U.S. Virgin Islands Stories and Tips

St. John Beaches and Snorkeling

caneel bay beach Photo, U.S. Virgin Islands, Caribbean

We love the beaches here and the easy access snorkeling.

Solomon Beach- on our first full day we hiked down to this gorgeous secluded beach. We were the first people there! We relaxed at this beach for a while and did some snorkeling. The water was a little bit rough so it wasn’t the easiest snorkeling. I only snorkeled on the left side of the beach. Saw a few fish and some coral, but nothing spectacular that day.

Honeymoon Beach- We then hiked over to Honeymoon Beach. This beach is beautiful! Very few people here and the beach is much larger than Solomon. Again, the water was a bit rough so we did not spend too much time here.

Caneel Bay-We walked the gravel road from Honeymoon to Caneel on our first full day as well. We had an overpriced lunch there and then went to the beach. It was so much calmer than Honeymoon and Solomon, so we spent lots of time snorkeling here. We actually came back to Caneel the next day as well because we were looking for calm snorkeling waters. Both days we snorkeled on the right side of the beach. One day I made it almost all the way around the point and the snorkeling was great. We saw a wide variety of sea life here. Every time I have been to Caneel the water was completely flat, when other beaches were rough (same thing happened last year). I suppose that the bay must just be more protected than others.

Frances Bay- On our second full day we visited this beach in the morning and were the first people there. We loved how uncrowded the beaches were! Last year when we visited this beach the water was rough and all churned up—we couldn’t see a thing when we tried to snorkel. This year the water was very calm. We first snorkeled the left side of the beach. Saw some schools of small fish here and it was interesting to see the large fish darting in and out of these schools. We tried snorkeling the right side of the beach as well, but we didn’t see too much. I feel like we just didn’t go out far enough though. That afternoon after lunch in town we went back to Caneel Bay.

Waterlemon Cay- We wanted to go back to Waterlemon this year, but were a little worried about making the long swim to the island. So we took a snorkel sail there on our third full day instead. The trip was with Rusty on Tressel, a small catamaran. It was just the two of us and the captain. Lauren at Estate Lindholm booked this for us last minute. We left at 11 am from Great Cruz Bay and returned around 4 pm. And it was only $150. I thought it was a great deal. Unfortunately, the snorkeling at Waterlemon wasn’t as great as I had remembered. We did not see any starfish this time. Also, there was a lot of coral, sea fans, and other more stationary underwater life—but it just didn’t seem like the fish were as plentiful this time. Don’t get me wrong, it was still beautiful, just not as great as I remembered. It was fun taking a rest on the sandbar there. And it made for a few pretty pictures.

Lavongo Cay- This was our second snorkeling spot that we visited on our day sail. I thought this was the best place that we snorkeled while on St. John. Lots of coral and fish, and it wasn’t too deep so it was easy to see what was going on.

Salt Pond- Part of the reason we decided to go back here was just that I wanted to drive around more of the island and get some photos around the Coral Bay area. Again, this beach was deserted when we arrived, only 2 or 3 other people there. There were more than that by the time we left, but still not crowded. Last year we snorkeled the left side of the beach, so we thought we would try out the right side this time. It was great and we saw a wide variety of fish.

Trunk Bay- My husband wanted an easy snorkel so we decided to go to Trunk Bay in the afternoon of our last day. This was by far the most crowded beach we visited. But, it wasn’t as crowded as I had expected. The water was really calm this day so it made for easy snorkeling. We went beyond the snorkel trail on the left side of the island and that was where we saw the most.

I do want to mention that I was suprised at how uncrowded the beaches were. They seemed even emptier than they did when we were there in October. I realize we were there in low season, but being in December, I just assumed that there would be more people around (and from the fact that our afternoon ferry from St. Thomas to St. John was packed). The empty beaches were of course a very pleasant surprise!

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