Getting around the island is easy. Cruz Bay — the major town where the passenger ferry dock is located — is on the West end of the island facing Red Hook in St. Thomas. The ferry ride from Red Hook runs hourly and is only a quick 15 minute ride. Cruz Bay is connected with paved roads to all the North Shore beaches and over to Coral Bay, the only other town on the island on the East side.
There are only two main roads on the island (and famously, no stop-lights), so it is difficult to get lost. Yes, it is true that St. Johnians drive on the left side of the road with regular American cars, but once you get used to it, it is not a big deal. Several local companies, all a short walk from the ferry dock, offer rental cars, jeeps or trucks by the week. Colorful canopied taxis also line the dock all day and evening offering rides to accommodations as well as island tours. It was one of these taxi tours we took a few years ago that made us fall in love with this beautiful place. We highly recommend that you make time to take one while you are here.
St. John's selection of eclectic restaurants is second-to-none. There is something for everyone as far as dining goes: From open-air beachside BBQ or a fresh fish sandwich to candlelit five-star cuisine at the top of a mountain.
Some of our favorites include The Terrace for white-tablecloth fine dining, Rhumb Lines for casual Asian in a beautiful open air courtyard with twinkling lights, and Woody's Seafood Saloon for happy hour beers and fabulous fried fish selections.
If cooking is your thing, then Vida is the place for you! Our well-appointed gourmet kitchen has all the amenities for a quick meal for two all the way up to a gourmet feast for 10! Starfish Market has fresh produce, quality meats & fish, bakery on-site, and a great deli for cheese and lunch meat sliced to order. Starfish also has hard-to-find gourmet items, imported cheese selections from all over the world, olive oil on tap, large beer and liquor selection and a top-notch wine department with everything from table wines to Cristal champagne.
Shopping on St. John is also a treat. Many local artists have unique and gorgeous paintings, sculptures, jewelry and photographs for sale. There are numerous galleries in Cruz Bay and Coral Bay to meet any style or decor.
Don't miss St. John Spice, located in the Wharfside Village, specializing in Caribbean spices, hot sauce (including our local St. John favorite: Trinidad Charlie's Hot Sauce) and fresh roasted coffee. Also in Wharfside is VI Vibe, great local jewelry and famous hook bracelets, rings and other accessories. Also a must-visit, Big Planet in Mongoose Junction with cool t-shirts, surf wear, flip flops and sunglasses.
On the Coral Bay side, make a stop at Sugar Apple in the Coco Lobo shopping center with wonderful jewelry and accessories for all ages. Don't forget to stop by Skinny Legs for a world-famous "Cheeseburger in Paradise" and a few souvenirs from Jolly Dog Outfitters.
St. John is an outdoorsman's paradise: Hiking, sailing, boating, fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, swimming, snorkeling, diving, even surfing on some days!
Because 3/4 of St. John is National Park, there are plenty of hiking trails and tours to fit any outdoor enthusiast's need. One of the best tours on the island is the Reef Bay Trail tour, given by the National Park Service. The hike is about 4 hours and includes a visit to the Petroglyphs, ancient symbols carved in the rocks beside a freshwater pool whose origin is not known. One theory holds that they are the work of Amerindians who once inhabited Caribbean islands; another theory holds that African slaves of the island's colonial era are responsible for these petroglyphs. Either way, they are very cool and are a great end to a great day hiking.
Also a must-see are the Annaberg Ruins, 18th century ruins of the Annaberg Sugar Mill. Walk around the old plantation and re-live what it must have been like back in the 1700s when sugar was more valuable than gold. A small entrance fee is required, but you get a great walking map and history sheet, plus admission is also good for entrance to beautiful Trunk Bay beach.
There are plenty of watersports to keep you busy on St. John — rent a power boat for the day, take a day sail to the BVIs, paddleboard and kayak rentals, SCUBA diving, SNUBA, snorkel and sport fishing just to name a few! Check out Honeymoon Beach for kayak and SUP rentals by the day.