The Caribbean island of St. John offers tourists access to stunning tropical beaches, exciting nightlife, countless shopping options, and a wide variety of aquatic sports and recreational opportunities. Originally claimed by Christopher Columbus for Spain, the island was later taken over by Denmark, who maintained control of the island and helped develop it for several centuries. In 1917, the United States purchased St. John along with the other Virgin Islands, and retained control of the island until Lawrence Rockefeller bought it in 1956. Rockefeller later granted 21 square miles of the island to the National Park Service, ensuring that even today, a large portion of the island is designated as a national park.
Visitors arrive on the island of St. John by ferry, which docks in the island’s picturesque town of Cruz Bay. In Cruz Bay and many of the similar towns across the island, tourists can enjoy the charming boutiques and shops that line the streets, or experience the unique cuisine and atmosphere of the island’s bars and restaurants.
A portion of the island sprawling across two thirds of its land area is designated as a United States Virgin Islands National Park. Because of this, much of St. John remains undeveloped, with a natural and unspoiled beauty that is perfect for visitors to explore. If it is your first time visiting St. John, a great preliminary location to visit is the Cruz Bay Visitors Center, which is close to the ferry’s dock and features a varied supply of maps, exhibits, and other resources for tourists.
The beaches found on St. John are some of the most scenic and unspoiled in the entire Caribbean, and they are sure to make your Caribbean getaway unforgettable. Many of the beaches are situated on St. John’s north shore, and are protected and preserved as a part of a national park. One of the favorite beaches of many visitors is Cinnamon Bay, which offers excellent spots for camping as well as for aquatic sports, including snorkeling, kayaking, and windsurfing. Another St. John destination that has become noted around the world is found in Caneel Bay, a private resort that opens several of its gorgeous beaches to the general public. St. John’s most famous beach is known as Trunk Bay, which has the distinction of being one of the Caribbean’s most often photographed beaches. These beaches offer visitors the chance to enjoy the island’s excellent snorkeling, boating, and deep-sea fishing. But St. John also is a great destination for other recreational activities, such as hiking or horseback riding.