Snorkeling -- Trunk Bay. An easy drive or taxi ride from your St. John Villa. Always popular. Site of the famous underwater trail. Abundant sea life, both coral and fish. Trunk Bay can get crowded mid-day, since it is so popular, so go in the mornings or late afternoons for sunset. Restrooms, showers, and a snack bar/lunchroom are available. The only St. John beach with an admission charge -- $4 per person per day, or get a 1-year family pass for only $15. The admission is good for both Trunk Bay and Annaberg, where you can have a guided tour through ruins of an old sugar cane plantation.
Advanced Snorkeling -- Waterlemon Cay. If you are adventurous, take a short hike from Annaberg to Leinster Bay's Waterlemon Cay for some spectacular snorkeling. You'll see numerous starfish during a short swim to the Cay, and then will enjoy colorful corals and numerous reef fish.
Water Sports -- Cinnamon Bay. Home of a campground. St. John's longest and widest beach. You can rent kayaks, windsurfers, snorkel equipment, small boats, etc., and enjoy yourselves in a very wide, safe bay with powdery white sand. Cinnamon has restrooms, showers, and a small, casual restaurant. Tip -- the best snorkeling at the far right.
Picnic and Swim -- Salt Pond Bay. Past Coral Bay. Find it on the map and take a drive. There is a walk from the road down to the beach, so pack light. Salt Pond Bay is a beautiful horseshoe-shaped bay with a few picnic tables in the shade on shore and one bathroom. Medium snorkeling, but a great place to swim with warm, quiet water. And stop off at Skinny Legs afterwards for some great food, cheap. For the adventurous, keep going on this road to Little Lameshur Bay. The road gets a bit rough.
Sunset -- Frank Bay. A small beach only 1/3 mile south of Cruz Bay, and perfectly oriented facing west. A beautiful panorama of islands is visible, including Stephen's Cay, Great and Little St. James, St. Thomas, and several smaller cays. Bring some wine and sit in one of the beach chairs that local residents have left on the beach for sunset viewing. On Wednesdays during high season, Elaine Estern at Coconut Coast Art Studio holds a cocktail party from 5:30 - 7:00. Guests are welcome. Come look at the beautiful art.
Breakfast -- Sputnik is now known as Donkey Diner, Coral Bay. Good everything. If you are hungry, try the Sampler, or the Blueberry Pancake special. A good alternative in Coral Bay is Pickle's Deli, just up the road.
Lunch -- Uncle Joe's Barbecue, Cruz Bay, opposite from the Post Office. Here is the complete menu: Chicken, Ribs, Chicken and Ribs, Steak. Each comes smoked with a delicious barbecue sauce, and two side dishes. Cheap and good. Order the chicken and ribs combo, and split it for two people. Sometimes there is a wait, since Joe's is quite popular.
West Indian Snack -- Comfee's, Cruz Bay, in a little kiosk near the fire station. Have a Paté, or Johnnycake, or a stew, or some fried chicken, or the daily special. Not always open, but drop in when you see people there.
Moderate Dinner -- Two-way tie for first -- The Fish Trap, Cruz Bay. Fresh fish, served in a variety of ways. Good service, good prices. Owned by a longtime resident who is a trained chef.
Morgan's Mango, Cruz Bay. Generous platters of delicious foods, and a variety of cuisines. Enormous salads. Often entertainment during high season. A favorite with tourists. Or take a trip Coral Bay and eat a great meal at Aqua Bistro, which in now my favorite since we moved to that side of the island. Entertainment Friday and Sunday.
Upscale Dinner -- Chateau Bordeaux, Bordeaux Mountain. Management has changed, and we prefer Zozo's at this point. A number of other Cruz Bay restaurants are fine.
Italian -- Café Roma, Cruz Bay. Genuine Italian, and that says it all. Very popular and busy during high season. I like the baked penne. Good pizza. Fresh bread with herb oil for dipping. Cafe Roma had a fire in 2013, and is going to re-open in a few months.
Sunday Brunch -- Miss Lucy's, Coral Bay, on the water. Sit outdoors under the trees. Very popular and worth the drive. Classic eggs benedict and Florentine, usually accompanied by a small jazz combo. You'll probably have the company of a local goat or chicken trying to share your food.
Sunset View -- Zozo's, Cruz Bay. Fine dining, with sunset views over Pillsbury Sound. Enjoy cocktails while the sun sets, and then have a romantic dinner. Next to Gallow's Point, with terrific service.
Good Food Cheap -- Skinny Legs, Coral Bay. An institution, proudly claiming "Same Day Service." Best hamburgers on St. John. Casual. A must. On Sundays in football season, there will be four games on simultaneously.
On the Beach -- The Beach Bar, Cruz Bay. A popular local watering hole, often with live music. Good snack and sandwich/burger menu. Friendly, and excellent ambience.
Sports Bar -- Just Pepe's, Coral Bay. Go here if you are from Boston, or enjoy baseball photos. Actually, the food isn't bad, and it's right on the water. Pepe claims he serves the best hot wings on St. John.
OOPS - Pepe moved to Florida, and Pepe's is now Island Blues, with a local atmosphere and karaoke.
Happy Hour -- Woody's, Cruz Bay. The afternoon crowd spills out into the road. Very cheap beers and mixed drinks for a few hours each day. A happy place. Recently expanded to include the bar across the street, so the Happy Hour is even bigger.
Dancing/Disco/Dating -- Duffy's Love Shack, Cruz Bay. Keeps changing owners/name. But still for the young set.
Late Night -- The Quiet Mon Pub, Cruz Bay. In season, stays open until 4:00 A.M. As other bars close, the patrons end up here. Finally, The Quiet Mon closes, and Cruz Bay goes to sleep. The St. Patrick's Day and 4th of July Parades end here each year. A must.
Good Drinks Cheap -- Skinny Legs, Coral Bay. See above under restaurants. Every island should have a place this good.
Painted in Street -- East End, Coral Bay. A reminder of which side of the road to drive on. A photo of this street sign won an award in a Caribbean photo contest.
No parking -- Cruz Bay. The pastor's own spot. This sign always works. I have never seen a car parked here illegally.
Original Spelling -- Cruz Bay. We ate here once, but avoided the bugers and frys.
Mischievous Alteration -- Coral Bay, just before Island Blues. On the other side of this roadside dip in Coral Bay, the warning sign reads "Land Crab Dip".
Music at Night -- Fred's, Cruz Bay. Go Weds. or Friday, and be prepared to dance. The small cover charge is worth it, or just listen to the music from the street and sway with your sweetie.
Art Studio -- Coconut Coast Gallery, Frank Bay. Watercolors by local artist Elaine Estern. Right on the water. Drive up, park, and walk right in. Calendars, prints, originals, souvenirs. Elaine has a cocktail party every Wednesday from 5:30 - 7:00 during high season. Public invited.
Shop For Souvenirs -- St. John Spice, Dockside in Cruz Bay, right next to the ferry. Loads of interesting teas, spices, artifacts, clothes, etc., etc., for the folks back home. Ask for Ruth or Run, ex-Bostonians.
Diving -- Two dive shops, both in Cruz Bay, both good. Check them out before your trip. Low Key Watersports. Cruz Bay Watersports.
Chickens -- Cruz Bay.
Goats and sheep and cows -- Along Centerline Drive between Cruz Bay and Coral Bay.
Peacocks -- Strolling along Frank Bay from Moorehead Point towards Cruz Bay.
Pigs -- Centerline Drive, usually near the landfill, but can be seen roaming elsewhere.
Horses, donkeys -- Coral Bay.
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