Francis Bay on St. John has just been ranked as “12 clear water beaches you need to see to believe” by Tripadvisor. Well, almost any beach on St. John could qualify for that, but Francis really is a great beach.
Why is Francis Bay one of the best beaches in the USVI?
Firstly, it is quite a bit of a drive from Cruz Bay, St. John, all along the North Shore, past Cinnamon, Trunk and Maho and the beach is one of the longest on St. John so you will always find a private spot, especially during the week.
It faces West. That is leeward of the trade winds so the water tends to be calmer than other north shore beaches (but it can still be windy).
Francis Bay Snorkeling, St. John
Snorkeling is great there. You can see fry, jacks, yellowtail snapper, Spanish mackerel, barracuda, tarpon, pompano, French grunts, Parrotfish, blue tang, Little Damselfish, eels, stingrays, conch and Sea Turtles. Beginners can snorkel at the western end towards Maho, more experienced snorklers take the rock eastern shore. If you have a kayak or paddleboard you can also go out to Whisling Cay, which is a great snorkeling spot
Francis Bay Activities
Francis is also great for bird watching and paddleboarding, since the water is quite calm. But beware of the wind, while the paddle out seems easy, you might face some strong headwind when coming back. Novice paddler should stay inside the Bay close to the shore. Intermediate Paddlers can paddle over the Maho and experts can venture out to Whisling Cay or even do a downwinder from Francis back to Cruz Bay.
Francis Bay Facilities
There are toilets, picnic tables and trash cans at Francis Bay but no bar or restaurant, so bring your own food and drinks and have a nice picnic!