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Virgin Islands National Park


Sightseeing at Virgin Islands National Park
©2006 National Park Services Trunk Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean.

Whether you want to explore life in the Caribbean waters or stay dry on land in the tropical forests, the recreational activities at Virgin Islands National Park are limitless.

Trunk Bay, on the northern side of St. John, offers one of the loveliest vistas in the entire Caribbean, a tropical region known for its exceptionally lovely views of lush isles, white beaches, towering mountains, and old pirate strongholds. The view from the bay is a series of beautiful, palm-ringed beaches glistening in the sun.

Sailboats dance in the sparkling blue water, and off in the distance, Whistling Cay, a small speck of land floating in an azure sea, seems to change color on the whim of the sky. During the 19th century, customs officers used the tiny island as a lookout for smugglers sailing between St. John and the nearby British Virgin Islands.

As you wander through high-elevation subtropical forests in the park's interior, you can see 740 plant species. At lower elevations, you'll discover dry, desertlike areas, as well as mangrove swamps that are rich with mangoes, palms, soursops, turpentine trees, and century plants.

Virgin Islands National Park Photo Opportunities

This unique national park is loaded with incredible sights to view through the lens of a camera. Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • Trunk Bay: One of the Caribbean's most photographed beaches, Trunk Bay has a self-guided underwater snorkel trail that shouldn't be missed.
  • Annaberg Sugar Mill Ruins: At this site, you can gain some insight into the history and culture of St. John during the plantation and post-emancipation eras.
  • Reef Bay Trail: This three-hour hike will lead you through a tropical dry forest and a tropical wet forest. You'll also discover the remains of four sugar estates along the way.
  • Petroglyph Trail: This trail features a cascading waterfall and freshwater pool surround by large, smooth rocks, some of which contain petroglyphs. Many archeologists believe the rock carvings were made by the Tainos, one of the first inhabitants of the island about 3,000 years ago.

Go to the next page to find out more about the history behind Virgin Islands National Park, including information on the islands' settlers.