Maho Bay: Quick Update & Pics

The Maho Bay overlook

The Maho Bay overlook

Maho Bay holds a near and dear place in my heart, and I know many of you feel the same. I’ve spent two incredible days with tour guests at Maho this week, and I thought I would share my latest thoughts with all of you.

Maho Bay is sad and beautiful all in one. I have taken two groups of first time visitors to Maho this week, and both remarked how stunning it is. It’s interesting because many of us just see sadness and destruction as we come around that first curve. That sadness and destruction, however, quickly transforms into sheer beauty as you drive further down the road. But people who did not know Maho before only see the sheer beauty. It’s interesting and encouraging.

I’ve also taken repeat island visitors to Maho this month. While they admitted that seeing the downed trees across the street and the lack of seagrapes and palms lining the beach made them sad, all still agreed that the beach itself and the bay remains beautiful. That gives me hope.

Now for those of you who would like to make your own decision, here are several pics. All have been taken this week.

The restroom at the western edge of the beach is the only structure that survived Irma Both restrooms are open.

The restroom at the western edge of the beach is the only structure that survived Irma Both restrooms are open.

The view from the restroom area

The view from the restroom area

The view from the western edge of the beach. This is the area where the pavilion and building once stood.

The view from the western edge of the beach. This is the area where the pavilion and building once stood.

At least 10 palm trees were planted over the past week. This was done by residents.

At least 10 palm trees were planted over the past week. This was done by residents.

A baby palm at Maho Bay

A baby palm at Maho Bay

Street view looking toward Cruz Bay

Street view looking toward Cruz Bay

Street view looking toward the eastern edge of the beach

Street view looking toward the eastern edge of the beach

The road in the center of the beach is still washed out. The National Park has not said whether the road will be fixed or pushed back to prevent damage in a future storm.

The road in the center of the beach is still washed out. The National Park has not said whether the road will be fixed or pushed back to prevent damage in a future storm.

A regrading project is underway in the larger parking lot on the eastern side of the beach.

A regrading project is underway in the larger parking lot on the eastern side of the beach.

We've had a very talented sandcastle-maker on island recently. :)

We’ve had a very talented sandcastle-maker on island recently. :)

Maho Bay

Maho Bay

So I’m curious… what do you all think? Leave your comments below or over on our Facebook page.

40 comments for “Maho Bay: Quick Update & Pics

  1. Jerry Pettit
    February 23, 2018 at 10:37 am

    We will be returning in just a few weeks. Maho Bay is our favorite beach. We’re bring a grandson with for his 1st visit to his father’s favorite place.

  2. Charlene Smith
    February 23, 2018 at 10:58 am

    It is a little sad, but the water is always beautiful. We just hope we can find parking. It has always been my favorite. Has the ocean bottom changed? It is always easy to get in and out of the water there. Some beaches have a ridge that you have to step up to get out. We know there will be lots of changes. We are coming anyway. This is probably ou 21st time. We love everything about it. Last yr we painted at Maho w/ Livy. Glad we did, might have to do it again w/ the baby trees. Will be there next wk.

    • PA Girl
      February 23, 2018 at 6:56 pm

      Maho still has a nice stable bottom as of two weeks ago :)

  3. February 23, 2018 at 11:08 am

    Love Maho, both big and little! Definitely miss the trees and it is a shock to see this but truly, the beauty of all that blue with the comforting warm sand and the light, it just over-rides the devastation. Mother Nature knows how to recover… “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished” – Lao Tzu

    • Capt. Morgan
      February 23, 2018 at 9:46 pm

      You don’t have to accept the devastation or wait 50 years for baby trees to grow. You can import large palm trees and other trees from Florida. Not so expensive and you can restore the landscape in a week. They do this in the northeast of the us every spring in places where palms and other tropical plants cannot survive. Come February it’s a landscape of death and devastation. But one week in April the big live pals are delivered and in a few days you have a tropical jungle. They need to do that in Sumter John now.

  4. Lynn Viselli
    February 23, 2018 at 11:14 am

    We snorkeled at Maho last week and saw 4 large turtles. This was our first visit and were saddened by the destruction we saw, but the beauty outweighs the destruction. Maho is one of the gems of St. John.

  5. Sandy
    February 23, 2018 at 11:16 am

    Maho has always been our favorite and we will be back in December for our 23rd trip. A huge thank you to the residents who planted the palms so that Maho can start finding her new beautiful. I think it a beauty that can never be destroyed, just changed a bit.

