Stand Up Paddleboard, aka SUP, is enjoying a huge surge in popularity. Over the last 5 or 6 years it’s gone from relative obscurity to be enjoyed by millions! So what’s behind the craze; and what makes St John such a great spot to enjoy stand up paddle boarding? Read on, and we’ll share everything with you.
Beginner to Experienced SUP, there’s a St John for you!
St John’s beaches bays and cays are as varied as their names! And each has a character that SUP riders will enjoy. From the calm waters of Maho Bay to the dramatic blue water off Lameshur Bay; there really is no better place to enjoy paddle boarding, than St John.
Beginner SUP St John Beaches
If you’re just learning to SUP or just need to dust off your sea legs – you’ll want to find a nice, calm, shallow beach to practice. Here’s our list of great beaches to learn to paddle board on St John.
Maho Bay Beach – This is our TOP PICK. The beach is close to parking; so you won’t have to lug the board very far! Just about anywhere along the beach is good. But avoid the shallow rocky areas at the extreme ends of the beach. You’ll find that most days the water and wind are calm. The beach is sandy and the water is shallow out 10 to 20 yards or more – making it the ideal spot to learn SUP.
Francis Bay – Located just around the point from Maho Bay Beach lies Francis. Like Maho, parking is close to the water. Unlike Maho, the water is a bit deeper just off the beach. But most days you’ll find calm water and relatively little wind. Another great spot to learn to stand up paddle board.
Salt Pond Bay – Located on St John’s south-eastern shore is a small bay with a crescent of white sand. It’s location and orientation to wind and waves means the bay is calm most days. The white sand beach and shallow water entry make for a terrific spot to get comfortable climbing onto the paddle board.
Little Lameshur Bay – This off the beaten path beach enjoys a parking close to the beach, a protected cove, white sand beach and shallow water. Another wonderful spot to gain some confidence on a stand up paddle board.
St John’s beaches, bays and cays are as varied as their names!
Intermediate Paddle Boarders
St John has something for you as well. From the relatively calm aqua blue waters of St John’s north shore and east end beach, to the open water experience of visiting the cays and hard to reach beaches – there’s adventure ahead! Here are our top picks for experienced paddlers.
Hawksnest Bay – with 6 named beaches to explore, this is our TOP PICK for the intermediate stand up paddle boarder. Parking at Hawksnest is fairly close to the beach. From there you can survey, from west to east, Caneel’s Hawksnest Beach, Little Hawksnest Beach, Gibney Beach, Oppenheimer Beach and a tiny pocket beach called Mermaid’s Chair. Go out around either point and you’ll see an marked increase in wind and wave height.
Cinnamon Bay – St John’s longest beach delivers plenty of aqua blue water and white sand! There’s a small cay just off the beach. Paddle west and enjoy LIttle Cinnamon Beach with the grand villas of Peter Bay dotting the hillside. Head east and around the point to explore Maho Bay and Whistling Cay. Paddle Board rentals are available at Cinnamon Bay Resort Water Sports - making this a super convenient location to get out on the water!
South Shore – From Salt Pond to Reef Bay there’s plenty of open water to challenge the more experienced paddle boarders. Winds are usually blowing from the east; and the shoreline is mostly rocky with the few beaches separated by dramatic rocky points.
Experienced paddle boarders will also enjoy St John’s East End. From Coral Bay east to Hurricane Hole and out to Haulover South and even Hansen Bay. There’s plenty to see while you get a good workout!
The popularity of SUP / stand up paddle boarding has even made it to yoga. Enjoy the serenity of yoga on the beautiful water of one of St John’s amazing beaches.
SUP yoga classes are offered by …
SolShine SUP Yoga – Call 850-371-0837 or visit: www.solshinesup.com/
Sup St John – Call Lucy at (340) 514-5527 or visit: www.sup-stjohn.com
SUP Rentals and Stand Up Paddle Board Lessons on St John
There are several water sports rental companies on St John. They vary by the types of equipment they carry, price, availability and service. Check them out …
SUP St John
Owner, Lucy, is an ISA certified SUP instructor. Her company SUP-stjohn.com offers lessons, SUP rentals, Gopro rentals, Easybreath Mask snorkel gear rentals, and they even offer led paddles for night SUP adventures! Daily / Wkly rates and complimentary delivery available.
