St. John Named a Top U.S. Family Vacation Destination

Most of us look forward all year to our family beach vacation. Spending real, relaxed time with kids, and maybe extended family too, is one of the great joys of life. Throw in perfect weather, amazing beaches with crystal clear water, pristine natural beauty of a national park, and it’s downright heavenly. The Travel Channel recently named St. John as one of the best vacation destinations for families. Here’s what makes it so special.

St. John is Accessible, But Not Too Accessible

St. John doesn’t have an airport, so visitors fly into Thomas from any one of numerous US cities before reaching their final destination by ferry. In a world consumed with convenience, not every traveler is willing to go that extra mile (actually 3 miles). But for those in the know, the payoff is so worth it. Far from being an inconvenience, most St. John aficionados crave the ferry ride for the spectacular views and the anticipation of what awaits. Learn more here. 

St. John is U.S.

In a complicated world, many families find comfort in staying in the U.S. As a U.S. territory, St. John is American soil, protected by Uncle Sam. The language is English, the power is 110v, and the Dollar is the currency, so no exchange-rate hassles or costs. For all that’s familiar on St. John, there’s also a wonderful dose of the exotic. While it’s U.S., it’s the Caribbean first and foremost, with a slower pace of life, where the simple pleasures come into focus.

St. John is Safe

With only 4,000 residents, St. John is like a small town where people know each other and look after one another. That makes it a refuge where crime is exceedingly rare. While it’s still prudent to not invite a problem – for example by leaving valuables in plain view on the seat of your unlocked rental Jeep – the safety rating means that St. John is a place where families can truly relax.

 St. John Activities

Families vacationing on St. John prefer the term “experiences” over “activities.” You won’t find movie theaters or water parks or bowling alleys. Instead, think snorkeling with sea turtles, learning to paddleboard in Maho Bay, hiking to Honeymoon Beach (and taking a golf cart ride back), taking a boat trip to the BVIs, or just playing with the little ones in the gentle surf of an exquisite white sand beach.

St. John Offers Wonderful Private Accommodations, Not Big Impersonal Resort Hotels

Private villas, apartments, and suites dominate the St. John accommodations market. There are some great small Cruz Bay hotels, but most families opt to rent a home with more room to spread out, a stocked kitchen to prepare meals, and amenities like a washer/dryer to keep things civilized and make packing a breeze. Aside from being more enjoyable in every way, renting a St. John vacation home affords more opportunity to be a part of the community as you live like a local during your trip. It really adds to the entire experience of being a traveler rather than just a tourist.

St. John’s Beaches are World Class

There are lots of reasons St. John is an ideal family destination, but for most people it’s all about the beaches. The sand is perfect and the water in this part of the Caribbean is as clear and calm as it gets. That means you can get up close and personal with coral reefs and all kinds of marine life, including friendly sea turtles, colorful reef fish, stingrays, and more. From Honeymoon, Hawksnest, and Trunk, to Cinnamon, Francis, and Salt Pond, each St. John beach is both unique and spectacular. For families, it’s hard to beat Maho Bay, which is the most protected bay on the North Shore. It’s almost always calm, with perfect sand that slopes gently into the clear water, and sea turtles galore.

St. John Transportation

Getting from the airport to the ferry is easy, (as explained here) you can take the public taxi vans or safari trucks available outside baggage claim. No car seats are required or available for these public transport vehicles. The best way to travel once on St. John is by renting your own private jeep. You can also rent a car seat from Island Baby to be placed in your jeep when you pick it up at the car rental place. Using public transportation while on St. John to explore the island is not recommend as it can be unreliable.

Vacation Rentals Are The Best Way to Experience The U.S. Virgin Islands

Whether you’re going solo or as part of a group, vacation rentals in the Caribbean is a fun and memorable way to enjoy your time off. However, many people only get to enjoy locations like St. John or the US Virgin Islands from a hotel or the deck of a cruise ship. With Island Abodes, it’s easy for vacation planners to get a rental home in the Caribbean. Renting a vacation property from Island Abodes is the best way to experience the US Virgin Islands.

A trip to the US Virgin Islands is an experience in itself, but many visitors only get to enjoy the tourist areas. By getting a vacation rental from Island Abodes, your trip becomes more personal, and you experience unique things that these islands have to offer. Plus, all of our island rentals have amazing views that are excellent for taking fantastic vacation photos to share with friends.

One of the advantages of getting a vacation rental is that you can split the cost with friends. We have cozy rentals like the Papaya Suite that sleeps two with one bedroom and one bathroom. But if you want to bring some friends, we also have the Down Yonder Pool Villa that can sleep six with two bedrooms and two bathrooms plus a private pool!

