Cinnamon Bay Beach and Campground is NOW OPEN!

Cinnamon Bay Beach and Campground is NOW OPEN!

Good Morning All and a happy Monday to you! Last week, Teddy finally convinced me it was time for some dinghy driving practice. So, I bargained with him for Cinnamon Bay as the destination so that I could get out there to say hello and see the new updates for myself. All in all, it was a glorious day (I didn’t wreck the dinghy :)), but our time at cinnamon was the highlight. The changes, the energy, the staff at the newly re-opened campground really blew my socks off! It felt SO good to be out there again and see the place alive and thriving. Finally, nearly five years after Hurricane Irma ravaged the only campground in the VI National Park, the doors are open and the place has rebounded in a big way.

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The magnificent mural near the restaurant was painted by local artist, Bryan McKinney…What a neat photo op!!
As we walked down the beach to see people in line at the now operable bathrooms, my heart skipped a beat. This was the first beach I went to after Irma hit in 2017. In October of 2017, I remember looking out at the water with my back to the tangled trees, windswept water sports gear and broken restroom facilities that I had just two months prior used for a weekend getaway in an eco tent with my mom.
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A broken Cinnamon – Post Irma
I remember looking out at the sea with the destruction behind me and out of view and thinking, “Well, at least this feels a bit normal.” But, I had to turn around eventually, and the damage was still there. My favorite beach. My beloved campground. Destroyed. We eventually came to find out that the current management company would leave it that way. So, a little cleanup happened, but it pretty much stayed broken and boarded up for several years to come.
Until, in 2019, when Bloomberg News co-founder and St. John philanthropist and resident, Tom Secunda stepped in and purchased it under the name CinnOpCo. And now, after many bumps and some serious roadblocks on the two plus year path to re-opening, Cinnamon Bay Beach and Campground is once again inviting overnight guests to stay, dine and enjoy the beautiful, yet simple, waterfront accommodations and services. And, I’m confident when I say to you that Cinnamon Bay Campground is now back and better than ever.
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First, I want to say that in just looking at the names on the management roster, I can’t say that I’m surprised with the energy and excitement we were greeted with! On our walk from the beach to the restaurant, we paused for some pictures of the watersports rental facility and food truck. Both of which were closed by the time we arrived at 4:30.
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The food truck is across from the bathrooms at the main entrance to the beach. The watersports rental facility lies just beyond it.
But we were greeted enthusiastically by Ernest Matthias, a native St. Johnian and former deputy fire chief. Ernest, water sports manager, was pleased to see us there taking pictures and was ready with the sharing of information about the water sports rental shop (open 10AM-4PM daily), the food truck (Open for lunch from 10AM-3PM daily) and the campground facilities.
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Cinnamon Bay Watersports
He shared the pricing sheet with me for the 31 bare sites and 55 eco tent rentals, before we exchanged goodbyes and congratulations and made our way slowly up the freshly paved sidewalk towards the gift shop and restaurant.
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Overnight rate pricing sheet
Ernest mentioned to me that CiCi was working in the shop and I was so excited to meet her. She and I have been emailing for quite some time and she is the source of the updates I’ve been giving all of you. You can’t always gauge a person via email, but she was very helpful and friendly in her correspondence. Her real life presence is absolutely magical! She is a ball of positivity and energy and she is SO excited about bringing a REAL campground experience back to St. John. And, she and her husband, managing director Adrian Davis, should know best how to do just that. He ran the Maho Bay Camps up until they closed their doors in 2013 and Concordia up until Irma destroyed it in 2017. So, if ANYONE knows how to combine all of the best outdoor overnight environments on St. John into one colossal camping package, it’s this dream team!
CiCi excitedly walked through the store with me, rattling off the names and stories behind each of the products on the shelves, most of which tote a small business backstory and/or sustainability qualifier. They have rash guards and hats that are made from recycled plastic, the Mavuno Harvest fruit snacks lining the grocery shelves are sourced from family farms in Africa that help build self-sustainability in small villages, aluminum bottles of water are from a woman owned business, they try to work with local artisans and businesses as much as possible.
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Mavuno Harvest snacks are among the many tasty treats you will find on the shelves at the gift shop.
There are some seriously unique products in this seemingly normal “gift shop!” And, they have everything you will need on the grocery department to prepare a simple meal at your campsite.
