Trip Report | Our Spring Break in St. John, USVI

Hello, hello friends… I hope your week is off to a great start! It’s Prom Week for us, which means all kinds of prep going on for Sloan, and I’m thrilled to tag along for the girl time. You want a facial? Sure, no problem! Nail appointment? Happy to go with you! Ha, we take what we can get, right moms!?

Today I’ve got the Trip Report of our spring break trip to St. John, USVI! Mr. Sugarplum and I went ages ago, and were so excited to return with our kids. The beaches were as beautiful as we remembered, but the island has grown considerably in popularity!

While it still has the laidback island charm, with only local shops and restaurants, rustic roads, and off-the-beaten-path beaches, gone are the days of having the beach to yourself! In fact, if you aren’t an early-bird, you might find yourself driving from beach to beach looking for a place to park!

But while the secret is out on St. John, it’s still a slice of paradise, especially for active families!

Sidenote: We were there during Spring Break, which is obviously prime travel season for families and cruise ships. I would imagine the shoulder season is still fairly sleepy!

St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands //

Swim Top (size 4) | High Waist Swim Bottoms (size 4) | Sunglasses

Ruched Bikini Top (size 4) | Hipster Bikini Bottoms (size 4)

The moment we stepped off the ferry onto the island, with the warm Caribbean breeze and the smell of the ocean, it was instant vacation mode. The sand is powdery soft, and the waters are shimmering turquoise. We were there in early March, and the weather as absolute perfection!

We rented a cozy villa nestled in the hills overlooking Cruz Bay, and waking up to that view every morning was pure bliss. In fact, we loved our time at the villa as much as exploring the island!

We spent our days exploring the island’s stunning beaches, afternoons by the pool, and evenings wandering the shops and restaurants in town.

Crochet Skirt

Bikini Top (size 4) | Sarong | Flip FlopsSunglassesStraw Tote BagTeardrop Earrings

Maxi Dress | Straw Hat (code SUGARPLUM10) (Also HERE) | Sunglasses | All-Weather Bangles

Floral Bikini Top | Floral Bottoms | Oversized Button Down (code CASSIE15) | Crochet Skirt | Swim Trunks (code CASSIE20)

Backpack | Swim Trunks (code CASSIE20)

This was the view from our villa… a little hard to leave each day! But the beaches and island are worth it!

Swim Trunks (code CASSIE20)

Colorblock Maxi Dress | Sunglasses | Gold Hoop Earrings | Tennis Bracelet

Swim Top (size 4) | High Waist Swim Bottoms (size 4) | Sunglasses

Eyelet Swim Top (size 4) | Eyelet Swim Bottoms (size 4) | Straw Hat

Getting to St. John //

The best places are always a little challenging to get to, and St. John is no exception! We flew American Airlines from Dallas to St. Thomas (via Miami on the way there, and through Charlotte on the way home). There is one non-stop flight, but it books out months in advance for busy season.

From the St. Thomas airport, you have two options for ferry service, depending on what time you arrive… one is more time in the car, and the other more time on the ferry boat. Fortunately, our arrival time coincided with option two!

We hopped a shuttle van from the airport (they are readily available outside) to Charlotte Amalie (about a 5 minute drive) for the 45-minute passenger ferry to Cruz Bay. The other option is a shuttle to Red Hook (about a 45-minute drive), followed by a 20-minute ferry ride to Cruz Bay.

We pre-booked our ferry tickets HERE since we were traveling in peak season, and there are only a few boats out of Charlotte Amalie (Crown Bay Marina) each day. We would have been fine not pre-booking though, as there were plenty of seats.

Sugarplum Travel Tip: The shuttle to the ferry was $15/person, and paid in cash. There’s also a cute little smoothie hut for quick snacks while you wait at Charlotte Amalie.

Once on island, the concierge service with our villa arranged for taxi pickup to take us to the rental house. (More on the that below.)