Call (340) 514-5527 or visit: www.sup-stjohn.com/
Virgin Islands Ecotours
This kayak, hike and snorkel tour company is located on St Thomas and St John. VI Ecotours / Honeymoon Beach Hut offers a range of SUP / stand up paddle board rentals including yoga boards! They also rent Gopro cameras, snorkel gear and kayaks. Daily / Wkly rates and delivery available.
Call (340) 779-2155 or visit www.viecotours.com
Cinnamon Bay Resort Water Sports
Located along St John’s longest beach, Cinnamon Bay Beach, visitors and guests can rent everything from stand up paddle boards, kayaks, kite surfers, wind surfers and gear. Visit: http://cinnamonbayresort.com/explore/water-sports/
This St John-based tour company also rents SUPs. They offer half day, full day and weekly rates. They offer lessons as well as soft racks for your rental or delivery.
Call (340) 693-5312 or visit: http://arawakexp.com/
Perfect Spot for that 1st Drink on St John!
Every tropical destination has a beach bar; but only St John has The Beach Bar. Located on Cruz Bay harbor, about half way down the beach, is one of St John’s favorite watering holes. It’s a place where locals and visitors share stories. With thousands of devoted fans; this place makes the short list for the perfect spot for your first drink on St John. Famous for their Bushwacker and Beach Bar Painkiller they also have a great selection of local ( you read it right), domestic and foreign beers. So grab a seat at the bar. Cool drink in hand. The sounds of Caribbean waves lapping at the beach as the sun sets over St Thomas. Pure paradise!
Toes in the sand. Drink in ya’h hand!
The Beach Bar Menu
Hungry? The Beach Bar serves up some tasty eats. Our favorite appetizers are Beach Bar Nachos. Who doesn’t like nachos?!! Crabmeat Wontons with a nice Thai chili dipping sauce. Still hungry? Head over to the entrees for Flying Shrimp, lightly fried and tossed in buffalo hot sauce. Or Mix-and-Match Sliders. With a choice of BBQ Beef Brisket, Mini Burger, or Cuban shredded pork and melted Swiss cheese!
The Beach Bar Live Music
Looking for a great spot to have a cold drink and hear live music in Cruz Bay, St John? The Beach Bar has live music and entertainment almost every night! From local favorite reggae band Inner Visions to the acoustic guitar of Erin Hart to local and visiting funk, blues and rock ‘n roll musicians – you’ll find them at The Beach Bar.
Can’t Be Here?
Visit via the Beach Bar webcam. Check out what’s happening at the bar or watch the waves come in …
The Beach Bar “Catering”
Did you know that The Beach Bar offers To-Go Coolers?! They’ll prepare and pack a lunch and drinks for a day at the beach or a day on the boat!
[ Check Out Our St John Snorkeling Map at the Bottom of the Page ]
St John island is a top snorkeling destination with visitors to the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean – and for good reason. With roughly 2/3rds of the island, approx. 7,000 acres, protected by the Virgin Islands National Park and protection for the island’s coral reefs – St John offers some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving locations in the US Virgin Islands.
So what makes St John island such a snorkeler’s paradise?
First and foremost is the fact that St John’s reefs and Cays offer some of the finest shallow water snorkeling in all of the Caribbean. Easy access and relative few skills or experience are required to see some amazing marine habitats and sea life! Second, many of the top snorkeling destinations are off sandy beaches – making water entry a breeze for young and old! Third, and perhaps most important is the quality and amazing diversity of the marine life that lives within the protection of the Virgin Islands National Park. Unlike some other locations in the Caribbean, St John’s waters are teaming with colorful fish and incredible coral formations!
Check out which St John’s reefs and Cays offer some of the finest shallow water snorkeling in the Virgin Islands.
#1 Snorkeling destination on St John is Waterlemon Cay.
The Leinster Bay Trail to Waterlemon Cay leaves from the lower parking area of the Anneberg Ruins on St John’s north shore. The short hike takes you along the shoreline of the beautiful aqua-blue waters of Leinster Bay. The best spot to enter the water is along the coral rubble shoreline – nearest the little island or Cay just off shore. Snorkel out to Waterlemon Cay and you’ll likely see lots of huge red and yellow cushion starfish. WARNING: Waterlemon Cay can be subject to strong currents on the far side of the cay. Never exceed your experience and physical abilities – and ALWAYS snorkel with a buddy.
