The snorkeling in Trunk Bay is a very beginner-friendly experience. Not only is the water warm and easy to see in (I’m serious, the clearest water I’ve ever seen), but since the beach is maintained by the Virgin Islands National Park, there are buoys that go along an underground snorkeling trail that is marked by informative signs on the ocean floor. If you follow the signs, you’re sure to see all kinds of sea life. I saw both a stingray and what I’m pretty sure was a barracuda. I tried to keep my distance while observing the other small, beautiful, and entirely less terrifying fish.
Know Before You Go
Trunk Bay is beautiful, a fun place to snorkel and its visitor numbers reflect that fact. It’s known to receive upwards of 1,000 visitors a day between tourists, locals, and cruise ship passengers. If you don't like crowds, this may be a good beach to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoons. You can leave when the hordes arrive and split off to another spot on St. John. There are plenty of them.
The facilities at Trunk Bay are the best of any beach I visited on St. John. They have showers, changing rooms, lockers, and a gift shop. The parking lot is right off the main road and it’s just a short walk down to the sand. Because everything is maintained so well and there is National Park staff on duty, there is a small fee to enter the park ($4 for adults). If you keep your receipt, you can come and go to your car as needed. And if you’re expecting to use the really nice facilities on site, it’s worth the price, particularly if you’re going to spend all day at Trunk Bay.
Beach Accessibility: 2/5
The beach is right off the road with well-marked signs and a good amount of parking. If you're coming from the ferry at Cruz Bay, it's only about a five minute drive by Jeep, scooter, or taxi. It's not so close that you could walk safely (the roads are very narrow), so make sure you have some kind of transportation arranged.
This is an ideal spot for beginner and advanced snorkelers alike. The underwater trail is nice and informative and the coral and small island off the coast is an awesome spot to explore for hours on end.
This is a hard one for me to judge because the time I spent on Trunk Bay was early in the morning and the crowds hadn't quite arrived. In addition, a really bad rainstorm had just passed over the island, most likely deterring people from coming to visit the beach. However, it's known for being one of the most popular beaches on the island, so don't plan on having this white stretch of sand all to yourself.