5 Reasons to Rent a Car While on St. John

We recommend renting a car while you are staying with us. Here are some of our reasons…

  1. Money. Taxis can be pricey. You pay by the person not by the ride, so this can add up quickly. Especially if you are staying for an extended period of time, you will actually save money renting a car. Plus, there is almost always free parking in town. Just ask us about our favorite spots!
  2. Time. When you are here for a short period of time, you want to make use of every second. You don’t want to waste time waiting on a taxi. Most taxis will not leave until the taxi is full costing you precious time.
  3. Beaches. Taxis don’t always trav
    el to every beach on island. This means that you may miss out on what could be your favorite beach.
  4. Adventure. It can be fun driving around and finding new things while on island. Plus you get to experience the adventure of driving on the left side of the road! Our roads can be an adventure in itself to explore the hills and turns.
  5. Freedom. You want to be able to go where you want, when you want. After all, it is your vacation! You don’t want to wait until a taxi is full to go to where you want to go, or be restricted on where you can go or what time you do it.

Book your rental jeep today! Click here for a full list of St John vehicle rentals. We recommend St John Car Rental. 



Day Trips While on St. John

We are thrilled to offer you discounts with some Island Abodes partners.

It is important to have great snorkel gear while vacationing with us, so be sure to reserve yours today with St John Beach Bum and a promo code for a 10% discount is sent to you after booking.

We are also happy to offer you a 10% discount on your boat trip with Sunshine Daydream Charters.  More information is sent to you after booking.

We also recommend the following day trips:

Powerboats

Palm Tree Charters (BVI or US waters, up to 12 passengers)

Born to Rhumb (BVI or US waters, up to 15 passengers)

Ocean Runner (BVI or US waters, up to 12 passengers)

Cruz Bay Watersports (private or group charters, BVI or US waters, sailing or powerboat options)

Sail Boats

Morningstar Charters (BVI or US waters, also offers diving)

Cimarron (private or group charters, BVI or US, up to 12 passengers)

Diving

Low Key Watersports (courses available)

Rentals and Adventure Trips

Arawak Adventures (kayak, paddleboard, flyfish, snorkel)

Fishing

Ocean Surfari  (sport fishing and sightseeing charters)

Island Tours

News of St. John (private tours, 5 hours, you pick the places)

Star Fish Tours and Taxis (private tours, 2 1/2 or 4 hour tours, predetermined places)



Dining Out On St John

We are often asked what are the best places to eat on St. John.  Here is a list of our personal favorites…. in no particular order. 

Casual Dining

Cruz Bay Landing (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) 

Longboard (happy hour and dinner) 

Lime Inn (lunch and dinner)

Sundog Cafe (lunch and dinner)

Morgan’s Mango (dinner – make reservations)

Cafe Roma (pizza- dinner)

Lucky Chops (happy hour- dinner)

Greengo’s (Mexican- lunch and dinner)

Bar Dining

Tap Room (lunch and dinner- at Mongoose Junction. Great local beer) 

Woody’s (dive bar)

Fine Dining 

Ocean 362 (dinner, located at Gallows, sit at the bar and watch the sunset- make reservations and request the upstairs bar) 

The Terrace (make reservations)

Extra Virgin (make reservations)

Rhumb Lines (yummy – make reservations)

La Tapa (menu changes daily – make reservations)

Da Livio (pizza)

 Beach Dining 

Drink (just a bar but it is awesome)

High Tide (on the beach, breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Deli Style – To Go

Sam and Jacks (lunch- deli)

North Shore Deli (breakfast and lunch)

Little Olive (food truck, open W-F lunch/dinner pick up) 

Ice Cream

St. John Scoops (super yummy ice cream and more)

On the other side, Coral Bay. 

Aqua Bistro (lunch and dinner) 

Skinny Legs (lunch and dinner) 

Miss Lucy’s (lunch and dinner)


How Far Away is the Beach?

 

One of our most frequently asked questions is, “How far away is the beach from our Island Abodes suite?” The answer is simple: it’s closer than you think! When you arrive on island for a vacation full of adventure and relaxation, one of the first things you’ll want to do is throw on a bathing suit and head out to explore. St. John is home to gorgeous white sand beaches surrounded by the sparkling turquoise Caribbean Sea, so jump on in! And, most of our beaches are in the National Park, which means everyone has to drive to get to them! 