Find out more about snorkeling at Waterlemon Cay >
#2 on our top spots to snorkel on St John is Henley Cay – STAFF PICK
Henley Cay, located off St Johns North Shore and within sight of Caneel Bay Resort is a tiny island with some world-class snorkeling. Although you’ll need to kayak or charter a boat for snorkeling at Henley Cay – it’s well worth the effort! Along the protected western cove of this tiny spit of land is one of the Caribbean’s healthiest reefs. “Forests” of sea fans and gorgonians wave in rhythm to the waves and currents. Schools of blue tangs swim along side colorful parrot fish, wrasses and snappers. WARNING: Henley Cay can be subject to strong currents on the north and south sides of the cay. Never exceed your experience and physical abilities – and ALWAYS snorkel with a buddy.
Find out more about snorkeling at Henley Cay >
#3 on our top spots to snorkel on St John is Haulover North - STAFF PICK
Haulover North, located on St John’s far East End is our number two choice for snorkeling. Because of its location visitors will need to rent a Jeep/car to see this spot. Haulover is a stoney beach – not great for sunbathing …but fantastic for snorkeling! It’s a short walk from the road along a narrow island path to the beach. Entry is best at the very apex of the beach where the sand comes closest to the shore. The best snorkeling is to your left ( west) and is in 5′ to 20′ of water.
More information about snorkeling at Haulover North >
#4 Snorkeling spot on St John is Trunk Bay
St John’s most famous beach and the crown jewel of the VI National Park is a fantastic place to snorkel. With the islands only underwater snorkeling trail – it’s easy access, amenities, lifeguards and abundant marine life make this our number three choice. Trunk Beach is on the North Shore and easily reached by car or taxi. Since it is the most popular beach – crowds are largest during the middle of the day – tapering off into the afternoon.
More information about Trunk Bay and snorkeling >
#5 on our list of Top Spots to Snorkel is Hansen Bay / Vie’s Beach
This is another of the East End spots that require a rental Jeep/car to visit. But trust us, it’s worth it! Located on East End Road, past Coral Bay, you’ll come to a tree that splits the road. Just after it is Vie’s – parking is on the left. There is a nominal fee that covers parking, beach chairs and access to the beach. You’ll find a wonderful south-facing white sand beach with plenty of sun. Snorkeling is best just a short distance from shore and to your left ( east).
More information about Vie’s Beach / Hansen Bay >
St John Snorkeling Map
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Oh, how time flies in Paradise!
Tammy Donnelly, owner of 340 Real Estate Co., came to St John in 1978. She and her husband Jeff, also a long-time resident and owner of Jolly Dog stores, have lived, worked and raised a family here. She started out in retail at the Dockshop ( that should take some of you back in time!). And over the years Tammy’s worked as a restaurant manager, owner/builder and construction manager before becoming a real estate agent.
Tammys’ assistance did not end with the closing. Tammy continued her support, when ever asked, with professionalism and timeliness. – Michelle and Ron
In 2000, Tammy earned her real estate brokers license. Over the years she’s built a solid reputation among buyers and sellers on St John. She’s served on the St John Board of Realtors for seven years. Tammy served two terms as Board President. She’s a Board member of the Fish Bay Owners Association; and past President of the St John Antilles Parent’s Association.
Through the process of buying and furnishing the property, Tammy has become a good friend. She has our complete trust, and we hope to continue working with her for many years. We wholeheartedly and enthusiastically recommend Tammy Donnelly as a realtor and property manager. ” – Eric and Teresa
Today Tammy is the owner and manager of 340 Real Estate Co. She provides expert real estate representation and marketing as well as villa management services. She currently manages the following villas and island cottages - Island Fever, Coconut Retreat, Villa Bismarkia, Fish Tales and Villa Mear. Check out Tammy’s site for more details … www.340realestateco.com
For those readers interested in owning a piece of Paradise – here’s Tammy’s contact information:
340 Real Estate Co.
or email her at 340realestateco@gmail
Like most Top Caribbean Vacation Destinations, St John has many unique qualities. Its tropical latitude and its laid back attitude draws tourists to these shores. Her beautiful beaches and the protection of the Virgin Islands National Park help St John to rank among the world’s top Caribbean destinations.
