The Top 3 Beaches of US Virgin Islands National Park
Beaches at a National Park? Say it ain't so! The US Virgin Islands National Park offers a unique park experience that is unlike any of the national parks within the states. This Park preserves about 60% of the land area of St. John USVI, as well as more than 5,500 acres of adjacent ocean, and nearly all of Hassel Island. The Park is well-known for scuba diving, snorkeling, hiking through tropical rainforest and its beaches! Since St. John has so many beaches and you may not have time to visit them all, we are here to help break down our top 3 beaches of the island.
At Number 3, we have Trunk Bay Beach which is the most famous beach on the island as well as one of the most photographed in all the US Virgin Islands. The beach consists of over a quarter mile of beautiful white sand, making it a masterpiece of the National Park Service. Trunk Bay is the only beach within the park system on the island that requires an entrance fee of $5.00 per person. This beach is also home to the self-guided Underwater Snorkeling Trail, which gifts you with underwater information on plaques about coral formations and sea life. Popular sees include clusters of Blue Bell Tunicate Corals, Arrow Crabs, and Juvenile Spotted Drum. Facilities at the beach include a snack bar/grill, snorkel gear rental, beach chair rental, and showers, and restrooms. So what makes this beach number 3? The beach offers very little reprieve from the sun and gets a fair number of visitors, making parking a challenge. Don't let the crowds steer you away from visiting Trunk Bay Beach as it is still a must for anyone visiting St. John.
At Number 2, we have Cinnamon Bay Beach, which is the longest beach on the island at over ½ mile of white, sandy beaches. This beach is typically home to the Cinnamon Bay Campground, which is the only established campground on the island, however, as of our 2021 trip, it was still being rebuilt after Irma. Facilities on Cinnamon Bay were also being rebuilt during our trip and typically consist of a snack ship, showers, restrooms, and a small souvenir shop. What makes this beach so great is the size and snorkeling. Since it is one of the largest beaches on the island, there is plenty of room the spread out as well as plenty of shade along the tree line. In terms of snorkeling, there is a small cay located less than 100 yards from shore. Here you will find coral, sea grasses and sea life along with the occasional turtle and stingray. Once you are done with the beach, you can walk across the road and meander through the historic ruins of the Cinnamon Bay Sugar Plantation. There is a ½ mile easy trail through the ruins and a more strenuous 1-mile Cinnamon Bay Trail, which begins at the ruins and takes you up hill to the remains of the plantation house known as the American Hill. While the beach was great, my favorite part was the ruins as I am a history buff and they were built by Danish Settlers, which is the ancestry on my mom's side of the family.
Finally, at Number 1, we have Maho Bay Beach, which has been voted Visitor's Favorite Beach and we liked it so much we visited twice. Maho is home to white sandy beaches, coconut palms, a light surf and shallow entry. The narrow beach offers plenty of shade and sun, which is perfect for the fair skinned people in your group. This beach is the number one recommended beach to snorkel with sea turtles and string rays as they feed off the seagrass right below the water. When snorkeling with sea life, please remember to respect their space and no touching as it is illegal to touch the sea life in St. John. Maho is also home to some great amenities! Across the road is a snack shack, paddle board rental, local art vendor with the trademark St. John fishhook bracelets, a gift shop, a bar, yard games, and a food truck with some of the best lobster rolls on the island. At the bar, you can treat yourself to the island drink, the painkiller, which consists of rum, cream of coconut, pineapple juice, orange juice, and grated nutmeg on top. Maho is a popular place for sailors to dock their boats due to the calm waters of the bay. We personally liked seeing all the boats come in and out, however, some people believe it interferes with the natural scenery.
Well, there you have it! AniGraham Travels top 3 beaches of Virgin Islands National Park. What are you waiting for? It is time to get planning!