aerial view of St. John Virgin Islands

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Last Updated on September 19, 2021

Just a few miles from lively St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, the quieter St. John is a haven for beach goers, nature lovers, and adventure seekers. With more than two-thirds of the island protected as a National Park, the rewards for getting here are numerous. Get advice on the best VRBO & Airbnb St. John stays for some serious R+R.

St. John is a destination that inspires return visits. Travelers here seem to be part of a secret club that connects to its chilled out yet luxury vibe. If this is your first foray into the Virgin Islands, entry into the club will be worth the effort of getting here!

In 1956, the Virgin Islands National Park was created from land gifted by Laurance Rockefeller, who saw the island’s natural beauty and was inspired to preserve it. Today, much of St. John remains undeveloped, with jungle hikes, coral reefs teeming with life, and some of the world’s best beaches.

Whether you want a quiet Caribbean cottage or an adventure basecamp at a luxury home, St. John offers all that plus great Airbnbs at prices anyone can afford. From a villa with a rooftop hot tub or a historic hilltop estate complete with breathtaking views and lots of charm, St John offers everything you’re looking for — and more — in a Caribbean vacation.

In this guide, I’ll also share tips on sights, tours, and trip planning for your Virgin Islands vacation.

🛈The Haphazard Traveler Pro Tip
The U.S. Virgin Islands has reopened to tourists. Learn more here about the entry requirements and prior travel certification required. Additionally, all travelers returning to the United States must show documentation of either a negative test or recovery. Find the CDC requirements here and stay safe, friends!

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VRBO & Airbnb St. John USVI Best Bets

In need of a tropical vacation? Book a stay in one of these St. John Airbnb or VRBO rental homes today! My favorites at all price points later in this guide.

Pin these stays in St. John on your travel inspo board!

In this Guide to the Best Airbnb St. John Stays

Best Areas to Stay | St. John Sights  |  Stays for 1-4 Guests  |  Stays for 5+ Guests  |  More Luxury St. John StaysVirgin Islands Trip Planning  |  Best Time to Visit  | Getting to St. John

Things to Do in the Virgin Islands

photo of a catamaran sailing in the virgin islands

Virgin Islands Airbnb Sailing

It’s one of the Caribbean’s best secrets: you can charter a catamaran or sailing yacht with a captain through Airbnb or VRBO! Get my guide to a private sailing adventure in the Virgin Islands, the the best way to explore their white sand beaches, spectacular snorkeling, and laid-back beach bars.

Best Areas to Stay in St. John

Looking for top places to stay in St John? These locales are the most popular areas to stay for travelers. In the Virgin Islands, VRBO is more well-established as a rental and booking platform than Airbnb, and will generally provide better availability.

St. John Cruz Bay

Cruz Bay is the main ferry port of St. John.  Book an Airbnb in Cruz Bay if you want to have easier access to shopping, restaurants, and nightlife.  Taxis are more plentiful here, making it a good place to stay in St. John if you don’t want to rent a car or if you plan on doing day trips that leave from the bay.

St. John Coral Bay

Coral Bay is the quieter, less-developed side of St. John.  It’s more difficult to get to, but the payoff is a pristine calm beach and spectacular views.  From here it’s about 30 minutes to Cruz Bay or 15 minutes to the North Shore beaches. Book an Airbnb in Coral Bay for a quieter, more laid-back stay.

North Shore Beaches

St. John’s North Shore beaches are among the most beautiful in the world, including Trunk Bay, Honeymoon Bay and Maho Bay.  There are a few vacation rentals in this area, but it is much more remote.  It’s best to have a car in this area.

Maho Bay St. John USVI
Maho Bay

Best St. John Sights

Where to stay in St. John might depend on what activities you plan for your trip.  Here are the best things to do in St. John for your Virgin Islands itinerary!

Virgin Islands National Park

The Virgin Islands National Park occupies two-thirds of the island of St. John. It’s possible to snorkel from the beaches to reach many coral reefs. Adventure travelers and families alike have their choice of more than 20 trails to hike.

