Just Keep Swimming, Swimming

April 27, 2017Landscapes
Nancy Reynolds, Share the Experience
The Terrestrial and Underwater Trails of Virgin Islands National Park

Covering over half of Saint John Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands and including over 5,600 acres of the surrounding submerged lands, Virgin Islands National Park protects beautiful hills, beaches, and colorful underwater gardens and menageries. This park offers a unique twist that few other parks have: a 225-yard-long underwater trail that includes interpretive signs that line the way.

Annaberg School 

Anne Finney, courtesy of National Park Service

Opportunities abound for learning about the complex history of humans starting around 840 BC, for underwater recreation like snorkeling, and for terrestrial tropical rainforest fun. While snorkeling and SCUBA diving, swimmers can explore a rarely-seen part of the park, over 40 percent of which is underwater, mangrove shorelines, seagrass beds, coral reefs, and a diversity of wildlife.

11 small squid in clear, shallow blue waters
National Park Service

This small patch of protected area is a habitat for over 450 species of birds, fish, amphibians, and mammals, 740 species of plants, and about 50 coral species. For turtle lovers, three of the seven species of sea turtles in the world can be found flapping through the waters around Saint John.

With a complex history of civilizations dating back more than a thousand years and with an equally diverse natural environment, this national park gives visitors a unique opportunity to learn new things and to explore new places, even underwater!

Add new comment

Stay Inspired
Connect with the parks you love. Sign up to receive the latest NPF news, information on how you can support our national treasures, and travel ideas for your next trip to the parks. Join our community.