Last updated: April 18th, 2023
Salt Pond Bay is a conveniently-located white sand beach in the Virgin Islands National Park for those residing in or visiting Coral Bay. It’s also an excellent alternative for those seeking calm water on days when the surf is breaking in the north St John beaches.
To reach Salt Pond Bay Beach, take Route 107, heading south for 3.9 miles starting from the Moravian Church in Coral Bay. The quarter-mile Salt Pond Bay Trail to the beach begins at the parking area.
It has the typical facilities that you will find in other Virgin Islands National Park areas. Facilities include toilets, picnic tables, and barbecues. Ms. George usually can be found at the parking lot at the top of the trail with an array of welcome cold drinks and snacks.
There aren’t too many parking spots so don’t arrive too late or you might not find any options available.
Trails to Drunk Bay and Ram Head begin at the east end of the beach. The Drunk Bay Trail passes by the Salt Pond on the way to the bay.
There’s a beautiful reef located just about in the center of the beach, where two sets of rocks rise above the surface of the water.
Snorkeling out to the left side of the reef, you should find a vibrant pillar coral that always seems to be a big attraction for colorful little fish.
Be aware that it is a somewhat long snorkel to reach the reef and that the sea is often choppy at times, causing waves to break over the rocks. For these reasons, you should only snorkel here if you have experience. There are other spots in St John with better snorkeling conditions for beginners.
Snorkeling here always rewards me with something exciting. Among other cool stuff, I’ve seen moray eels, sea turtles, hermit crabs, nurse sharks, and squid. You’ll also find plenty of reef fish, corals, sea fans, and sponges.
Nurse sharks are sluggish, docile, and generally harmless unless provoked. Because they have gills, they’re one of the few species of sharks that can lie motionless. They’re usually encountered sleeping or resting on the sea floor or in caves.
If you’re looking for sea turtles, look around the seagrass beds, as that’s where they tend to lurk.
Snorkeling out along the east side of the bay, you can reach the coral reefs that lie just north of Blue Cobblestone Beach. This is a considerable distance also, so pace yourself, or to decrease the distance, take the Ram Head Trail to the beach and snorkel towards the beach.