How far away is the beach from our Sunset Serenade Suites?

Great Cruz Bay Beach/ The Westin

Many guests stay with us to attend a wedding at the Westin or have boat trips planned with Cruz Bay Watersports from Great Cruz Bay Beach. Both properties are very close to the resort. You are also welcome to visit the Westin to enjoy a mealspa services, tennis and workout room (all for a fee). Great Cruz Bay Beach is also where Cruz Bay Watersports is located.

Distance: .5 miles from Sunset Serenade Rentals

Cruz Bay Beach

The beach in downtown Cruz Bay is always a lively destination, as it is home to beach bars, restaurants, charter boats, and the ferry dock. While we don’t recommend swimming here, it does provide a picturesque backdrop for sunsets, beach strolls, and happy hour. Cruz Bay Beach is the perfect place to mingle and experience the eclectic, easy vibes Love City is known for!

Distance: .9 miles from Sunset Serenade Suites

Chocolate Hole Bay

Adjacent to Hart Bay you’ll find Chocolate Hole Bay, which provides the stunning bay views seen from the Down Yonder Pool Villa and the Garden Suite. There’s a lovely bay to swim in, a place to lounge and relax, plus enchanting views of harbored yachts and unique rock formations.

Distance: 1.1 miles from Sunset Serenade Suites

Hart Bay

Hart Bay is one of the closest beaches to the Down Yonder Pool Villa and the Garden Suite, both located in Chocolate Hole. Here you’ll find a beautiful sandy beach, perfect for sunbathing, snorkeling, and swimming.

Distance: 1.6 miles from Sunset Serenade Suites

North Shore Beaches 

Take a day (or three!) to explore along the North Shore of St. John and you won’t be disappointed. Nearly twenty stunning beaches span the coastline, all protected by the USVI National Park Service. Each beach has a unique personality, from quaint Salomon Bay to the world-famous Trunk Bay to sea turtle filled Maho Bay. Bonus: the panoramic views from North Shore Road are exquisite!

Distance:  1.1 miles from Sunset Serenade Suites to lower Lind Point Trailhead to hike to Salomon and Honeymoon Beaches

Distance:  1.5 miles from Sunset Serenade Rentals to upper Lind Point Trailhead to hike to Salomon and Honeymoon Beaches

Distance: 2.5 miles from Sunset Serenade Rentals to Caneel Bay

Distance: 3 miles from Sunset Serenade Rentals to Hawksnest Bay

Distance: 3.4 miles from Sunset Serenade Rentals to Oppenheimer/Gibney Beach

Distance: 3.7 miles from Sunset Serenade Rentals to Dennis Bay/Peace Hill

Distance: 3.8 miles from Sunset Serenade Rentals to Jumbie

Distance: 4.4 miles from Sunset Serenade Suites to Trunk Bay

Distance: 5.4 miles from Sunset Serenade Suites to Cinnamon Bay

Distance: 6.3 miles from Sunset Serenade Suites to Maho Bay

How far away is the beach from our Chocolate Hole properties?

Hart Bay

Hart Bay is one of the closest beaches to the Down Yonder Pool Villa and the Garden Suite, both located in Chocolate Hole. Here you’ll find a beautiful sandy beach, perfect for sunbathing, snorkeling, and swimming.

Distance: .5 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals

Chocolate Hole Bay

Adjacent to Hart Bay you’ll find Chocolate Hole Bay, which provides the stunning bay views seen from the Down Yonder Pool Villa and the Garden Suite. There’s a lovely bay to swim in, a place to lounge and relax, plus enchanting views of harbored yachts and unique rock formations.

Distance: .5 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals

Great Cruz Bay Beach/ The Westin

Many guests stay with us to attend a wedding at the Westin or have boat trips planned with Cruz Bay Watersports from Great Cruz Bay Beach. Both properties are very close to the resort. You are also welcome to visit the Westin to enjoy a mealspa services, tennis and workout room, (all for a fee). Great Cruz Bay Beach is also where Cruz Bay Watersports is located.

