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The Best of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

St. John is the least developed and most sparsely populated of the three main islands in the U.S. Virgin Islands. That's not surprising, since more than half its land is protected as a U.S. National Park. Most visitors reach St. John by ferry from St. Thomas, landing at the dock in Cruz Bay, St. John's main settlement. A village with only a few thousand residents, Cruz Bay has gained a reputation as an upscale retreat for movie stars and other high-profile people looking for a secluded getaway.

It all started back in 1956, when businessman and conservationist Laurance Rockefeller, who had bought extensive land holdings on St. John, opened the low-key but luxurious Caneel Bay Resort. It's still going strong, and visitors can stop in for lunch and a swim in the beautiful bay. Rockefeller later donated much of his estate to the national park.

Snorkelers should make time for an underwater tour in Trunk Bay, where the National Park Service maintains a submarine snorkeling trail. And no sightseeing drive around the island is complete without a stop to see the fabulous panoramic view from the Bordeaux Mountain Overlook. Back in the town, the boutiques at Mongoose Junction offer one-of-a-kind souvenirs, while Cruz Bay Landing is a perfect spot to grab lunch and drinks.

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Reef Bay Trail, St John 00830, USVI
The most popular trek in the St. John national park, this trail begins on Centerline Road and descends 937 feet through a shady forest. Along the way, hikers will encounter the remains of four sugar estates, as well as ancient petroglyphs, or...
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74-2 Cruz Bay Town, St John, VI 00830

The sleepy town of Cruz Bay, nicknamed Love City, is the main settlement on St. John, and the hub where most visitors arrive after a ferry ride from St. Thomas. The island draws everyone from salty sailors to A-list celebrities, and Cruz Bay is...

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Take in the view of St. John's scalloped coastline from the island's highest point, Bordeaux Mountain. The Bordeaux Mountain Overlook is an easy-to-find stop on Centerline Road. From this viewpoint, you can see all the way down the green hillsides...

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Virgin Island National Park, St John 00830, USVI
Hiking to sublime shores is a must during any visit to St. John. Taking a guided trek along the Reef Bay Trail also allows you to enjoy a boat ride. Park Rangers lead groups on the 2.2-mile long Reef Bay Trail on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning...
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St John 00830, USVI

Often called one of the world's most beautiful beaches, Trunk Bay is a crescent of snow-white sand with a small green islet on the north side of the aquamarine lagoon. Part of the Virgin Islands National Park, Trunk Bay is known for...

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This open-air bar and restaurant is right at the ferry dock in the heart of Cruz Bay. It's a great spot to have lunch between island adventures, or just to grab a drink and enjoy some people-watching along the dock. The menu lists...

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Mongoose Jct, St. John, VI 00830
The home of St. John Brewers, among the leaders of the recent craft-beer revolution in the Caribbean, is a must-stop for all beer lovers visiting St. John. At the Tap Room, you can sample the brewery's very latest beers, sometimes even while...
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Cruz Bay, St John 00830, USVI
The 32 points of a compass face are called rhumb lines and in Cruz Bay, all those lines point to this Asian-influenced restaurant. Owned and operated by longtime St. John residents, Rhumb Lines is located inside a mini-mart. The restaurant's...
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Caneel Bay, St John 00830, USVI

Take in the view of Caneel Bay Resort's secluded beach while enjoying lunch at this beachfront bar and grill. On the menu: burgers, tacos and pizzas, along with a creative sushi selection and artfully prepared cocktails. If you're interested...

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St John 00830, USVI
One of St. John’s most beautiful seaside spots, Hawksnest Beach offers a beautiful and easy-to-reach locale with convenient parking, picnic tables, barbecue grills, and ample shade. That accessibility, alas, can mean crowds, so try to...
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210 Prince Street Box 1693, Cruz Bay, VI 00831, USVI

If you've developed a taste for the flavors of the Caribbean during your cruise, stop at this small spice shop to take some home with you. It's hard to miss, since it's located upstairs from the ferry dock. The owners hand-mix most of their...

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If shopping is on your agenda, be sure to stop at Mongoose Junction, at the north end of Cruz Bay where North Shore Road heads out of town. The open-air mall is small but attractive, made of local stone and mahogany and landscaped with tropical...