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If you’re looking for the best St. John beaches, then you are in the right place. Here is our 2021 list of the best beaches on St. John USVI. Let’s dive in!
People are passionate about their favorite beaches. Each island has its die-hard fans and St. John in the US Virgin Islands is no different. St. John is covered in dozens of postcard-perfect beaches and everyone has their favorite. So telling you guys our favorite beaches on St. John, we know we might be opening a beehive of opinions, and that’s exactly want we want.
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We’re fresh back from another trip to St. John (December of 2019) and we thought we would do a video of our favorite beaches. No matter what you are in the mood for there’s a St. John beach for you. If you are looking for a beach bar, music and water sports, there are beaches are deliver that. If you are looking for total seclusion and privacy, there are dozens are St. John beaches that can give you exactly that.
Below we are going to list out of favorite St. John beaches in a couple different ways. We did have video that shows you our top 5. Then we list them out for you as well. Near the bottom you’ll see that we also did podcast episode about our top 7 beaches. So no matter how you like to consume your St. John info, we are here to help!
Give the video a watch below and let us know what you think. Hit us up on Instagram and DM us your top five favorite St. John beaches. I bet you are going to have a hard time listing just five! I know we did!
Our Top 5 St. John Beaches
In no particular order, here is a list of the MUST VISIT St. John beaches.
Jumbie Bay Beach
At only 100 yards long, Jumbie Beach is one of the smaller St. John beaches. It’s located on the north shore road, where most tourists flock to the beaches, but because Jumbie only has a couple parking spots, it’s never going to be busy. The beach has perfect white sand that leads from the blue Caribbean water to lush sea grape trees. Because of its location, Jumbie can be a bit rough, but it still makes for a nice place to relax.
Maho Bay Beach
Ahhhh, Maho. This is a beach Crystal and I have to enjoy every time we visit the island. It’s deeper into the National Park, so it tends to be a little less crowded than Trunk, Hawksnest, or Cinnamon Bay–however that seems to be changing.
We absolutely love Maho Bay because it’s an animal lover’s dream! There have been times when huge tarpon swam between our legs chasing bait fish. You can often spot stingrays in the shallows, pelicans diving for their lunch, and sea turtles coming up for air as they take a break from munching on seagrass. We snorkeled with the sea turtles this past trip and it was a magical experience.
Francis Bay Beach
One of my new favorite St. John beaches, Francis Bay beach is located around the hill and past Maho Beach. Long and white, with powder-fine sand, it is spacious and has plenty of shade. It is great family beach, with superb swimming and snorkeling, and it is almost never crowded, that’s why we like it! You’ll find good snorkeling on each side of the beach, but the eastern side offers a bit more diversity of marine life, with sea fans, tangs, parrot fish, and reef squid. There are a few picnic tables, but not much more.
Trunk Bay Beach
So when you see pictures of St. John, chances are you are going to see a photo of the famous Trunk Bay overlook. It’s an iconic photo of the beach, the north shore of St. John, and the British Virgin Islands stretching out in the distance.
Trunk Bay is a long stretch of white sand with a rock island just off the shore. I believe it’s called Trunk Cay. To the left of this island is the Trunk Bay underwater snorkel trail. This trail has rock markers on the bottom that gives you information about fish and coral in the area. Trunk Bay Beach is a stunning quarter mile of soft white sand and crystal clear water, it’s arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in all the Virgin Islands, if not the world.
The beach has plenty of amenities with snorkel equipment rentals, shower and bathroom facilities, picnic tables, lifeguards, and a small bar and food truck. Trunk Bay beach is the only beach on St. John with an entry fee, but at only $5, it’s well worth it.
Also know that Trunk Bay is typically one of St. John’s busier beaches. It’s a popular stop for cruise ship people coming from St. Thomas, so if you are looking for a quiet Trunk Bay, plan on going in the morning or late afternoon.
Cinnamon Bay Beach
Located just past Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay is a lot like its neighbor with its beauty and amenities, but bigger and a bit less crowded. It’s also the best place on St. John for water sports activities like kayaking, small sailboats, windsurfing, snorkel equipment, beach chair and umbrella are all available for rent. Also like Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay has a small island just off the shore which is called Cinnamon Cay. If you are confident in your snorkeling abilities, the backside of Cinnamon Cay has great snorkeling with lots of fish and coral.
Denis Bay Beach
Denis Bay Beach is a favorite because there’s a good chance you will be the only one there. A deserted beach all to yourself.