Cruz Bay

Cruz Bay is where many St. John travelers first glimpse the island, since it’s where the inter-island ferries dock.  There are also many shops, restaurants, and bars here

Trunk Bay

Part of the National Park, Trunk Bay has been voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world!  It also has an underwater snorkeling trail including guide signs with information on the coral and sealife. 

view of trunk bay in the US virgin islands on St. john
The famous Trunk Bay – and for good reason!

Annaberg Plantation

Annaberg Plantation has the ruins of an 18th-century sugar plantation, which visitors can tour to learn more about the plantation’s role in the African slave trade as well as how it produced sugar, molasses, and rum. 

Cinnamon Bay

Cinnamon Bay Beach is one of the most beautiful and pristine beaches within the National Park. It’s the longest beach on St. John, with a half mile of white sand plus palm trees and sea grapes for shade.  Snorkelers can explore the small cay located less than 100 yards off the shoreline. This beach is still recovering from Hurricane Irma, and doesn’t have any restaurants.

photo of pristine beach in the USVI - Cinnamon Bay
Cinnamon Beach

Honeymoon Beach

Within the National Park, St. John’s Honeymoon Beach has picturesque palm trees, soft white sand, and a calm cove.  Rent water sports equipment or beach chairs, or check out the beach bar and grill. 

Leinster Bay & Waterlemon Cay

Leinster Bay & Waterlemon Cay is a top snorkeling spot on St. John, with many species of coral, fish, and marine life.  A strong current sometimes runs on the north side of the cay, so use caution snorkeling there.  On the south side, find longspine sea urchins, many fish, and hard and soft corals.  This was one of my favorite snorkeling spots when I visited!

aerial view of a small island in Leinster Bay

Salt Pond Bay

Salt Pond Bay has a beautiful crescent shaped beach with calm, clear waters.  This is a more secluded beach, as it’s further from tourist spots, and also a quarter mile hike from its parking lot.  Salt Pond Bay is one of the top snorkeling locations on St. John, and has access to hiking trails that provide views of the island. 

Day Trips to St. Thomas, St. Croix, and the BVI

St. Thomas

Catch a ferry back to St. Thomas and spend a day sightseeing or exploring with a guided tour. The top sights are Magens Bay, Coral World, Coki Beach for beaches and sealife; Paradise Point for views; and Main Street for shopping.

St. Croix

Take a boat excursion to Sandy Point or Buck Island for unspoiled beaches and spectacular snorkeling including the chance to see sea turtles.

British Virgin Islands

Venture into the British Virgin Islands to visit the beaches of Jost Van Dyke, Cane Garden Bay, or the Baths on Virgin Gorda Island.

Virgin Gorda Island - The Baths - BVI Sights
The iconic Baths at Virgin Gorda Island

St. John Vacation Rentals for 1-4 Guests

Looking for top places to stay in St John? Look no further, I’ve scoured Airbnb St John listings to find the top rated says across the island.

Caribbean Style Cottage | St. John Airbnb

$$ · 2 guests · 1 bedroom · 1 bed · 1 bath · WiFi · Kitchen

Caribbean Style Cottage - Airbnb St. John USVI

This rustic, chic cottage is located in Fish Bay, 3 miles from Cruz Bay. Adjacent to the National Park, the cottage is just a 5-minute walk to Reef Bay beach, with access to many of St. John’s best hiking trails. This is the ideal space for a honeymoon, romantic getaway, two friends, or a solo traveler wishing to disconnect in nature.

Recent guest review: My husband and I stayed here for our honeymoon. The space is wonderful. Very comfortable and stylish. Loved the shower and the outdoor kitchen. Loved that it is just a short hike to a quiet beach. We went almost every day. Hiking to the Sugar mill, petroglyphs, and great house was awesome. Alex’s restaurant was wonderful, it was really the only thing we went to town for. You definitely have to go. We really loved the space and we really loved St. John.

Blue View Villa | Airbnb Cruz Bay St. John

$$ · 4 guests · 1 bedroom · 2 beds · 1 bath · WiFi · AC · Kitchen

Blue View Villa - St. John rental

This new construction villa features modern Caribbean architecture with sweeping views from sunrise over Ram’s Head to sunset over St. Thomas. It’s been sited to catch leeward breezes with an unobstructed view to St. Croix 40 miles away.

Blue View features new appliances, a kitchenette, living space, and luxury king bed and comfort sleeper sofa. The combination of thoughtful design touches and spectacular views make this a best pick for a couple, small family, or friends.

