Top 10 Things to See and Do
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!