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As CiCi and I walked from the gift store towards the restaurant, she excitedly told me about the murals and artwork around the property. They hope to incorporate more artistic surprises around the venue such as this lifelike iguana painted by local artist Bryan McKinney.
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And, the team at Cinnamon is dedicated to creating a big kid summer camp type of experience for their guests. They offer star gazing on Wednesday evenings and intend to add some fun art activities and storytelling events in the evenings. I am SO excited to see what they have planned for both their guests, off-site visitors and residents who are looking for an out-of-the-box activity during evenings on St. John.
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As we waited for Executive Chef, TJ Hindes to join us in the dining room for a quick hello, the campground’s General Manager, Adonis Morton came from behind the front desk to greet us. You may recognize this St. Johnian’s name if you have ever attended one of the New Year’s Eve parties at Dr!nk St. John or the Light up the Night fundraiser for the St. John Cancer Fund. The exuberant and multi-talented DJ Adonis is running the show in the campground with an incredible level of energy excitement for his new endeavor with CinnOpCo.
The Rain Tree Café coincides with the camping experience under the watchful eye of TJ who was the first Executive Chef at Cruz Bay Landing. He developed the original menu at the popular Cruz Bay eatery and that alone should tell you how fantastic you can expect your dining experience to be at the on site restaurant at Cinnamon. Seven nights a week, they offer a choice of meat, seafood or vegetarian entrée with a rotating option of side dishes and dessert. Easy, simple and eloquently executed.
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The dinner menu is posted each afternoon near the front desk. Next time you are at the beach, stop by to see what’s for dinner!
Breakfast is also served seven days a week with a different menu each day from 7:30AM-9:30AM.
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UM, YUM! Photo- Ian Samuel
Visitors and residents who are not staying at the property are welcome to come out and dine! But, if you are on the hunt for a margarita or martini at the bar, you won’t find it here. In keeping with a super family friendly environment, the property only serves beer, wine and hard seltzers as adult beverage options.
Oh, and speaking of the overnight options. The campsites are amazing! Teddy and I wandered down the freshly paved sidewalk that a few local deer had left their permanent signature on…Teddy exclaimed, “This is just AWESOME!” about every 45 seconds 🙂
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We saw, I think, seven little deer in our short time at the campground. One of them must have decided to leave their mark on the freshly poured concrete 🙂
The standard eco-tents are outfitted to sleep two in a queen sized bed and the “family” tents sleep up to four in a queen bed and bunk beds. A divider wall can be set up for some privacy between the beds and each of the tents has a ceiling fan, lighting, charging outlets, a locking storage box, cooking equipment and beautiful Adirondack chairs constructed by New Day Workshop, a local non-profit training residents in St. John centric skills.
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The tent sites are covered with an awning to keep out these early morning rays and afternoon showers and the platform underneath ensures a good night’s sleep without the occasional uninvited probe from a rock or root.
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The “cottages” are set to open in April and I will be sure to update you all on those expansions when they are finished and photo ready!
I’d say about eight out of every ten guests who come sailing with us ask me what my favorite beach is as we sail by and I speak enthusiastically about one stretch of sand and then the next, telling stories and giving tips and pointers for perfect beach days. For a long time, my answer would have been Cinnamon. I spent countless weekends playing volleyball there in my early years on St. John. It was like our playground. I knew the zig zagging trails like the back of my hand, which water refill station to use, which bathroom to divert to when there was a line, etc. So, seeing this place come back to life with such energy, community incorporation, a focus on the on-site guests with plenty of fun to be had….It is absolutely moving. It’s like our big kid summer camp has returned with hints of nostalgia, fine tuned and polished for the next generations to enjoy. And, I, for one, am SO excited to see how they grow this place.
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22 thoughts on “Cinnamon Bay Beach and Campground is NOW OPEN!”

  1. My husband and I discovered Cinnamon Bay 50 years ago when we were in our early 20s and camped there many times in the early years with friends and family. It was so hard to visit after Irma and see all the devastation, so this news warms my heart. Can’t wait to see one of the most beautiful beaches in the world when we’re on the rock this March. ❤️❤️❤️

    • What a great update. Cinnamon has always been our favorite too!
      So excited to see it again on our next visit in June. Thanks!

    • The watersports services will be run by Bill Cunningham, previously a dive/snorkel charter boat operator on STJ.

      Not sure on schedule, check the CBay website.