Vacation Villa Rentals That Fit You

Island Abodes vacation rentals are equipped with everything you need for your home away from home. For example, every unit has a place to cook and store food. Some have space-efficient kitchenettes, while other rentals have fully-equipped kitchens. Either way, when you stay at a location from Island Abodes, it’s like having your own place on the beach for the duration of your vacation. It’s an entirely different experience from staying at a hotel or on a cruise ship.

Another benefit of choosing an Island Abodes rental is the ability to select the neighborhood you stay in during your trip. We have rental locations across the US Virgin Islands. So you can choose a property that’s closer to the things you want to do or a spot that offers you a view of the island you hadn’t seen before. For example, the Garden Suite is located in Chocolate Hole, whereas the Hisbiscus Suite is located in the Cruz Bay neighborhood. We even have vacation rentals near the Westin resort, so people can remain nearby their friends who decided to stay at the hotel.

The vacation properties you can book through Islands Abodes are owned and operated by local residents Brittany and Robert. If you have any issues or you just need some advice on where to go, there’s always someone nearby to help you. When you work with locals, you get a better vacation experience. We know the best st john restaurants, st john island activities, tour operators, and most importantly, the beach spots. We’ve lived in the US Virgin Islands for nearly a decade, so we know all of the hottest things to do.

The Island Abodes Promise

Working with Island Abodes also makes the booking process more manageable. When you book a vacation rental through our website, you cut out the middleman and any unnecessary charges. We also have a best price guarantee, so you know you’re getting a good deal on a vacation rental in St. John US Virgin Islands. With Island Abodes, you can skip the travel agents and the listing websites. If you’re ready to plan a Caribbean vacation experience that can’t be beat, book your Island Abodes rental today.

Peter Bay Beach, St. John USVI

Located just past Trunk, beyond the Northshore Road switchbacks, is the entrance to the exclusive Peter Bay subdivision. While all the beaches in the USVI are public, there’s no easy way to get to Peter Bay Beach unless you’re a resident or guest. If your heart is set on checking out the sand, which is very nice, one option is to swim or snorkel or paddleboard from Little Cinnamon next door.


4 Things You Need to Know Before Vacationing in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Going on vacation is a great way to leave the stress of being an adult behind for a while. Each year, 62 percent of the American population goes on a vacation away from home. Choosing a vacation destination should be your first concern when planning a trip.

If you are looking for a tropical paradise to visit, there is no better place than the St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Visiting this vacation destination will allow you to soak up some sun and enjoy lots of tourist attractions.

Here are some of the things you need to know before going on a trip to St. John in the United States Virgin Islands.

1. Be Sure to Bring Your Passport

While you won’t need a passport to get into the US Virgin Islands, you will need one if you want to venture into the British Virgin Islands. Most people want to go on an excursion to see the Baths of Virgin Gorda, or Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke, both of which are located in the BVIs.

Failing to bring along your passport will prohibit you from getting the most out of your vacation. The British Virgin Islands, including Jost Van Dyke, Tortola, Cooper Islands Necker Island, Norman Island, Anagada and more, are just a short boat ride away from St. John, which is why you need to make a point to visit them while on vacation. We are happy to help you plan your day trip to the BVI.

2. Do Your Homework Before Choosing a Vacation Rental

One of the most important decisions you will make when booking your trip to the US Virgin Islands is where you will stay. Luckily, there are a number of affordable vacation rentals in St. John. Before choosing a vacation rental, you need to look at a few different things.

The first factor to consider is whether you need a St. John vacation rental for a couple, or a villa for a family. Another major factor is of course the price of the rental in question. Location of the rental is also extremely important. Ideally, you want to choose a vacation rental with scenic views and a prime location. While you may have to pay a bit more for a premium Cruz Bay rental vs. a Coral Bay rental, it will be worth it. Remember everyone has to drive to the world class St. John beaches as they are protected by the National Park so no rentals are ON the beach.

3. Take It Easy On the First Day of Your Island Vacation

The main thing you need to focus on when arriving in the US Virgin Islands is pacing yourself. Some people get off of the plane and immediately head to the beach for a few drinks. Often times, this can lead to sunburn and/or dehydration. Plus to get to St. John, there are a few more steps after arriving to the airport including taxi, ferry and getting your rental jeep.

Taking the time to let your body acclimate to the change in temperature is crucial. Doing this will allow you to avoid problems during your vacation. Plus Island Abodes welcomes all guests with cold beer, drinking water and snacks on arrival.

