Skip to main content

Virgin Islands National Park

Centerline Road, St. John

The majority of St. John is covered by the Virgin Islands National Park, a stretch of preserved wilderness that offers protection and preservation for fish, corals, marine life, and tropical and migrating birds. The park also protects the island’s reef, with public access at the mangrove bay of Hurricane Hole, east of Coral Bay. Snorkeling is a popular activity all along the coastline.

Get the most out of this natural wonder by exploring the hiking trails that crisscross the island; none of them take more than 2 hours to complete. The trails cover a surprising range of topography and vegetation, as well as historic sites such as the eerie plantation ruins of Annaberg.

You can end your walk with a swim at one of St. John’s superb beaches, such as Trunk Bay on the island’s northwest coast. Guided hiking, kayaking, and snorkeling tours are available, along with sightseeing tours of the island.

  • The visitor center, located in Cruz Bay, has a wheelchair-accessible entrance, parking, and restrooms.
  • The Cinnamon Bay trail and Francis Bay offer wheelchair-accessible boardwalks, and the Annaberg Plantation features a wheelchair-accessible path.
  • Use reef-safe sunscreen, and don’t touch marine life.
  • Avoid the water during red-flag conditions, which indicate powerful waves and strong rip currents; hours and visitor services are subject to change during this time.

Head to the park’s visitor center in Cruz Bay, the point of arrival for ferries from St. Thomas, to pick up maps and tips. Some guided tours offer pickup at local hotels. The Vitran Bus System usually runs on weekdays along Centerline Road, from the Cruz Bay dock to Coral Bay and Salt Pond Bay.

During the winter, you may encounter large waves on the north shore beaches so use caution and follow posted warnings during this time. The park offers free programs throughout the year, including a bird-watching expedition and a nighttime sky watch, allowing visitors to view the stars through the park telescope; check the park’s website for dates and times.

In the 18th century, much of St. John had been cleared for sugar plantations. Within the national park, visitors can explore the ruins of the Annaberg Plantation. This site was one of the island’s biggest producers of sugar as well as molasses and rum. Follow a trail through the ruins, windmill, and other remains, tour the quarters where enslaved people lived, and learn about the brutal history of making and exporting sugar.


Travel Like an Expert with AAA and Trip Canvas

Get Ideas from the Pros

As one of the largest travel agencies in North America, we have a wealth of recommendations to share! Browse our articles and videos for inspiration, or dive right in with preplanned AAA Road Trips, cruises and vacation tours.

Build and Research Your Options

Save and organize every aspect of your trip including cruises, hotels, activities, transportation and more. Book hotels confidently using our AAA Diamond Designations and verified reviews.

Book Everything in One Place

From cruises to day tours, buy all parts of your vacation in one transaction, or work with our nationwide network of AAA Travel Agents to secure the trip of your dreams!