  6. Barbie
    February 23, 2018 at 11:49 am

    We are on St John right now and have been to Maho twice and it has been great. Not very much vegetation to hide under, but dozens of turtles to visit while snorkeling. The parking is a challenge without the parking lot. Sending this post from Waterlemon.
    Any one who is on the fence about coming down should get off the fence and just come down.

    • Jill
      February 25, 2018 at 11:31 pm

      What does Waterlemon look like now? Did the reef survive?

  7. Burt&Sue Harbison
    February 23, 2018 at 11:58 am

    We’ll be there in 2 weeks and are looking forward to our tour with you, Jenn. Maho is a favorite, as is snorkeling around the point into Little Maho.
    Burt & Sue

    • News of St. John
      News of St. John
      February 23, 2018 at 5:39 pm

      I look forward to meeting you both!!

  8. Pam Kanz
    February 23, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    We visited Maho twice this last week. At first sight Maho brought on some tears. Then we found a nice bit of shade and enjoyed the beautiful blue water and soft sand. The turtles are still there!

  9. Kathy
    February 23, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    Oh…firstly a big THANK YOU for posting these pictures and update on the status! Maho holds a very special place in my heart as well. My husband and I just celebrated 5 years of wedded bliss on Dec. 28, but instead of honeymooning then…we decided to wait until March. We spent a week at Maho…at that time the camp was there, but we stayed in a cute little villa all the way at the top. Yes….those steps almost did me in!
    We instantly fell in love with Maho, as well as the rest of St. John. So, when the storm came, we were devastated. We watched social media and cried.
    We know the island will be beautiful again. Much love to you and the people of St. John. Peace.

  10. Melissa Puppa
    February 23, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    We were there on charter in December. The water was super murky for whatever reason. It made us sad to see the trees all gone.The east end of Maho is the only beach we usually go to because the water is so calm and it’s not packed with people. We are returning next month with our 8 year old for spring break. We are hopeful that we can spend the week at Maho- fingers crossed! We may take a peek at Francis just around the corner for a change. It’s hard to change when perfection has already been found.

  11. Linda
    February 23, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    When we first came to Maho, all cars parked on the beach side and you could always get a parking spot. Times change but Maho is the beach I don’t want to waste time before getting in that beautiful water to greet the turtles! Leave the fins on the beach and go for it. We always snorkel to Little Maho and back – spending almost an hour in water, before finally getting some beach time. This year we will bring a couple of small beach umbrellas to supplement the shade. See you all in May!

  12. Marc E
    February 23, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    My wife and I love this beach one of our favorite beaches on St. John…We look forward to getting back there soon… Keep posting updates I really like to see how things are progressing.

  13. Ernie Oxendine
    February 23, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Every time I’ve gone to Maho I can never get a parking spot.

  14. Alex A
    February 23, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    Looks great now. I’ve been there 30+ times and liked the greenery it had before better, but it’s a great,beautiful roadside beach right now. Looks like a great spot to hang out under an umbrella for the day.

  15. Stephanie Moorehead
    February 23, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    I have always thought St. John should ban cars and trucks on island except for delivery of building materials and in cases of emergency. There would be no parking issues if everyone had golf carts and scooters. It would also add to the charm of the place. I also think the island should bring in some wild horses that people could ride bareback at their own risk. Preferably Palominos and black stallions.

  16. Jack Johnson
    February 23, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    Mother nature changes up beaches, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. We see this in New England. Yes, Maho and Francis are quite different that this time last year. However, the sea life is still there, turtles, rays, fish. We are coming back down in June for about our 25th visit. We want to support the local economy and help it get built back up. Lack of shade can be dealt with. As Jenn said in an earlier post this week–ITS TIME TO COME BACK!

  17. eduardo
    February 23, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    My heart sinks.
    Hopefully the NP decides to plant larger palm trees (see the soggy dollar cam) but I will miss the shade of the sea grapes most of all.

    • Capt. Morgan
      February 24, 2018 at 12:03 pm

      Not just palm trees. You can import a variety of tropical vegetation that does well in St. John’s climate. Tall and strong trees, ready to go. Not just to benefit tourists and businesses but to help local wildlife recover and thrive.

  18. Johnny Foosball
    February 23, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    Am I the only one who sees the lack o beach trees as a good thing? The beach now appears much larger.