4. Contact Your Cell Phone Service Provider

An adjustment for first-time visitors to the US Virgin Islands is the spotty cell phone service. Before you leave for your trip, contact your service provider to find out about the towers they have in this location. You will also need to get information on roaming charges and data overages. AT&T and Sprint work best. Learn more on our FAQ page.

Seeking Out Professional Help is a Good Idea

Planning a great vacation to the Virgin Islands can be a bit difficult. Working directly with the owner of your rental who has a deep knowledge of St. John can help you simplify this process and make your vacation more enjoyable.

St. John Travel Guide

A Guide to your first time traveling to St. John

You’ve booked your St. John rental suite and you’re counting down the days – you’re on your way to come see us here at Island Abodes and you’re undoubtedly excited about your travel to St. John. However, if it’s your first time traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands, then you probably have a few questions about what to expect during your stay with us here. Many people understandably are a little bit uncertain about what the lifestyle and culture is like, which is why we’ve assembled this handy guide for first timers to St. John.

You Won’t Need Your Passport (But You Will Want It!)

If you’re an American citizen, you don’t need your passport to come visit St. John. Because it is a U.S. territory, your goverment issued ID such as a driver’s license or state identification card should work just fine. That said, many people like to carry a passport with them for a couple reasons. For starters, it’s one of the best types of identification and will make getting on and off the island a breeze. And secondly, with the British Virgin Islands just a short jaunt away, including Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke and the Baths on Virgin Gorda, you’ll definitely need your passport if you decide to visit them.

The Currency is the Same

There’s no need to worry about changing your money when you visit St. John. Your dollars are still good here! Of course, it’s probably a good idea to make sure you carry enough cash on you while you’re here. ATM surcharges can add up quickly, and cash is always the preferred method of tips and the only way to pay for things like the taxi.

Be Sure to Drive on the Correct Side of the Road

Here on St. John, we drive on the left side of the road. It’s extremely important to remember this to avoid any unwanted fender benders. Your driver’s license is perfectly fine here, though. Always make sure to buckle up when behind the wheel (this goes for all passengers) to avoid a hefty ticket (and for safety!), and hang up your cell phone when you’re driving. While almost anything goes on St. John, talking and driving is against the law.

Speak the Language of the Locals

The official language of St. John is English, so you shouldn’t expect any communication barriers holding you back when you’re staying with us. However, the English you hear may be spoken with a Caribbean lilt. It’s good form to greet others warmly when out and about. Here’s a fun tip: locals don’t say “good evening.” They actually say “good night” when meeting someone after dark! Be sure to always greet with a “Good Morning”, “Good Afternoon” (after 12noon) or “Good Night” (after the sun has set). If you are unsure, say “Good Day”.

Visiting St. John can be an awesome experience for you and your family, so be sure to arrive with an open mind and a strong sense of adventure. To learn more about what it’s like here, please be sure to check out our FAQs. Or, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for an extended travel guide for St. John built just for you. We look forward to having you stay with us here at Island Abodes!

Lime Out – St. John’s New Floating Taco Bar is a Winner

There’s a new floating taco bar, Lime Out VI, on the Coral Bay side of St. John and it’s not to be missed. The Island Abodes team loves the delicious tacos and amazing craft cocktails in the beautiful setting of Round Bay on the East End. We highly recommend that you check it out during your next St. John vacation.

First let’s talk about the food offerings. It’s all tacos! But these aren’t any ordinary tacos…they are downright scrumptious. From Ceviche to Tuna to Surf and Turf (shrimp and short rib) and even a Vegan Taco, we’ve devoured them all. They are made-to-order with fresh ingredients wrapped in a soft tortilla. They are pretty big and we feel like you get a lot for $7-10 each.

You can’t eat tacos without a cold beverage, right? For libations Lime Out offers awesome craft cocktails, St. John Brewers beer on tap, and even bottles of bubbly if you really want to celebrate.

But the best thing about Lime Out is the location. You can either arrive by power boat, or swim/raft/kayak/paddleboard from Hansen Bay. If you’re going from shore there’s a swim up bar where you can comfortably hang out while enjoying the food, drinks and views.

Lime Out was started by the owners of the Lime Inn restaurant in Cruz Bay, which is one of our favorites. So they know good food. They are also a multi generational St. John family and have gone to great lengths to make Lime Out an environmentally responsible operation. Power comes from solar, they have only reusable cups, no straws, and they are very strict about collecting trash to make sure none ends up in the pristine surrounding waters.

