Last updated: February 25th, 2023
Surrounded by the beautiful clear waters of the Caribbean, St. John, USVI, is a paradise on Earth. It has natural beauty, a rich history, and a vibrant local culture. While it’s the smallest of the US Virgin Islands, it’s the perfect destination for travelers looking for a tropical haven.
There are miles of white sand beaches along the coastlines and coves and cays that are secluded to keep you away from tourist crowds. You’ll find some of the best snorkeling opportunities in all of the Caribbean Islands, and the Virgin Islands National Park covers nearly two-thirds of its interior.
You can tailor your dream tropical vacation by choosing between the two major areas, Cruz Bay and Coral Bay. Each has its own distinctive atmosphere and style. They both have a wide variety of vacation rentals, including resorts, boutique hotels, inns & cottages, and campsites.
Here is a complete guide if you’re trying to figure out where to stay in St. John, USVI.
Cruz Bay is where most tourists stay in St. John and an area with plenty of things to do. The town has plenty of historical sites, marketplaces, and boutique stores to find anything you may need.
The Great Cruz Bay is known for its mouthwatering cuisine and boasts a range of restaurants that serve up local delicacies. The town comes alive at night, with a vibrant bar and nightlife scene full of dancing to the sounds of reggae and calypso music.
Since all the ferries arrive at the local part of Cruz Bay, the transportation for getting here is quite easy. All the accommodations and services are just a short walk away from the entrance, offering many conveniences. If you’re coming from St Thomas, you’ll probably take the Red Hook Ferry or Charlotte Amalie ferry and arrive here. If you’re from St Croix, the Gallows Bay ferry brings visitors here too.
Staying in Cruz Bay makes your tropical getaway pretty easy, and all you need to worry about is relaxing and having the time of your life.
It’s only a 10 to 20-minute drive from most of the popular beaches in St John, and ferries and taxis are always posted nearby to take you there. If you plan to snorkel, you can also rent gear from the local shops in the area.
If you’re looking for a more secluded area in the heart of St. John, Coral Bay sits on the island’s eastern shore. It offers an escape from the loudness and business of Cruz Bay.
You can take part in a fun and exciting range of activities, such as hiking, kayaking, and snorkeling in Coral Bay. The beautiful Salt Pond Bay beach that’s close is a must-visit for snorkeling fans. It has beautiful coral and large schools of angel fish, trumpet fish, and even the occasional stingray.
Unlike the more commercial town of Cruz Bay, Coral Bay offers a more intimate experience. It’s the perfect place to unwind and immerse yourself in the great outdoors that Saint John offers.
Its more remote also location ensures that the beaches are less crowded. The downside of this is that there aren’t as many places to stay in Coral Bay. It’s also recommended to rent a car to get around since it’s farther out, and taxis or shuttles might not come all the way out there too often.
There are plenty of nearby attractions to visit, like the Anaberg Plantation, Catherineberg ruins, and Maho Bay Beach, where you can find plenty of sea turtles. It’s also closer to most of the north shore beaches in St John.
U.S Virgin Islands National Park
The U.S Virgin Islands National park accounts for almost the entire land. It’s found near the middle of the island, whereas Cruz Bay and Coral Bay are found on opposite ends of it. This is where most of the breathtaking beaches like Trunk Bay or Maho Bay, hiking trails like the Ram Head Trail and Lind Point Trail, and ruins can be found.
Since it’s public land, there are very few to no places to stay at. Realistically, the only place you can stay for a day or two would be the Cinnamon Bay Resort and Campground. You can also visit the nearby Cinnamon Bay Plantation Ruins and walk to the beach in a few steps. It has a rich history, and if you’re visiting St John, U.S Virgin Islands, it goes without saying that it’s a must-see.
St. John Resorts
You can find several luxury resorts in St. John. Their helpful staff can provide you with anything you need, from setting up tours, planning activities, and letting you know what beaches to visit.
These resorts aren’t cheap, so you can expect quite a lot of luxury accommodations combined with island beauty. Many of them are quite kid-friendly, so it’s their great place to stay with family.
You can find some all-inclusive resorts and others that get pretty close to it with some of these offerings.
Bologna Bay Beach Resort
On the white sandy beaches of a picturesque cove sits the Bologna Bay Beach Resort. It’s a one-of-a-kind St. John experience for guests looking for fun, sun, and maybe a little rum punch. This all-inclusive resort has several luxury accommodations to choose from, with options like beachfront access, oceanfront views, and balconies with garden views.
Bologna Bay is renowned for its signature all-inclusive resort package, which includes meals for each part of the day and unlimited drinks that can be enjoyed at the poolside bar. You can also enjoy some live music at the on-site restaurant, Iggie’s Oasis.
Dining is not the typical buffet fare of steamed fish and vegetables but rather premium choices like bang-bang shrimp tacos and Caribbean lobster tail. Drinks in the all-inclusive package include unlimited house wine, champagne, a plethora of frozen island cocktails, local and imported beer, and more.
Gallows Point Resort
The gorgeously high-end Gallows Point Resort is just a few minutes from Cruz Bay and quite close to the Virgin Islands National Park. Sitting in its own tropical harbor, the resort is renowned for having some of the most beautiful sunsets in the entire Caribbean.
Its ocean- and harbor-view suites are fully equipped with modern amenities and feature tropical adornments that give each room that perfect island touch. Large beds, full kitchens, and open-air layouts allow guests to enjoy the utmost comfort and relaxation.
