I found St. John to have extremely beautiful beaches with about the clearest water I’ve ever seen! Most beach activities include snorkeling, kayaking, and some stand up paddle boarding – we mainly snorkeled. I’m going to recap the beaches we visited in this post.
Here’s a key of the beaches/ most of the famous/popular beaches are on the north side of the island (source).
This beach is gorgeous! We packed lunches and came here for snorkeling & just laying out. There are a few facilities, including a mini-mart that sells popsicles (important). It’s fairly un-crowded and snorkeling was okay too. Credit goes to my brother-in-law Bryan for a few of these great pictures from their trip since our cameras were broken.
We didn’t go to the neighboring Trunk Bay, the most popular which is the only paid-entry beach on the island; you can see it’s busy.
This beach is about a 1-mile walk from the parking lot, but was easy even in flip flops. The beach is very narrow and I probably wouldn’t go for just laying out, but the snorkeling was EXCELLENT if you’re willing to swim a bit of a way. There’s a small island you can snorkel to and go counter clockwise around, with a great reef. We saw a turtles, sting rays, barracuda, tarpon, trumpet fish, parrot fish, fan coral and a number of other bright, smaller fish. I’d definitely recommend fins for this snorkel. Hello!
We stopped here for lunch after a hike one day. The beach was pretty empty and quiet. We enjoyed cooling off and laying around watching the pelicans dive for jumping fish. This was a great beach to just get away and relax. I still can’t get over that water clarity.
Very empty apart from our pelican friend! This would be a good beach for an open water swim as it’s relatively shallow and sandy for a long way.
Honeymoon & Salomon Bays
These are two smaller beaches that require a 15-20 minute hike to get to (unless you pull up in your boat). The hike isn’t too bad and is all downhill on the way to the beach.
Honeymoon Bay was pretty un-crowded before noon – I couldn’t wait to get in!
There is a reef in between the Honeymoon & Solomon Bays, and I highly recommend it for snorkeling!! This was the BEST snorkeling we did on the island. It’s really easy to access to from the beach; I would start on the Honeymoon side. We saw so many schools of fish, great coral, sting rays and a turtle. The beach did get busier after noon once boats started pulling up, so we moved on to Solomon Bay (a short hike west). Solomon was a bit smaller, but we found a palm tree and rested for a bit – no complaining here!
On the morning of our departure, I convinced David of an ocean water swim to “get active” before the long day of travel. Our swim was only 30 minutes, but it was one of the most memorable swims I’ll ever have!
Maho Bay is pretty shallow all the way across, and we saw 8-10 sea turtles (!), tarpon, a sting ray and even Caribbean reef squid! It was SO awesome to swim along and see all that wildlife swimming with you. The only thing I got worried about was sharks. David was quick to tell me about how sharks feed in the morning and that I was kicking around too much and would attract them. Thanks babe! So the swim was a bit short lived, but I absolutely loved it and really enjoyed the added buoyancy from salt water; I was feeling strong.
As you can see, there aren’t any bad beaches on St. John, all of them are great!