Distance: .5 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals

Cruz Bay Beach

The beach in downtown Cruz Bay is always a lively destination, as it is home to beach bars, restaurants, charter boats, and the ferry dock. While we don’t recommend swimming here, it provides a picturesque backdrop for sunsets, beach strolls, and happy hour. Cruz Bay Beach is the perfect place to mingle and experience the eclectic, easy vibes Love City is known for!

Distance: 1.4 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals

North Shore Beaches 

Take a day (or three!) to explore along the North Shore of St. John and you won’t be disappointed. Nearly twenty stunning beaches span the coastline, all protected by the USVI National Park Service. Each beach has a unique personality, from quaint Salomon Bay to the world-famous Trunk Bay to sea turtle filled Maho Bay. Bonus: the panoramic views from North Shore Road are exquisite!

Distance: 1.6 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to lower Lind Point Trailhead to hike to Salomon and Honeymoon Beaches

Distance: 2 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to upper Lind Point Trailhead to hike to Salomon and Honeymoon Beaches

Distance: 3 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to Caneel Bay

Distance: 3.5 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to Hawksnest Bay

Distance: 3.9 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to Oppenheimer/Gibney Beach

Distance: 4.2 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to Dennis Bay/Peace Hill

Distance: 4.3 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to Jumbie

Distance: 4.9 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to Trunk Bay

Distance: 5.9 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to Cinnamon Bay

Distance: 6.8 miles from Chocolate Hole Rentals to Maho Bay


Breakfast at Cruz Bay Landing

Cruz Bay Landing BreakfastIs there anything better than a satisfyingly delicious breakfast after a peaceful island sleep? If there is, please let us know! We love trying out all of the tasty breakfast and brunch spots on St. John, and one of our top picks for a casual morning munch is the incredible Cruz Bay Landing.

Cruz Bay Landing offers a great variety of breakfast options, ranging from sweet blue banana pancakes to savory veggie omelets. Whether you choose a traditional breakfast bennie, classic egg sandwich, or giant cinnamon swirl pancakes with bacon, you won’t leave hungry. Our personal favorite is the signature ‘Landing Skillet’.  If you’re looking to feel good before spending the day at the beach, treat yourself to a healthy and filling California omelet accompanied by some of the best guacamole we’ve had on St. John.

         Need your daily caffeine fix before heading out on an island adventure? Look no further than Cruz Bay Landing’s specialty craft coffee menu. Lattes, espresso, and cocktails, oh my! The drink menu features refreshing coffee concoctions, both with and without alcohol. Choose to sip on a hot Drunken S’more made with S’more vodka, coffee, milk, and chocolate syrup or cool down with a Snow Cap on the rocks.

Coffee          Located just steps from the Cruz Bay ferry dock, we never hesitate to recommend a visit to Cruz Bay Landing. While enjoying a mouthwatering meal at a reasonable price, you can savor your last moments in paradise as you wait for the ferry, or stop by during your stay to try out the awesome coffee bar, where Danielle or Cassie will serve you up! Open seven days a week at 7am, this breakfast hot spot certainly has our stamp of approval! Be sure to sit at the bar and enjoy the company of our friends, Eric, Boo and Heather! 


Island Abodes Secret Beach Breaks: Brown Bay

 

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Brown Bay beach

St. John is loaded with special “off the beaten path” spots, and the Island Abodes team is here help you find them! This week, our team got the opportunity to scope out a wonderful destination called Brown Bay.

Brown Bay is located past Coral Bay toward the East End of the island. To get to this private oasis, it would be wise to rent a Jeep and drive about a mile past Skinny Legs. When you get to the entrance, you can park in the gravel lot and begin your hike.

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Lots of conchs to find at Brown Bay!

