Welcome to St. John

The smallest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. John is home to the Virgin Islands National Park, which comprises two thirds of the island's land mass. A quick, picturesque, and sometimes adventurous ferry ride from Red Hook or Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas, St. John promises a memorable visit with its beautiful beaches, bays, coves, and trails.

The park land was donated to the people of the United States by the Rockefeller family and opened in 1956. Hiking the forests and trails, camping, and snorkeling are major attractions of this rugged, lush, green island.

Check out this short intro video from the Department of Tourism to get just a hint of what St. John has to offer:

St. John has many private villas for vacationers, and camping is available in the Virgin Islands National Park. There are also quaint places to shop like Mongoose Junction, considered one of the prettiest shopping areas in the Caribbean. A mix of shops offers elegant jewels and fashions, funky local crafts and exotic imports, plus shady retreats for a cool drink and snack. Wharfside Village in Cruz Bay also has many shops and dining options, while on the east side of the island Coral Bay is the hub of activity.

St. John History

St. John's earliest inhabitants were the peaceful Arawak Indians, then the fierce Caribs. In 1718 the arrival of the Danes began an era of thriving cotton and sugar plantations, an economy dependent on slavery. In 1733 the slaves revolted, taking over the island for six months before the Danes, helped by the French, regained control. Slavery was finally abolished in 1848. Visit the Annaberg Sugar Plantation where ruins of the sugar mill and slave quarters overlooking Sir Francis Drake Passage and the British Virgin Islands still stand.

Enjoy some of the best snorkeling at Cinnamon Bay and popular Trunk Bay with its fascinating underwater trail. Take the Seashore Walk at Leinster Bay where shorebirds are having as much fun as you. For an adventure, try the Reef Bay Trail offered by the National Park Service -- a three-mile hike (luckily, it's mostly downhill) through subtropical vegetation, past ancient Indian carvings called petroglyphs. The trail ends at Reef Bay, where hikers can take a swim before heading back to town.

St. John has more to offer than can be appreciated in a short visit to the island. Most visitors leave planning a longer stay in tranquil St. John in the not-too-distant future.

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