An Outdoor

Adventure in St. John

Long weekend (4 days, 3 nights)

The smallest of our three main U.S. Virgin Islands, St. John is a stunning natural playground, with more than two-thirds of its land dedicated to Virgin Islands National Park. Navigate switchbacks in a rented Jeep on roads with spectacular views or explore the island on foot. Choose among  25 hiking trails, from gentle strolls to challenging hikes, and discover prehistoric petroglyphs and views that would make postcards jealous. Nearly every bit of shoreline is either a fabulous white-sand beach, a great snorkeling spot, or both. Low-key towns offer a range of places to eat, drink and enjoy live music, as well as unique boutiques to shop.

Mongoose Junctin Sign


Slow down and soak up St. John’s quiet, friendly vibe and dip your toe into its pristine natural environment. The incredibly scenic ferry ride from St. Thomas will help get you in the mood.


After the 45-minute, air-conditioned ferry ride, wander around Cruz Bay. Perch at an open-air bar, sip a coffee, and watch locals and visitors alike go about their day at a relaxed island pace.

While in Cruz Bay, admire the beautiful stone walls and shaded courtyards of Mongoose Junction. In its collection of stores you’ll find lots of local arts and crafts. Made in St. John sells clothing designed and screen-printed on the island. The St. John Experience sells large prints of local sights. Island Fancy specializes in tropical gifts such as spices and hot sauces, as well as island music, cookbooks and hand-painted Christmas ornaments.


Break for lunch at the Tap Room on Mongoose Junction’s second floor, where you can sample craft beers —with names such as Island Hoppin’ IPA and Toasted Coconut Brown Ale — and soft drinks made on-site to go with your burger, pizza, or tacos filled with fish or carnitas (Latin-style pulled pork).

After lunch, get more retail therapy at the shops in Wharfside Village on the Cruz Bay waterfront, including Kro-gū, one of several stores specializing in handmade jewelry and gifts, and the Cruz Bay Clothing Company. Next door to The Lime Inn restaurant, Pink Papaya offers the island-inspired art of St. John resident Lisa Etre, in addition to other artists and craftsmen.


Dine at The Lime Inn, a local institution since 1984. This open-air restaurant in a charming garden setting offers four- and six-course tasting menus packed with creative takes on classics. One example is the lamb chop served with spinach, caramelized red onion and cherry tomato quinoa. An optional wine pairing is available.

After dinner, head out on a thrilling guided night paddle in clear-bottom kayaks equipped with underwater LED lights. The tour leaves from the Westin St. John Resort Villas, just outside Cruz Bay.


Devote your day to reveling in the quiet beauty of one or more of our island’s stunning North Shore beaches. You can easily begin your explorations of St. John’s coastal wonders within a few minutes of town.


You’ll soon discover why Trunk Bay has a permanent spot on any list of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Bask in the sun and float in the warm, clear water. Then, don snorkel gear and follow the sea-bottom markers on an exciting underwater trail. Bob along for a half-hour or more, reading the signs along the trail to learn interesting facts about the reef and its resident sea life.


Refuel with lunch at Raintree Café at Cinnamon Bay, just a few minutes up the road. Then, explore the island’s history on an easy, shaded half-mile walk through 18th-century plantation ruins. Afterward, return to Cruz Bay and get pampered with a massage at Mango Bliss Spa.


Dine on French-inspired dishes that make the most of local seafood at The Terrace restaurant overlooking the boats moored in Cruz Bay. A standout is the seared yellow-fin tuna with Parisian gnocchi, roasted red pepper confit and a warm herb-brown butter vinaigrette.

Wind down — or up — with drinks and casino-style gaming at The Parrot Club, located in Wharfside Village on the water in Cruz Bay.


Feel the wind in your hair, hear the waves lapping at the bow and watch the islands slowly pass by — this is the life! Spend the day enjoying a day sail and follow it up with a sumptuous dinner.


Sail in our balmy trade winds, with stops to snorkel in azure waters and visit the Lime Out — a floating bar and taco stand anchored in Coral Bay — for lunch and drinks. The name refers to both its bright-green color scheme and the island verb to lime – meaning to chill and hang out.


Enjoy an early dinner at Ocean 362, an airy terrace just above Cruz Bay at Gallows Point Resort. The third-story bar has panoramic views of the jaw-dropping sunset over the water, with tiny cays and St. Thomas in the distance. Watch the glittering lights of St. Thomas appear as daylight fades.


Spend your final day exploring St. John history and taking a drive through our island's lush interior.


Drive out to North Shore Road, keeping an eye out for roaming wild donkeys and picture-perfect ocean vistas. If your route includes Centerline Road, try the fresh fruit drinks at Colombo’s Smoothies, a roadside pop-up.

Read informational signs at the Annaberg Sugar Plantation ruins and learn how sugar was produced back in the 17th century when wind and animals were the only sources of power for the sugar cane mills. Take photos of picturesque Leinster Bay and pint-size Waterlemon Cay to share with your friends back home.


Before boarding the ferry to St. Thomas, lunch on Baja fish tacos or a jerk mahi mahi sandwich at Cruz Bay Landing, a short walk across Powell Park near the ferry dock.