  2. We are so proud of Cici and Adrian Davis for their part in this exciting refurbishing. We look forward to seeing everyone in person.

  3. 1981 my first time to ST. JOHN we stayed @ Cinnamon Bay, Campsite #162
    ( the HONEYMOON site ) far east of most. It was $7.00 per day. Rich Meyer
    ( lime Inn ) was also staying there. I fell in love with the Island first & the great gal I was with second. STJ MY HEAVEN ON EARTH. ( how about organized CRAB RACES CRABMON TED??? ).

  4. This is our favorite beach and we are so pleased to see all of these wonderful amenities finally open! I agree that Cannel should be refurbished in the same manner!

  5. We camped with our kids and friends many times 30 years ago. We brought our tents and suitcases filled with food and stayed 2 weeks from PA. We also camped at Maho and we also stayed at cinnamon in an ecotent right before Irma with a week at Caneel. It too hard staying anywhere else after staying on the north shore! We are in our 60’s and would like to come back soon! would have appreciated some pictures of the bathhouses and dissappointed no pictures of the cottages yet. We ate lobster mac and cheese for a week. I still dream of it. When we were there June 2017 everything was perfect except for the hornets in the bathhouse. Thanks for all your hard work getting info about traveling to St.John.

  6. My Mom and I spent a week at the Maho camping tents back in the day, and it was pure magic. I prefer this to any big hotel. Hope Cinnamon Bay campground thrives and stays there forever.

    • Thanks to Mr. Secunda for giving the gift of affordable camping back to our islands. His generosity will create memories for a lifetime.

  7. Thanks for this great info on Cinny! My sister worked at Cinny & Caneel back in the 80’s! Our first visit to Love City was 1973 and we stayed at Cinnamon Bay! It was pitch black driving there in Miss Lucy’s taxi and wow waking up there that first morning was amazing! Booked 2 stays at Cinnamon! Can’t wait!

  8. I’m so happy to read all the positive stuff! We first camped at CBC in March, 2009 on site 25. It became our favorite spot. We returned every year for two weeks and have missed it terribly. After Irmaria we wanted to return to help support the recovering economy and found a terrific one bedroom apartment not far from the Dolphin. We’re now in our 70s and headed back for a week in an Eco tent before taxiing to our Cruz Bay spot. The evening social life has always been one of the best aspects. A little disappointing that the bar won’t be doing painkillers, but I respect that decision. We’re so grateful for the return of Cinnamon Bay Campground. Long may it thrive!

  9. Thanks for the informative and enthusiastic review of our favorite place in the world. As residents of St. Croix, Cinnamon has been our go-to getaway since 1976. Our two daughters grew up celebrating birthdays there, and have shared it with their own kids many times. Would like to see an overall map like they used to have, showing tent/number and bath locations. Do keep us posted!

  10. We visited Cinnnamon Bay, our favorite beach, in 2018 and were so saddened by the devastation we saw. Went again last spring and were encouraged by the work going on at that time. This news is fantastic! Can’t wait to visit again.

    Wouldn’t this be a great way to develop and renew Caneel Bay as part of a mixed accommodation complex? There is enough space for public access beach days, Gallows Point-style resort units and campgrounds with everything from bare sites to “Glamping”. Lots of employment opportunities, too.

  11. We have been eagerly awaiting the re-opening of the campground and already have our reservations for December 2022. YEAH!!!!!

    Anne Mahaney

  12. We first started staying at Cinnamon Bay in 2003. Our last time we camped at Cinnamon was August 2017 in cottage #10 right before the devastating hurricane. It has always been our favorite place in the Caribbean. We are so excited to return to Cinnamon Bay. Thanks for the great information on their process.

  13. A Big ‘hallelujah!’ and ‘Thank You!’ to everyone involved including the Bloomberg investment group Cinnopco for getting the ball rolling. It seems to take a philanthropic spirit and people who have experienced this ‘island in the sun’ to keep the dream of a paradise on earth a reality dating all the way back to the Rockefeller’s. My wife and I fell in love with this National Park campground years ago and are members of ‘Friends of Virgin Islands National Park’ . We spent our last vacation there by helping to clean up from the hurricane. We have been married 42 years and can’t wait to re-live our vacation on our ‘island-in-the-sun’!

  14. I heard that the bare sites are now all very close to each other. Last time
    We camped there ten years ago we had lots of privacy and shrubbery between us and the next tent.

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