Recent guest review: Such an amazing experience for our family of 4. My wife an i stayed with our 6 and 2 yr old. The accomodations are perfect, high end and luxury touches. Close drive to town for supplies and restaurants and the perfect location to daytrip to the beaches. The view is unreal. Its situated so you get sunrise and sunset views. Maho beach was our favorite. Do not delay. Book this place right now. We sure will again.

Caribbean Coral Bay Cottage With Infinity Pool

$ · 3 guests · 1 bedroom · 1 bed · 1 bath · WiFi · Kitchen · Shared Pool

Caribbean Cottage with Infinity Pools - St. John Airbnb

This new 1-bedroom cottage has an infinity pool with views over the lush garden to the sea. With a kitchen, AC in the bedroom, king bed + sofa bed and spacious deck, this is a relaxing space for a couple, friends, or small family. There is also a 24-hour on site concierge and assistance from a Superhost.

Recent guest review: If you’re looking for a place to stay Saint John’s look no further. This cottage is perfect for couples or a single. We loved how quiet that side of the island was and the stars were something to see! It is only a 20 minute drive from Cruz Bay on the main road, so very convenient. Lorraine (host) is awesome and we couldn’t have asked for more! We can’t wait to come back!

Calichi at Picture Point | Luxury Airbnb Coral Bay Stay

$$$ · 2 guests · 1 bedroom · 1 bed · 1 bath · WiFi · Kitchen · AC · Hot tub · Shared pool

Papaya House - St. John Vacation Rental

This honeymoon suite is located at Calichi at Picture Point, a private enclave of six private luxury villas located high on Bordeaux Mountain.  The villa features a well-appointed kitchen, living and dining spaces, king sized bed, and expansive views from every room.

The villa’s outdoor area includes a private living room and dining area, rooftop deck, and hot tub. As well as a shared lap pool and infinity edge pool within the community. This is a luxury stay for a secluded, romantic getaway! 

Recent guest review: This space is gorgeous. The views are absolutely breathtaking. It feels like you are looking at a postcard every time you look outside, but it’s all real! They have every appliance you can think of available to use, chairs and towels for beaches, and even a cooler! The space is very comfortable, but chic and trendy. The views from the Jacuzzi are also fabulous. We had a great time staying here. One thing to note is that I definitely suggest having a car to get around. The location of the house is a little further away from the main area in town, and having to use taxis to get to and from would be challenging.

Paradisea 2 Bedroom With Pool | Coral Bay Airbnb

$$ · 4 guests · 2 bedrooms · 2 beds · 1 bath · WiFi · Kitchen · Shared pool

Paradisea Villa - Coral Bay Airbnb St. John pool

This villa is is located in a quiet setting in the hills above Coral Bay. It has space for up to 4 in its 2 bedrooms, but it can be combined with the lower unit to sleep an additional two. A fully equipped kitchen, comfy living space, large decks with views, and a shared pool make this an excellent pick for friends or a family with older children (no infants or toddlers per the listing).

The host includes many beach items like chairs, umbrella, coolers, floats, toys, towels and offers paddle boards for an additional fee. It’s close to Coral Bay restaurants and shops, with North Shore beaches and hiking trails only a short drive away.

Recent guest review: This was my favorite AirBnB experience ever – I stayed for two weeks with my husband and a friend, and it was a perfect home base to see St. John. The driveway is steep and rocky but no problem if you get a Jeep, and we found that staying in Coral Bay had some advantages over Cruz Bay because you’re close to some of the best snorkeling beaches and the crowds are smaller. The house is just beautiful, patios and views everywhere and very comfortable furnishings and amenities including all sorts of St. John guidebooks… Just a perfect place to feel at home and relax in between visiting beaches.

For more ways to explore the USVI and BVI, don’t miss my guides to an Airbnb Virgin Islands sailing charter and the best stays on St. Thomas!

aerial view of St. Thomas

Airbnb St. Thomas Virgin Islands: Budget to Luxury Beach Escapes

Advice on the best Airbnb St. Thomas stays for a tropical escape, from budget condos to mid range resorts & luxury villas for a group. Includes bonus tips on the best beaches, sights, and tours for planning your getaway.

