Administered by the National Park Service, the Virgin Islands National Park encompasses more than half of St. John Island, and Hassel Island in St. Thomas Harbor. The park includes areas of clear turquoise water and lush green mountains, and a total acreage of 12,908.60. Extensive vegetation covers many of the historic features of the park landscape, and roads and trails follow 18th-century cart roads to scenic plantation ruins. Early Carib Indian relics found in the park testify to the presence of the original Caribbean inhabitants. Many of the sugar plantation ruins are found along the ridges of the north coast and in the valleys of the south coast. Following the collapse of the plantation economy in the mid-19th century, the fields were abandoned and gradually reverted back to a natural growth of bush and forest, enveloping many of the buildings.
The first stop in visiting the Virgin Islands National Park should be the Visitor Center in Cruz Bay, St. John Island--a five minute walk from the public ferry dock. It is open daily from 8:00am to 4:30pm. The center contains exhibits, a park video, brochures, maps and books. Camping is restricted to the Cinnamon Bay Campground. Call 340-776-6201 or visit the park's website for further information. For general information on St. John, visit the Virgin Islands Division of Tourism website or call 1-800-372-USVI .