Sun, soft sand, and warm, shallow waters characterize Leinster Bay—a favorite among beach lovers seeking solitude. It’s also one of the best snorkeling and scuba diving spots on St John thanks to the colorful coral reef of Waterlemon Cay, where it’s possible to spot sea turtles, stingrays, starfish, and schools of blue tang and parrotfish.
The Leinster Bay Trail takes visitors from the Annaberg Parking lot down to the entry for snorkeling in Waterlemon Cay. The trail continues to the main beach of Leinster Bay. The area is also home to the Annaberg sugar plantation, where you can still see ruins of the windmill, horse mill, and sugar factory. The mill was known for being the largest and tallest windmill in the Virgin Islands. A loop trail winds through the ruins; you can either take the tour yourself or take one of the well-informed National Park Service tours. Park rangers offer cultural demonstrations in basket weaving and bread baking throughout the week.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Leinster Bay is a must-visit for history buffs, snorkelers, and scuba divers.
- Remember to bring a towel, change of clothes, and reef-safe sunscreen.
- Wear sturdy water shoes for swimming and snorkeling, and keep an eye out for sea urchins and sharp rocks as you enter the water.
How to Get There
Both the historic plantation and Leinster Bay beach can be accessed from the Annaberg parking lot. The easiest way to get there is by private car or taxi.
When to Get There
Whether you’re planning to tour the historic site or get in the water, the best time to visit is between April and June when the weather is most likely to be warm and dry. Rainfall becomes frequent from late June to October.
Leinster Bay Trail
Leinster Bay Trail starts at the Annaberg parking lot and extends for almost 2 miles (3.1 km) to the beach. The sand gravel path remains level most of the way, making it an easy hike for those looking to explore the ruins or snorkel.