Saint John villas

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Saint John vacation rentals

Your guide to Saint John

Introduction

Saint John may be the smallest of the three main U.S. Virgin islands, but it’s also the one that offers visitors a true sense of escape. Most of the vacation rentals and restaurants are concentrated around Cruz Bay on the western shore and Coral Bay on the east. A national park covers three-fifths of the remaining land, making it easy to get away from the crowds and occasional cruise-ship daytrippers as you hike or snorkel at Virgin Islands National Park. Miles of trails wend up St. John’s forested ridges, leading to views that don’t include high-rise developments. And, of course, the island is ringed with white, soft-sand beaches, where you can spend the day lolling in the sun, occasionally dipping into the pristine waters of the Caribbean.


The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Saint John

There's a reason St. John is a popular tourist destination in winter — when the temperatures are in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit from December through March, mainland Americans can pretend snow doesn’t exist. The heat begins a slow climb in April through June, the driest time of year. Tropical showers begin in July, so you’ll want to pack an umbrella along with sunblock free of reef-damaging chemicals. Autumn through October is peak rainy season as well as the hottest time of year, with temperatures in the 80s Fahrenheit and up. Those months are also peak hurricane season — although hurricanes are rare, consider purchasing travel insurance just in case.


Top things to do in Saint John

Snorkeling in Trunk Bay

This bay, part of the national park, is the best spot for first-time snorkelers. It’s easy to get to by car or taxi, for one. Not only do lifeguards keep watch, there’s a 300-foot trail with underwater plaques identifying some of the corals and underwater fauna you’ll see in the clear blue waters.

Island hopping

Many people who come to St. John don’t stay there the whole time. From Cruz Bay, ferries and boat tours can take you to the more populous St. Thomas, St. Croix, or Tortola. You could also hire a private charter to bring you to Virgin Gorda to swim at the Baths, or to Jost Van Dyke to hang out at the famous Soggy Dollar Bar.

Virgin Islands National Park

Many scenic trails wind their way through this park, bringing you to gorgeous spots that won’t be covered in beach umbrellas. Snorkelers can strap their equipment to their back and head down the 1.6-mile Brown Bay Trail to a secluded cove with shallow, calm waters. For more seasoned hikers, the 4-mile out-and-back Reef Bay Trail, includes a steep ascent, but it brings you to the site of ancient petroglyphs as well as the shores of Reef Bay.

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