Sunset view of boat tours in St John against the ocean

11 Best St. John Boat Tours (By a USVI Captain)

As a local USVI Captain, I’d highly recommend hopping aboard one of these 11 amazing St. John boat tours!

A trip around the waters of St. John is unlike anything you’ll ever witness. You’ll visit secluded bays, snorkel vibrant coral reefs thriving with marine life, and skim across turquoise waters against the tropical forest backdrop of Virgin Islands National Park

Trust me, no matter which of these amazing St. John boat trips you end up on, you’re guaranteed to have a wonderful time exploring the beauty of the Virgin Islands!

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11 Best Boat Tours on St. John, US Virgin Islands

If you’re staying on St. Thomas, I also have a guide to the top boat tours on St. Thomas you should check out!

Night Kayaking in Great Cruz Bay

Four yellow kayaks at the shoreline of Great Cruz Bay
Kayaking will begin after dark!

Departing from: The Westin St. John Resort Villas | Perfect for families, kids, and small groups | 🛶 Paddle at Night around St. John

Not only is The Westin one of the best places to stay in St. John, but it’s also the departure point for some of the best boat tours on the island. One of our favorites is the night kayaking tour of Great Cruz Bay – complete with glow sticks, face painting, and clear-bottomed kayaks.

The trip is guided by an expert naturalist as they point out the abundance of marine life fleeting beneath your boat. Expect to see sting rays, tarpon, tropical fish, and many other creatures during the hour-long tour.

All-Inclusive Day Sailing Aboard a Private Boat

View while on a sailing boat in Cruz Bay
Set sail from Cruz Bay!

Departing from: Cruz Bay Beach | Perfect for families and small groups | Set Sail for an All-Inclusive Day

For a more intimate boating experience, consider booking an all-inclusive sailing trip with Morningstar Charters in Cruz Bay. The memorable day brings you deep into the waters of Virgin Islands National Park stopping at one of the many secluded beaches of St. John and hidden snorkeling spots. With a maximum of 8 passengers, the private boat is a perfect choice for a small group of friends and family.

🎒 Keep Your Items Dry While Sailing: I never board any vessel without stashing my belongings inside a dry bag backpack. It’s the surest way to protect your phone, wallet, purse, or keys from getting salty!

Explore the Best of St. John with Island Roots

A coral under the water of St. John
Discover hidden snorkel spots with Island Roots!

Departing from: National Park Service Headquarters Dock in Cruz Bay | Perfect for small groups and families | 🚤 Island Roots Boat Charters

One of the best things to do on St. John is circumnavigating the entire island aboard a motor vessel – Island Roots is one of our top choices to do it. The tour provides everything you might need for a successful day on the water including alcohol, snorkeling gear, and most importantly, knowledge of the many hidden gems around the island.

🏴‍☠️ Captain’s Tip: Although most boat charters in St. John have free cancellation policies, you must give them plenty of notice to receive a refund. We understand outstanding circumstances arise, but as a local Captain in the USVIs, nothing is more frustrating than preparing the boat early in the AM only to have a last-minute cancellation.

Champagne Sunset Sail from the Westin

Overlooking view of the Great Cruz Bay during sunset
The sunset sail begins in Great Cruz Bay

Departing from: The Westin St. John Resort Villas | Perfect for any sized group or age | Set Sail at Golden Hour

If long days of adventure on the boat aren’t your thing, consider an evening cruise mixed with an open bar and hors d’oeuvres. Departing from The Westin, Cruz Bay Watersports operates one of the best sunset cruises in the Virgin Islands as they set sail into Pillsbury Sound. Prepare to spend a relaxing two hours aboard a 55-foot catamaran as the sunsets over the Caribbean Sea. 

⛵ Sunset Sails on St. Thomas: If you’re staying in nearby St. Thomas, the VI Cat operates a similarly wonderful sunset cruise overlooking the lights of downtown Charlotte Amalie.

Large Group Sail and Snorkel from the Westin

Aerial view of the Waterlemon Cay in St. John
Waterlemon Cay is a snorkeling favorite on St. John

Departing from: The Westin St. John Resort Villas | Perfect for large groups, couples, and solo travelers | 🤿 Half-Day Snorkel and Sailing Trip

Booking a private charter is incredibly costly, so if you’re looking to save a buck while visiting the Virgin Islands but still want to enjoy the water, consider booking a seat on a large group catamaran instead. 

Departing The Westin is a 55-foot catamaran with a maximum capacity of 49 people. With more seats, the boat can offer seats at a much cheaper rate while still visiting the best snorkeling sites around the island.

💸 How to Tip Your Crew: It’s customary to tip the crew aboard any boat tour. Usually, 15 to 20% of the cost of the trip is customary and will be split amongst the entire crew (Captain, deckhand, mate, etc). As we like to say, wind and waves may tip the boat, but only YOU can tip the crew!

