The beaches surrounding Caneel Bay such as Honeymoon Beach look like a 3D postcard, attracting snorkelers, kayakers, and active travelers. Although the popular resort is currently closed, visitors can still explore the turquoise waters and hike the trails, with guided tours typically meeting at nearby Honeymoon Beach or offering pickup at Cruz Bay. You can also book a kayaking adventure that takes you across Caneel Bay to Henley Cay, an uninhabited cay known for its coral reefs. Be on the lookout for stingrays, barracudas, and other sea life, as well as sea birds.
Things to know before you go
- The national park’s visitor center, located in Cruz Bay, features a wheelchair-accessible entrance, parking, and restrooms.
- Avoid using reef-damaging sunscreen that includes ingredients such as oxybenzone, butylparaben, octinoxate, and 4-methylbenzylidene camphor, which can cause coral bleaching.
- Snorkeling gear and kayaks are available to rent at Honeymoon Beach.
How to get there
Caneel Bay is in western St. John, a few minutes’ drive from the port of Cruz Bay. Nearby Honeymoon Bay can only be reached via a short forest trail; it’s secluded and largely without facilities. Take the Lind Point Trail from the visitor’s center to Honeymoon Beach but be aware that it is rocky so wear appropriate shoes.
When to get there
Expect to encounter the biggest crowds from December to March, which is peak season for the US Virgin Islands. This is right after hurricane season, which officially takes place from June to November; if you’re planning to travel during this time consider buying travel insurance. For reasonable hotel rates, mild weather, and smaller crowds, travel from April to June.
Virgin Islands National Park
Covering the majority of St. John, this national park includes a maze of hiking trails, diverse topography and vegetation, and historic sites like the plantation ruins of Annaberg. Beautiful beaches and bays border the park, including Caneel Bay, and boast some of the best snorkeling on the island. Pick up maps and get information at the visitor’s center in Cruz Bay.