Virgin Islands National Park

Virgin Islands National Park

Quick Facts

Virgin Islands National Park

Virgin Islands

(340) 776-6201

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Virgin Islands National Park, renowned throughout the world for its breathtaking beauty, covers approximately three-fifths of St. John, and nearly all of Hassel Island in the Charlotte Amalie harbor on St. Thomas. Within its borders lie protected bays of crystal blue-green waters teeming with coral reef life, white sandy beaches shaded by seagrape trees, coconut palms, and tropical forests providing habitat for over 800 species of plants. To these amazing natural resources, add relics from the Pre-Colombian Amerindian Civilization, remains of the Danish Colonial Sugar Plantations, and reminders of African Slavery and the Subsistence Culture that followed during the 100 years after Emancipation - all part of the rich cultural history of the Park and its island home.

Map of Virgin Islands Park

Latitude, Longitude: 18.342468, -64.741402

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Activities

  • Boating

    At the Cinnamon Bay beach, rentals are available for a variety of sailboats, kayaks and windsurfers. The bay is large, and prevailing winds make for exciting sailing.

  • Bird Watching

    During the winter months especially, the Francis Bay Trail is an excellent place to go birdwatching for the West Indian whistling-duck, yellow-billed cuckoo, and some of the more than 160 species known to these islands. More than 30 species of tropical birds breed on the island. They include the bananaquit, the black, parrot-like smooth-billed and, and two species of Caribbean hummingbirds. Many warblers and other birds seen in the continental United States in the summer spend their winters in the dense forests.

  • Camping

    Within the Park, camping is available at Cinnamon Bay. Bare tent sites (campers furnish their own tents and equipment), large canvas tents (with equipment furnished) and screened cottages (with propane grills and electricity) are available.

  • Fishing

    Park waters are open to fishing with hand-held rods. Fishing is not allowed in Trunk Bay and in buoy-designated swimming areas. Possession of spearguns within the park is prohibited.

  • Hiking

    The actual terrestrial acreage of Virgin Islands National Park occupies a little more than half of St. John. Approximately 5,650 of adjacent submerged lands are included in the Park as well. There are a total of 20 trails throughout the park to explore. A number of trails on the North and South shores offer a variety of short and long hikes, ranging from 15 minutes to two hours.

  • Historic Sites

    The St. John Historical Society has a small museum located at the Battery (Offices of the Governor), just a short walk from the Visitors Center. The Park's Visitor Center in Cruz Bay offers an exhibit depicting both natural and cultural resources. One may learn about the terrestrial as well as submerged lands. Examples of reef fishes and coral are on display. Other panels depict the cultural history - from the earliest inhabitants to the subsistence era. Visitors are able to view artifacts from the pre-Columbian Tainos, tools used to harvest sugarcane during the late 1700's and early 1800's sugar production era, and examples of objects that became essential for survival after slavery emancipation. Once in Cinnamon Bay, visitors may visit the archeology lab (a converted sugar factory warehouse) and see the artifacts recovered from the nearby dig. If planning a visit, please call to ascertain the building is open.

  • Picnicking

    Picnicking is encouraged, and picnic areas provided.

  • Water Sports

    Some of the best snorkeling anywhere can be found at the beaches in the park and around St. John. A brochure available at the visitors center describes the various locations. Check out Trunk Bay and its 225-yard, self-guiding snorkeling trail marked by underwater signs identifying portiongs of the coral reef.

Seasonality/Weather

Whereas most of the Park remains open 24 hours a day year-round, some areas maintain closing hours. The Cruz Bay Visitor Center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is just a short walk from the public ferry dock.

Directions

Driving

Once on St. John there are no designated entrances to Virgin Islands National Park, although two main routes will provide access to many areas. Route 20 (North Shore Road) runs from the ferry dock past the Visitors Center to the most contiguous part of the Park, including most beaches and the campgrounds as well. Large and small tracts of private lands are found within the authorized boundary of the Park

Public Transportation

Public Transportation - Hourly ferry service from Red Hook, St. Thomas (a 20-minute ride) is available to St. John and operates from 6:30 a.m., then on the hour from 7:00 am - midnight. Ferry service from St. John to St. Thomas runs on the hour from 6:00 a.m - 11:00 p.m. Less frequent ferries travel between Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas and St. John (a 45-minute ride).

Phone Numbers

Primary

(340) 776-6201

Links