St. John Airbnbs for 5+ Guests

These Airbnbs in St. John have space for more than 5 travelers, perfect for family getaways and groups of friends. I’ve rated each Airbnb in this article $ to $$$$$ based on the price from budget to luxury stays, and have tried to include options with availability.

3 Bedroom Paradise Villa | Airbnb in Cruz Bay

$$ · 8 guests · 3 bedrooms · 5 beds · 2 baths · WiFi · Kitchen · AC

Cruz Bay 3 Bedroom Villa - Airbnb St. John

Wake up to the breathtaking view of the Carribbean sea and neighboring island St. Thomas right from your bed. A master bedroom deck is the perfect place to enjoy your morning coffee!

This rental home has space for up to 8 in 3 bedrooms and two baths. One bedroom has bunk beds, and another has two queens, making this the perfect space for a family with young children. it features an open living area, full kitchen, and wrap around porch with an outdoor pool.

Open living and kitchen area with 20+ foot ceilings give the home a lodge loft feel. Brand new appliances perfect for cooking and dining in at home. Kitchen includes a gas stove, large refrigerator, all cooking supplies, dishwasher and kitchen bar area for dining.

Located less than a 10-minute walk from the ferry drop-off, this makes it a perfect stay for families, couples, or friends that want to be close to the action of Cruz Bay.

Recent guest review: The Love Palace was beautiful. Everything was as described and the space was super clean. Aubrey was absolutely amazing. From the time we arrived, until we left, she ensured we had everything we needed and that our stay on island was perfect. Thanks again Aubrey!

Luxury 2 Bedroom Condo With Pool in Cruz Bay

$$ · 8 guests · 2 bedrooms · 4 beds · 2 baths · WiFi · Kitchen · AC · Shared pool

2 Bedroom Condo with Pool in Cruz Bay - pool

This vacation condo in Cruz Bay has space for 8 in its two bedrooms, one with a king bed and the other with two queens, plus a sleeper sofa. It features an open concept living, dining, and full kitchen area plus two screened-in balconies.

The condo shares a saltwater infinity pool with the other five units on the property and is just minutes to Cruz Bay’s best bars, restaurants, shopping. Travelers report that you can stay here without a car – it’s a steep walk up, but only 5 minutes. This is a great space for a family with kids or a group of friends on a Virgin Islands vacation!

Recent guest review: We absolutely loved the space. It was fresh and very clean. The decor was modern and it had everything and more that we needed for our stay. The owner was incredibly helpful and easy to contact. The condo was very close to town. We rented a jeep, which made it easy to get to some of the beautiful beaches around the island. We really enjoyed this condo and would love to come back and stay again.

Heaven’s Gate | Spectacular Views in Coral Bay

$$$ · 10 guests · 4 bedrooms · 4 beds · 4 baths · WiFi · Kitchen · AC · Pool

Heaven's Gate - Airbnb Coral Bay St. John

This luxury vacation villa has dazzling views of the surrounding region, including the open ocean dotted with small islands and cays, including Leduck Island, Peter Island, and Tortola. Its mountaintop location provides complete peace and privacy, perfect for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or friends’ retreat.

Below the villa, Haulover Bay offers world-class snorkeling. It’s also close to Brown Bay Trail, one of St. John’s best hiking destinations. This trail connects with the Johnny Horn Trail, which takes you to the Annaberg Sugar Plantation Ruins.

The villa includes a private pool, gourmet kitchen, great room, and upper and lower level covered terraces overlooking beautiful gardens and tropical landscaping. This is a stellar setting for your Virgin Islands vacation!

Recent guest review: This was one of the best places we’ve ever stayed and we travel a lot! Words and photos can’t do this place justice; it has the name heaven in it for a reason. Hugo is such a welcoming host and took his time with us to tell us about the history of the island and the house; he is honest and kind. His family takes great pride in their organic farm and the home. The 3 outdoor showers were perfect for stargazing. The pool is clean and relaxing. I just can’t say enough good things about our experience. From one Superhost to another- thank you for the memories. We can’t wait to return and wish we didn’t have to leave.

