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annaberg plantation ruins st john virgin islands national park

Annaberg Plantation Ruins – Virgin Islands (Helpful Guide + Video)

The Annaberg Plantation Ruins in Virgin Islands National Park are stunningly beautiful and among the best-preserved on all of St. John.

About Annaberg Plantation Ruins, St. John

The Annaberg Plantation Ruins in Virgin Islands National Park are stunningly beautiful and among the best-preserved on all of St. John. The Annaberg sugar mill is the largest in the virgin islands. In its hay-day, Annaberg produced sugar, rum, and molasses.

We explored the ruins after Hurricane Maria and cover what it looks like now.

In this post we’ll cover everything you need to know about Annaberg Plantation ruins and the hike to them including:

annaberg plantation ruins st john virgin islands national park
Sunrise at Annaberg Ruins, St John | Virgin Islands National Park

Things to Know Before Visiting Annaberg Plantation Ruins

Please, Wear Sunscreen.
  • SUNSCREEN: Many sunscreens have been outlawed in the Virgin Islands due to reef-damaging ingredients. Goes without saying but we’ll say it anyway – wear sunscreen! The Caribbean is unforgiving on unprotected skin. We’ve made that mistake enough times to make lathering up a top priority. We highly recommend this one (which is reef-safe).
Sandals are your friend.
  •  FOOTWEAR: There’s nothing like the feeling of warm sand between the toes. There’s also nothing quite like the feeling of something sharp and pokey in the toes. The walk to the beach from the parking lot is short but best attempted with something between your feet and the ground, like these sandals that we love. and these sandals which have straps.
Goggles and flippers for the win.
Underwater camera housing… to ruin, or not to ruin.
  • UNDERWATER CAMERA HOUSING: So here we must add the caveat that we lost a camera to the depths in Virgin Islands National Park (at Maho Bay). Anytime you get your camera near water, let alone saltwater, you’re taking a risk. With that being said we have used this underwater camera housing in the past and had luck with it.
Rash guards are great for extra UV protection, especially after that inevitable burn.
  • RASH GUARD: We were told to be sure and pack rash guards for this trip not so much for the coral etc but for extra UV protection (especially for Will who burns easily). We got these inexpensive ones off amazon and we were sure glad to have them.
Do not touch our dear friend, the sea turtle.
  • Sea Turtles: Green Sea Turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Believe it or not it is a felony to touch one. As tempting as it might be, resist the urge and admire from a distance. We’ve all gotten pretty good at social distancing – best to apply these practices to our sea turtle friends as well.

Best Time to Visit the Annaberg Plantation Ruins

annaberg plantation ruins st john virgin islands national park
Annaberg Plantation Ruins | Virgin Islands National Park

The best time to visit the Annaberg Plantation Ruins is in the morning at sunrise. The sun rises behind the sugar mill creating a beautiful photo opportunity as light sweeps across the hills and illuminates the waters of Waterlemon Cay with vibrant blues and greens. 


Where Are The Annaberg Plantation Ruins?

The Annaberg Plantation Ruins are located on the island of St. John in the Caribbean in the US Virgin Islands National Park. To get there, one must take the ferry from St. Thomas or boat over to St. John.


Map & Location

Getting to Annaberg Plantation Ruins is a 20 minute drive from Cruz Bay where the main island ferry lands. It is easily accessed from the parking lot via a paved path that is a few steps from the parking area.


Exploring the Annaberg Plantation Ruins

virgin islands national park sunrise annaberg plantation ruins
View from Annaberg Plantation Ruins at Sunrise | Virgin Islands National Park

The Annaberg Ruins complex is home to the most extensive ruins on the island of St. John. The complex includes a sugar mill, slave quarters, and more. Due to some damage sustained as a result of Hurricane Maria, visitors are not currently able to explore the Annaberg Sugar Mill.

Various interpretive signs lead the way and enhance the visitor experience, explaining the significance of each site. The Annaberg Ruins are suitable for every age group to explore.

For more things to do in Virgin Islands National Park visit our 12 BREATHTAKING Things To Do in Virgin Islands National Park post.


Annaberg Plantation Ruins Trail Information (Leinster Bay Trail)

virgin islands national park sunrise waterlemon cay, leinster bay trail
Sunrise from Leinster Bay Trail | Virgin Islands

Annaberg Plantation Ruins are easily accessed from the Annaberg parking lot via a short walk. Many visitors decide to continue across Waterlemon Bay via the Leinster Bay Trail to get a view of Waterlemon Cay with the ruins in the backdrop. For more info on that hike check out our Waterlemon Cay post.

Length: 1.9miles
Duration: 45mins – 60mins

This trail can be used to get to some wonderful snorkeling around Waterlemon Cay.


Best Photo Spots

The best spot to photograph The Annaberg Plantation Ruins is facing the sugar mill at sunrise to watch the sun rise behind the mill. There are many other great spots in the area including across Waterlemon Bay.


The Ruins After Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria had a devastating impact on the Caribbean islands, especially St. John, home to Virgin Islands National Park. Many of the photos of the park you’ll find feature locations that have been totally changed since the hurricane hit the island in 2017. 

With that being said, the Annaberg Plantation ruins are still very much in tact and stunningly beautiful – well worth the trip! Some damage was done to the ruins so make sure to stay off the marked sensitive areas.

*all of our photos of the park feature it in its current condition, post-2017 hurricane Maria damage


Annaberg Plantation Ruins Photos


More Great Spots Nearby

There are many amazing spots nearby including: Francis Bay, Trunk Bay, Maho Bay, America Hill Ruins, Cinnamon Bay, and Francis Bay.


Virgin Islands Video

We created a video featuring Annaberg Plantation Ruins along with many other stunning destinations from the park. If you’re planning to visit we recommend you take 3 minutes to give it a watch!

Virgin Islands National Park Video

Virgin Islands National Park Guide

We created a beautiful, comprehensive guide on Virgin Islands National Park chocked full of breathtaking photos, videos, tips, and tricks from our extensive time in the park.


More Virgin Islands National Park Locations


More From Virgin Islands National Park

Will Pattiz

Co-founder of More Than Just Parks. Husband. Conservationist. Currently living in NYC.

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