Our Favorite Five Beaches for Swimming in St. John

Our Favorite Five Beaches for Swimming in St. John


There are 30+ official beaches in St. John of the U.S. Virgin Islands and not a bad one in the bunch. The island is known for its soft white sand, crystalline waters, and glorious weather. You could easily visit every beach on the small island, or you could pick a favorite and go back day after day. We’ve compiled a list of five of our favorite St. John beaches to get you started.

Trunk Bay

Trunk Bay is easily the most photographed and best-known beach on the island. This beach is actively managed by the National Park Service and includes shower and bathroom facilities, food and drink options, and water toys for rent. It’s also one of the only beaches on the island where you’ll have to pay a fee — only $5 — but it’s worth it. The turquoise waters are perfect for swimming since there’s no boat traffic. If you feel adventurous, explore the Coral Reef Underwater Park Trail to learn about the island’s marine life.

Cinnamon Bay

This beach, made famous by country crooner Kenny Chesney, has impossibly clear blue water and miles of soft white sand. Like Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay is managed by the National Park Service, so there are ample facilities and parking spots here. The water is generally very calm, making it a great spot for families and inexperienced swimmers.

Leinster Bay

If your idea of the perfect beach is one that’s almost guaranteed to be empty, this is the beach for you. Leinster Bay is small, but it’s a gem. The waters are calm and shallow, and the beach is always peaceful.

Francis Bay

This long, west-facing white sand beach is perfect for a day of sunning, swimming, reading, picnicking, or just relaxing. If you get tired of all that glorious sun, you can find plenty of shade here, too. It’s rarely crowded here and the waters are usually quite calm, so bring the kids and start building sandcastles.

Maho Bay

The beach at Maho has it all, including picturesque coconut palms lining the narrow white sand beach, so there’s plenty of sun and shade. The shallow, sandy bottom extends out about 20 yards and the surf is oh-so-slight, making the beach perfect for wading, swimming, floating, and just hanging out. You’ll also find restrooms nearby and even a campground here if you’re inclined to set up a temporary home away from home.

For the ultimate beach vacation, you won’t find a better island than St. John. Just rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle and head toward the water. Pull in anywhere you see sand, and enjoy!


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