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Helpful (I hope) advice for visiting St. John with children

Boston
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Helpful (I hope) advice for visiting St. John with children

We're back from a super-fun and relaxing trip to St. John (first time) with our two toddlers. Everyone on TripAdvisor was so helpful, as were people we met there. So I want to share some tips and things we learned. Who knows, maybe some of this will be useful to people who aren't traveling with children, as well. In random order:

1) If you are traveling from afar or with strollers, multiple small kids etc., it's really helpful to be met by a taxi at the airport in STT and taken to the ferry. We used Warren Gordon on both ends of our trip and he was very accommodating. Highly recommended. warrengtaxi (at) yahoo.com (340) 998-1077 or (340)474-0090

2) If you'd rather not take your own car seats, Christy's of St. John, concierge services, will rent them to you. The ones we got were clean and in excellent condition, and they were waiting for us at the rental car co. when we got there. We also rented guard rails for the kids' bed. We highly recommend Christy's.

3) Some great hiking trails that the little ones can handle, that are also enjoyable for the adults:

- Peace Hill. Short but uphill. Great views of Hawsknest Bay, and the ruin of an old windmill to climb around in and explore.

- Leinster Bay Trail. Leads to Waterlemon Beach and from there you can swim out to Waterlemon Cay -- great snorkeling.

- the Francis Bay walking trail leading to Francis Beach which is ideal for small children. Lots of hermit crabs and termite nests to see along the way, and views out over Mary's Creek.

We took picnics in our backpacks on most days and would hike and then have lunch on the beach. Fun, fun : ) Our favorite beach was Hawksnest, but they are really all so beautiful.

4) A great child-friendly restaurant in Cruz Bay is Fish Trap. I mean REALLY child-friendly. They have a wagon full of toys the little ones can play with. Plus the food and drinks were great. Fun place all around.

5) Do visit the Visitors' Center in Cruz Bay. I haven't seen that recommended on here very much but we found it so informative and interesting. Even if you're just on St. John for the snorkeling/beaches/etc., it will still make your trip that little bit more interesting to learn something about the history and the flora and fauna. There are good, clear exhibits around the walls of the center. Plus clean restrooms and a really nice playground for the kids outside.

6) If you are looking into chartering a boat and visiting some of the other islands, Connections in Coral Bay can help with advice and booking. They are next to Skinny Legs. There is a Connections in Cruz Bay as well. We had a lot of fun visiting Jost and briefly, Tortola.

7) Randomly, some other restaurants that we enjoyed: Tourist Trap (super casual, fun for lunch), Skinny Legs (also super casual and friendly. Try the mango painkillers..). Island Blues in Coral Bay (So nice to sit right by the water. Really enjoyed the food too. Delish conch fritters, great drinks..) Aqua Bistro for my birthday dinner -- a little more formal than the other places, but still fairly casual. Not necessarily super child-friendly but fine. The food was great.. Nice place for a special dinner.). We didn't make it to Miss Lucy's but hope to next time……

Pennsylvania
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1. Re: Helpful (I hope) advice for visiting St. John with children

Where did you end up staying?

I agree 100% on the airport taxi, the convenience and comfort is definately worth the slightly higher price.

Glad to hear you had a good seat rental experience. I didn't not and am now gun shy about doing it again. My child is older and into the boaster seat stage so it is easier to take his along.

I did not know that about the Fish Trap, good to know.

Definately try Miss Lucy's next trip. When we were there in February, they alerted us to the fact the goats were "coming in for the night" and we went out to watch them come home. Some of the friendlier ones enjoyed endless pets and scratches from my son..

St Thomas, VI
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2. Re: Helpful (I hope) advice for visiting St. John with children

The NPS visitors' center also has a FREE activity booklet for kids, and if all activities are completed, the kids get a badge. Their monthly newspaper also has a kids' section. There's also the public playground next door.

Ohio
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3. Re: Helpful (I hope) advice for visiting St. John with children

I think your report is going to be very helpful for newbies with kids! Thanks for sharing your experience :)

Sounds like a great vacation!

Miami Beach, Florida
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4. Re: Helpful (I hope) advice for visiting St. John with children

Thanks for the info about the Fish Trap. That's the first I've ever heard about a wagon full of toys!

I've heard good things about Christy's, thanks for sharing about your experience.

Boston
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5. Re: Helpful (I hope) advice for visiting St. John with children

We've had bad car seat rental experiences too (even to the point of the seats being unsafe) so this was a pleasant surprise. They were cleaner than the ones we have at home : )

Cleo, I remember you recommended Caneel Bay before we went. I tried but availability wasn't good for our dates. Also, the prices... YIKES! But it looks incredible, and definitely great for children.

We stayed at Villa Serenity, very near Maho Bay. It was a pretty good location for us because we were in walking distance of Francis Bay, plus it was useful to have Maho Bay Camps so close. We ate there a couple of times and used their general store. We loved having our breakfast on the deck while watching the pelicans glide over Mary's Creek. We rented directly from the owner, Terry, and she was very helpful and gave us a lot of good recommendations. The only minor quibble with the villa is that the kitchen is a bit old and not that nice. But I had no intention of spending our trip in the kitchen, so it suited us just fine. We were happy to get out and try different restaurants for dinner, except for one night at home. It would be nice to be closer to Coral Bay or Cruz Bay, but on the other hand, if you like seclusion, Villa Serenity definitely has that... Great hammock on the deck too..

Miss Lucy's sounds so nice... really would like to go there some time.

Pennsylvania
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6. Re: Helpful (I hope) advice for visiting St. John with children

That is a special location. North Shore spots like that are few and far between. I may have mentioned it on your original post - you might want to check out Terrahawk (managed by Catered To) for a future trip. Great location above Gibney Beach and convenient to town.

Caneel sometimes runs good specials in the summer. It isn't a bduget trip but the location is well worth the cost.

So glad to hear you short notice trip was a success!

Cleveland, Ohio
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7. Re: Helpful (I hope) advice for visiting St. John with children

I'm heading to St John in two months with a 1 year old and a 3 year old. This was a very helpful post.

I'm staying in Cruz bay. Can any one recommend some place that does good carry out for Valentines day? I'd like to do a nice dinner, but toddlers rarely do well at a quiet restaurants after a long day of fun. Visiting chefs are a little too pricey for 2 adults and two kids.

Thinking about a day sail on New Horizons Charters with the kids. Am I deluding myself?

Any advice on small kids in cabs on St. John? Does that work out OK?

Edited: 15 December 2012, 18:55
8. Re: Helpful (I hope) advice for visiting St. John with children

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