The taxis in St. John are all open-air safari cars, some holding as many as 20+ people, and can shuttle you to all the main areas. We opted for a rental car for the week so we could explore on our own timetable (rented through our villa), but keep in mind they drive on the left side of the road in St. John, and it’s a compact island with windy roads and steep inclines.

Sugarplum Travel Tip: The taxi from the marina was $15/person, and they delivered us to the doorstep of our rental.

Where We Ate in St. John //

For an island that’s only 28-square miles, the food on St. John is surprisingly good! A full day in the sun and water does wonders for your appetite, too! There are quite a few options, but these were some of our faves…

Longboard // Our favorite spot, we actually ate here twice! Cute, open-air environment that’s a little more elevated than most of the local beach bars. The food and cocktails are amazing! Go early, or put your name on the list and wander nearby shops while you wait.

Sam & Jacks // Delicious, gourmet-style sandwiches perfect for beach picnics. We called ahead, then grabbed them on the way out in the morning. It’s upstairs from a pharmacy and market, so you can stock up on other supplies at the same time.

Beach Bar // The kids liked this laidback spot for their live music and beach-side hangout.

Rumhut // Behind the Beach Bar, it’s a little more elevated with fast service and solid food.

Lime Out // A must-eat on St. John… this floating taco bar serves food better than it needs to be! The only access is by boat (we can’t recommend Salty Daze enough for boat days!), and the tables are truly floating. The tacos and cocktails were the best we had!

Skinny Legs // A casual spot in Coral Bay, and a great place to grab a burger after a long day on the water.

Irie Pop // Refreshing fruit and ice cream popsicles and yummy iced coffees… it was a frequent stop for us!

Tiki Bar at Maho Bay Beach

The Longboard

Sam & Jacks Deli

Skinny Legs

Favorite Beaches & Activities in St. John //

St. John beaches are like something out of a postcard, with powdery white sand and crystal-clear waters. But it’s also home to the Virgin Islands National Park, which covers over 60% of the land area, with hiking trails winding through lush forests, leading to breathtaking vistas and hidden waterfalls.

Honeymoon Beach // Straight out of a postcard, with lots of nooks to sit in the shade. You can park at the old Caneel Bay and pay to take a shuttle in, or park at Cruz Bay Visitors Center and hike Lind Trail down (our fave way).

Cinnamon Beach // Right off the road with easy parking, this beach is a little sanctuary!

Reef Bay // The waves were much bigger, and the beach too rocky for swimming, but was great for shelling and exploring tide pools. You’ll also likely have it to yourself! Note that it’s accessible only by Reef Bay Trail, a steep hike off Centerline Road.

Maho Bay // A long stretch of white sand with small waves, plenty of parking, and on-site food truck and bar. It’s the best place to spot sea turtles, too.

Trunk Bay // The most popular beach by far… a long, wide expanse of white sand, with a snorkeling trail, on-site food and bar, and bathroom/shower amenities. It’s also the beach just about every cruise-goer heads straight for, so plan on sharing it with a few 100 of your closest friends (in peak season, anyway).

Sugarplum Tip: The facilities close at 4pm, so the crowds clear out, giving you the beach to yourself! Perfect last stop of the day.

Salty Daze Boat Charter // We all agreed the best part of the trip was our day on the water with Salty Daze! We did a private half-day tour on their double-decker boat, with water slide, snorkel gear, and all the fresh rum punch we could drink!

We snorkeled areas only accessible by boat, anchored for swimming and games, and had lunch at Lime Out Floating Taco Bar. It ended with a slow cruise back to the marina at sunset. Absolutely perfect!

We loved it so much we tried to book a full-day on our last day on island, but alas they were full. Definitely next time!

Sugarplum Travel Tip: The incredible owners are offering Sugarplum friends $50 off their tour, so let them know we’re friends when you book! Ask for Sereta or Tim as your captain!

Where We Stayed in St. John //

Arc du Soleil // One of the most unique places we’ve ever stayed, this 3-bedroom, 3-bath villa sits high in the hills overlooking Cruz Bay, with absolutely awe-inspiring views.

