Francis Bay – St. John, USVI

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Last updated: August 9th, 2023

Francis Bay

Francis Bay is a St. John beach that really invites you to settle down and stay a while. It’s an ideal beach for a picnic. The bay faces west, leeward of the trade winds, and tends to be calmer than other north shore beaches.

During the week, there are not many visitors here, and because Francis Bay Beach is so big, it’s almost always possible to find a nice private spot. It’s one of my favorite places in St. John and the rest of the U.S. Virgin Islands to relax and enjoy the amazing weather.

If you’re coming from Cruz Bay via Route 20, proceed to Maho Bay, where the road leaves the shoreline and turns inland towards the right. From here, continue about 1.5 miles, where you come to an intersection with the road that runs along the Leinster Bay shoreline.

Francis Overlook

Turn left and go to the stone building, which will be on your right. You can park here and take the walking trail or continue straight to the end of the road, where you can park near the beach.

If you’re arriving from Cruz Bay, the ferry entrance in St. John, via Centerline Road, turn left at the Colombo Yogurt stand. Go down the hill and turn right at the first intersection. This will take you to the Leinster Bay shoreline, where you will turn left and proceed to either the parking area by the stone building and take the walking trail or directly to the parking area by the beach.

Portable toilets are located in the main parking area, where there is also a dumpster for trash. Picnic tables and barbecues can be found nestled between the trees at the edge of the beach.

Francis Beach Sunset
Francis Bay Beach Sunset

The Francis Bay Trail runs along the salt pond located just inland of the beach and is an excellent place for bird watching, especially early in the morning.

The best snorkeling in Francis Bay can be found on the eastern and western ends. They provide some ideal snorkeling opportunities. It’s not uncommon to see green sea turtles near the seagrass beds on this part of Francis Bay Beach.

You can also find other marine life common in the Virgin Islands like rays, colorful fish like honeycomb cowfish and butterflyfish, and plenty of coral. If you’re lucky you might catch sight of squid. You need to diligently look out for them as they’re not always easy to spot among the many different places in the Virgin Islands National Park.

honeycomb cowfish
Honeycomb Cowfish

The water itself at Francis Bay Beach is pretty calm, making it an ideal beach for children to swim in with supervision of course as you won’t find any lifeguards here. I recommend visiting Maho Bay Beach as it’s another of the most beautiful beaches in St. John and it’s pretty close to Francis Bay.

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