Planning Guide to Visiting Virgin Islands National Park


When to go

The greatest time of yr to check out VINP is from March as a result of June, with much less rainfall and a little bit cooler temperatures (with highs in the mid 80s alternatively of the 90s) and less site visitors. The island’s damp year from July to Oct comes with high humidity and the danger of hurricanes, but barring serious functions, day by day rains pass swiftly. Large year handles November by February, with larger crowds and a lot less availability for lodging and transportation.

Acquiring there and on arrival

Most site visitors to the USVI fly into St. Thomas, about a two-and-a-fifty percent-hour flight southeast from Miami. U.S. citizens don’t have to have a passport for entry, just a driver’s license or other governing administration ID, but acquiring one can help with the entry process. To get from St. Thomas to St. John, get a 20-moment ferry ride from Purple Hook Harbor, on the island’s japanese edge, to Cruz Bay on St. John’s western side. The two passenger and automobile ferries depart often.

When you get there on St. John, glance for the harborside VINP Customer Heart at Cruz Bay. You can seize totally free maps or purchase guidebooks there, check out out historical past and character shows, and get suggestions from the information and facts officer. On the trailhead behind the centre, you can begin discovering the park with a hike to gorgeous Honeymoon Beach front just around a mile absent on an typically warm but pretty quick trail.  

Receiving all over

Jeep rental is the very best way to get all over St. John if you’re staying for various times, as the neighborhood taxis can be gradual to reply for experience requests and are costly. They charge a flat fee, ordinarily $10-$14 per man or woman, so a household of 4 can pay $80 or additional (additionally bag expenses or other surcharges) for a quick round excursion, and the driver may possibly cease for other passengers. Be guaranteed to get a selling price estimate right before moving into any taxi. Jeeps are handy for navigating St. John’s steep winding roadways (and property driveways), but parking is at a premium, so get there early at beaches, trailheads, historic web sites and in town for supper. And often don’t forget, traffic drives on the left side of the street in the USVI. If you choose for a day vacation, take into account touring the park and isle with a firm such as STJ Tours. You will optimize your time, as you’ll get a personalized overview of the island, discover some background and not have to bother with the driving.

What to pack

Take alongside a lot of sunscreen, and be confident to use it whilst sailing or beachside, where by cooling offshore breezes can idiot you into thinking the sunlight isn’t that strong — but it is. The USVI formally has a ban on nonreef-risk-free sunscreens, so deliver a brand name that’s zinc oxide-centered (commonly with a “reef safe” label on it). You’ll need bug repellent, too. The notorious indigenous no-see-ums will depart unprotected flesh with itchy bites. Also, wear lightweight long trousers and shirts in early early morning and evening when insects are most active.

Take note that standard U.S. cellphone provider performs well on the island, with out additional surcharges. The only quirk: On St. John’s eastern edge, shut to the British Virgin Islands, telephones may well link to a European provider, potentially incurring additional costs. 

The place to keep and take in

There’s no lodging on formal Nationwide Park lands apart from the Cinnamon Bay campgrounds — not long ago reopened just after renovations with 4 new shared bathhouses, 31 tent websites (with wood tent platforms and picnic benches), 50 “eco-tents” (pre-fab canvas cabins with beds and energy) that accommodate from two to 4 people, and 40 cottage units in 7 structures. The Rain Tree Café serves breakfast and supper, and a food stuff truck by the beach front delivers in lunches. Purchase basic grocery goods and to-go foods at the camp retailer.

Beyond the campgrounds, the park’s 1956 formation still left a lot of “in-holdings” of personal house remaining in just park boundaries. Lots of now function as family vacation rentals — some beachside or mountaintop luxury households with pools, some others more modest retreats. Even more rental choices sit just outside park boundaries, so scan Airbnb, VRBO and regional internet sites to obtain a location and pricing that is correct for you.

Regular hotels and resort possibilities are constrained, the major one becoming the Westin St. John, a sprawling 252-home time-share property in the vicinity of Cruz Bay which is out there for nightly rentals. Right after settling into studios or villas with up to a few bedrooms, attendees take pleasure in myriad resort amenities, together with a pool and tiny seaside with machines rentals, together with a beachside grill and a deli.

The town of Cruz Bay is St. John’s most important hub, with a number of sq. blocks of places to eat, bars and retailers. For a peaceful, loved ones-friendly dining location, start off your working day at Cruz Bay Landing, sinking your tooth into its superb Crab Cake Bennie — crispy regional crab topped with a poached egg slathered with savory hollandaise sauce. Arrive dinnertime, it pairs are living new music with a menu starring Caribbean lobster. Across the island in quiet Coral Bay, rub elbows with traveling to yachters and local seashore bums at Skinny Legs, a famous bar and grill wherever you can seize fish and chips and trade pirate stories even though seeing sports on Television.

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