To get to Denis Beach you head into the National Park on the North Shore Road from Cruz Bay. You will want to park at the Peace Hill parking lot. Peace Hill is a ruin that sits on a hill overlooking Hawksnest beach and has a short trail to get to. At the beginning of the Peace Hill trail, you’ll see a spur trail on the right, that leads down to Denis Beach.
It’s probably about a 10-15 minute walk down the winding trail to get to the beach. Once you get there you’ll see why it made our list of favorite St. John beaches. Denis Bay Beach was beat up pretty bad by Hurricanes Irma and Maria back in 2017, but its vegetation has grown back nicely and the sand is coming back.
Salt Pond Beach
Salt Pond is another gem of a beach on St. John. It’s a bit of a hike if you are coming from Cruz Bay, but it’s worth it. You’ll need to head to Coral Bay and take a right at the T-junction or Coral Bay sign. You’ll take that road all the way south until it takes a hard right and you’ll see a dirt parking lot and sign for Salt Pond. You’ll then walk down a hill to the beach.
It’s a beautiful crescent of white sand with good snorkeling on each side by the rocks. You’ll also find two trail heads here at Salt Pond. One for the Drunk Bay Trail, and the other for Ram Head Trail. There isn’t a lot of shade at Salt Pond Beach, maybe a couple Sea Grape trees you can get under, so make sure you bring an umbrella or tent. There is some good snorkeling on both the right and left sides of the beach. There’s also a rock in the middle of the bay pretty far out that I’ve heard has good snorkeling. So if you are adventurous, give it a try!
Keep going past Salt Pond Beach to where the road turns to dirty, then you’re on your way to Great Lameshur Bay Beach. It’s probably a good idea to have a 4-wheel drive Jeep or truck to get to this beach and the next on our list. This is an isolated stone beach, so quiet the contrast from the normal sandy beaches. Walking on the stones can be difficult but it’s worth the effort to hear the sound the rocks make as the waves push them around in the surf.
Just past Great Lameshur on maybe an even rougher stretch of road is the stunning Little Lameshur Beach. For visitors who want to ‘get away from it all’ to a secluded sandy beach on St. John’s southern shoreline, then this is your spot. Even though it’s right next to the stone beach of Great Lameshur, Little Lameshur is a beautiful stretch of soft white sand. I have always found it interesting how two beaches so close to each other could be so different.
Little Lameshur marks the end of Route 107 and one of only two sandy, south shore facing beaches in the National Park. You’ll find healthy coral teeming with a variety of sea life, and lots of pelicans diving for their lunch. It’s also a great beach to spot sea turtles as the sea floor just off the beach has some sea grass areas which the turtles love.
And if you thought Little Lameshur beach couldn’t get any better, there is an old ruin at the far end of the beach with a stunning overlook of the beach. You wan walk up to it and explore the different rooms while you look out over the beach. It makes a great photo spot!
Grootpan Bay Beach
Want to get away from it all, then Grootpan Bay Beach is for you. It’s a combination of sand and rock, easy to access, and caters to those looking for solitude. There is good snorkeling from the middle of the beach to the eastern side, but be caution when entering the water, sea urchins can be found on the rocks. But the remoteness of the bay has enabled sea life to remain abundant and undisturbed.
Haulover Beach – East End
It might take a little while to get to if you are staying in the Cruz Bay area, but Haulover Beach is a popular spot with East End residents and tourists alike. The beach is located just off the road and has plenty of parking. Both sides of the beach offer decent snorkeling, but the views here are king. Haulover looks south-southwest back towards Coral Bay, offering visitors a dramatic view of St. John’s big green hills.
Hansen Bay Beach – East End
Also located on the east end of St. John, Hansen Bay consists of a few beaches and was the place to go to rent a kayak or paddleboard so you could visit Lime Out, the floating Taco Bar. Lime out has been moved to the other side of Coral Bay. If you’re staying out on the East End, this sandy beach is a can’t miss and we highly recommend a visit.
Honeymoon Beach has it all! Stunning blue water, soft white sand, watersport activities, tours, and even a little beach bar. You’re going to love it.
To get to Honeymoon Beach you can either take the Lind Point trail which starts behind the National Park Building in Cruz Bay, or you can drive or take a taxi to the gate of the old Caneel Bay Resort. There, you can park and jump on a golf cart shuttle that will take you to the beach. I believe it’s either $6 or $10 dollars.