The hike to Brown Bay is a 1.5 mile round-trip and we rate it as moderately difficult. Waterproof hiking shoes are recommended given the rocky trail surface, but if you’re careful and a bit daring it can be done in flip-flops. When we got to beach, we were rewarded by the shallow and calm water, so refreshing! We spotted dozens of conch, crabs and sea stars! Just off the shore on the east side there’s great snorkeling with lots to see. This beach is also home to sea turtle nesting sites, so you may see a turtle gliding up to say hello. When we visited the beach, we were the only ones there for two hours. It was so nice to be able to enjoy our Sam and Jack’s deli lunch while gazing into the crystal clear waters and sitting in the plentiful shade around the beach.

brownbay

The Brown Bay Trail reaches the beach

At Island Abodes, we love every St. John beach and want you to see them all. Brown Bay is a spot that not many know about, making it the perfect unexpected adventure while you stay


St. John Tips: The Baths at Virgin Gorda

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Crystal Clear water and rock formations at the Baths

A day trip to the British Virgin Islands is a must-do while vacationing on St. John, and the Island Abodes team recently visited one of our favorite spots in all the BVIs, The Baths on Virgin Gorda. The Baths are home to huge granite rock formations, crystal clear secret pools, and exquisite white sand beaches. Along with St. John’s North Shore, The Baths are known for being one of the best beach destinations in the world.

BATHS2

A look through a rock formation.

We booked our excursion with Cruz Bay Watersports and met at the Westin Resort dock for an early start. After about an hour boat ride, with snacks provided enroute, we reached Virgin Gorda and took a taxi to the entry of The Baths National Park. From there, we hiked to Devil’s Bay, a glorious white sand beach, for swimming, snorkeling. and low key rock climbing. Our tour guide, Megan, told us about a “secret spot” located on a trail away from the beach; so naturally, our team took the opportunity to find seclusion and came across a beautiful and completely deserted rock beach.

Next, we headed to the actual Baths. What an adventure as we climbed over rocks and through caves to find hidden grottos with crystal clear water! The Baths are an otherworldly beautiful place. After the exploring ended, we retired for a frozen pina colada at Mad Dog (one of our favorite bars in the world) followed by lunch at the Top of the Baths restaurant, which featured a fresh water pool, great food, yummy drink specials, and stunning views.

BATHS3

Unbelievable water clarity at the Baths.

At Island Abodes, we love St. John and all of the wonderful things to do here, but if you’re here for a full week and want to explore the Virgin Islands as a whole, this excursion should definitely be on your list. Check out our Facebook photo album to see more photos form Virgin Gorda and stay tuned for a blog on the Norman Island part of our BVI tour!


St. John Tips: A Sam & Jack’s Thanksgiving

Sam & Jacks1

The Sam & Jack’s storefront

Holidays are right around the corner, and it’s time to decide if you’re coming to St. John. Why not spend Thanksgiving on St. John with all the beautiful beaches, amazing hikes, and glorious warm weather!

Our Island Abodes rentals are the perfect places to spend your Thanksgiving holiday. You’ll have an amazing view and unforgettable adventures. Thanksgiving is about family, so if you’re bringing the whole family and want to cook up a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, our Down Yonder VillaGarden Suite in Chocolate Hole, One-bedroom at Sunset Serenade Suites, and Penthouse at the Sunset Serenade Suites come with fully-equipped kitchens. They’re the perfect getaways for family time and holiday memories.

A plate from a Sam & Jack's Thanksgiving

A plate from a Sam & Jack’s Thanksgiving

But wouldn’t it be great to spend Thanksgiving Day at the beach then come home to a wonderful, home cooked meal without all the hassle? Local deli, Sam & Jack’s, offers ready-to-go Thanksgiving turkey dinners with all the trimmings! To order, just sign up with Sam & Jack’s, get a pickup time, and bring your food home to enjoy. Pickup times vary anywhere from 11am to 2pm Thanksgiving Day, and prices vary based on when you sign up. If you sign up before October 31st, it’s $55 per person, and if you sign up from November 1st to November 10th it’s $60 per person. The option for early pickup the day before Thanksgiving is also available; all you have to do is heat it up! There’s a two-person minimum for Thanksgiving dinners, and Sam & Jack’s can also accommodate large groups.

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The Sam & Jack’s Thanksgiving Flyer

St. John is the perfect place to enjoy your holiday season, and being able to relax with the entire family your entire vacation is priceless. Book your holiday retreat for the whole family with Island Abodes today, and don’t forget to reserve your family feast. It’ll be the best Thanksgiving EVER.