Imagine waking up to this – brilliant white sand, translucent seas, a boundless azure sky; billowing bleached clouds adding a touch of the dramatic to the scene… It’s a dream that can be made real for most any visitor to the Caribbean lucky enough to bed down each night at a seaside hotel, though not quite to the pristine standard set here.
This is Cinnamon Bay, an aptly-named sweet crescent of seaside paradise found on the north shore of St. John. It’s the longest beach on the island, and obviously as beautiful as any stretch of shoreline you’ll find anywhere, but what’s really great about Cinnamon Bay is what’s not here.
Resorts, hotels, crowded shops, bars, hustle, bustle – you won’t find any of it at Cinnamon Bay. That’s because the beach lies within the expansive and unspoiled Virgin Islands National Park. Designated as the 29th United States National Park in 1956, the protected area covers a good 60% of St. John, ensuring that any visit here will absolutely appeal to nature lovers.
So, how is it that you can wake up here?
Well, there just happens to be two campgrounds within the Park, one of which is located right here at Cinnamon Bay.
The Cinnamon Bay Campground offers one of the most truly special travel experiences one can have anywhere in the Caribbean. I spent two weeks studying marine biology at Cinnamon Bay during my college years, communing by day with yellow tail, bar jacks, sea turtles, and nurse sharks along the vibrant reefs just offshore.
Most of my nights were spent simply gazing in endless amazement at Cinnamon Bay’s incredibly starry sky, a sight that must be seen to be believed.
Back in the Danish colonial days, Cinnamon Bay was a thriving sugar plantation, evidence of which you can explore at an old sugar mill and other ruins found along hiking trails that wind throughout the area. The National Park Service also offers a variety of educational programs at Cinnamon Bay, detailing the history and ecology of St. John.
As you can see in the rate info here, there’s hardly a better value in beachfront accommodations anywhere in the Caribbean, especially when you consider the view that awaits you each and every morning…
*Lead photo credit: Iliyan Gochev via Flickr.