So, before you get on that plane and head down here – we’d like to share a few helpful tips so that you can truly enjoy your time on St John.
St John enjoys an average Winter Temperature of 77F and averages 80 > 84F through the Spring, Summer and Fall. With the exception of Summer, you’ll usually find cooling Tradewinds that increase with the end of each day.
What to pack?
St John is a pretty casual place. Since the main activities are beaches, snorkeling, and watersports – you should pack a couple of bathing suits. Shoes? We suggest flip flops, boat shoes and perhaps a pair of sneakers or light hiking shoes. A couple of pairs of shorts and several tee shirts will get you through a vacation. If you plan to enjoy fine dining – pack something dressy but not formal. Men: kakis, a loose dress shirt and boat shoes will be fine anywhere on island. Women: Sundress or tropical kakis and blouse and you’ll be dressed for just about any restaurant.
There are plenty of places that rent snorkel gear – so unless you have your own equipment or need a prescription mask – you might find it more convenient to rent instead of pack gear.
The sun is hot and many people are traveling during winter months. Be sure to bring sun protection – lotions, hats and coverup.
Bugs, Mosquitos and Illness
Like most tropical locations, St John has its share of insects. Most are harmless unless you stand on, sit on or provoke them! Insects to watch out for are the Jack Spaniard Wasp, centipedes and spiders.
Mosquito-borne illnesses – like Dengue Fever and Chikungunya are on St John. These diseases are spread by mosquito bite. While they are rarely fatal; there is a risk associated with each of these diseases. Here’s a great resource provided by the CDC.
Will my cell phone work?
AT&T, Sprint and Verizon have coverage on St John. Each seems to be better in some locations than in others around the island. And you should consult your carrier before travel to make sure you understand that roaming charges may apply and what those rates might be.
We drive on the left side! You read correctly – we drive on the left side of the road. It’s easy to forget until you encounter a bus or safari taxi or rental Jeep coming at you!
Speed limits are low and the island’s winding roads aren’t suited for high speed. But you might encounter someone that didn’t get this memo! So always keep your eyes out for cars that cut a corner, buses and large trucks that require more room and those adorable donkeys that love to stand in the road!
This is the West Indies. The sun is hot and nobody is in a rush to do anything. It’s a part of the tropical culture. And it’s a part of what draws tourists to the island. “Island Time” means sloooooooow. So just remember why you’re here; and don’t get up tight if the line at the gas station isn’t moving very fast.
People enjoy different customs in the Virgin Islands. One of the most important is your greeting. Start any conversation with a “Good morning”, “Good afternoon” or “Good evening”. Ask if they are doing well. Then move on to your “business”, be it a question or request.
It is generally frowned upon to walk around in swimwear unless you’re on the beach.
Crime on St John
Like anywhere else there is unfortunately crime in Paradise. Unlike some Caribbean destinations, St John’s crime is predominantly theft / burglary. With that said, don’t pack expensive jewelry, watches, electronics, large sums of cash, etc. And don’t leave valuables in your rental Jeep / car. There are ATMs on both sides of the island.
Cash or Credit?
Many St John businesses prefer cash. Most take major credit cards. And there are several ATMs located around Cruz Bay and Coral Bay. Fees are general in line with Stateside fees.
There has been some credit card fraud on St John. It’s poorly documented – but it exists. To reduce the chances of loss - use a credit card and not your debit card. Check your card activity against purchases when you return home.
Well, that should do it.
You’re now armed with information that should lighten your luggage and help you be prepared for all the fun and sun you can soak up on your visit to St John and the US Virgin Islands.
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The US Virgin Islands are a world away from the hustle and bustle of Stateside life. With a history and culture that’s distinctly Caribbean; the Virgin Islands really are more like visiting another country.
The US territory of the Virgin Islands is made up of St Croix, St Thomas and St John. Each island has its own unique charms and character. Little St John is largely undeveloped – with the VI National Park protecting over 2/3rds of the island and surrounding reefs! So come discover the unique charms of St John with our TOP 10 List of must – see activities!
Top 10 Must – Do List
for St John Virgin Islands
#1 on our list has to be Trunk Bay St John!
