Must-See St. John Beaches

Allison Ammermuller
Must-See St. John Beaches

If you've read some of my past blogs you know I'm a seasoned St. John visitor. It's by far my favorite Caribbean destination, in most part because of their legendary beaches.

Time is precious on vacations so be sure to make the most of it. Whatever you do, do not leave St. John without experiencing these jaw-dropping, must-see St. John beaches.

Hawksnest Bay, St. John

This quaint and pristine beach is the first national park beach you hit when driving from Cruz Bay. However, the proximity to the city doesn't seem to affect the solitude, at least on weekdays. You'll find great beginners snorkeling right off the beach, which has calm, shallow waters with little current pull.

For more advanced snorkelers, the east coast offers some a larger reef, more fish, and maybe even some rays, but watch out for rocks and boat traffic!

Many visitors will be happy to know they have restrooms, changing rooms, and picnic tables, all of which are not so common among many of St. John's beaches. Be sure to get there before noon, though, because parking is limited to about 15 spots.

Maho Bay, St. John

The first appeal of Maho Bay is that it's the only north shore beach that you can drive up to directly. This sheltered bay is both calm and shallow, making it a great place to snorkel. The sea bottom has ample sea grass in some places, making it an optimal spot to possibly see a few sea turtles.

The shorelines along the northern and southern coasts of the bay also offer some great snorkeling. While you're there, be sure to check out the Maho Bay campground and the neighboring snorkel beach, Little Maho Bay. I suggest starting your day at the campground's restaurant because their pancakes are huge and delicious!

Francis Bay, St. John

Francis Bay encourages visitors to get ready for a day of action-packed snorkeling. Be sure to go early, and during the weekdays, so you can snag yourself a prime barbeque and picnic table.

As for the snorkeling, Francis Bay offers a new kind of experience. Packs of small silvery fish make Francis Bay a hot spot for predators like yellowtail snapper and barracuda. Stay still and you just might see an attack!

Also, be sure to look towards the skies as gulls and pelicans swoop down to scoop up the tiny fish as they attempt to escape their predators. Those little guys sure don't have it easy.

Cinnamon Bay

Cinnamon Bay features its own campground, gorgeous white sandy beaches, great snorkeling, and, better yet, the chance to participate in some water sports. Cinnamon Bay offers visitors snorkeling, SCUBA, windsurfing, day sails, and cocktail cruises. This quiet, relaxing beach gives you the opportunity to enjoy the thrill of water sports with the tranquility of the ocean breeze.

Cinnamon Bay is one of the only beaches that offers everything from water sports and great snorkeling, to an ample-sized beach for sun tanning. The beach is attached to a campground that is equipped with picnic tables, restrooms, a convenience store, a restaurant, and lodging, if needed. Cinnamon Bay is a great beach for making plenty of memories.

Find out where to stay while visiting these beaches in Allison's blog: Best Places to Stay in St. John.

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