Cruz Bay is the main hub of St. John, docking connections from Charlotte Amalie, Redhook, Virgin Gorda, and Jost Van Dyke. Travellers from all around the Caribbean visit Cruz Bay to relax and disconnect from the outside world for a while, taking full advantage of the pristine beach, the craft cocktails, and surprisingly ample amount of delicious island foods.
Virgin Islands National Park
Virgin Islands National Park spans over the majority of St. John, boasting more than 7000 acres of untouched natural land. Visitors can even find coral reefs scattered amongst many of the beaches, which are protected by the U.S. National Park Service. Also littered throughout the park are hiking trails, which lead to many beaches as well as the Petroglyphs in the heart of the island.
During the late 1700s, Annaberg Plantation was one of less than 30 active sugar plantations on the island of St. John. Today the ruins that remain display a clear picture of what life was like on St. John during the late 18th century, thanks to the preservation of the land by the National Park Service. Trails complete with signs and placards wind through the plantation’s factory, a windmill, and other ruins scattered about the property. These signs explain to visitors the production of the sugar, molasses, and rum that were produced on during the plantations days of operation.
Cinnamon Bay Sugar Mill Ruins
Another equally historic example of agricultural production is the ruins of the Cinnamon Bay Sugar Mill, located along the Northern shores of St. John. Take a stroll through the remains and see how the sugar was processed during these primitive times, beginning with the extraction of juice from the cane stalks and finishing with the condensing of the syrup into crystals in the boiling house.
Elaine Ione Sprauve Library & Museum
Just outside of Cruz Bay is the Elaine I. Library and Museum, whose collection includes books, photographs, paintings, newspaper clippings, and more. Dating all the way back to to the earliest known records in 1757, the plantation is also home to a family cemetery from which visitors learn about the estate’s history. This fascinating history, which leads visitors from the original fire that ravaged the estate all the way to when it was registered to the National Register of Historic Places, describes the beautiful restorations that represent the library today.
Peace Hill Windmill
Having previously been powered by the trade winds, Peace Hill Windmill remains standing after numerous hurricanes. If visitors are up for the brief 10-minute hike, one can catch a glimpse of Jost Van Dyke, Tortola, Dennis Bay, and Great Thatch from the hill overlooking these locations.
Reef Bay Trail / Petroglyphs
The Reef Bay Trail leads from Centerline Rd. all the way to the Reef Bay Rum Factory Ruins at Genti Bay. Along this trail, visitors can access the rock carvings left behind by the original inhabitants of the island — the Taino people. These natives carved what is thought to be rock art from a pre-Columbian era.
Catherineberg Sugar Mill Ruins
Also a prime example of 18th century architecture and agricultural production is the Catherineburg Sugar Mill Ruins, which are located just East of Cruz Bay.