Mampoo House | North Shore St. John Vacation Rental

$$$$ · 6 guests · 3 bedrooms · 3 beds · 3 baths · WiFi · Kitchen · AC · Pool

Mampoo House - St. John rental - living room

This luxurious Japanese style contemporary home has amazing ocean views, surrounded by the natural beauty of St. John National Park. It has space for 6 guests in 3 bedrooms, living and dining areas, and outdoor spaces including a plunge pool.

This is a stylish Airbnb stay for family or friends who want to relax in a unique space close to the best sights of St. John.

Recent guest review: This exceptional Japanese style home is located on a hill overlooking the national park and water. The view is amazing and property is a short walk to a quiet beach and it’s not too far from Cruz Bay. Plunge pool is a nice touch. What made this home truly exceptional was Jennifer, our concierge. She did all of our grocery shopping, including selecting and delivering some flowers. She helped with reservations, luggage, outings…basically everything. She even made certain we had a vehicle. This was a perfect experience.

Vida De Mar | Luxury St. John USVI Villa

$$$$$ · 10 guests · 5 bedrooms · 6 beds · 5 baths · WiFi · Kitchen · AC · Pool

Vida De Mar - Luxury Airbnb St. John USVI - pool

The luxury Vida de Mar villa is located in quiet Dever’s Bay, about 10 minutes from Cuz Bay, in a secluded enclave of luxury homes. There are jaw-dropping views of the bay from its outdoor spaces: beautiful pool, lounge space, and alfresco dining area.

Five bedrooms accommodate up to ten guests at Vida De Mar, all with en-suite baths. This Airbnb is a “Luxe” property, with additional services: inquire with the dedicated concierge about the pre-stocking and personal chef options. This Airbnb is can provide an effortless getaway for your family or friends’ USVI getaway.

Recent guest review: Great overall experience with both the property and service. Highly recommend.

More St. John Vacation Stays

Virgin Islands Vacation Planning

The Best Time to Visit the Virgin Islands

High season in the Virgin Islands is December through April, when most of us are looking for an escape from cold winter weather!  Hurricane season begins in June and lasts until November.  Luckily, sunshine is plentiful year round, with daytime temperatures in the high 80’s and nighttime temps in the 70’s. 

If you can travel in May – June or November – early December, the shoulder seasons, you’re likely to find more availability and better rates.

Check weather averages for your dates from

Getting to the Virgin Islands

US Virgin Islands Airports, Ferries and Taxis

There are two major airports in the Virgin Islands: Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas (STT) and Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix (STX).  Most travelers to the USVI fly in to St. Thomas.  

To get to St. John from St. Thomas, there is a ferry that runs between Red Hook Marina and Cruz Bay.

How to Get to Red Hook

At the airport, exit to find a taxi stand outside.  Taxis are priced per person based on your destination.  Many run like a shuttle, in a large van with other travelers.  Get an idea of rates and destinations here.

Some travelers prefer to rent a car on St. Thomas and use a car ferry to get to St. John.

If you’d like to prebook a private transfer from the airport to Red Hook, here are some options with online ratings and booking:

Inter-Island Ferries

There are many ferry services within the Virgin Islands, so that you can plan your own day trips or extend your trip to surrounding islands of the USVI and BVI.  

Love Caribbean getaways?

Be sure to check out my tips on Virgin Islands sailing and overwater bungalows including effortless all-inclusive stays!

photo of a catamaran sailing in the virgin islands

Sailing the Virgin Islands: Airbnb & VRBO Catamaran Charters

Plan your best vacation ever with family or friends: sailing the Virgin Islands in a catamaran for beaches, snorkeling, and laid-back beach bars in the US Virgin Islands & British Virgin Islands!

Caribbean Overwater Bungalows - Mexico Overwater Bungalows

The 9 Best Overwater Bungalows in the Caribbean & Mexico

Want more all-inclusive getaway options? These Mexico & Caribbean overwater bungalows are luxury escapes just a quick flight from the U.S.

Pin this guide to St. John Airbnbs & vacation rentals to your travel inspo board!

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Adrienne, The Haphazard Traveler

I used to be a hot travel mess, but I got better! I kept the name and now blog my best tips for culture and adventure travel from around the globe. Follow along for travel advice, destination info, and photography from faraway lands - and at home in Washington, D.C.

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