Trunk Bay is the most popular beach and most photographed beach in the Virgin Islands. Wonderful white sand, aqua blue waters, majestic coconut palms and an Underwater Snorkeling Trail secure it our top spot among St John beaches !
Factoid: The National Geographic Society labeled it the most beautiful beach in the world.
#2 Swim with a sea turtle.
There’s nothing like swimming with one of these amazing creatures! The best spots to see a turtle are Maho Beach, Francis Bay, Saltpond Bay and Waterlemon Cay.
Factoid: Green Sea Turtles eat mostly sea grasses and algae and can live up to 80 to 100 years.
#3 Enjoy a tropical drink.
Vacation means relaxing with a cold island libation! We recommend a Virgin Island’s favorite Painkiller or Bushwacker or a Lime’n a Coconut or tropical Margarita. Best served at one of the island’s beach bars! We recommend you try The Beach Bar, Joe’s Rum Hut, Motu and High Tide Bar & Grill. They all share wonderful views of Cruz Bay harbor. Or look for St John’s only floating bar, Angel’s Rest. Capt Pete is usually anchored up in Hansen Bay!
Factoid: Reputation has it that the original Painkiller® was created in the 1970s at the Soggy Dollar Bar at White Bay on the island of Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands.
#4 Kayak or SUP.
St John is largely undeveloped. To put some perspective on it get out on the water and discover St John the way the earliest settlers did. By sea. There are several great kayak rental and ecotour operations on St John. Check out our ecoutours and watersports listings for recommendations.
Factoid: The US purchased St John, St Thomas and St Croix from the Dutch in 1917 for $25 million in gold.
#5 Hike and snorkel Waterlemon Cay.
If you do and see nothing else …Waterlemon Cay has it all … ruins, hiking, snorkeling and a good chance to see a sea turtle …all in one excursion! NOTE: the Cay can be subject to strong currents. Always snorkel with a buddy and never exceed your level of experience or physical conditioning.
Factoid: At its peak in the early 1800s the Annaberg Plantation produced over 300 gallons of sugar cane juice per hour!
#6 Ram Head Trail hike.
The trail begins at one of the most popular beaches on St John, Saltpond Bay. The hike to the top of Ram Head is strenuous – so bring water and try to go early in the morning. The view from the top is of St John’s rugged southern shoreline. Stunning. And you can add a short hike to Drunk Bay to see the many stone and coral sculptures that dot the rocky shoreline.
Factoid: This 1.0 mi. trail takes you to 200 feet above sea level.
#7 Shopping at Mongoose Junction.
Enjoy duty-free shopping at over 3 dozen shops, galleries and restaurants all set amid beautiful Caribbean-style stone architecture! We recommend an ice cold beer at St John Brewer’s Tap Room, a wonderful dinner at Virgin Fire Restaurant or a quick bite at Deli Grotto. And don’t miss the amazing arts and crafts galleries with stunning fine jewelry!
Factoid: Mongoose Junction started out with just 5 stores including R&I Patton Goldsmithing ( still in business and located on the main level)!
#8 Rent a Jeep and see the island.
The only way to really see St John is by renting a 4×4 vehicle. The island is 9 miles of twisting and turning roads; with scenic overlooks dotting much of North Shore Road. So get out and explore!
Factoid: Originally called the “GP”, short for General Purpose military vehicle. In the late 1940’s the cartoon character Popeye poked fun at it, calling it a “Jeep” and the same stuck.
#9 Skinny Legs – famous bar and grill.
It’s the fate of every popular spot. With fame comes “touristy”; but no worries, they still deliver their burgers with the famous “same day service” that made them famous!
Factoid: Opened in 1991, the Skinny Legs logo was modeled after the founders, Moe Chabuz and Doug Sica, own legs.
#10 Brunch at Miss Lucy’s.
This off-the-beaten-path restaurant is located right on the cobblestone beach of Friis Bay. Their brunch is almost as famous as their Full Moon Parties!
Factoid: The moon’s distance from Earth increases by 3.8 cm each year. Scientists theorize that the moon started just 14,000 miles from the planet. That distance has increased to over 230,000 miles!
Are You Reef Friendly?
Each year millions of people travel to the US Virgin Islands on vacation. And one of the top vacation activities is snorkeling our world-class shallow reefs. But all of that human traffic can have a negative impact on coral, fish and marine eco systems. So, here are few snorkeling tips to help you enjoy these wonderful experiences; while minimizing your effect on sensitive marine life, coral reefs and sea grass beds.
