Synonymous with glorious white sand beaches and a salubrious subtropical climate, the U.S Virgin Islands are the pinnacle of Caribbean splendor. A collection of approximately 90 beautiful islands and cays located in the Eastern Caribbean, the U.S Virgin Islands are just 1,100 miles from the shore of Miami meaning they are the perfect place for a Caribbean getaway. Amongst the 90 islands found in this archipelago, St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas are the three main islands and each one is an enclave of heaven. No matter what your priorities are, whether you want to spend a relaxing day by the beach or embark on a fascinating scuba-diving adventure, these islands have something for you. Pack your beach towel and your sunscreen as we descend upon the delights of the Caribbean with the top 12 things to do in the U.S Virgin Islands.
Buck Island Reef National Monument
Described as one of the ‘finest marine gardens in the Caribbean Sea’, Buck Island Reef National Monument is found 1.5 miles off the northeast coast of St. Croix and was established in 1961. The 176-acre island plays an important role in supporting a delicate ecosystem with a wondrous coral reef supporting a wide variety of plants and animals that are unique to the area. Some of the scuba diving that can be found here is amongst the best in the Caribbean. The coral barrier reef that surrounds two-thirds of the island has extraordinary coral formations, deep grottoes, abundant reef fishes, sea fans, and gorgonians which will make you feel like you’ve entered a different realm.
Quintessentially Caribbean, the beaches at Trunk Bay are some of the finest in the region. When daydreaming of a tropical paradise, it’s Trunk Bay that you’re thinking of. Nowhere else can you find water that is so iridescent, or beaches that are quite as luxurious than at Trunk Bay. Located on the island of St. Johns, the beaches here are simply breathtaking and are deservedly one of the most photographed in the entire archipelago. The opportunity to go snorkeling can also be enjoyed at Trunks Bay, with a snorkeling trail of reef and fish being a fine experience.
Another superb beach. Magens Bay, on the island of St. Thomas, has become increasingly popular in recent years and is seen as a potential challenger to Trunk Bay as the greatest beach in the Virgin Islands. Spend your day lazing on the beach or make the most of the ample snorkeling opportunities that are found here. Visitors are advised to arrive at the beach early as the area is prone and somewhat notorious for becoming overloaded with tourists.
Not being content with some of the most fantastic beaches and corals in the world, the United States Virgin Islands also has a fascinating history. Sitting in the harbor mouth of St. Thomas, Hassel Island tells the story of the rich and captivating past of the U.S Virgin Islands. From piracy to colonialism, visitors can take a look at the many unique historical sites that can be found amongst the beaches and palm trees of the Virgin Islands.
Christiansted National Historic Site
The Christiansted National Historic Site includes several structures that still survive since they were initially constructed. Perhaps the most impressive of the sites is Fort Christiansvaern. The fort was built in 1749 by the Danish settlers and was designed with the purpose of protecting the inhabitants of the island from the dangers of pirate attacks, hurricanes and slave revolts.
Cinnamon Bay is a mile long and is considered one of the best beaches on St. Johns. The beach has a campground where you can camp on the beach overnight and wake up with the sea breeze in your hair. Adrenaline junkies are catered for as well. Located on the beach is a Water Sports Center that rents sailboats, windsurf boards, stand-up paddleboards and sea kayaks.
Cruzan Rum Distillery
Cruzan Rum has been brewed on the island of St. Croix since the early 1800s and has become an integral part of the island’s history. Take a tour of the factory to find out how the islands’ popular beverage is made. You will see the very rooms and smell the very aromas that have encompassed the long history of rum production on the islands. Anyone with a burning desire for the taste of Caribbean rum is in luck, as free samples are included most tours.
This secluded beach is well worth the effort it takes to reach. Accessible only by a 20 journey through the scrub, this beautiful stretch of the sand is preserved by The Nature Conservancy and like most beaches in this region, the snorkeling here is excellent.
The most infamous pirate of them all was rumored to have made an antiquated Danish Fort his base to prey on those ships unfortunate enough to catch his fancy to be his next victim of plundering. Whether or not Blackbeard actually used this fort is the source of historical debate, but the fort is still well worth a visit.
Coral World Ocean Park
Brimming with a concoction of different sea life, the Coral World Ocean Park can be found on the eastern shore of St. Thomas. Visitors can get a close look at many fascinating creatures which include the Stingray Lagoon and the Shark Shallows, two of the Caribbean’s most revered pieces of marine life.
Just So You Know:
- The U.S Virgin Islands are the only US territory that drives on the left-hand side of the road.
- Point Udall in St Croix is the easternmost point of the United States.
- The US Virgin Islands are the only US territory to have coasts on both the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
- Approximately 75 percent of the inhabitants of the US Virgin Islands are descendants of African ancestors.
- Go play golf at Mahogany Run Golf Course. The course itself is nestled between the picturesque hills and breathtaking shorelines of St. Thomas and if you’re not really a fan of golf, the views available here more than make up for it.
Get Some Culture:
- Visit the Estate Whim Plantation Museum and learn all about the history of sugarcane production. The sugar industry was once the dominant industry in the Caribbean and a visit to this 12-acre former plantation on St. Croix offers visitors a unique look at how the sugarcane industry worked, and the impact it had upon the region and its inhabitants.
Grab A Bite:
- Cafe Fresco – Offers the very best in local cuisine at a reasonable price.
- Polly’s at the Pier – Great breakfast and a warm and friendly atmosphere.