    • Sharon
      February 23, 2018 at 9:04 pm

      It’s awful for me. I’m very fair skinned and the shelter of trees running so close to the water is the number 1 thing than made St. John perfect for me year after year. No need to haul umbrellas.

  19. Steven Palmer
    February 23, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    It’s good to see the young palm trees. If you check out the webcam at the Soggy Dollar Bar you’ll notice that they’ve planted at least two 15′ (+/-) coconut palms. I don’t know how many others are located outside the field of view. I think most or all of the originals had fallen.

  20. Skip Benvie
    February 23, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    Does anyone use the goat trail anymore? it used to be a legal right of way but no longer appears as one on MapGeo GIS ( I am a former GM at Maho Bay Camps and will be visiting again next winter and would like to go up the goat trail and maybe sneak into my old stomping grounds. I was there for Hugo, Marilyn and others but they were a stiff breeze compared to what you’ve been through. thanks for keeping us updated!

    • Sharon
      February 23, 2018 at 9:02 pm

      Whatever happened to the camp’s property after it was sold? I sneaked over a couple years ago and it looked like nothing had been done there since it closed. Ghostly.

  21. PA Girl
    February 23, 2018 at 7:05 pm

    We spent two days at Maho during our recent trip. Day one, parking was a challenge, it was full. Day two, we easily found a spot. We saw plenty of turtles and few other interesting things.

    The scene across the road is jarring, it’s like looking at another planet. We were able to find some shade but the beach is really bare. The first day we had enough random cloud cover to provide relief, the second day we set up under a small tree.

    Jenn – is your Jeep bright blue with larger tires? I think we met a group of four (two electricians working on STT and their ladies visiting mainland) and they were having FUN!

  22. Sharon
    February 23, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    I’m so touched by the baby palms planted! Thank you for sharing. I have heard up until now that there is nowhere for visitors to stay. I’d be happy to come spend some tourist dollars if you have recommended places that are open to overnight guests.

    • Tracy
      February 27, 2018 at 5:46 am


      There are many, many places open for visitors to stay. From private homes to cottages to condos. Read through some of Jenn’s previous posts.

  23. Hee Haw
    February 24, 2018 at 12:37 am

    The donkeys will have an open Buffett on those tiny palm trees.

  24. Smoky Bear
    February 24, 2018 at 12:43 am

    Residents planting trees on national park land without permission?
    And this illegal behavior is being applauded?

    • News of St. John
      News of St. John
      February 24, 2018 at 10:17 am

      It is.

    • Mike Patton
      February 25, 2018 at 8:53 pm

      We visited the north and south shores extensively over the past two weeks. There were coconuts washing up on all the beaches …. It’s just a matter of time before some start on their own. Why not help it out a bit?

      • News of St. John
        News of St. John
        February 25, 2018 at 10:19 pm

        Agreed. :)

  25. j ritter
    February 24, 2018 at 10:52 am

    Hi Jenn,

    I wonder about Caneel Bay ‘s beautiful beaches – 7 of them, total.

    In more recent years, one could use Caneel’s beaches even when not staying in a room at Caneel Bay. I am not speaking only of Honeymoon Beach, but of Caneel Beach which was their main beach, , Little Caneel, etc. Most of the property is on national park land. I assume the entire property is not accessible yet , not even their beaches.

    Will this situation change in the foreseeable future? The situation at Caneel seems to be a mystery.


  26. Nanci
    February 24, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    Hi Jenn. Thank you so much for all the updates and information especially since September. Know that so many follow and cling to your posts for information. I am currently on island and am wondering if any of the Caneel Bay beaches are accessible. Am thinking that we can hike to Honeymoon. So so sad to see Caneel devastated. So no access to Caneel beaches until resort is up and running? Thanks!

  27. Jodi
    February 25, 2018 at 11:06 am

    We just left St John and went to Maho 3 times. We are frequent visitors to the island and on Day #1 my heart just sank at the devastation of the vegetation. However, then we got settled on the beach and got into the water. Amen! Mother Nature certainly took it toll on the flora & fauna but she allowed the water turtles & rays to remain. You CAN see forward progress and we were amazed at how hard people are working and were positive and thankful to have us return. Thanks for all of your updates!

  28. Margy Taylor
    March 2, 2018 at 9:31 am

    Maho has always been my favorite.

  29. September 4, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    Thank you for all these postings. We are going to SJ in December and it’s nice to read up on all the comments. This will be my 9th visit to USVI and BVI (at Bitter End Yacht Club which was totaled too). Looking forward.

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