#1 – DON’T STAND ON CORAL. Standing on or inadvertently kicking coral can kill decades of coral growth. Adjust your mask and snorkel BEFORE you go out. Use a commercial anti-fogging agent or spit method to reduce fogging. And if you get tired or need to adjust your equipment – find a shallow sandy spot to put your feet/fins down. If you are a poor swimmer or just enjoy a more relaxed adventure – consider wearing a life jacket or other floatation.
#2 – AVOID SHALLOW AREAS. Coral is home to millions of bacteria and stinging coral cells. Even minor contact can leave you with cuts, scrapes and a nasty infection or stinging “burn”. In addition to being painful, these toxins can even induce an allergic reaction in some people.
#3 – SEA TURTLES – They are amazing creatures; but avoid the temptation to touch them or ride them. If you stay motionless they will actual go back to feeding and you can watch them for hours!
#4 – AVOID COLLECT SOUVENIRS. The coral, starfish and shells you find are an integral part of the eco system. Shells are reused by other creatures for protection. The calcium and minerals of dead coral dissolve and are used by living coral to build the reef.
#5 – DON’T FEED FISH – It alters their natural feeding habits, diet and can help you and others avoid potential injury from aggressive feeding.
#6 – SEA GRASS BEDS – In many places it is illegal to damage sea grass beds. They are an important marine eco system . Sea turtles, conch and fish rely on the grasses for food. They also act as a nursery for many small fish, larval coral and crustaceans.
#7 – POLLUTION – Be sensitive to your “chemical impact” on marine life and aquatic plants. Retrieve plastic bags and bottles that blow into the water. Not only do they take many years to degrade; but countless creatures die each year because they mistake the plastic for food. Never discharge human waste or bilge water into the sea. And take care not to spill fuels, oils, lotions or other chemical contaminants.
#8 – USE CAUTION – When it comes to snorkeling, know your physical limitations and experience level and NEVER exceed them. Always snorkel with a buddy. Check local weather conditions, currents and surf advisories.
Snorkeling is a wonderful way to discover the amazing world beneath the waves while on vacation. And with a bit of care we can all experience the beauty and diversity of marine life that lives and depends on the coral reefs and sea grasses for their existence.
Discover St John’s TOP SNORKELING DESTINATIONS
Check out our ST JOHN SNORKELING MAP
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Whether a seasoned St John visitor or new, and ready to discover the Island’s charms, the villa Bismarkia is a fantastic choice for accommodations. This luxury 2 bedroom, 2 bath villa is sure to impress. From the stately entrance to the island stonework …from the tropical landscaping to the relaxing pool area. Bismarkia is the ultimate island retreat.
After snorkeling, hiking or exploring we enjoyed coming “home” and relaxing by the pool. In fact, some days we never left the house. It was so peaceful to listen to the birds and wind through the palms – and watch the deer when they made their daily late day visit. – SL
Located in Fish Bay, Bismarkia sits between Fish Bay to the west and Reef Bay to the east. Far enough from the hustle and bustle of Cruz Bay. Yet just a 15 minute drive in to town for dinner, shopping and the Island’s ferry dock.
Enjoy over 3,300 sq’ of sophisticated yet comfortably modern island decor. Dark woods give way to cream colored walls reflected across the travertine flooring. A gourmet kitchen will delight guests …even if you never put the Bosch appliance to a proper test! A generous living room is the perfect place to socialize or just kick back and read a book. The living room seats 6 and is the perfect spot to enjoy a home cooked meal or invite in one of St John’s private chefs for an evening of food, wine and conversation that will be a lasting memory.
Named for the beautiful Bismarckia Blue Palms that dot the property, the villa embodies all that is its namesake.
With two bedrooms and two baths, Bismarkia comfortably sleeps four. The villa is equipped with central air conditioning, ceiling fans, satellite TV, wifi, outdoor grill, spa and private pool. Children are welcome.
After a day at the beach, gather around the 15′ x 24′ pool and enjoy a cool island drink. Lounge chairs and umbrella seating provide a welcome spot to soak up the sun or relax in the shade. Splash in the pool under the watchful eye of the resident mermaid statue. Or let the water cool you as you take in the garden view!
