Guide: things to do this weekend

Often compared to Trunk Bay, Francis Bay on the north side of St. John also features several qualities of the island’s more famous landmark–gorgeous white sand, towering emerald hills, and clear calm waters. However, Francis Bay can offer you something that Trunk Bay cannot–no crowds! In addition to the peace and quiet, it also offers several exciting activities for you and the whole family.


Francis Bay offers some of the best snorkeling in St. John and is famous for a large turtle population. The spot to the far right of the bay harbors a variety of colorful marine creatures of all different sizes and colors. Swim with barracuda, parrot fish, the resident manta ray, and of course turtles — an army of them. Normally, you can see 6-8 turtles in one swim, but if you happen to bring along a lucky charm, you might see dozens! For more exciting snorkeling, explore the grassy bottom on the deeper portion of the area to see more cudas, rays and beautiful, colorful conch.

Beach Bumming

Just like Trunk Bay, Francis Bay enjoys a long white sand beach, but with no tourists around, you can have the beach practically to yourself. Stretch out in the soft sand and work on your tan, enjoy a private beach picnic, or hide out in the shade created by the thick foliage near the shore for an afternoon nap.


Francis Bay nature trail begins at the west end of Mary Creek road and passes through a thick forest of mangroves, mahos and other tropical trees. The trail leads past the beautiful ruins of the old Francis Bay Estate House, which is a great place to take pictures. Near the end of the trail is a mangrove forest with a brackish pond and a level boardwalk with two overlooks to watch the wading and visiting birds. The 1/2 mile, 30-minute trail ends at the beach–of course!


Francis bay is a must for bird-watching enthusiasts. The mangrove forest near the end of the trail is a sanctuary for wading and visiting birds. Bring your bird book and binoculars and meet the birds that grace the forest in person; mangrove cuckoo, little blue heron, American coot, pied-billed grebe, moorhen, ruddy duck, blue-winged teal, white-cheeked pintail, and scaly-naped pigeon.

If you want to experience an adventure-filled visit to St. John without crowds, Francis Bay is ‘the’ spot. With the soft white sand for sunbathing, the clear water for swimming and snorkeling, and the abundant nature for exploration, it’s the perfect setting for a perfect day.


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