Hiking: The Johnny Horn Trail

Hiking is one of our favorite things to do on St. John. With nearly 3/4 of the island being National Park, there is an abundance of great hiking.  The views, wildlife and plants are spectacular and we highly suggest making sure to do at least one hike during your stay!

Johnny Horn Trail is one of our top picks, as it combines a variety of views and terrain as well as some great ruins! You can park at the Annaberg Plantation Ruins (another great sight – we’ll post about these soon!). The trail starts off along the waterfront in Leinster Bay, with a great view of Watermelon Cay.  From there, you hike uphill a bit to ruins of an old Danish guard house. The views from this spot, looking out towards Mary’s Point and Great Thatch, are completely breathtaking!

Keep hiking up the trail, and soon you will arrive at another cropping of ruins, this one The Murphy Estate House atop Windy Hill. Again, the views are stunning, with sights including Sir Frances Drake Channel, Jost Van Dyke and Tortola. If you packed a picnic or snacks, this is a great spot to stop (there’s a picnic table with a view!) or at the very least, snap some photos!

The hike continues on, flattening out in parts, with a range of vegetation including palms, cactus, wild oregano, agave and more. You’ll dip down past Brown Bay, passing the mangroves and bay. You will head back up again, with a final steep stretch of the trail before it begins to descend into Coral Bay via a residential road. We love to take this all the way to Skinny Legs to enjoy a burger or Indigo Grill for a pizza, before heading back on the trail to our car!

You can view more photos and a bit of the story and background of Johnny Horn here and here. We hope you enjoy the hike! If you do this one on your next visit to St. John, please share your photos with us on Facebook or by tagging #destinationstj


Sailing on Kekoa

With so many options for activities and dining during your stay, it’s helpful to get a bit of local knowledge and perspective on “can’t miss” excursions, restaurants, shops and more. Here on the blog, we will share some of our local picks and top things to do during your vacation, ensuring that you experience the best of the best!

Boat trips are often the highlight of everyone’s stay in St. John (aside from gorgeous sunsets like this at Blue Papaya villa) and we highly recommend booking at least one during your trip. There are a lot of options, ranging from small powerboats, larger powerboat tours, sailboats and catamaran trips, offering something something for everyone. One of our top picks is Kekoa – a 50 foot wooden catamaran with black sails, built by two brothers who followed and are now living their dream. Kekoa’s crew is knowledgeable, friendly and genuinely wants you to have your best day ever. The charters offer a true local and personalized feel, are never too packed and you don’t feel like you’re being herded around. The engines are off, wind is in the sails and you can relax in a beanbag to the sounds of the ocean, chill and ever-so-appropriate reggae on the speakers while sipping a Painkiller. Truly, the perfect day and a great way to enjoy the beauty of these islands.

The company offers a few different trip options. We love going to Jost Van Dyke for a full day charter, stopping to snorkel and then have lunch at Soggy Dollar Bar, home of the original Painkiller. That said, the local 1/2 day sails and stunning sunset sails are also equally as special. Really, you can’t go wrong, as a trip with Kekoa will surely be one of the magical and memorable parts of your vacation in St. John.

Top Beaches in the World

If you’re looking to vacation in St. John, then you likely have heard about our beautiful beaches! St. John is nearly 75% Virgin Islands National Park, with gorgeous beaches, phenomenal hiking trails and stunning snorkeling.

In 1956, Laurence Rockefeller donated extensive lands to the US Park Service, under the condition that they be protected from future development. In addition to the land, much of St. John’s waters, coral reefs, beaches and shoreline are also protected. In 2001, The Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument was created, preserving the underwater beauty of the area near Hurricane Hole. Our parks, untouched waters and land are part of what makes St. John so beautiful!

Not to boast, but our beaches are pretty famous and a major reason to come visit this little piece of Heaven. You can stay a week and not even begin to visit each beach – the hardest part is deciding which beach to go to when you venture out for the day!

Some of our favorites include Trunk Bay, photographed here and an iconic beach/highly photographed spot, has been consistently named one of the top ten most beautiful beaches in the world by publications ranging from Condй Nast Traveler, The Travel Channel, Travel + Leisure and other travel publications.  The New York Times named Cinnamon Bay one of six Caribbean Beaches to See Before You Die, and Maho Bay was named by Harper’s Bazaar on of the 27 Best Beaches in the World.

Imagine yourself floating lazily in the warm tropical waters of St. John, spotting a sea turtle casually swimming by. The waves are lapping on the shore of pristine white sand, palm fronds are rustling and the sand is heating your tanned skin. This is vacation. This is St. John. 

See you soon!


Living the Dream

Here in St. John, aka Paradise, the term “Living the Dream” gets thrown around A LOT. At Destination St. John, we revel in the term because we are doing what we love everyday by creating magical vacations for our clients and ensuring that those that visit fall in love with St. John, just as we did when we never left here 25 years ago!

We moved to St. John in the early 90s, as we sought a beautiful, unspoiled place to live, work and raise a family, which we have done! We are a family owned and operated property management and vacation rental company here in St. John, and are one of the best known and most well respected rental firms in the Virgin Islands. In 2012, Islands Magazine named Destination St. John among the best of the best, and we are the only rental firm in the VI to claim this prestigious title.

We are proud of the range of homes we represent, offering island visitors both quaint Caribbean cottages as well as multimillion dollar luxury homes, ensuring that you can enjoy St. John on a variety of budgets without sacrificing quality, customer service and experience! We have curated a friendly, knowledgeable staff that is on call 24 hours a day to make your stay and vacation as perfect and idyllic as you would imagine your island getaway. (More on that later…!)

We invite you to continue to follow our blog where you will learn about fun activities on St. John, island history, local events, featured villas and travel deals, and where we can share with you an insight into our little piece of paradise. We feel grateful everyday that we get to Live the Dream here on St. John and look forward to sharing our journey with you.