RATE INFORMATION & AVAILABILITY
Visit Bismarkia’s VRBO Listing
or contact Tammy Donnelly at (340) 779-4478
Disclosure: We received compensation for this article and its timing. As a for-profit company in a niche travel destination, we sometimes review local businesses that are also advertisers on our site. When we bring you items of interest, written by us, with editorial rights given to the featured advertiser you’ll see this disclosure. We do not receive commissions.
Want to know what guests had to say about Bismarkia?
Here’s a selection of testimonials. Or click to view all the VRBO testimonials of Bismarkia guests.
I started looking at villas and fell in love with Bismarkia on sight. The furniture and design were very much our style. I looked no further and immediately scheduled our week.- The Marshalls / AZ
After snorkeling, hiking or exploring we enjoyed coming “home” and relaxing by the pool. In fact, some days we never left the house. It was so peaceful to listen to the birds and wind through the palms – and watch the deer when they made their daily late day visit. – S&L / NC
The house was fabulous. You can see from the pictures what a serene setting it is. The pool and hot tub were great… – Kate / AL
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Where: Mongoose Junction, Cruz Bay
Hours: Open daily from 9am – 11pm
Big kid or small, everybody loves ice cream! So where can you get ice cream on St John? The answer is simple …Scoops!
Located on the eastern end of Mongoose Junction in Cruz Bay, is a tiny shop that puts out some HUGE flavor! So lets check d’em out.
WOW! Adult Flavor – Stoli Orange Creamsicle!
Because these sweet concoctions are hand-made each day – flavors change almost daily! On our visit there were some old favorites and some really interesting island-inspired choices. We tried the Vanilla Bean. Full disclosure: I’m a vanilla snob. Scoops vanilla bean was sweet but not overly sweet with a really nice “real-vanilla” flavor! I would get that one again! My friend tried an adult-flavor Stoli Creamsicle. Mmmmm, another great choice! The taste of your childhood-favorite orange creamsicle with a tingly sensation of alcohol! Another round bartender …I mean ice cream lady ; )
Not in the mood for ice cream? Scoops also creates incredible raw superfood smoothies, hot and iced coffee and green tea and salt water taffy!
They post their flavors on their Facebook Page. Check it out here > Scoops Ice Cream Flavors
Ever heard of Cololoba Beach, Limetree Cove or Mermaid’s Chair?
If you haven’t … no worries. You’re not alone. Discover these and other “secret” beaches of St John. Some are surprisingly easy to get to. While others present a bit more of a challenge! Happy beaching!
Here’s our map of St John’s “Secret Beaches”
It’s no wonder that St John’s beaches are more popular every year. As travelers bring their stories, pictures and videos back home – others are inspired to make St John their next vacation destination. But all of that popularity comes at a price and that price can be crowds. During high season St John’s top beaches like Trunk Bay beach, Cinnamon Bay and Caneel Bay see large numbers of visitors. Some are staying on island while others are cruising the Caribbean and come over from St Thomas for the day. For most of us “sharing” a beautiful beach is no problem; but for some … they seek the private adventure of a secluded beach. And St John has several destinations … so pack a lunch and set out for a day at the beach …
St John Secluded Beaches: An interactive and mobile-friendly Google Map
North Shore Beaches
It’s tough to hide a beach on the North Shore! That said, the following North Shore Beaches aren’t on everybody’s beach radar. And with world-class beaches like Trunk and Cinnamon drawing most of the attention; these beaches go relatively unnoticed! So if you’re looking for a spot away from the crowds – give one of these gems a try! We can’t promise you’ll be alone …but you just might be …!
Mermaid’s Chair Beach
This secluded St John beach is well know by the local charter captains but rarely visited by anybody else. One of the reasons – it’s tough to get to by any other means than a boat. But for the adventurous, just snorkel/swim/kayak to the east side of Hawksnest Bay. About 200 yards from the beach at Oppenheimer, along the eastern shoreline, is a gem of a pocket beach. Mermaid’s Chair Beach is tiny – perhaps 25′ wide with soft white sand. NOTE: It does get shade in the first half of the day – and the beach is very narrow at high tide.
