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Trunk Bay

Trunk Bay Virgin Islands


Snorkeling the Underwater Trail at Trunk Bay

St. John, in the U.S. Virgin Islands

by Barbara Weibel at Hole In The Donut Travels

In the U.S. Virgin Islands, fabulous beaches abound. In hidden coves and along open stretches of pristine coastline, towering coconut palms march toward the sea, their lush green fronds overhanging powdery white sands. From the tree line, beaches descend casually to seas so clear that ripples in the sand on the ocean floor are easily seen through 25 feet of water. In many respects, St. JohnÕs Trunk Bay, with its gorgeous beach lapped by turquoise seas, is much like any other in the Caribbean. But unlike the others, Trunk Bay has something not available elsewhere: an underwater snorkeling trail.

A short distance offshore Trunk Cay, a small rocky outcropping, sits in the center of Trunk Bays crescent cove. Here, fifteen underwater plaques identify the corals and fish that inhabit the bay as they lead snorkelers along a 675-foot long trail around the Cay. The waters are gentle enough for even the most inexperienced snorkeler and entire families - including tots and toddlers clad in orange life jackets - are often seen bobbing their way around the island. Snorkeling equipment is available for rent through the National Park Service, which operates the site, and beach facilities include showers, restrooms, changing rooms, public telephones, picnic tables, and a snack bar.

The $4 per person admission fee charged by the Park Service also includes access to the historic Annaberg Plantation Sugar Mill. A substantial portion of the mills used to crush the cane, the sugar factory where the juice was boiled and condensed to make raw sugar, and the rum mill still stand. Unlike other archeological sites, here visitors are encouraged to climb in and around the ruins.

Trunk Bay is often ranked among the worlds top beaches and is well worth seeing. Visitors who relish lively entertainment will prefer to stay on nearby St. Thomas and hop aboard one of the many ferries that leave regularly from the town of Red Hook for a day trip to St. John. Those seeking a more laid-back vacation experience can choose from a wide range of accommodations available on St. John. Visit for more information about beaches and attractions in the U.S. Virgin Islands.