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Top Beaches on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

The best sun, sand and surf destinations on the USVI's nature island

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There are more than a dozen fine beaches on St. John; here are five of the best strands on the least developed (and some would say the most beautiful) of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Cinnamon Bay

Couple running on beach, Cinnamon Bay, St. John, US Virgin Islands
John P Kelly/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Do you like to get active in the water? Then Cinnamon Bay Beach on St. John is the beach for you. This beautiful beach is the location of the Cinnamon Bay campground, which provides inexpensive beachfront accommodations, and vendors offer a variety of watersports activities, including kayaking, windsurfing, and diving equipment. You can also join a pickup volleyball game or hike the Cinnamon Bay nature trail.

Hawksnest

© Bradspry via Flikr
Close to Cruz Bay on St. John's north shore, Hawksnest Beach is popular with locals and families as well as tourists.

Maho Bay Beach

© Bradspy via Flikr

This calm roadside beach is great for kids and families. The beach is shaded by Maho Trees, a typo of hibiscus with heart-shaped leaves and yellow flowers. Look for sea turtles while you swim in the shallow waters. A trail leads to the Maho Bay Camps, which offer tent lodging as well as beach apartments.

Francis Bay Beach

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© Thomas Kriese via Flickr

Francis Bay Beach is one of the longest strands on St. John, a mecca for beach walkers as well as sun-worshippers. The sunsets at this west-facing beach are fabulous. Snorkelers will encounter many tropical fish (and the seabirds that feed on them). The Francis Bay Trail is good for bird-watching, too.

Trunk Bay

© U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism

Part of Virgin Islands National Park, Trunk Bay is the most popular beach on St. John. The park's world-famous underwater snorkeling trail -- complete with interpretive signs -- begins here. You can also visit the Annaberg Sugar Plantation ruins during your day at the beach. Trunk Bay is considered the most beautiful beach on St. John despite the occasional crowds.

Gibney Beach

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© Nina Hale via Flickr

One of four public beaches on Hawksnest Bay, Gibney Beach is a quiet strip of sand fringed by palm trees. The beach has a bohemian reputation and an interesting history -- part of the beach was once owned by Robert Oppenheimer, known as the father of the atomic bomb. Today, it's mostly owned by the U.S. National Park service. This north shore hidden treasure is unmarked from the road, accessible only via a gravel path and on foot. There are a pair of tourist cottages that you can rent on the beach, too.

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