Gallows Point Resort also offers a unique blend of dining and activity options for visitors to enjoy. The resort’s restaurant, Ocean 362, serves gourmet cuisine, with a menu featuring items like tuna with shrimp, lamb, and sea scallops.
In addition to first-rate cuisine, Gallows Point Resort also provides you with a range of fun outdoor activities. This includes a fitness center, yoga classes, an oceanfront pool and jacuzzi, and an expert concierge team ready to assist with off-site excursions such as fishing trips and boat rentals.
St. John Villas
Villas are the perfect accommodation for families and large groups looking for more space and privacy. There is a range of lodging options in St John, from simple cabins to fully equipped modern villas. You can find the perfect choice to meet your needs and truly feel in paradise.
Staying in a villa is also more affordable (most of the time) than staying at one of the island’s resorts or luxury hotels, making them a good choice for travelers on a budget.
The Westin St. John Resort Villas
The Westin St. John Resort Villas offer an idyllic option for families searching for a luxurious and comfortable tropical escape. While it’s one of the more expensive places to stay in St John, it makes it up with all its offerings.
With a large swimming pool, multiple places to eat, and a range of kid-friendly activities, there is something for everyone. The luxury villas and townhouses feature multiple bedrooms with private balconies and hot tubs.
The on-site Mango Deli is the perfect place to start the day with a cup of coffee and a fresh-baked muffin. For lunch or dinner, head to Snorkels Bar & Grill to enjoy smoked salmon or hand-cut steaks. The fitness center is open 24/7, and you can also indulge in a cabana massage.
The Westin Kids Club is sure to keep little ones entertained, and there are even family events like ice cream socials, movie nights, and bingo games.
Gibney Beach Villas
Gibney Beach Villas is a premium getaway destination that can provide you with the ultimate island experience. Each villa has a full kitchen, so travelers can prepare meals and snacks with local fruits and vegetables right from the garden.
The Garden Villa features lounge areas and a patio that overlooks Hawksnest Bay. This villa can easily accommodate families or groups of 4.
For couples looking for a romantic retreat, the Beach Villa is an ideal choice. This classic open-air Caribbean-style villa offers a peaceful ambiance for a relaxing escape. You can enjoy the lush tropical grounds dotted with swaying palm trees or explore the ocean for snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding adventures.
Coconut Coast Villas
With its comfortable and sophisticated design, the Coconut Coast condos provide guests with all the comforts of home in a gorgeous oceanfront suite. There are 1, 2, and 3-bedroom suites with modern amenities and inimitable island charm.
You can spend your time on the suite’s balcony, perfect for enjoying a cocktail or glass of wine while taking in the stunning views of the Caribean sea.
The pool area is a true oasis, with plenty of lounge chairs to soak up the sun. Just ask the front desk for some beach towels. If you’re looking to go out at sea, Coconut Coast features a private pebble beach where guests can snorkel or sunbathe.
With its blend of adventure, luxury, and ideal location, Coconut Coast is the epitome of a memorable beach vacation.
St. John Inns
If you want to get more in touch with the island’s culture, staying at a St. John inn is one of the best ways to do that. They provide a welcoming and intimate atmosphere, where it’s easy to get the hosts and other travelers. It’s much easier than if you were to stay at a huge resort.
You can also enjoy some home-cooked meals or more traditional US Virgin Islands food that you might not get to try otherwise.
Set into the flourishing green hillside overlooking Cruz Bay, Estate Lindholm is an upscale inn built on the grounds of old Danish settlements. Cruz Bay is easily accessible, but the inn feels tucked away and protected by its immense gardens. It’s adults-only, and its romantic atmosphere makes it a popular choice for couples looking to spend time together in paradise.
Each guestroom features luxe accommodations and creates a welcoming atmosphere. You can also make use of a patio or balcony to enjoy the hillside breeze. It’s close to Salomon Bay and Honeymoon Beach. You can also talk to the hosts to help you coordinate local activities like boat cruises, watersports, and more.
Garden by the Sea
The Garden by the Sea tropical bed and breakfast truly lives up to its name. There is much to do, like sitting under the banana and coconut trees and taking a stroll through its lush botanical gardens.
There are three suites to choose from – The Garden Room, Terrace Room, and Wild Ginger Room. Each with its own beach house charm and natural elegance.
You’re served a delicious homemade breakfast each morning while listening to some of St John’s native birds. You can spend your days traveling to the nearby north shore beaches or visiting the many stores at Cruz Bay.
St. John Camping
There is no better place for overnight camping than in a natural setting like St. John island. You can explore the rainforests and beaches during the day, then set up your tent and enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep. Come morning, just prepare your coffee and enjoy an amazing view of the sunrise on another day in paradise.
Cinnamon Bay Beach and Campground
Sitting right on St. John’s longest beach, Cinnamon Bay lets guests explore one of the island’s top bays. There are different levels of accommodations available, from secluded rustic campsites to eco-tents to cottages. It’s also one of the cheapest places to stay in St John.
Campers looking for adventure can rent tents, cookware, or anything else you might have left at home. Eco-tents have 2- and 4-person options available and are fully electrical. If you’re looking for more cozy accommodations, stay in the Cinnamon Bay cottages. They have a mini-fridge, ceiling fans, and cooking grills.
Breakfast is served each morning at the on-site restaurant, The Raintree Cafe. Lunch, drinks, and ice cream are available from its one-of-a-kind food truck. Outdoor enthusiasts can rent snorkeling equipment, paddleboards, and kayaks to explore the waters. Those looking for something more peaceful can rent beach chairs or sit in the shade of beach trees and enjoy the waves.