Why We Love Caneel Bay In The U.S. Virgin Islands

15 Reasons to start packing your bags for a Caneel Bay vacation

Caneel Bay is one-part luxury, one-part nature, one-part culinary heaven and all parts immersive. Here, life is simple, accented by to-die-for meals and the occasional roaming donkey. (Yes, donkeys.) Here are 15 more reasons to start packing your bags.

15 Reasons to Vacation at Caneel Bay in the USVI | US Virgin Islands Resort | Scott Beach
It's no wonder nature takes top billing here ... this is my "backyard" for the next few days. | Caneel Bay Resort
15 Reasons to Vacation at Caneel Bay in the USVI | US Virgin Islands Resort | Underwater
Snorkeling gear is complimentary — and you're going to need it. All seven (!!!) beaches of Caneel Bay boast their own underwater world, from sea-turtle meccas to fish-filled reefs. I even hovered over a spotted eagle ray. My advice? Book for a week to spend a day at each one. | Caneel Bay Resort
15 Reasons to Vacation at Caneel Bay in the USVI | US Virgin Islands Resort | Zozo's Restaurant
Here, sugar-mill ruins are as prolific as palm trees, so I wasn't surprised to find one on site at Caneel Bay. What surprised me was what lurked inside: ZoZo's at the Sugar Mill, the flagship fine-dining go-to on St. John. And I can fully attest to its reputation — ruins or not, there was nothing ruined about the pistachio-crusted mahimahi with grilled polenta and sweet bell-pepper chutney that had me almost licking my plate. | Caneel Bay Resort
15 Reasons to Vacation at Caneel Bay in the USVI | US Virgin Islands Resort | Josephines
I had to ask: Why does everything taste so fresh? Turns out the secret to Caneel's distinctive dinners at all the restaurants — ZoZo's, Caneel Beach Bar & Grill and Turtle Bay Estate House (chef Anthony has perfected the art of simple yet creative pairings) — gets delivered every morning. Locally owned Josphine's Greens has been the prime source for farm-fresh, organic greens for nearly 20 years. | Betsy Andrews
15 Reasons to Vacation at Caneel Bay in the USVI | US Virgin Islands Resort | Paddleboard
Those hearty meals every night meant I had to paddle board every day (rough life, I know). | Caneel Bay Resort
15 Reasons to Vacation at Caneel Bay in the USVI | US Virgin Islands Resort | Reef Bay Hike
A hike on the Reef Bay Trail burns calories too — once I made it to the Reef Bay Sugar Mill Ruins, my mind had already drifted back to lunch at the Caneel Bay resort. (The food really is that good, OK?) | Caneel Bay Resort
15 Reasons to Vacation at Caneel Bay in the USVI | US Virgin Islands Resort | Sushi
Finally! Lunch time. Chef Kim's killer sushi at the Beach Bar & Grill made me pause and question whether I was at a swanky sushi restaurant in Manhattan. The beach view in front of me quickly squashed that theory. | Betsy Andrews
15 Reasons to Vacation at Caneel Bay in the USVI | US Virgin Islands Resort | Beach
Stuffed with sushi, I was glad to have this private bay (my backyard) all to myself. Which I did — until I spotted a baby deer gingerly maneuvering across the shifting sand. I suppose I can share this piece of paradise today. | Betsy Andrews
15 Reasons to Vacation at Caneel Bay in the USVI | US Virgin Islands Resort | Deer
I mean, how could I say no to this Disney-worthy face? | Betsy Andrews
15 Reasons to Vacation at Caneel Bay in the USVI | US Virgin Islands Resort | Donkey
Or this face, for that matter. After some time in the sun, I thought I was hallucinating when I saw a long-eared shadow pass by my beach chair. But turns out, the famous donkeys of Caneel Bay are a common sight, along with the deer. They roam freely througout the resort and often pose alongside wedding ceremonies — or for selfies. (Might be guilty of that one.) | Betsy Andrews
15 Reasons to Vacation at Caneel Bay in the USVI | US Virgin Islands Resort | Rum
Deer, donkeys and now pina coladas? Caneel Bay Resort specializes in beach days that I'll never forget — albeit they may be hard to remember after a few of these. | Betsy Andrews
15 Reasons to Vacation at Caneel Bay in the USVI | US Virgin Islands Resort | Rainbow
Most of the time, rain has me reaching for an umbrella. Here, I was just reaching for my camera. | Betsy Andrews
15 Reasons to Vacation at Caneel Bay in the USVI | US Virgin Islands Resort | Breakfast
One of my favorite details was the hand-delivered breakfast ... in a picnic basket. Being here is "glamping" at its finest. | Betsy Andrews
15 Reasons to Vacation at Caneel Bay in the USVI | US Virgin Islands Resort | Snorkeling
Not wanting to miss any time underwater, I forgo an extra hour of sleep in my Caneel Bay beach bungalow for a before-breakfast swim with the sea turtles (a sighting is pretty much guaranteed). Even better? They're not shy at all — I even scored an accidental high-five. Breakfast — picnic basket or not — can wait. | Betsy Andrews

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