South Shore Beaches
Unquestionably one of the most unique beaches on St. John, Drunk Bay is a rocky stretch of coastline on the windward side of the Ram Head peninsula (the southernmost point on St. John). There is no swimming at this beach, no sunbathing or anything close to what you'd consider regular beach activities, instead Drunk Bay is known for the intricate world of stone sculptures that have been built on its beach. Everything from people to turtles to castles to messages of love and hope all created in rock, coral, and flotsam by visitors to Drunk Bay. It is one of the most unique traditions on St. John, and if you visit you can continue the custom by building your own stone creation!
Saltpond Beach is a long stretch of white sand, one of the largest sand beaches on the southern coast of St. John. Its westerly facing bay is protected making its turquoise waters ideal for snorkeling, and it is one of the best places to see sea turtles on St. John. In fact, during the summer months sea turtles often nest along the beach. In addition to being a wonderful beach to visit it’s also a great jumping off point for other Coral Bay attractions in the area including Drunk Bay, Ram Head Trail, and salt mining.
Kiddle Bay is a small cobblestone and coral rubble beach one bay west of Saltpond Bay along St. John’s southern coast. A local favorite for leisurely morning swims and quiet afternoons, Kiddle Bay has a laid back, locals vibe. Kiddle Bay is also deeper and rockier than some of the neighboring bays and so snorkeling its rocky coastline presents unique aquatic scenery. Unlike its sandy-bottomed neighbor Saltpond, you're more likely to see nurse sharks than green turtles in this bay, and it's definitely only for experienced swimmers as the current can be very strong near the mouth of the bay.
Like it's neighbor Kiddle Bay, Grootpan Bay is cobblestone and rock beach west of Saltpond Bay on St. John’s southern coast. Often quiet and rarely the sunbather's destination, the beach at Grootpan would appeal more to the beachcomber or anyone who enjoys a good hunt for flotsam treasures. Post-hurricane the salt pond behind Grootpan Bay has also become a birding hotspot on St. John hosting a variety of year-round and migratory species.
Great & Little Lameshur
At the end of South Shore Road (Route 107) are Great Lameshur Bay and Little Lameshur Bay, a cobblestone and sand beach respectively. Their isolation at the end of a very rutted road keeps crowds at a minimum, but if you've got the right vehicle they're well worth the drive. Great Lameshur is the larger of the two bays, the first reached when driving from Coral Bay; Little Lameshur is its little sandy sister to the west with several picnic tables and charcoal grills. At Little Lameshur Bay visitors can also connect to other activities in the area including Reef Bay and the Petroglyph Trail.
East End Beaches
The thinnest strip of land on the entire island of St. John is at Haulover Bay. Just over a hundred yards of marshy land separate the waters of Round Bay to the south from the Sir Francis Drake Channel to the north. In fact so narrow is this strip of land that it was often faster for ships traveling north to be taken out of the water at Coral Bay, hauled over the land, and then put back in the water at North Haulover rather than having to sail all the way around the East End of St. John. Today ships no longer traverse this land but Coral Bay visitors can, and the North and South Bays at Haulover are excellent for snorkeling, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding.
Since Vie’s closed in 2016 Hansen Bay has slowly become the most popular beach on St. John’s East End, located just one bay over from the former Vie’s Snack Shack. Hansen Bay is unique in that it is not owned by the Virgin Islands National Parks but rather it's privately owned and yet still open to community use. Owners Thalia and Dunia ask only for a small parking fee (to help with the cost of beach maintenance), and that visitors respect the land and clean up after themselves. Hansen Beach has a local feel with pot luck Sundays and a dog friendly policy. After the storms of 2017 it also become home to Kekoa, a 55 foot catamaran beached for repairs on Hansen’s eastern end.