Outdoor Activities abound on St. John and our National Park
Bring your bathing suit, sun-screen and comfortable shoes
St John is a outdoor wonderland where you will find lots to do. From scuba diving, snorkeling, hiking, horseback riding, to just lying on the beach, here are some recommendations for guests of our St John vacation rental villa, Great Expectations.
Boating options - motor or sail
at a great discount special for guests of Great Expectations!
Sea More Charters - Spend a day (or 1/2 day) on the very cool 42' power yacht. Snorkle or just relax as you explore the waters of St John or the BVI's.
- Take a boat trip, on a fabulous 40' Trawler with both shaded areas and sun decks, around the island while stopping off at near impossible-to-find-on-your-own-magnificent-snorkeling-spots! The Sadie Sea is a special boat with a great captain Tom and his first-mate Amy. Sadie Sea has earned a top rating on Trip Advisor for the great experience they provide to their guests. Make sure you tell them when you call to schedule that you are staying at our St John villa, Great Expectations, and you will be extended their 'friends' discount.
is a 45' Sea Master Ketch sailboat built for ocean cruising so she is very solid and takes the seas gracefully (no yaw...for non-boaters that means the boat stays relatively flat in the water even during stiff winds!). The cockpit is large enough for everyone to be comfortable and there is plenty of deck space for sunning. If you are adventurous, take a turn at the wheel and steer your course for fun and adventure. When you contact Captain Jini tell her you are staying at Great Expectations. She will extend you her special 'St John sailing adventure 15%'discount' expecially offered to our guests!
is a beautiful 46' Jeanneau sloop. Come sailing and have what will be one of the highlights of your vacation to St. John! Survivan’s over-sized cockpit has a full bimini for plenty of shade. Snorkeling in the crystal clear water is a breeze with our open stern, swim ladder and fresh water rinse. Whether you want to sit back and relax or take a turn at the helm we offer a custom sailing trip to fit your needs. Options include: full day with gourmet lunch and two snorkel stops, a half day which is a three hour tour with one snorkel stop, Sunset Sail, and a full-day trip to Jost Van Dyke in the BVI. and have what will be one of the highlights of your vacation to St. John! Survivan’s over-sized cockpit has a full bimini for plenty of shade. Snorkeling in the crystal clear water is a breeze with our open stern, swim ladder and fresh water rinse. Whether you want to sit back and relax or take a turn at the helm we offer a custom sailing trip to fit your needs. Options include: full day with gourmet lunch and two snorkel stops, a half day which is a three hour tour with one snorkel stop, Sunset Sail, and a full-day trip to Jost Van Dyke in the BVI.
Breakaway Charters/New Horizons
- Breakaway to the British Virgin Islands (BVI) aboard a sleek, fast, and comfortable powerboat. Enjoy a continental breakfast, lunch at one of the BVI's most popular island restaurants, swim the Baths of Virgin Gorda and enjoy a full open bar (with top shelf names). Oh, and by the way, the day will be filled with lots of hidden jewel snorkeling options all at a 20% discount for guests of the popular St John villa Great Expectations! Motor Yacht Cinnamon Bay
- Originally commissioned in the Virgin Islands in 1972, this wonderful yacht was named the Motor Yacht Cinnamon Bay by Laurence D. Rockefeller who developed Caneel Bay Resort in the 1950s and donated some 5,000 acres of land around the hotel to the federal government for a US National Park and, who, with his family, enjoyed day excursions aboard this elegant craft for more than a decade. She has over 200 square feet of open teak decks, as well as nearly 100 square feet of enclosed deck space with comfortable seating in the salon for 20 or more, seating 10 on the shaded aft deck and additional seating on the fly bridge. One of the many assets of her wooden construction is the comfortable ride she offers, slicing through the crystal blue waters with beauty and grace. Captain Dan will offer guests of Great Expectations a 10% discount and, of course, a terrific day on the water.
- The Wayward Sailor is a classic 30' Islander sloop owned and operated by Capt. Phil for the past 27 years. Captain Phil has logged well over a hundred thousand miles under her keel, traveling throughout the Caribbean and the Bahamas.
