Francis Bay is one of the longest beaches on St. John, so you will have plenty of space to paddle inside the bay. It is usually less crowded than the other beaches. With a bit of a walk, you will always find a private spot. The water is very calm (little waves) so it is great for families and kids. It has very clear water and recently made it a ranking by Tripadvisor “12 clear water beaches you need to see to believe”.
How to get to Francis
it is quite a long drive from Cruz Bay. Take the North Shore Road from Mongoose Junction, go past Caneel, Hawknsest, Trunk, Cinnamon, Maho and then you will eventually get to Francis (at the Y, make a left). There is not too big of a parking lot so come early if you don’t want to carry your board too far to the beach.
Paddleboarding Francis Bay
The water in Francis Bay is very calm, so it is a great spot for beginners or families with kids. It does however get more wind than Maho, and you will have headwind trying to get back to the beach, so on windy days Maho is the better choice. Experienced paddlers can paddle out to Whisling Cay to check out the old Customs House or go snorkeling. You can also do a downwinder from Whisling into Cruz Bay. Check the wind forecast here. For a downwinder you want at least 20knots and 3 or more foot swell, ideally at 10 or more seconds.
Francis Bay Trail
if you are there anyways, you might want to check out the Francis Bay Trail, a short, easy 0.3mile trail pass ruins, a salt pond and a sea turtle nesting beach. It is really beautiful.
There is good snorkeling for beginners along the western end of the beach towards Maho Bay. The rocky north coast on the eastern side of the beach offers excellent snorkeling for more advanced snorklers. The center of the bay is mostly sea grass beds and home to turtles, rays and sometimes gigantic manta rays. If you have a Paddleboard or Kayak, you can also go out to Whisling Cay which is great for snorkeling.
Francis Bay Facilities
- Picnic Tables
- simple toilets