Sunset on St John

Trunk Bay St John USVI

May 15, 2022

Condé Nast Traveler deemed it one of the top 10 beaches on the planet, National Geographic says it has no equal, and the USPS even went so far as to put it on a stamp: We’re talking about gorgeous Trunk Bay Beach in St. John! If you are thinking of traveling to beautiful Trunk Bay to unfurl a blanket and indulge, the following guide will let you know more about this often-visited Caribbean getaway. 

Trunk Bay Beach, St. John, US Virgin Islands

Ensconced within US Virgin Islands National Park is Trunk Bay in St. John, USVI. The bay’s location within the Virgin Islands National Park ensures that the archipelago remains free of aggressive, unsympathetic development, making it one of the most pristine of all places in the Caribbean. The area consists of three tenths of a mile-long beach that surrounds a half-moon-shaped body of water. 

A Few Facts about Trunk Bay

Here are a few facts about Trunk Bay to think about before visiting:

  • Trunk Bay is named after the largest sea turtle in the world, the leatherback, which is known to the Virgin Island locals as “trunks.”
  • Businessman, philanthropist, and conservationist Laurence S. Rockefeller donated the area of Trunk Bay to the National Park Service 50 years ago, making it a permanent part of USVI National Park.
  • Unlike other USVI beaches, Trunk Bay charges a $5 admission fee. 
  • The best photo spot there is from Trunk Bay Overlook, right of North Shore Road. It takes less than 10 minutes to get to this spot from Cruz Bay, St. John.

Food & Drink at Trunk Bay Beach

There is a snack bar and souvenir shop at Trunk Bay Beach, which stays open from 10 am to 4 pm. They serve hot food, snacks and sodas, freshly dipped ice cream and fruit popsicles, beer, cocktails and mocktails. There are also retail items you can pick up, including hats, visors and t-shirts. 

Amenities at Trunk Bay Beach

The facilities at Trunk have amenities such as picnic tables, chairs, restrooms, showers and a beach shop where you can rent snorkel gear and flotation devices. They are open every day from 8 am to 4 pm.

Trunk Bay Tours and Activities

Tours and activities abound that capitalize on Trunk Bay's otherworldly beauty. Here are a few that go out of their way to provide you with fun and excitement:

Trunk Bay Tours

1. St John Island Sightseeing Tour from St. Thomas: If you are staying in St. Thomas, St John Island Sightseeing Tour is the tour for you. Round-trip transportation from St Thomas or the cruise port is included. The tour starts there, and then you make the journey to the neighboring island of St. John by ferry where you meet your local guide. While on the tour, you get to see Trunk Bay and take in St John's culture, history and picture-postcard quality scenery.

2. USVI Snorkeling Excursions and Boat Tours: Since Trunk Bay is known as the most photographed and most popular bay on St John, experiencing it by boat via USVI Snorkeling Excursions and Boat Tours really hits it out of the park. After spending some time exploring in the water, you can use the tour boat’s facilities to change your clothes and head out for food and drinks at the establishments nearby.

3. All-Inclusive Day Sail: This 5-hour Day Sail that departs from Cruz Bay offers the perfect venue for small groups who want to enjoy what Trunk Bay and its surrounding area have to offer. You can sunbathe, snorkel and swim with sea turtles or even take the helm of their 40 ft. long sailboat. All-inclusive means anything from a full lunch to the use of snorkeling equipment, to an afternoon happy hour or more island exploration. 

Trunk Bay Activities

Visitors to the bay can hike through the nearby tropical rain forest or visit historic sites, such as the Annaberg Sugar Plantation. They can also indulge in water-based activities like sunbathing, snorkeling or sailing. Swimming is sublime at Trunk as well, as its crystalline, calm waters remain warm year-round. Unfortunately, kayaking or paddleboarding is prohibited there. Instead, you can head to adjacent beaches such as Jumbie Bay; just make sure to stay outside of any swimming zones.

Trunk Bay Underwater Snorkeling Trail

If you are a snorkeling enthusiast, you’ll want to try your hand at the 650 ft. snorkeling trail that’s just offshore of Trunk Bay. The snorkeling at the trail is perfect for first-timers or amateurs, as well as for seasoned pros. The underwater trail is self-guided, meaning it has underwater plaques you can reference for information. The plaques give you information about the sea life you’ll find there. Plus, the signs also give you warnings, such as “Don’t Touch the Sea Turtles and Coral.” During the excursion, you'll see marine life, such as rare indigo blue tunicates that thrive in the location. Also keep an eye out for sea snails, stingrays, sea turtles and massive hermit crabs. 

Best Times to Visit Trunk Bay

There is rarely a bad time to visit this USVI oasis, but the best time to go is super early, maybe at daybreak, even. If you get there early enough, there are usually no crowds and you can get spectacular views of the sunrise. Getting there before the crowds is especially important if you’re in a rental car, as there is usually not enough parking later in the day. If you do go later in the day, it’s best to take a taxi and have them drop you off. Afternoons are great for lolling around on the beach and cooling off in the bay’s warm waters. Sunsets at Trunk are stellar also, and low clouds often frequent the deep blue sky, providing conditions for lovely views and photos.

Getting to Trunk Bay Beach

From St. John, you can rent a car, take a taxi or take one of the open-air taxis to Trunk Bay beach. If you are staying in Cruz Bay, Trunk Bay is a 10-minute drive from where the island ferry disembarks. Cruz Bay can also be accessed from the parking lot by the path that is about 1,000 feet from the parking lot. 

Where to Stay

For visitors looking for the amenities of an island villa in Cruz Bay, look no further than The Hills, St. John for your stay. Here, you can explore St. John’s beautiful beaches, exotic landscapes and unique shops. The Hills is also conveniently located less than 20 minutes away from Trunk Bay. Our views are breathtaking and the villas are unparalleled for their modern luxury. To find out more about booking your vacation rental, please call and ask to speak to one of our friendly and knowledgeable representatives at 800-727-6610. Alternatively, you can learn more about The Hills, St. John by filling out our online form.  

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