Once there you can get a day pass for $49 from VI Eco Tours which includes Kayaks, SUPs, Snorkel gear, lounge chairs, hammocks, pool floats, lockers, bathroom, and changing rooms.
Once you found your spot on the sand, grab a bite to eat or a cold island drink at Bikini’s On The Beach. This little beach bar has it all–a great menu, amazing staff and the drinks are out of this world. Ask Lauren for his special rum punch and tell him RumShopRyan sent you!
Hawksnest beach is a favorite for both locals and visitors. It’s the first beach if you are heading into the National Park on the North Shore road. It plenty of park and bathroom facilities. Hawksnest is a narrow, but long stretch of sand that faces east, so it will have sun in the morning and shade later in the afternoon if that’s what you are looking for. There is some “okay” snorkeling on the right side of the beach near the rocks. If you are looking to get away from the crowd a little, there is a small path on the left side of the parking lot that will take you to a small sliver of sand where you might be the only one there. That’s the spot my buddy got married back in 2009.
Brown Bay Beach
If you are like us and like to go a bit off-the-beaten-path, then you are going to love Brown Bay Beach. The best way to get to this beach is to hike to it. So there’s a good chance you are going to be the only ones there. You get there by taking the Brown Bay Trail, located just off East End Road. It’s about a 30 minute hike each way. The beach is sand and pebbles with plenty of shade. The water is a mix of sandy bottom and sea grasses, so you might see some sea turtles if you are looking to do some snorkeling. The best snorkeling can be found on the east side.
Great Cruz Bay Beach
This beautiful beach is where the Westin Resort on St. John calls home. So you know it’s going to be clean and impeccably manicured. The beach is lined with palm trees and you can enjoy the amenities of the Westin like the pool bar which serves up a pretty good rum punch and painkiller. There are water sports rentals like beach umbrellas and beach chairs available.
Cruz Bay Beach
Cruz Bay is the heart of St. John and is where you arrive via the people ferries from St. Thomas. The small town is accented by a beautiful beach which is lined with shops and restaurants. The main hub of activity on Cruz Bay Beach is Wharfside Village which is just to the right of the ferry dock if you are just arriving. You’ll find the famous Beach Bar, Joe’s Rum Hut, and Hide Tide Bar & Grill there in Wharfside. Then don’t miss DRINK, which is just past The Beach Bar, also on Cruz Bay Beach.
The beach is relatively quiet most of the day, but around happy hour and sunset, it becomes a social hotspot. While not the pristine National Park beach like we listed above, it’s still the first and last beach you’ll see during your visit to St. John USVI.
That’s all for our MUST VISIT St. John Beaches, but if you want even more of St. John’s beaches, we also did a podcast episode about out favorites. We added in a couple more, so the episode is really out Top 7 St. John Beaches! What can I say, we like to over deliver. 🙂
Best Us Virgin Islands Beaches
If you loved the best St. John beaches, then check out the best beaches in the rest of the US Virgin Islands. We have you covered. Below are links to our Best St. John Beaches, and Best St. Croix Beaches.
If you’re heading to St. John, then we highly recommend picking up a Caribbean Preferred Discount Card. It has a ton of discounts for St. John and the rest of the Caribbean. It will save you hundreds on hotels, villas, charters, tours, spas, rentals cars and shopping. Just visit CaribbeanDiscountCard.com to sign up.
Use the coupon code SALTY10 to get 10% off.
Our Recommended St. John Hotels and Villas
If you are looking for a place to stay on St. John, we can help. We always get asked what the best places to stay are for St. John and for just about every island in the Caribbean. Here is a few hotels and villas we recommend and have personally stayed in.
We know that everyone will have their own favorite beaches, so I invite you to visit our Instagram Page and either tag us in a photo to show your favorite beaches or DM us your list. Can’t wait to see what you castaways say!
Cheers and never stop exploring!
P.S. – Leaving soon? These recommended links below will help you save money and book your trip:
Grab a Caribbean Preferred Discount Card. It will save you a ton of money. It gives you access to the largest collection of island discounts & promotions. Click here to learn more.
Find our recommended Caribbean hotels, restaurants, charters, & tours here
Need something else? Check out our list of favorite companies on our resources page
We use all the companies listed here or on the resource page. By booking through these links, the small commission we earn helps us bring you more Caribbean content so that you can save money and have a better island vacation. Crystal and I greatly appreciate any support!
Just a salty pirate looking to explore and document the wonders of the Caribbean. Professional blogger, rum judge, consultant, marketer, and consumer of blue water beauty. To learn more, visit our About Us Page.