St. John, Virgin Islands: Top 5 Things to See & Do
The greatest thing about St. John is it allows you to truly relax — the #1 thing we go on vacation for, am I right?! Too often on family vacations I find it almost more stressful than normal, daily life due to the desire to see and do all the things, manage time/traffic, accommodate what everyone else wants to do, etc. But with St. John being such a small island, there are about a handful of options for dinner (all equally incredible), and about the same number of activities. Less options = less stress.
So if you’re looking for a place with breathtaking beauty, small town charm, and place to actually unwind, this is your spot. Sit and enjoy a coffee or cocktail with views like the one above. And even if it’s only for a week, not have a single care in the world.
Here are our top five favorite things to do in St. John!
1 / Go to High Tide for a Mocha Rumbie
High Tide and mocha rumbies will always and forever be the greatest place and thing on this planet. High Tide is a little restaurant/bar on Cruz Bay — steps from where the ferry docks when you arrive on the island. If we weren’t at High Tide for lunch or dinner, we at least stopped in to grab a mocha rumbie to-go every single day. After months of trying, Abbie was finally able to semi-replicate the recipe at home and honestly, summers are so much better for it.
2 / Go snorkeling at Maho Bay
Pack your lunch, rent snorkel gear from St. John Beach Bum and head over to Maho Bay for the day. This was our favorite beach because it served double-duty — perfect shade trees for the baby and gorgeous underwater life for us! You’ll see sea turtles, rays and tons of fish. We even spotted several sharks! But don’t worry, they are nurse sharks and will not hurt you. Abbie is deathly afraid of open water and even she enjoyed it!!
3 / Island hop
The airport is on St. Thomas so you’ll fly into this island and then ferry to St. John, but make sure to take a day trip back over to experience the shopping. St. Thomas is definitely the most busy and “touristy” of the three U.S. Virgin Islands, as it’s where the cruise ships dock, but you’ll find the cutest cobblestone alleyways leading to some unique little shops.
If you have a passport, definitely try to schedule a ferry over to the island of Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands. The infamous Soggy Dollar Bar on White Bay Beach continues to be our mom’s “most fun place she’s ever been.”
4 / Shopping at Mongoose Junction
Walking through here will feel like a maze-y treehouse in the best way. They have everything from local Caribbean jewelry and cute clothing boutiques to fun, eclectic art galleries. Ladies, be sure to stop in Lulee — you’ll love it!
There are tons of little boutiques around the town square (where most of the restaurants are) that you will likely visit frequently. Mongoose is just a ways up the road a bit and easily walkable from the square.
5 / Take a drive around the island
St. John is only 8 miles long by 3 miles wide — it’s teeny! You can pretty much be anywhere on the island within a half hour. You’ll likely want to stay in Cruz Bay (vs Coral Bay), as it has a bit more restaurants/bars/shops, but take a half day to drive around and see all the beauty of the island! Be prepared to stop every couple of miles to admire views like these!
Don’t worry about packing toys or anything other than diapers and clothes, really. St. John is one of the most family-friendly destinations there is and they have a wonderful service called Island Baby. They will deliver a crib, pack-and-play, activity seats, toys, strollers — literally anything you could ever need — right to your rental house or hotel and have it all set up for you before you even arrive. And when the week’s over, they come collect it all after you leave!
If you’re renting a car, request that a car seat be included in your rental — that way it’s all set when you pick up the car at the airport. (They will likely have it in the trunk for you. You must install it yourself because #liability.)
The island is very safe. You’ll find tons of children running around freely in the town square and all restaurants are very accommodating. If you’re looking for a destination with little ones, St. John should be at the top of your list!
Happy vacationing! If you’ve been to St. John, we’d love to know what has been your favorite things!