The whole island is off the beaten path. It's one of those places you go to truely escape, see nature and enjoy the peace and quiet. 3/4 of the island is national park so it is preserved from commercialism and development. The difference between St. John and St. Thomas is amazing--St. John is much more laid back and so quiet. There are petroglyphs and rock drawings to look at and trails to hike and sugar mill ruins to visit. The island will bring out the explorer in you. Rent a jeep and tool around for a day or a week and snorkel on some of the remote beaches, like Honeymoon or Hawksnest Beach. Many of the nature trails empty out onto beaches so you can have a land-and-sea adventure all in one day.
Cruz Bay - the portal to paradise
"Less commercial but you can still shop"
Although St John, being 2/3 National Park is much less commercial than St Thomas, there is still shopping available in Cruz Bay. From the standard souvenir shops to the higher end stores in the Mongoose Junction shops ( http://www.mongoosejunctionstjohn.com/stores.htm ) there is something for everyone.
"What's to eat?"
St John offers quite a variety of dining choices. My personal favorites, include Woody's Seafood Saloon, for lite-bites and the best array of tropical drinks around (I recommend the Painkiller and the Bushwhacker).
I also enjoy Morgan's Mango (Caribbean), The Fish Trap (Seafood and Caribbean), and Margarita's (Mexican).
There are certainly many more possibilities with options to suit every taste.
Cruz Bay is the location of the Ferry Dock, with ferries departing frequently to St Thomas and other islands (less frequently). There is a taxi stand adjacent to the dock, as well as numerous shops and restaurants.
Cruz Bay is the main town on St. John (and really one of the only towns on St. John!). This is where the ferry docks, where you can easily catch a cab or rent a jeep and where most of the shopping is found. Chickens roam the streets as well as tourists and locals so it is a pretty laid-back, happy sort of place. Spend a little time there but then take off and see some of the beaches and trails. That is where the true beauty of St. John is located.
Cruz Bay is the arrival point for ferries from St. Thomas. It is a town located on a harbor with narrow streets and small stores, cafes, and good restaurants.
At Cruz Bay, right next to the point the ferry from St. Thomas leaves you, you will find the National Park Visitors' Center. Here you will find brochures, maps, hiking trails, books and other infos to help your exploration of St. John. It is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Largest "City" of St.John USVI
I took a photo of this church because of the parking lot sign (on the right). It said "Thou Shalt Not Park".
Cruz Bay is the major town on St. John and is where the ferry docks. It is on the west end of the island facing Red Hook in St. Thomas. It is connected by excellent paved road to most of the bays and beaches and to Coral Bay, the picturesque yacht harbor on the east end of the island