Virgin Beaches

Maho Bay, St. John

Aug 22, 2006
Outside Magazine
St. John's

St. John's North Shore    Photo: Corel

Don't rule out the U.S. Virgin Islands: While cruise ships belch a carnival of tourists onto the shores of neighboring St. Thomas, tiny St. John remains mercifully unscathed. Thank American financier Laurance Rockefeller for that: After buying up a major hunk of the island in the 1950s, he built a private resort on Caneel Bay, then donated 5,000 acres of his remaining tropical paradise, which forms the cornerstone of today's Virgin Islands National Park. Sample the bounty—from silent, palm-studded beaches to coral reefs teeming with sea turtles and rainbow fish—on one of Arawak Expeditions' Adventure Week packages (from $1,125, based on double occupancy, including meals, lodging, gear, and guides; 800-238-8687, Local guides lead kayak trips into the blue-green waters off Honeymoon Beach and Henley Cay, hiking ventures to jungled, pre-Columbian petroglyphs, and a strenuous mountain-bike ride (well, harder than lolling on the beach) to the top of 1,277-foot Bordeaux Mountain. Home base is the Maho Bay Camps eco-resort, on St. John's north shore, where each roomy platform-tent cabin is naturally cooled by lush foliage and outfitted with twin beds and a private deck.