St John is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world; these are the beaches you see in postcards. All beaches in St John are open to the public. Not to be missed are the world renowned St John North Shore beaches such as Honeymoon Beach, Maho Bay and Trunk Bay.
Trunk Bay Beach is St John’s most popular, most photographed and most visited beach. Trunk Bay is arguably the most beautiful beach on St John; if not all of the Caribbean! It is a must-see on many visitor’s STJ Bucket List. In fact, it’s so beautiful that cruise ship visitors to St Thomas will make the trek by shuttle and ferry and taxi to spend a few hours enjoying everything that makes Trunk Bay famous! Trunk Bay has it all. Guests can enjoy white sand, towering palms, crystal clear water and the Underwater Snorkeling Trail.
Snorkeling is best just off the center of the beach around Trunk Cay. Keep an eye out for brain corals, seafans, gorgonians, Blue Bell Tunicate corals, and a large variety of tropical fish including French Angelfish, Yellowtail Snapper, Puddingwife Wrasse, Blueheaded Wrasse, Jeweled Damsels, Queen Triggerfish, Blue Runners and Beau Gregory Damsels.
Maho Bay Beach is on everybody’s favorite beach list. Maho is convenient – sitting right along North Shore Road. Families love
the convenience, of unloading coolers, chairs, snorkel gear and kids floaties right on the beach. There are bathrooms, grills and covered pavilion with picnic tables on the western end of the beach. The beach is narrow and lined with towering coconut palms and seagrape trees for shade. The water is sandy bottomed and shallow, making it a great spot for younger kids and parents with floats. Parking is plentiful by St John standards with marked parking areas by the pavilions and a larger lot at the eastern end of the beach.
Snorkeling at Maho Bay Beach is one of the reasons people love this location, the seagrass beds that are about 30 yards off the beach are a great place to see sea turtles, rays, conch and tarpon. In fact, Maho is the #1 recommendation for anybody that wants a chance to swim with a sea turtle on St John. Avid snorkelers will want to head towards the eastern and western shorelines. Here you’ll find thin patch reefs that are home to a good selection of hard and soft corals and a dizzying collection of tropical fish species.
Gibney Beach is one of St John’s true treasures. With its off-the-map location and limited parking, this beach sees fewer visitors than many other North Shore beaches. Although it does require a short hike, the destination is well worth the effort required.
The beach is wonderful white sand with a backdrop of well-established coconut palms and a shallow sandy bottom entry to the water. Enjoy the escape from the sun during winter months by pulling back beneath the shade of the palms.During the summer months there is less shade on the beach.Surf conditions vary greatly at Gibney Beach. Although the beach is fairly protected, north shore winds and swells will sometimes make Gibney a dramatic spot with waves reaching the highest points of the beach! Check from the North Shore overlook heading west to gauge the surf and beach conditions.
Hawksnest Beach is part of Hawksnest Bay along with Little Hawksnest Beach, Oppenheimer Beach, Gibney Beach and Mermaid’s Chair. Hawksnest has plenty of parking, soft sand, a stunning shoreline and plenty of shade under the sea grapes that line the water. Depending on the tide, Hawksnest can have a very narrow beach.
Hawksnest isn’t as protected as other beaches so may have a bit of surf. Because of the exposure to the tide and currents, Hawksnest is not the best beach for snorkeling.
Salomon Bay Beach and Honeymoon Beach are two of the best beaches on St John with beautiful sugar white sand, aqua water and an off-the-beaten-path location. Getting there is either a short hike via the Lind Point Trail from the National Park Visitor’s Center on the eastern side of Great Cruz Bay or a Zodiac ride from the ferry terminal or about a 1 mile hike to Salomon Bay beach. At the “Y” take the path to the left. The hike is not particularly challenging and has several sightseeing spots. At the far end of the beach the trail continues to Honeymoon Beach where Vi Eco Tours has a watersports shack featuring stand up paddle boards, kayaks, floats, beach chair, hammocks, snorkel gear and lockers. Here you will also find Bikinis on the Beach snackbar featuring sandwiches, wraps, salads and Caribbean cocktails.VI eco Tours also features a Zodiac shuttle from Cruz Bay which can be booked on their website - Zodiac
Salomon Beach has some of the best snorkeling on St John, the patch reef that separates Salomon beach and Honeymoon beach features a wide variety of colorful fish and corals in shallow water ( 5′ > 20′ ). Schools of French Grunts congregate around coral heads while Blue Runners pace along the shoreline. Because of the location – this area gets a fair amount of boat traffic. Stay close to shore and within the protected swimming area. Snorkeling at Honeymoon Beach is best on the eastern and western ends of the beach. Along the shoreline that connects to Caneel Bay you’ll find huge schools of Sergeant Major Damsels, wrasse, French Angelfish, sea turtles, rays and a wide variety of hard and soft corals. Just off the center of the beach is a good spot to see a sea turtle.
To read more about St John beaches follow this link - St John Beaches