Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Mr. Emerson must have been on the beach in St. John when he wrote those words because the island of St. John has some of the most spectacular beaches in the world. Between the soft, white sand and the mesmerizing, blue-green water, it’s no wonder that people flock to this tiny Caribbean island.
Since at least half of my nearly 700 vacation photos were of the beach, I figured it was appropriate to give these amazing places a little blog post of their own.
One of the things that makes St. John so special is that much of the island is National Park and preserved from commercial development. Cinnamon Bay is one of the beaches inside the national park and it is spectacular. It was the perfect place to spend the first full day of our island vacation. (Oh, and if you’re a Kenny Chesney fan, this is the beach that he name-checked in his song, Old Blue Chair.)
I know it’s hard to imagine, but as beautiful as Cinnamon Bay is, Trunk Bay is even more stunning. In fact, Trunk Bay has consistently ranked in the Conde Nast Traveler Ten Best Beaches in the World. I wish I had the vocabulary to adequately describe this extraordinary beach – it takes my breath away.
Just east of Cinnamon and Trunk Bays, lies the lesser known Maho Bay. This beach is every bit as beautiful as it’s more popular neighbors, but because it’s a little more remote, not many tourists venture that far. Which is probably why it’s the locals’ beach of choice. It’s literally right beside the road and parking is pretty much non-existent, but seriously – it’s worth the trouble to make the drive. The day we went there, it was pretty cloudy and rainy so we didn’t stay too long. Personally I think the clouds gave the water an ethereal quality that I was lucky enough to capture on film.
Since we got a little rained out at Maho Bay, we decided that it might be fun to take an adventure over to the east side of the island. We stopped to have lunch at Skinny Legs and our waitress recommended that we make the “short drive” over to Vie’s Snack Shack and private beach (Hansen Bay). I wouldn’t exactly call it a “short drive”, but once we walked through the gate and onto the beach, I knew immediately why Vie liked to keep it a secret. The water was beautiful, but the view was unbelievable.
Gorgeous beaches are not just a St. John phenomenon – all of the Virgin Islands are pretty spectacular. On Thursday, we booked a group tour that took us to a couple of the British Virgin Islands. Our first stop was at the Baths on Virgin Gorda. Devil’s Bay beach was waiting for us at the end of our trek through the maze of batholithic rock formations.
And after an afternoon of snorkeling, what better way to relax than a nice, cold cocktail at the Soggy Dollar Bar. (Snorkeling being so exhausting and all.) Jost Van Dyke is home to White Bay beach and the unofficial best beach bar in the world.
I wish I had the words and photography skills to give justice to these incredible places. It’s worth any hassle to get there or back home (I know this from personal experience). But there is one drawback to spending a lot of time on beach in St. John.
I came home to this…
…so all I’ve done for the past three days is daydream of this-
I think I need another vacation.