Little Cinnamon Beach
lies to the west of Cinnamon Bay beach. It’s best reached by going west along the Cinnamon Bay beach. At the end you’ll pick up a narrow trail that leads to Little Cinnamon Beach. Snorkelers will enjoy searching for the sunken airplane that’s just off the eastern section of the beach.
Little Hawksnest Beach
lies to the left of the popular beach at Hawknest Bay. A short hike through the thicket to the left of the parking area brings you to a little pocket beach. Most travelers don’t even know it’s there. The path isn’t the easiest since it will require you to navigate across some sharp rocks and stones. But just take your time and plant each foot carefully. No rush. You’ll get there in no time. Stake out your spot and enjoy!
lies between Big Maho and Francis Bay Beach on St John’s North Shore. You can swim/snorkel, take a dinghy or hike down from the former Maho Bay Campgrounds. This little crescent of beach gets plenty of shade – but does provide a bit of easy-to-get-to adventure if you’re tired of the crowds at Maho or Francis Beaches.
East End Beaches
located in Hurricane Hole just past Coral Bay. you’ll need a kayak to get to the couple of sandy beaches that line Whitesand Bay. Enter where the mangroves meet East End Road. Head out and back to the west ( toward Coral Bay and Fortsberg). Just around the first point you’ll see several narrow sandy beaches. Wonderful spots to grab some beach time away from the more crowded beaches of the North Shore.
located on St John’s East End is Limetree Cove. You can reach it from Haulover South or Vie’s Hansen Bay Beach by kayak. There are several small pocket beaches; but the only sandy beach lies right in the middle of the cove. Because the properties surrounding the cove are private – you’ll have to swim/snorkel/kayak to this little gem! No worries about the little cottage right above the beach – you are free to use the beach right up to the high water mark ( where the vegetation starts) throughout the US Virgin Islands.
while not technically the East End of St John, Mennebeck Bay is really only accessible via the East End. Located just west of Haulover North, this rugged coast is lined with treacherous coral reefs and high surf. If you’re looking for the ultimate adventure location, Mennebeck would be on the short list. It does have a sandy beach; but only a narrow bit of sandy access to the water! Lots of current, steep access and a nearly impossible spot to anchor make this one of the few places we don’t recommend visiting!
South Shore Beaches
Located between Fish Bay and Reef Bay is a “best kept secret” among residents here. For the adventurous, you’ll discover a secluded sandy beach with dramatic waves and a small cay, Cololoba Cay, just off shore. It’s not a good swimming beach because of rocks, surf and urchins,; but a decent snorkel and a wonderful spot to enjoy St John all to yourself. Check out this off-the-beaten-path location on Flash Earth before deciding to make the trek … Map of Cololoba Beach, St John or reference our Secluded Beaches of St John Map [ above or via the link].
Looking for a breathtakingly-rugged spot that’s doesn’t get crowds? Then this off-the-beaten-path “beach” might be right for you. But first you should know, the beach is cobblestone and coral, requires a 4X4 drive and hike and the bay can be subject to rough waves. Still reading? Then Europa awaits you. Pack a lunch and drinks and make a day of it. Snorkeling is best toward the eastern shoreline.
lies just west of Salt Pond. It’s “beach” is pebble and stone – but it’s a great spot to spend a secluded day. Snorkeling is best along the western shoreline ( right) and treats snorkelers to dramatic structure, arches and caves teaming with fish and corals. Kiddel is reached by taking the first left after Salt Pond and then bearing left at the fork in the road. There are villas out here but this is definitely a 4×4 kind of adventure!
a couple of bays west of the ever popular Salt Pond Bay lies Grootpan Bay. It’s reached by taking the left just after Salt Pond. The road itself is narrow and poorly maintained – but well worth the trip. The beach at Grootpan is sand turning to pebble the farther you go from the parking. The water is beautiful and the bay is surrounded by a dramatic windswept landscape.
For the more adventurous ( and physically fit ) there’s Genti Bay. You’ll need to arrive by sea or, as is more common, hike the Reef Bay Trail. The beach is white sand but the water is a mix of coral and sea grasses. Take great care when entering the water. We recommend watersocks!
Another remote beach that is for the adventurous! Parrot Bay has a white sand beach and some wonderfully private spots for sunbathing. However, the water is shallow with a strong surf break just off shore. We do not recommend swimming or snorkeling here. Just soak up some sun and pretend you have the island to your self!