Itineraries for Your Trip to St John's

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3 Days in St. John’s for First Timers

Curated by Lydia SchrandtLydia Schrandt is a writer, editor, and award-winning photographer currently based in Houston. She’s a contributor for USA TODAY 10Best and serves as the first chair of the Editors Council of the Society of American Travel Writers. Her work has appeared in Draft, Time Out Beijing, Travel+, USA TODAY, San Francisco Chronicle, and others.

With St. John’s as your base of exploration and three days to spend, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy all the appealing features of Antigua, from its snow-white-sand beaches to its UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here are some tips for how to spend your three days in the Antiguan capital.

Day 1

Kick off your time in Antigua with an introduction to its history and culture. Start with a morning tour of St. John’s, the capital city, where you’ll get to visit a local market and do some shopping at Heritage Quay. After lunch, head out for a tour around the island to some of Antigua’s most important historical sites and scenic lookouts. Explore Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, originally a base for the British Navy and a UNESCO World Heritage Site; snap some photos of the natural rock formation Devil’s Bridge; take in the views from scenic Shirley Heights; and see the ruins of Betty’s Hope, a 17th-century sugar plantation. End your day at one of Antigua’s many beach bars to dig your toes in the sand as you watch the sun dip below the sea, rummy cocktail in hand. 

Day 2

Start your second day in St. John’s getting to know a lesser-visited part of the island: its leafy interior. The best way to explore this tropical rain forest is by soaring through the canopy on a series of ziplines, suspension bridges, and rope challenges. After a morning of activity, this afternoon’s your chance to cool off in the Caribbean waters that make Antigua such an appealing destination. Head to your favorite beach for some sunning and swimming, or, if you prefer a more active experience, opt for an afternoon of kayaking, snorkeling, or stand-up paddleboarding. Finish your day of adventure with a sunset sail along the island’s coast, complete with drinks, appetizers, and soft music.

Day 3

Board a catamaran for a day of swimming and snorkeling at some of the island’s most pristine spots, or opt for a high-speed journey aboard an offshore racing boat as you zip through the islands of the North Sound with time to snorkel at Stingray City and swim at Green Island. Most round-island sailing trips include lunch onboard and an open bar, so all you have to bring is a towel and some sunscreen. Once you’re back on solid ground, head to a local restaurant for a taste of the Caribbean: lobster, conch,fungee (cornmeal and okra dumplings), or pepperpot (a hearty vegetable stew).

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