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Beach Parking: What’s Allowed & What Will Get You a Ticket

Parking on St. John is limited, especially at some of the beaches. So today I’m going to share some tips on beach parking at the more popular North Shore spots. I’ll also let you know what can get you a pretty hefty ticket. I don’t know about you, but nothing ruins a fun vacation faster than getting a parking ticket.

General Parking Rules Straight from the VI National Park 

I reached out to the Park for guidance, and I was told that when parking along the roadway, all tires and mirrors need to be completely off the road and behind the white line (when there is a white line). I was unaware of the mirror rule, so that’s a good tip to know.

A few other rules straight from the Park: Never park in front of a gate or an entrance, and never push a stone with your vehicle that is being used to make a boundary. When parking along the road, do not push back any trees or break any branches when trying to find a parking spot. And lastly, no parking really means no parking, the ranger stressed. There are numerous “no parking” signs near the beaches. The ranger asked that we all be mindful to the arrows on those signs as well. Some are no parking to the right, some to the left, and so forth.


Parking tickets start at $125. They can be higher depending on the violation, the ranger said. She also stated that some car rental companies often charge the renter double the fine, especially when a vehicle is towed.

Tips for Specific Beaches 


There is no parking at either of the beaches. You can either walk in via the Lind Point Trail, or take the $6 shuttle provided by the Caneel Bay Beach Club. If you park behind the National Park Visitor Center, you need to get a handwritten pass from the Visitor Center (if they are open). They will ask that you back into the designated spot for permit holders and display your parking permit on your dashboard. You can also park at the top of the hill near the Virgin Islands National Park sign (near a large construction area) and walk down the Lind Point Trail. You do not need a permit to park there. If you opt to take the shuttle, you can park on the grounds of the former Caneel Bay Resort.


There is a decent amount of parking at Hawksnest. You can park before and after the parking area on the beach side, as long as your tires and mirrors are completely off the road. It is not suggested that you park anywhere across the street as you may damage the trees, the ranger said.

The vehicles parked on the left are ok, per the ranger. There really isn’t enough space on the right without hurting a tree.


There are only three parking spots, so this is a beach to get to early. Park on the left side. when facing the gate.

Denis Bay

You can park in the small lot for Peace Hill to access Denis Bay.


There is a small parking area across the street from the trailhead. It is not recommended that you park on the beach side, as there is a driveway there and you can also damage trees, the ranger said.

Trunk Bay

This is definitely one of the busier beaches, so you want to get to Trunk Bay early. When parking in the main lot, be sure not to take a spot designated for the taxis. They park along the back of the lot, beside the entry booth, facing the street. There is a small patch of grass to the right of where the taxis park (if your back is to the road.) Do not park on this grassy patch unless you’d like to leave with a ticket or possibly get towed, the ranger said.

You are allowed to park across the street near the plantation building as long as your tires and mirrors are off the road. You will see there are no parking and no parking beyond this point signs in that area. I have seen numerous vehicles ticketed here for ignoring those signs, so keep an eye out and look for arrows.

Also, there isn’t any parking along the roadway on the beach side before of after the Trunk Bay parking lot. I see people create spots, and those vehicles routinely get ticketed too. There are a few new no parking signs up the switchbacks too. Trunk is pretty well marked when it comes to where you can and where you cannot park. If you do not want to deal with Trunk’s notorious parking issues, you can always take a taxi.

Please do not park right next to a no parking sign like this yellow Jeep. The vehicles on the right are fine per Park rules.

Tires on the road = a ticket, per the ranger.

Cinnamon Bay

There are two large parking lots, so this is an easier place to find a spot. You can also park along the roadway a bit, but again, all tires and mirrors off the road, and please do not park in a way that you can damage a tree. There are a handful of spots where you can park along the road inside of Cinnamon Bay (near the parking areas) too.

Maho Bay

Maho is also extremely busy, and parking is tricky. On the Maho Crossroads side of the beach (closer to Cruz Bay), there are several designated parking spots along the beach. Once you pass the final shade structure, you can no longer park on the beach side. This is a sea turtle nesting beach, and there are also small plantings along the beach that cannot be harmed.

Parking on the sand at Maho is not allowed, per Park rules.

There are also some parking spots across the street in between large boulders along the roadway. Then there is a decent-sized lot at the turtle side of the beach (the opposite side from where the tiki bar is). You can also park along the roadway near the parking lot as long as your tires and mirrors are of the road. This is tricky because there isn’t a ton of space, so there is only room for a handful of cars to do this.

I hope this didn’t come across as being preachy, because I hate preachiness. 🙂 I simply wanted to provide some guidance to what is often a tricky parking situation on the North Shore.

As always, if there is something you’d like to know more about, please feel free to email me at In the meantime, have a fantastic day everyone!

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  1. Gina

    Saw some interesting parking at Annaberg last week. Parking on side of the road. Parking in the center of the lot, in the driving area towards the back of the parking lot.

    Also, what’s the rules along the road to Francis?

    • Jenn Manes

      Hi Gina, my apologies. I got a little lazy writing and should have included those two spots. For Francis, you can park on the left only if driving toward the beach. There is a small area somewhat near the boardwalk that is a no parking area between two signs. Ot’s because the road is a bit narrow there.

      At Annaberg, there aren’t too many signs and I’ve seen the crazy parking too lately.

  2. David B

    We always try to start the day early so there is usually parking. However, if we do sleep in, the best plan is to just keep going and check all beaches. If that doesnt work, go back to your villa pool and try again later or the next day. We dont stress about parking anymore.

  3. Patty

    A park ranger confirmed a couple weeks ago that parking in the middle of the parking lot at Annaberg is allowed, with vehicles lined up facing Mary’s Creek single file. There is still room for cars in designated parking spots to get out of their spaces.

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