Visiting St. John, USVI was so amazing! Today, I’m sharing the ultimate guide to the best experiences for families in St. John.
In 2017, my family and I took a long dreamed about 2 week vacation to St. John, USVI and Virgin Gorda, BVI. To say it was amazing would be an understatement.
If you know me at all, then you know that while I love home decor, traveling is my passion. It’s honestly what lights me up inside. I always say that I’d love to win the lottery just so I could travel whenever and wherever I want. The only thing that makes me more excited than planning a trip is actually going on the trip. There is something so fun about getting to experience the beaches, restaurants, food and landmarks that you’ve spent months researching and reading about.
Best Experiences For Families in St. John
We love to take our kids to new places. Experiencing all of the sights and sounds and memories together as a family is something that I treasure so much. Travel has seeped it’s way into our daily lives. Hardly a week goes by when we don’t talk about a favorite moment or place we’ve visited or laugh about something funny that happened on a trip. While we aren’t able to travel out of the country very often, we have been able to visit a few places with the kids. Today, I’m so excited to give you the ultimate guide to the best experiences in St. John for families.
Please note that we visited St. John in 2017, a few months before a hurricane devastated the island. I’ve done as much research as possible to ensure my recommendations are up to date but as always, please double check before you travel!
My number one best experience for families in St. John are the beaches. The beaches here are gorgeous and there is no shortage of them. Around 60% of St. John is a dedicated National Park and the beaches all over the island are spectacular with crystal clear water and soft, white sand. While we weren’t ever lucky enough to have a beach to ourselves, there was plenty of room to spread out. We are definitely a beach family – from morning until evening. You usually have to drag us off kicking and screaming.
While we were on St. John, we visited Maho Bay, Frances Bay, Honeymoon Beach, Gibney Beach, Cinnamon Bay, Hawksnest Beach and Trunk Bay, St. John’s most famous beach. And we still didn’t get to a bunch of them on the Coral Bay side of the island! I’m saving those up for next time if we’re lucky enough to ever go back.
Looking for a stateside trip? Read all about the 5 reasons that we love Anna Maria Island or the best things to do in 30A!
Private Boat Tour
My next recommendation is to get OFF the island and take a boat tour. There are plenty of tours to choose from based on your interests and your budget. We booked with Palm Tree Charters and it was honestly the best day of our trip! There are shared trips and private and both are a great choice. I will tell you that there sure was something special about having the boat and the day to ourselves if you can swing it. I worked my tail off in the months before to save up enough money to cover the charter – it was absolutely worth every penny! St. John is close to the British Virgin Islands and that’s where we visited after a fun tour around St. John on our way out. There are all sorts of trips that stay around St. John as well!
Hike to Peace Hill
On an overcast day, we decided to start our morning by hiking to Peace Hill. St. John has tons of sugar mill ruins all over the island and this one is on a beautiful hill, overlooking Hawksnest Beach and Denis Beach. It’s really amazing to stand in a structure that was built so long ago. My only regret is that our pictures would have turned out so much prettier if the sun had been out! It was definitely an easy walk that most kids could do without problems. St. John has numerous hiking trails all over the island, for all skill levels. We aren’t really a hiking family but if that’s your thing, St. John is your place!
My kids were 7 and 5 when we went so they were a bit on the apprehensive side, especially my son. However, in the first 5 minutes after getting to Maho Bay on our very first day, my husband swam out 100 feet, looked down and shouted at us to come and see the sea turtles. We all went in and took turns swimming with the amazing creatures that visit Maho Bay.
As we were snorkeling with the sea turtles, my daughter suddenly shouted “Sting ray!” and sure enough, there was a pretty large sting ray swimming by. It was so cool! Some beaches have smaller sting rays that patrol the beaches. They just swim back and forth and have no interest in the people who are standing or swimming.
Lots of the beaches have reefs right out front which makes it great for kids. They can float on an inner tube and just stick their face in the water if they are nervous. It makes it easier for the parents to keep them afloat and you don’t have to worry about them stepping on the reef.
My favorite spot to snorkel in St. John (besides with the turtles at Maho) was at Cinnamon Bay! There are also lots of great snorkeling options that aren’t along the North Shore that we unfortunately just didn’t have enough time to see!
Dinner at Beach Bar
Beach Bar was our favorite spot for dinner in St. John! In fact, we liked it so much that we went back several times. They have picnic tables right on the beach and the kids can wade out into Cruz Bay to pass the time until dinner is served. The food is fantastic and they have lots of outdoor games to play too (giant Jenga, corn hole, etc.). It’s wonderful for families! No sitting still or inside voices required! Our condo was up the hill and around the corner so we just walked there each time.
St. John has a great little shopping area called Mongoose Junction. Lots of fun shops, a great little ice cream shop called St. John Scoops and our favorite take-out restaurant, Northshore Deli. I think we went there nearly every day to get lunch. Did I mention that the place is semi open air, built of stone and has vegetation growing all over the place? It’s kind of like a modern day Swiss Family Robinson setup. My kids loved it!
Our Market Smoothies
Hands down, best smoothie I have ever had! Do yourself a favor and give Our Market Smoothies a try while you are in St. John. You will not be disappointed!
Do you have a favorite experience for families in St. John? I love talking travel so please leave me a comment or drop me an email. I’d love to hear from you!