Lion in Da Sun
- Lion In Da Sun uses a 2007 Scout 282SF. The vessel is 28 feet in length and cruises at a speedy 30knots to get you to and from the many beautiful islands and beaches. It is one of the most comfortable center consoles in its class and is built with beautiful lines as well. She is powered by twin Yamaha 4-stroke 250hp outboards for quiet operation and maximum fuel efficiency. This boat is one of, if not the most comfortable private day charter boat in its class available on St. John. It really turns heads on the dock and at anchor.
Feel like Fishing?
Double Header Sportfishing -
Their Fleet consists of a 40 ft. sport fishing boat and 2 35 ft. center console, diesel powered, open fishing boats with a large T-top covering all seating areas. These boats are fully equipped including a marine head for your convenience and full electronics for your safety and enjoyment. They also furnish all rods and reels with fishing tackle to make your trip a fun & successful one and, best of all, they offer guests of our St John villa, Great Expectations, a 10% discount!
HIKING ON ST JOHN
If boating is not for you, stay on dry land and take a hike on one of our many trails (trail notes from the very helpful book St. John U.S. Virgin Islands Guidebook-USVI St. John On Foot And By Car.
The US National Park Service has developed a wonderful map of St John which details the park boundary as well as many of the island's wonderful hiking trails and beaches.
Lind Point Trail (1.1 miles, 1 hour) Connects the US Virgin Islands National Park Visitor Center at Cruz Bay with Honeymoon Beach at Caneel Bay. Hike ascends 0.4 miles to St. John's scenic Lind Point overlook. At 0.7 miles, a side-trail leads to Solomon Beach. Vegetation features open dry forest with cactus scrub environment.
Cinnamon Loop Trail (0.5 mile, 1 hour) Shady, signed, history-nature loop trail passes through an old sugar factory, an old Danish cemetery and native tropical trees. Hike begins a few yards east of entrance road into Cinnamon Bay Campground.
Francis Bay Trail (0.5 miles, 30 minutes) Begins at the west end of the Mary Creek paved road near Maho Bay Campground. Hiking along the trail, you pass through a dry scrub forest, past historic Francis Bay Estate House and onto the beach. A mangrove forest and brackish pond provide good bird habitat. An area has been cleared for viewing pond bird life.
(0.2 miles, 30 minutes) Historic hike through the stabilized ruins of a U.S. Virgin Islands sugar plantation. Complete tour included elsewhere in St. John On Foot And By Car. One of the most popular attractions in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Salt Pond Trail
(0.2 miles, 15 minutes) Pleasant down hill hiking through arid vegetation to beach at Salt Pond Bay. One of the prettiest beaches in U.S. Virgin Islands. Because it is a bit out of the way, Salt Pond Beach is often quiet. The very beautiful crescent shape beach is a favorite of locals for it is a terrific spot for snorkeling as well as birdwatching.
Reef Bay Trail (3.0 milles) This is one of our favorite hikes especially when led by the National Park Service rangers because it is downhill through forest and ruins to a wonderful beach and then a boat ride back to Cruz Bay! The ranger-led hikes are on Mondays and Thursdays. Reservations are required and there are minor fees for taxi transportation to the trail head and boat return to the Visitor Center - wel worth the time and money!
Ruins overlooking Leinster Bay provide a perfect peephole (photo credit Steve Simonsen)
Close by but hard to find is the Tektite Trail (.7 miles)
. This trail was originally a road used to access the Tektite Project, a late 1960's collaborative of the US Navy, NASA, US Department of the Interior, and General Electric. The purpose of the Project was to study the effects on humans of living and working underwater for long periods of time. An underwater habitat was built and placed 50 feet below the surface on the seafloor. Four people (aka 'aquanauts') spent 58 days living in four circular rooms 12' in diameter. Home away from home consisted of a fully equipped kitchen, hot showers, a bunkhouse, laboratory, and even a radio and TV! Enough of that, now back to the trail -- you can read all about the trail in a recent, and very interesting, Caribbean Travel + Life