Virgin Islands National Park is located on the island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. To get here, one must fly to St. Thomas, take a taxi ride across the island to a ferry to St. John. I went there in late May with Chris, and we rented a Jeep, which is necessary to get around the island once you are off of the main roads. This park contains some beautiful and spectacular beaches, but also contains many houses within the park, many of which are in the view from those spectacular beaches.
My experience is that the Southern part of the island is more remote and scenic, and worth the extra effort to get there, which involves hiking and taking a Jeep down a few miles of 4WD roads. Even the park’s most famous beach at Trunk Bay is quite scenic, but there are still houses within sight at the beach. It doesn’t really feel like a National Park, but getting there at sunset and sunrise provided a much better experience. The crowds were gone, and there was even a couple getting married on the beach at sunset.
Trunk Bay also has an underwater snorkeling trail, which is unique and worth the time. I did the trail twice, I didn’t have a camera in the morning, but there were thousands of fish among the reefs, and it was quite the experience. Later in the day, once the crowds were out, there were fewer fish, but I at least had a camera working so, I could get a few pictures.
We stayed in a “tent” at an Eco-Resort on the far side of the island, with a superb view of Ram Head. This is my favorite part of the park. There was some great hiking and awesome views. We hiked to the top of Ram Head, and were rewarded with amazing views of the island.
The hike to Reef Bay was more challenging. It was hot and we had to hike about 4 miles round-trip with about 500 ft of elevation gain to get there. It was worth it though, given that we had the entire beach to ourselves. Nobody else seemed willing to make that kind of effort.
I would go back to the Virgin Islands, but would like to see the British Virgin Islands, and would go in the winter, when it’s cooler. It was just to flippin hot here to do much hiking.