On St. John you’ll hear the name Coral Bay used to refer to two different areas on island: the city of Coral Bay and the bay of Coral Bay. Understanding the differences geographically between the two can make those colorful island directions a little easier to follow.
Coral Bay: The City
Coral Bay the city is one of two towns on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is the smaller of the two cities and sits on the eastern coast of St. John; the larger city of Cruz Bay sits on St. John’s western coast and is where the ferry from St. Thomas lands. Coral Bay is a 30 minute (ish) drive east of Cruz Bay on Centerline Road (Route 10).
Downtown Coral Bay is where Centerline Road (Route 10) intersects East End Road (Route 10 East) and South Shore Road (Route 107). This three-way intersection is referred to as the Triangle and is easily identifiable by a new city sign that was built and painted post-storms by several Coral Bay craftsmen and the Moravian Church, whose hurricane damaged church building sits on the hill overlooking the Triangle.
The Triangle is considered "downtown" Coral Bay not because it's the center of activity in town but rather because it's a central point geographically when describing the layout of Coral Bay which is spread around a bay.
From the Triangle, if you head left (east) on East End Road (Route 10 East) the road follows the northern coast of the bay towards Skinny Leg’s and the Carolina Corral, and then heads out to the East End. If you head right (south) at the Triangle on South Shore Road (Route 107) the road will hug the bay’s western section passing Pickles and Love City Market at the head of the bay then around to the southern coast where the Isola Building and Coccoloba Shopping Center are located. South Shore Road (Route 107) then continues to follow the southeastern coastline of St. John passing Shipwreck Landing, Calabash Market, Miss. Lucy’s, and Saltpond Bay before ending at Little Lameshur Bay.
Coral Bay: The Bay
Coral Bay the city sits on the shore of Coral Bay the bay. Looking at a map of St. John you can see that Coral Bay the bay is actually the largest bay on St. John taking up almost a third of the eastern part of the island. Coral Bay is so large that it encompassing several smaller bays, the largest of which being Round Bay, Hurricane Hole, and Coral Harbor.
Coral Harbor is the part of the Coral Bay that the city of Coral Bay sits on; the part with permanent boat moorings that you can see coming down Centerline Road towards Coral Bay. Hurricane Hole, the next bay east, is known as one of the calmest, most protected bays on St. John, a great spot for SUP or kayaking now that the boat debris from Hurricane Irma has been cleared. Round Bay is the easternmost of the three largest bays in Coral Bay where you can find Coral Bay attractions like Haulover Bay and Hansen Bay beach.
In an even more expansive use of the name Coral Bay, often locals will refer to anything on the eastern side of St. John as Coral Bay. Personally I refer to the Coral Bay side as being anything east of Columbo’s Smoothie Shack, where North Shore Road (Route 20) intersects with Centerline Road (Route 10). This larger area would then include Coral Bay the bay, Coral Bay the city, the East End of St. John, and all attractions along South Shore Road (Route 107) including Miss Lucy’s, Saltpond Bay, and Lameshur Bay.