A full service catering company and private chef service that has catered dinners at Great Expectations for years, Mat Vacharat and his team do a wonderful sunset dinner for 2, a complete villa dinner for the entire family or the entire wedding reception.
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.
Beautiful foliage, great snorkeling and easy to access with plenty of parking, Hawksnest Beach is convenient and fun – but it can get busy when there is significant cruise ship traffic on St. Thomas. Hawksnest also has picnic tables for having a beach side snack or romantic evening picnic.
Hawksnest beach is one of the most popular and romantic on St John.
Carrie and I particularly like the west end which has some old smooth coral rocks directly in front in the water, but is much quieter (usually no one) and can be accessed from a path at the very west edge of the parking lot.
Located just a short 5 minute hike downhill from Great Expectations, Hart Bay is one of the southern shores little secret beaches. Not only is it one heck of a place to be for a sunrise, but it has multiple great snorkeling locations out toward the point and around the rock formations in the bay. One has to be careful entering the water, though, since there is a significant amount of coral (and sea urchins) close to the water’s edge so the best time to snorkel Hart Bay is when the prevailing winds are low. Often you will see St John Dive boats out around the rock formation with groups of people diving. We particularly like to roam the beach looking for shells and coral. It is one of the best shell collecting areas on St John!
If you are a hiker there is a great ‘hiking loop’ from Great Expectations along Bouvecoup Road to Iguana Road’s end where you will find a ‘Hart Bay Trail’ sign which will take you along a 10 minute walk past a salt pond. The trail ends at the north side of Hart Bay beach. Walk 3/4 way along the beach to the path on the southern end of the beach (it is sometimes hard to find so look carefully for the path) which will lead you up to Bouvecoup Road. Turn right on Bouvecoup Road and follow it until you get to Croton Road which will lead you back to Great Expectations where you should immediately jump into the pool to relax!
Laura Samms (our favorite!), owner of Passion Fruit Chefs, and her crew can create a personalized menu for your villa, party, rehearsal dinner and wedding. They can also drop off simple Caribbean-style meals or create a lavish setup and bar for a dinner party at Great Expectations. Her repeat business is a testament to how much her customers enjoy her meals, service, and the overall experience. Time and again we hear that the meals served by Laura and her team are the “highlight of our trip“, “the very best meals we had on St John“, and “Laura, you truly made our vacation a dream vacation.”
Turquoise water protected from boat traffic by buoys, Trunk Bay is actively managed by the National Parks Service and includes shower & bathroom facilities, food & drink (blended drinks and beer too!), as well as rental equipment. The bay is home to Trunk Cay (small island) that marks the Coral Reef Underwater Park Trail.
Trunk Bay with its Underwater Trail is a great place especially for beginners and anyone who wants to learn about St John's marine life. The Underwater Trail has clearly labeled plaques along the trail which label the different types of coral as well as the multitude of fish that live in our waters. The trail is located on the left side of the cay (as you face the water from the beach) and extends about 300' along the cay.
Many guests love this beach for both the facilities and the different options including sunbathing, body surfing, swimming, and vast snorkeling.
Reminder: This is a paid access beach. National Park Rates for Trunk Baystart at $5/person per day.