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:
About Annaberg Plantation Ruins, St. John
- Annaberg Plantation Ruins Hike Tips & Things to Know
- Annaberg Plantation Trail Information (Leinster Bay Trail)
- Best time to visit Annaberg Plantation Ruins
- Getting to Annaberg Plantation Ruins
- Exploring the Annaberg Plantation Ruins
- Annaberg Plantation Ruins post-hurricane Maria
- Photos of Annaberg Plantation Ruins
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.
- SNORKEL GEAR: There is an actual underwater trail in Virgin Islands National Park – how cool is that? In order to best experience it along with so many other amazing underwater spots, you need snorkel gear! This is the inexpensive set we used. We also liked this cool American Flag swimming cap
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.
Where to Stay US Virgin Islands
Visiting Virgin Islands National Park? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on visiting Virgin Islands National Park for tips. Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite place to stay on St John.
Due to the long term closure of Caneel Bay (the only resort in the park destroyed by the 2017 hurricanes) and the ensuing battle with the park service over the future management of the property, the closest hotels & resorts are back in Cruz Bay.
Best Time to Visit the Annaberg Plantation Ruins
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
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)
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.
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
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 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.