Full-Day Group Sailing to a Floating Taco Stand

People in their boats buying at the floating taco bar in Coral Bay
The floating taco bar in Coral Bay is a must-see!

Departing from: The Westin St. John Resort Villas | Perfect for large groups, couples, and solo travelers | 🌮 Sail to a Floating Taco Bar

One of the most popular attractions on St. John is Lime Out VI – a floating taco bar in the middle of Coral Bay. Most full-day tours circling the island often stop here for lunch, including this large group sail and snorkel trip

Upon arrival, you’ll swim from your boat to the floating lily pads where you’ll order per group. The tacos are surprisingly delicious and the frozen rum drinks might be even better!

🍕 Craving Pizza Instead? Another popular lunch spot aboard a day charter is Pizza Pi – a floating pizza bar in Christmas Cove. Ocean Surfari departs from St. Thomas and does pickups in St. John for an afternoon of sea turtle snorkeling before dinner at Pizza Pi!

Paddle Hurricane Hole with Crabby’s Watersports

Overlooking view of the Hurricane Hole in St. John
Hurricane Hole is a unique mangrove environment on St. John

Departing from: Crabby’s Watersports in Coral Bay | Perfect for adventure travelers, couples, and small groups | 🏝️ Crabby’s Watersports Website

Hurricane Hole is a large mangrove ecosystem just outside of Coral Bay towards St. John’s East End. The environment is unique for the Virgin Islands and one of the most beautiful as it’s protected by the National Park Service via the Virgin Islands National Reef Monument.

Consisting of a series of secluded bays, the area is a paddler’s dream. Not to mention the many snorkeling opportunities along rocky outcroppings and in mangrove roots. It’s a fun day for adventure-seeking travelers.

Private and Luxury Boating Excursion with GypSea Girl

Aerial view of a tiny island and boats near Jost Van Dyke
Small island near Jost Van Dyke in the BVIs

Departing from: National Park Service Headquarters Dock in Cruz Bay | Perfect for families and small groups | 🛥️ View Price for a Private Powerboat Trip

Another one of the top-level power boats in St. John is GypSea Girl. Not only do they provide one of the top adventure tours around St. John, but they also venture into the British Virgin Islands. The islands of Jost Van Dyke and Virgin Gorda are among the most popular stops, but ultimately, your Captain will bring you to what’s best for you!

🇻🇬 Visiting the BVI’s Post-Pandemic: Since 2020, the British Virgin Islands have been increasingly difficult to travel to, particularly for charter boats. The rules are always changing, so be sure to check with your boat charter on current regulations before booking.

Scuba Diving with Low Key Watersports

A lionfish on a coral reef under the water of the Caribbean
Lionfish spotted on a coral reef in the Caribbean

Departing from: Cruz Bay Beach | Perfect for adventure travelers and certified scuba divers | 🤿 Low Key Watersports

Low Key Watersports is St. John’s premier scuba diving operator conveniently located along the shores of Cruz Bay Beach. The shop operates two large 36’ Newton Dive Boats as they visit many of the best dive sites surrounding St. John and St. Thomas. 

After your dive, you’ll unload directly onto the beach where you can easily drop into one of the many beach bars for lunch and a rum drink!

👋 Come Say Hi! Even though I’m one island over on St. Thomas, you can always book a scuba diving trip with me at Red Hook Dive Center (I’m the guy driving the boat)! It’s a short ferry ride away from Cruz Bay and we visit the same dive sites as the operators on St. John!

Dinghy Rentals at Wharfside Watersports

The author driving a dingy rental in St. John
Renting a dinghy is an awesome way to enjoy a day on the water!

Departing from: Cruz Bay Beach | Perfect for couples | 🏴‍☠️ Wharfside Watersports Dinghy Rentals

One of my favorite outdoor activities and water sports adventures I’ve done on St. John was renting a dinghy from Wharfside Watersports. A full-day rental is the most affordable way to captain your own ship as you explore the beautiful north shore of St. John. 

With provided snorkel gear, you’ll explore hidden coral reefs and snorkel with sea turtles in Maho Bay before pulling up to beautiful beaches like Trunk Bay and Turtle Beach.

Hit the Water Slide Aboard Salt Deck

The author's wife going on a water slide in Hansen Bay
Slide into the turquoise waters of Hansen Bay!

Departing from: Coral Bay Marina | Perfect for families and medium-sized groups | 🌊 Salty Daze Charters USVI

The Salt Deck is a unique style boat featuring its very own sun deck and water slide. The boat departs from Coral Bay as you explore the ins and outs of Hurricane Hole, Hansen Beach, and Salt Pond Bay. There’s literally no other boat quite like it, so if you make the trek to Coral Bay, I highly suggest booking a trip for a full or half day! 

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I hope you enjoyed this list of the best St. John boat tours. 

Which boat trip on St. John looks the most exciting to you? Be sure to let us know in the comment below! In the meantime, check out the best things to do on St. Thomas as you pass through the neighboring island!

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