The island of St. John in the USVI possesses arguably some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. The entire north shore of this island gem is covered with one amazing seascape after another. It’s a beach lovers dream and a photographers Nirvana.

Which beach do you choose to spend the day? That’s nearly an impossible question, but a damn good problem to have. Let’s toss on our flip flops, throw on a Castaway Hat, and load up the Jeep because we are going to take a tour of the famous north shore beaches of St. John.

Salomon Bay, St. John


Salomon Bay, St. John

Salomon Bay, St. John – Photo by Bobby Padavick via Flickr

Salomon Beach is a beautiful secluded hideaway that is accessed by boat or a short hike starting behind the new National Park Visitor Center. The snorkeling is beautiful along the rocky points of this beach.

Hawksnest Bay, St. John

Hawksnest Beach St. John

Hawksnest Bay, St. John – Photo by Skellig2008


Hawksnest Beach, St. John

Hawksnest Bay, St. John – Photo by Joe Jackson 201 via Flickr

Hawksnest Beach is the first National Park Beach that you will encounter driving along the North Shore Road from Cruz Bay. There are also many places to snorkel with abundant coral formations and rock outcrops to explore. My good friends JR and Angela got married on the sand of Hawksnest Bay, beautiful location for weddings.

Trunk Bay, St. John

Trunk Bay, St. John

Trunk Bay, St. John – Photo by RumShopRyan

Trunk Bay beach

Trunk Bay Beach, St. John – Photo by George Oze via Flickr

Trunk Bay is easily one of the most photographed beaches in all the Caribbean.  Trunk bay provides clean restrooms, showers, snack bar, gift shop, snorkel equipment rental, lifeguard protection and the island’s only under-water snorkel trail.

Cinnamon Bay, St. John

Cinnamon Bay St. John

Cinnamon Bay, St. John – Photo by wayne31r via Flickr

Cinnamon Bay St. John

Cinnamon Bay, St. John – Photo by granPOParazzi via Flickr

Cinnamon Bay has a beautiful long white sand beach with wonderful swimming and snorkeling and of course is featured in one of our favorite Kenny Chesney songs, Old Blue Chair.  As you enter the Cinnamon Bay complex, on your left you pass the Snack Bar, General Store, and offices. It is a common site to see donkeys roaming freely on the grounds.

Maho Bay, St. John

Maho Bay St. John

Maho Bay, St. John – Photo by Giggard via Flickr

Maho Bay st. John

Maho Bay, St. John – Who’s that good looking Castaway! Photo by RumShopRyan

Maho might be my favorite beach on St. John. I mean just look at the first photo of it above. Lined with Coconut Palms and crystal clear water that gently kiss your feet. I only spent 15 minutes here wandering around the sand, but in that short time, for whatever reason, this beach left its mark on me.

Francis Bay, St. John

Francis Bay St. John

Francis Bay, St. John – Photo by Vicki_H via Flickr


Francis Bay St. John

Francis Bay, St. John – Photo by atpcz via Flickr

At Francis Bay, you will find one of St. John’s longest and most beautiful beaches.  There are picnic tables, BBQ pits and outhouses for amenities.  Breathtaking scenery awaits you as you gaze upon the shoreline and surrounding islands.  This is the perfect beach to unwind and relax the day away.

Waterlemon Bay, St. John

Waterlemon Bay, St. John

Waterlemon Bay, St. John – Photo by SunCat via Flickr

Waterlemon Bay St. John

Waterlemon Bay, St. John – Photo by JennyHud

From the small and tranquil sand beach at the east end of Leinster Bay, you can access Waterlemon Cay and Waterlemon Beach, for what most visitors describe as the “best snorkeling on St. John.” This beach also makes an excellent cooling-off stop after a hike on the Leinster Bay, Johnny Horn or Brown Bay Trails.

There you have it, some of the best beaches on St. John and the Caribbean. Now that you’ve seen a couple photos of each one, which one are you going to choose? If you only had one day to spend on St. John and could only visit one beach, which one are you going to sink your toes into?

Cheers Castaways!

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  1. Jane August 19, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Hawksnest is great – but not too far from Hawksnest is Jumbie Beach – it’s more isolated – no crowds – just perfect!

  2. Peggy Jones August 19, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    I want to get on your travel schedule……You lucky dog

  3. Kathy August 19, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Love all the North Shore beaches but my top two are Hawksnest and Maho 🙂 Life is a beach…get to one soon!

  4. mm
    RumShopRyan August 19, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Thanks for the comments! I have made it to Jumbie, guess I’ll just have to go back! Cheers!

  5. Meredith (Reeftraveler) August 20, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Ryan, you’ve posed an agonizingly difficult question. Probably Hawksnest or Cinnamon, although the waterside view of Maho gets me every time. Those bright green mountains, sailboats moored in the bay and sliver of white beach….pure enchantment.

  6. Sara August 21, 2011 at 9:24 am

    My humble opinion is that Salomon Bay is the prettiest but I had the most fun snorkeling at either Waterlemon or Salt Pond Bay…I went back to Salt Pond Bay 3 times but was never able to recreate the intense experience of swimming (unexpectedly) face to face with a sting ray.
    Now if I can just convince my husband to go back sooner rather than later…

  7. Sara August 21, 2011 at 9:30 am

    I suppose I did get a bit carried away in my memories and didn’t realize we were only talking about North Shore beaches 🙂

  8. mm
    RumShopRyan August 22, 2011 at 9:31 am

    It’s okay to get carried away Sara, it’s easy to do with an island this beautiful. Cheers!

Comments are closed.