The bedrooms are all fully air-conditioned, but the rest of the home is completely open-air. The kitchen, dining room, and living room sit in a covered patio, with the rest of the spaces completely outdoors. It’s fully-stocked, with everything you need including coolers, beach chairs, umbrellas, and snorkel gear.

The kitchen has everything you need and more, and there’s even a full bar! The large infinity pool is the perfect spot for sunsets and stargazing. There are lots of fans and a great breeze, so we were always comfortable.

The house also comes with concierge service, so they assisted us in ferry reservations, taxi pickups, dinner recommendations, and more. They made the trip seamless! There’s even a 4×4 vehicle available for rent, and they met us at the house for pick-up and drop-off!

Sugarplum Travel Tip: One of the bedrooms actually has a separate entrance at the lower level of the house, so while it’s perfect for teens and couples, maybe not ideal with small kids. For a better look, I shared a full tour in this video HERE.

Geometric Maxi Dress (Small) | Straw Hat (code SUGARPLUM10) (Also HERE) | Sunglasses | All-Weather Bangles

Floral Bikini Top | Floral Bottoms | Sunglasses | Swim Trunks (code CASSIE20)

Floral Bikini Top | Floral Bottoms | Sunglasses | Swim Trunks (code CASSIE20)

It was the absolute best Spring Break, and we all had a blast! I tried not to get too swept up in thinking about it being our last Spring Break as a family. I know we’ll continue to travel together, but after 22 years of Spring Breaks, it’s a little bittersweet to see this tradition end.

Have you been to St. John? What’d we miss that we need to do next time? Leave it in the comments so everyone can see. And if you missed it, I shared everything I packed and wore HERE and my fave swimsuits and coverups I packed HERE. And if you want to see even more of our trip, check out this video highlight in my Instagram HERE.

[MORE SUGARPLUM TRIP REPORTS]

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Le Taha’a Resort | A Gem in French Polynesia
Great Stays | Four Seasons Bora Bora
Trip Report | Whidbey Island, Washington
Trip Report: Maui, Hawaii
Trip Report | Pine Cay, Turks & Caicos
A Day in Santa Cruz
Snapshots from Big Sur
Trip Report | Vieques, Puerto Rico
What to Pack for a National Parks Trip
Trip Report | Santorini, Greece
Anna Maria Island
Trip Report | Exuma, Bahamas
Swimming with Pigs in Exuma
All Cruise Posts HERE

Leave a Comment

7 Comments

  1. Nicki Lossing wrote:

    Hi Cassie!! Looks like another AMAZING trip!! My husband and I are taking our two adult daughters to Lake Como, Lucerne, then Paris next month. Aren’t you all making a similar trip soon? We are VERY excited. I sure wish you could pick my wardrobe and pack for me. LOL! SOOOOO much more challenging to pack for than an island trip.
    Thinking about and praying for you with your girl graduating. <3

    Posted 4.23.24 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Hi Nicki! Yes, going on a Europe “graduation” trip this summer with both kids, the last of its kind! #holdme I wish I could pack for you too, we could play dress up, my fave! xoxo, C

      Posted 4.24.24 Reply
  2. Sandy wrote:

    Such a fun, honest trip report/post. You are bringing back -great-memories!
    Sounds like it’s your prom too, HA,HA,HA! So much fun! Can’t wait to see the dress reveal/details! Go Sloan, go! : )
    Now I have to return to STJ. Sounds like it’s going thru growing pains, but they are doing a great job accommodating visitors. I loved sitting w/the school kids, going to school each day (what a ride!) on the ferry. You are bringing up such great memories! Watching the cruise ship goers come in (and leave, ha,ha) on Trunk Bay. Would love to know your son & daughter’s fave islands from all your trips. Such a great post and tips, C! xoxo.
    Ps-Luved the pic of Mr. SP floating in the pool-he always brings a laugh/smile! xo.

    Posted 4.23.24 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      As always, thank you for your sweet comments, Sandy! Mr. SP is always a ham! xo, C

      Posted 4.24.24 Reply