Published: March, 2018
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St. John, US Virgin Islands

You will most definitely leave a little piece of your heart on St. John. The second you leave, you'll be planning your next trip back!
— Laura Page
  • More about your oliver guide:
  • Trip type: Adult, Family, Group getaway, Solo, Beach
  • Activity level: easy
  • Ideal length of trip: A week minimum for maximum relaxation!

to & from

Getting to the Caribbean from the West Coast takes a long time, so I suggest staying a night in Miami on the way down and/or back

  • Fly into Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI (American and Delta have the most direct flights through Miami or Atlanta)
  • Take a taxi from the STT Airport to the ferry dock in downtown Charlotte Amalie or Red Hook.
  • Charlotte Amalie ferry dock is a shorter taxi ride from the airport, but is a longer ferry ride (45 minutes). Red Hook is a longer taxi ride, but a shorter ferry ride (20 minutes) to Cruz Bay, St. John. Check ferry schedules online!
  • If your flight lands late at night (as most West Coast flights do) stay in a hotel for the night in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas and catch the ferry in the morning to St. John

Where to Stay

The most happening part of the island is Cruz Bay with lots of darling shops and restaurants/bars, and the sleepier part of the island is Coral Bay. There are vacation rentals (big homes or smaller apartments) all over the island to suit your needs

  • Caneel Bay Resort (reopening in late 2018 post Hurricane Irma) is an iconic family resort which lies in a 170-acre peninsula in the Virgin Islands National Park, and boasts seven picturesque white sand beaches with wild roaming donkeys!
  • Coco Vida is a secluded and cute 1 bedroom getaway in Fish Bay, just 10 minutes from Cruz Bay
  • If you stay on St.Thomas, I recommend checking out The Ritz Carlton

Where to Eat and Drink

Drink a Painkiller at Joe’s Rum Hut on Cruz Bay beach with your toes in the sand and watch the sunset over St. Thomas in the distance. Try the Lobster Sliders and Filthy Mermaid cocktail at Umami Bar in Cruz Bay! After dinner stroll down the street to St. John Scoops for daily made ice cream. They have unique kid and adult-flavor ice cream (Painkiller or Stoli Creamsicle anyone?) in homemade waffle cones. Yum!

  • Morgan's Mango in Cruz Bay: Caribbean seafood fusion. I HIGHLY suggest you go for lobster night (Tuesdays and Saturdays)
  • The Longboard in Cruz Bay: fresh island eats and fun cocktails
  • Extra Virgin Bistro in Cruz Bay: yummy romantic Italian seafood spot
  • Joe's Rum Hut on Cruz Bay: this is by far the best place to put your toes in the sand, a tropical drink in your hand and watch the sunset! Trust me, you'll come back every night.
  • St. John Scoops in Cruz Bay: you cannot skip this place with it's creamy homemade ice cream and fresh waffle cones. An island favorite!
  • Umami Bar in Cruz Bay: creative and fresh sushi and cocktails. Double check to make sure this re-opened after the hurricane. It was set to re-open in 2018.
  • Aqua Bistro in Coral Bay: seaside restaurant and bar on the quiet side of the island

What to Do

There’s a lot of beach hopping to be done of St. John! The island is fairly small and very easy to navigate. You can rent a car to get around or take an open-aired taxi anywhere you need to go, which are plentiful and easy to catch in downtown Cruz Bay.

  • Trunk Bay Beach: famous and most photographed white sand beach in the VI. Enjoy the self-guided underwater snorkeling trail
  • Francis Bay Beach: chill white sand beach, good sun, shade, excellent swimming and snorkeling
  • Cinnamon Bay Beach: rent paddle boards and kayaks at main entrance or go way to left for a picturesque beach area
  • Salt Pond: moderate hike to protected cove in Coral Bay. Shallow water access makes this a great beach for swimming
  • Best snorkeling on island can be found at: Jumbie Beach, rocks in middle of Salt Pond, Haulover Bay (east end of island, right side along shoreline). Rent snorkel gear in downtown Cruz Bay
  • If you like to scuba dive try Low Key Watersports. They are a reputable local dive shop and will take great care of you. They will know which spots are best for conditions
  • Take a break from the sun and do some shopping in downtown Cruz Bay at Mongoose Junction shopping area

inside scoop

  • Hire "Sunshine Daydream" and Captain Rob for a day of adventure on the water! Explore the area around St. John and anchor to have pizza delivered from the floating Pizzaria called Pizza Pi. Or venture out to nearby British Virgin Islands!
  • Visit Trunk Bay Beach after 4pm when all the tourists leave
  • Take a short hike to Annaberg Sugar Plantation ruins and see some island history and beautiful views
  • Drive out to Coral Bay for lunch at Aqua Bistro and swimming and snorkeling at Salt Pond Beach
  • Missing your furry friend from home? Volunteer at the St. John Animal Care Center. Walk a dog around town or take him to the beach for a playdate to get him out of the shelter for the day!

What to Pack


St. John is a U.S. territory so they use the same currency we do, as well as speak English. It’s a VERY easy and safe Caribbean Island to visit! Great for a couples getaway, but also super family friendly, if you’d like to bring the kids. The water is so warm and clear, everyone loves swimming on St. John!

Want to know more? Check out Nicole Rowles’ guide here. 

St. John, US Virgin Islands - Suggestions from the Oliver Community

  • Diana Beam Says

    After reading your post, a couple of important notes, I doubt we will see Caneel Resort open any time soon (or in our lifetime!). NO DOGS ARE ALLOWED on any of the national Park Beachs (which are most beaches on St. John).

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