Beaches

Salomon Bay

Amazing white sugar sand and rarely busy, Salomon Bay beach is the western most beach on the north shore of St. John. You can hike the Lind Point trail just past Mongoose Junction by hiking about a mile uphill and taking the left hand path at the fork. You can continue on to Honeymoon Beach and can also reach Salomon by parking at Caneel entrance, getting a ride to Honeymoon, and hiking west.

Reef Bay Beach

Technically just 2 bay away from Great Expectations, Reef Bay is the water east of Fish Bay on the other side of Ditleff Point. Reef Bay Beach can be gotten to by boat or alternatively by connecting into the Reef Bay Trail either of Centerline Road or from hiking across west from Little Lameshur. This long stretch of sand rarely has anyone on it, except for those hiking down from the Sugar Mill and Petroglyph ruins.

Looking for some moderate exercise, followed by a swim, and a ride back to the villa with a few cold drinks - get a ride to the top head of the Reef Bay Trail (or leave a vehicle there), hike down the trail, then hire Yellow Bird Charters to come pick you up, cold drinks and snacks in the cooler, for a sunset cruise that puts you back in Chocolate Hole only a short walk or drive up to Great Expectations

Scott Beach

Located out on the western side of the Caneel Bay peninsula, Scott Beach is a wide stretch of white sand with the remains of 5 lodging structures on it. Since Hurricane Irma blew through in September of 2017, the housing has been in disrepair, but the beach is pristine. Rent a Whaler from Ocean Runner USVI and tool over to the north shore - and spend a half day (or more) sitting on an amazing deserted beach.

Frank Bay

Frank Bay is a cute small beach a short walk out of Cruz Bay past Grande Bay and Gallows Point. There are a few spots to park your car and even a small art gallery just across the road. Frank Bay is a perfect spot to just sit, jump in the water for a few minutes, or bring a beverage and watch the sunset - 99 times out of 100 you’ll be all by yourself.

Brown Bay

A 20 minute hike from the main road to find this sandy spit of beach. The trail path goes up hill and then over the crest and then down hill for another 10 minutes or so to the water’s edge.  You should be able to find a shady place to rest along the sandy and pebbly shoreline. Chances are pretty good that you will be able to enjoy the beach in privacy.

You will find decent snorkeling along the eastern side of the bay.  If you have energy left for more exploring look for the ruins on the western side of the beach.

Hansen Bay (Vies Beach)

Located right next to the former Vie’s Snack Shack, Hansen Beach is a wonderful spot to get away from it all.  Check out this photo by St John beach guide to really appreciate how wonderful a spot this is. For a small fee of $3, they offers parking and a beach chair.  Hansen Bay has the soft white silky sand that St John is known for. It also has a very easy and shallow entrance so it is a good option for the little ones or those who are not great swimmers. Most days it also offers lots of protection from big waves but, make sure you bring lots of sunscreen as there is one large area with shade up near the picnic tables.

Often moored off the beach is the new floating taco bar Lime Out. Due to safety concerns they do not let you swim out, but there are plenty of kayaks and SUPS for rent on the beach.

Because this is a private beach, there are some other fun things: pickup barbecues on some Sundays and dogs are allowed (always on their leash).

Cruz Bay

The beach located in front of Cruz Bay’s Wharfside Village commercial area is home to many moored charter boats, deck chairs, The Terrace, Banana Deck, The Beach Bar dinner seating, Dr!nk & Rum Hut bar seating, High Tide, not to mention a whole lot of nighttime hanging around. As of Jul 11, 2019, Beach Bar & Rum Hut are still not completed.

Not really meant for swimming and sunning, but you’re in the islands – do what you have to do!  It is the happenin’ place to be if you want to enjoy sunsets with other like minded limin’ people many of whom will be roaming the beach and visiting some of the many shops or restaurants which line the harbor.

Cruz Bay harbor is the main people ferry dock that can take you to St. Thomas and the BVIs.  The northern section of Cruz Bay harbor is home to the Virgin Islands National Park offices and is where the water taxis load and unload their passengers.

Cruz Bay is also home to The Battery which is where you will find many of the USVI government offices and the US Customs office (where you will arrive when coming from the British Virgin Islands), which is currently under renovations.

Cinnamon Bay

Cinnamon Bay is another National Park beach with multiple services (like Trunk Bay) including fixed tent and adobe camping and a full-service restaurant. There is plenty of parking and a complete water sport rental shop on the beach for everything from snorkel gear to paddle boards.

Cinnamon Bay beach is wide providing lots of opportunity for building sand castles and playing frisbee. There are also plenty of places to find a shady spot, if that is your preference. Good snorkeling can be found at both ends of the beach as well as out around the island off the beach.  As with virtually all the National Park beaches, Cinnamon is a wonderful spot for the little ones who are just learning to swim. The shallow entrance, silky sand, and clear, clear water allow for people to see fish while still in very shallow waters.

The Cinnamon Bay self-guided trail offers boardwalk access which meanders through the historic ruins. You can find the trail entrance located across from the exit gate of the Cinnamon Bay Campground.  There is great wildlife to be found as well as ruins left by the Danish settlers which can be seen along the trails, including the ruins of the original Cinnamon Bay sugar mill.

Taxis are readily available to transport people to and from Cruz Bay.

NOTE: Since the hurricanes of 2017, the services at Cinnamon Bay are limited. There is no fixed building camping and limited tent space camping.

Denis Beach

Locals sometimes referred to Denis as Secret Beach as it is primarily accessed through an small parking lot marked “Peace Hill Trail” off of the North Shore Road and requires a hike down a 300+’ trail (and a hike up when returning to your vehicle). Denis Beach lies in front of a couple of private residences and, while it is a great spot to just relax and be alone, make sure you respect the neighbors.

Easy access and silky white sand are wonderful attributes of Denis Beach, however, because of our prevailing winds you might find some high surf and waves.  The snorkeling is reputed to be good especially on both ends of the beach as well as the rocky coral outcroppings/

Because of the limited parking you might well have the beach to yourself to enjoy.

Europa Bay

Europa Bay, located on the southeastern side of St John, is best accessed via the Lameshur Trail.  You will arrive at Europa Bay beach after trekking about 20 minutes from the Trail (at the westernmost end of Little Lameshur Bay Beach).  Once there, you will be glad you made the effort for the views are spectacular.  Be aware that while the beach is fairly sandy you will also find sea urchins.

Gibney Beach (Oppenheimer)

Home to the famous Oppenheimer house and many weddings/private parties, Gibney Beach (Oppenheimer) is a small beach with very limited parking (room for 3-4 parallel jeeps) on one side of the driveway in front of the wrought iron gate. Famous for not only its previous scientist owner, but also the small concrete building that is now owned by the government and can be rented for wedding reception or other functions. The beach is fairly small but can be a nice break from some of the busier areas and not a very long drive from Cruz Bay.

Technically, the western beach is the original Gibney family beach and the eastern portion in front of the pavilion Oppenheimer (sold to him by the Gibneys decades ago).

During the summer months it is harder to find a shady spot.

We had our wedding & reception as well as 10th anniversary dinner here in 2002 and 2012.

Little Maho Bay

Just around Maho Point, this beach used to be accessible through the Maho Eco-tent camping area but now can really only be gotten to by boat or by swimming/snorkeling around the point from Maho Bay or down the shore from Francis Bay.

If you want to enjoy a nice snorkel alone or with your partner, then sit quietly in the sand on a beach with no other humans, this is the place to do it. Park at Maho Bay, find a spot for your chairs and cooler, then snorkel around to Maho Point to the north or ‘right’ when standing on the beach.