Resort – visitors can either hike the Lind Point Trail from Cruz Bay; park at Caneel Bay Resort and walk the approx. .5 mi EW, or take a taxi to Caneel and ride the Honeymoon Beach Hut’s golf cart to Honeymoon Beach.
Snorkeling at Honeymoon Beach is best on the eastern and western ends of the beach. Along the shoreline that connects to Caneel Bay you’ll find huge schools of Sergeant Major Damsels, wrasse, French Angelfish, sea turtles, rays and a wide variety of hard and soft corals. Just off the center of the beach is a good spot to see a sea turtle. And along the western end – towards Salomon Beach – you’ll find a patch reef with hard and soft corals and colorful fish.