Some of the best snorkeling on the U.S. Virgin Islands can be found at St. John. Swim over vast coral reefs or through a valley of sea grass, and cruise by sea turtles, star fish, and an array of tropical fish.
Snorkeling at Trunk Bay
North Shore, Route. 20, about 2½ mi east of Cruz Bay
Trunk Bay is one of the most famed beaches of the world. Trunk Bay has been named “Ten Best Beaches in The World” by Condé Nast Traveler and the “most beautiful beach in the world” by the National Geographic Society. Trunk Bay is one of the St. John’s most favored snorkeling locations due to its marked underwater trail for beginning snorkelers. This underwater trail is located a short distance of the shore at Trunk Cay. Here you can find fifteen underwater plaques that identify corals and fish that inhabit this cove. Snorkel above the 675-foot trail and spot the numerous Caribbean fish that call Trunk Bay home. The only bad news here is because of its popularity, it can get very crowded during popular travel times. So rise and shine and get up with the fish to see this amazing stretch of snorkeling paradise. Snorkeling equipment is available to rent on the beach, and you will be able to enjoy beach facilities that include showers, restrooms, changing rooms, public telephones, picnic tables, and a snack bar.
Snorkeling at Waterlemon Cay
Take the Leinster Baytrail to Waterlemon Bay.
Waterlemon Cay is a small island that lies just off the shore of the beach at Waterlemon Bay. The water along the shore is shallow, with the beach mostly a mix of sand and coral rubble. Put on your fins or get ready for a short swim as you coast through the clear waters on a short 0.2-mile snorkel to the fringing reef off Waterlemon Cay. On your swim to the island you’ll pass over plumbs of sea grass which provide a safe shelter for starfish, sea cucumbers, and green turtles. On the south and east sides of Waterlemon Cay you will enjoy shallow water and coral reefs that are teeming with blue tang, parrot fish, star fish and sea cucumbers. Coast over to the west and north sides of the cay where you’ll find deeper waters, reach about twenty feet deep. On this side of Water Lemon Cay you’ll snorkel over several varieties of coral, colorful sea fans, and might even spot one of the three native sea turtles.
Snorkeling at Cinnamon Bay
Northshore, 4 miles from Cruz Bay on Route 20
Cinnamon Bay has a local Water Sports Center that rents out all the equipment you’ll need for your snorkeling adventure. Cinnamon Bay is a great location for both beginner and advanced snorkelers. If you’re new to snorkeling you should explore the eastern end of the beach where you’ll find coral formations and intricate rock formations that create safe homes for a variety of Caribbean fish. More advanced snorkelers enjoy the short swim to Cinnamon Cay, a small island just off the shore. Cinnamon Cay is home to the remains of an old Cessna aircraft that crashed and sank years ago, and has now become home to an abundance of sea creatures. You can snorkel over this wreck in the shallow waters of the eastern portion of the beach.
Snorkeling at Salt Pond Bay
South Shore, take route 107 heading south for 3.9 miles from Coral Bay
Salt Pond Bay has a small parking lot that is directly in front of the Salt Pond Bay Trail. This trail is a short 0.2 mile walk that leads you directly to this pristine beach. The best snorkeling at Salt Pond Bay can be found on the rocky eastern coastline of the beach. Snorkel off the right end of the beach to see massive boulders colonized by sponges and elk horn coral. These shallow waters are home to an abundance of sea grasses and fans, which make great hiding spots for star fish, sea cucumbers, and sea horses.
Other popular St. John Snorkeling locations: Hawknest Bay, Gibney Beach, Salomon Bay, Francis Bay, Watermelon Cay, Big Maho Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Brown Bay.