How to get there? If you’re on a charter boat, just tell your captain it’s taco time! If driving, take Centerline Road to Coral Bay and turn left at the ball field. Go past Skinny Legs and keep on driving. Just past Haulover Bay is Hansen Bay where you can park. There’s a nice beach and other offerings for a small fee. Look out in the water and you can’t miss Lime Out!

Map Of Lime Out In St John USVI

4 Reasons to Get a Vacation Rental in St. John

If you’re planning a trip to the islands of the Caribbean, you’ve already made the first step toward an amazing vacation experience. St. John and the U.S. Virgin Islands are filled with fun attractions, delicious food, and beautiful beaches. To get the most out of Carribean vacation, you need to steer clear of the hotels and tourist traps. Here are four reasons why you should get a vacation rental from Island Abodes when you plan a trip to St. John.

Affordable Pricing

It may seem counterintuitive, but renting a home can be more affordable than staying at a hotel in St. John. When the cost of the vacation villa is split between party members, a vacation rental in St. John from Island Abodes is less expensive than staying at a hotel, especially for all of the amenities, the beachside view, and the private space you get from an Island Abodes vacation rental. We even have a Best Price Guarantee, so you know you’re getting a good deal. You will never find a lower rate on any of our villas somewhere else.

All the Comforts of Home

Staying in a hotel is one of the more frustrating parts of traveling because it’s so different from everyday life. You go from living in a private residence to sharing accommodations with hundreds of guests. You have a smaller bathroom and little access to a kitchen if any at all. Rentals from Island Abode give you all the comforts of home. You get large bedrooms and bathrooms, kitchens (some that are fully equipped), and more. All of our rentals except the Papaya Suite, even have private washers and dryers.

Enjoy a More Authentic Experience

When you stay in a vacation villa from Island Abodes, you get to enjoy a more authentic Caribbean vacation experience. Hotels and the areas around them become tourist traps. Since people know that tourists with money are in the area, merchants can raise prices or sell goods that are lower quality than what locals would accept. Since we live here, we know the restaurants, island activities, tour operators, and the beaches. We’ll make sure you always know the best places to go to fulfill your vacation dreams.

Takes the Middleman Out of Travel Plans

With Island Abodes, renting a vacation villa is fast and easy. You don’t have to go through a travel agent or a booking service. Not only do you get a fantastic place to stay, but you also save money on booking fees. You also don’t have to worry about any surprise issues that may arise once you reach your destination. We own and operate each villa on our website, so we can accurately answer any questions you have about the villa and its features. Plus, we are on the island if you need anything at all. Our personal approach ensures you have a great visit when you stay in one of our vacation villas.

Next time you plan a trip to the Caribbean, you should consider staying at an Island Abodes vacation rental in St. John. You will save money and have a better experience overall. It’s a win-win scenario. If you have any questions about renting a vacation rental, send us a message online.

A Getaway When You Need It

Maybe you’re looking for that perfect summer vacation – you have off two weeks out of the year in July or August, and you want to get away to a place that’s really unique and exciting – how about a trip to St. John’s and the Virgin Islands?

On the other hand, maybe it’s dark ad cold and rainy where you are, and you’re thinking about taking a trip to get away from the weather. Again, St. John’s and the Virgin Islands are there as a great, relaxing destination.

Just a few dozen miles from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, and accessible by air from the Florida mainland, this is a great area to vacation in, and Island Abodes has the resort quality lodgings that you need. We have been welcoming tourists and adventurers here for years, and we are ready to accommodate you!

Take a look at our Papaya Suite with great views of Cruz Bay and the Sir Francis Drake Channel, or check out our Chocolate Hole properties or other areas of our Sunset Serenade suites locations. You’ll be delighted with how we’ve built a unique and relaxing space for you in the natural beauty of these island environments.

There’s a lot to do on St. John and surrounding islands, including tons of local restaurants, day trips, hiking, boating, fishing island tours and more. Or if you just want to relax on the beach, that’s fine, too!

We have all of the guidance you need to build the perfect itinerary on our website. After all, we’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of visitors come through here, and we know exactly what they’ve enjoyed the most.

Browse our locations on the website to see the spacious and enjoyable options that we have available to you, and ask us about booking in a location where you can really relax and enjoy the local climate and scenery.

Don’t put off a relaxing vacation until next year – lots of us have heard about the philosophy of investing in experiences over things – but until you’ve been down here and seen it with your own eyes, it’s hard to imagine just how much value these types of experiences can add to your life. Or call us and talk about your options, and ask questions about what you can expect down here in the islands – we’re excited to see you!