Beaches on St. John
*Denotes a Mooncottage favorite
No luxury Caribbean villas vacation would be complete without experiencing a few of St. John's world-class beaches. But, where are the best beaches on St. John? That is a subjetive question to ask and one that is asked most often by all luxury Caribbean villas guests. Depending on what you like, "best" is impossible to define. There are so many great beaches here you will never see them all. (don’t worry, you’ll be back) But you can try if you want. Here are our favorites. Always wear some sunscreen after 10AM and bring bug spray for the 'no-see-ums' at dusk. Trust us on this!
*Haulover – East End private beach. Look straight out from the veranda in front of Mooncottage lowest point dead ahead and to the left of where there are a cluster of Caribbean luxury villas at the end of the island. This is where they used to literally HAUL ships OVER the lowlands in the olden days they say. (when that was is anyone's guess) There is a bay on each side of the road. The trail to the left of the road from Coral Bay at Haulover (maybe 10 minutes tops) takes you to some of the best snorkeling on the island. But, the water can get rough later in the day. Go early and when the weather is calm. Reef formations are amazing to the left. The pebble beach to the right of the road is also snorkeler’s dream. Wear foot protectors or flips on your feet if you are walking. Careful of the black sea urchins that look like spiky black tufts of hair on the bottom. They will sting you if you step on ‘dem. Pull out the spike with a tweezers and pour a rum and coke on it – or, no kidding, pee’ on ‘em a little.
*Salt Pond – This is the closest beach to Mooncottage, and a wonderful one in which all owners of luxury Caribbean villas in Coral Bay point their guests first. Take the road to the right once you get down the hill. Follow it for approximately 1 mile. If you follow the beach all the way around, you can hike up to Ramshead in the last afternoon. Bring a flashlight though for the way down and lots of water.
*Waterlemon/Leinster Bay - short ¼ mile walk along the sea starting from Anaberg Sugar Plantation Ruins. (but well worth it--remember we talked about this beach accessed from the Johnny Horn). Park in the lot—walk along the shoreline. Go early in the AM – before 8AM and bring your snorkel gear. Swim sandy area in front and the shallows along the shoreline to the right. If it is a calm day and you are with a partner and you are a good swimmer, swim counter-clockwise around Waterlemon Cay (little island). Beautiful sandy beach to rest. Best underwater sea life. Octopus, stingray, sea turtles, giant starfish in season, etc.
*Francis Bay – Pure white sand beach and never crowded. Go early for a jog and a swim. Fitness buffs go here--and are sometimes buff. If you want to run, start here and run up the road the came in on. Keep taking ‘rights’ until you reach Maho Bay. Turn around and come back. Cool off with a swim in the bay. Now you are a local.
*Maho Beach – where else can you park your car and walk 20 feet to the ocean. Local all the way.
*Jumbie Beach – Park above and walk down a short stairway to the ocean . It is so dramatic and usually pretty private. Surf can also be big sometimes. Good snorkeling along the rocks on a calm day.
*Oppenheimer/Gibney Beach -- Yes—THAT J. Robert Oppenheimer. Clue: Kaboom heard ‘round the world. Long before there were luxury villas in the Caribbean, and especially in St. John, this scientist lived here in his beach house--I imagine he had a lot to think about. Connects with Gibney Beach. Park above and walk down the long driveway. Coconut palms. Idyllic. Featured in many travel magazines *Lamashur beaches --The most remote on the island. At the bottom of the hill, simply turn right and don’t stop until you are there at the end of the road … don’t be fooled, the road continues further than you think! There are three beaches in the Lameshur chain. Do them all. Very rustic. Very beautiful.
Don’t go swimming alone. You’re on vacation.
*Trunk Bay – famous snorkel trail. Usually busy beach but always gorgeous.
*Hawksnest Beach – great for a picnic. Gorgeous and easy to get to.
* Cinnamon Bay – also gorgeous and busy in high season. Can wind surf there on the waves.
There are many more beaches. Some you can only get to by boat though. Consult the book St. John FEET AND FINS.
CORAL BAY (Complete list of beaches)
TOWARD RAM’S HEAD –turn right at bottom of hill and keep following the road.
Great Lameshur Bay
EAST END—turn left at bottom of hill, then right at the intersection near the Moravian Church, keep going on road.
NORTH SHORE — turn left at the bottom of hill, left at intersection near the Moravian Church, right at the Columbo ice cream stand some way up the hill, follow the road down towards Anneberg or into town.
Big Maho Bay (Maho-by-the-Road)
Little Maho Bay (Maho Bay Camp)
Water Lemon Cay
CRUZ BAY SOUTH SHORE -- Most of these beaches are alongside homes and communities and are not the best for swimming.
Gallows Point (from the water)
Great Cruz Bay (The Westin)
Boatman Point (Monte Bay)
Play in the waves like a kid. You're on vacation.