Dive Into the U.S. Virgin Islands
If you're interested in outdoor adventure, you'll want to head to St. John. Although it's the smallest of the three islands, it's jampacked with exciting nature activities. You see, more than half of the island is a protected national park, so you'll get your fair share of nature reserves. If that's not really your thing, check out St. Thomas instead. It's very cosmopolitan and is constantly bustling with tourist activity. This is the place to go if you’re looking for nice hotels, yummy restaurants and fantastic shopping. Last, but not least, you've got St. Croix, the largest island and the most difficult to characterize—it’s something like a rich mix of historical sites and outdoor activity. Plenty of old forts and plantations are here to please the history buff, but you've also got the great outdoors to explore with great beaches and outdoor parks. Whether you want an exciting nature adventure or a peaceful, secluded vacation, you can do it all and see it all right on these three islands.
Things to Do in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Drink Up at Cruzan Rum Factory
Some say that the famous U.S. Virgin Islands rum is the best in the world. But, don't believe anything until you try it for yourself. With that said, you've got no other choice than to visit the Cruzan Rum Factory. Once you arrive there, you'll take a guided tour of the grounds. During this tour, you'll get to witness firsthand just how this delicious drink is made. On a side note, you'll absolutely love seeing the factory’s quaint, old windmill! Best of all, when the tour wraps up, you get a complimentary mixed drink. You might also want to stock up on several bottles to give to your friends as souvenirs, but we promise not to tell if you decide to keep them for yourself.
Feel Like Royalty on King Street
Stroll along the streets of Christiansted – luckily, most of them run at right angles to the waterfront, so unless you're just really bad with directions, you won't get lost. However you might get a little distracted on King’s Street. It's the town’s main commercial area, so you know what that means: great shopping. Take an afternoon to walk through here and pick up locally-made souvenirs. If you don’t have extra money to spend, just stroll through the streets and admire the quaint cobblestone sidewalks and stone buildings painted in an array of colorful pastel shades.
Night at the Ecological Museum
Ever heard of a living museum? We don’t mean exhibits that come to life at night although that would be pretty cool, too! No, we're talking about prehistoric archeological sites and colonial ruins left completely untouched in the wild! This amazing place in the U.S. Virgin Islands is called the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve. You'll have to see it to believe it. The estuaries, coral reefs and submarine canyons that you'll see here were once home to several periods of human life. As you explore the tropical surroundings, you can actually see evidence of where these previous humans used to live. Not only that, but this eco-reserve also encompasses the largest remaining mangrove forest in the U.S. Virgin Islands. A visit to the Salt River Bay is like a fascinating history book that you can experience yourself.
Dive into Action at Divi Beach
You won't feel like you've had a real Caribbean vacation without at least one visit to a spectacular beach. Our pick in St. Croix? Divi Beach. Don't get us wrong now - there are several beaches to explore on St. Croix, but Divi Beach is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser. Just drive out to the fork on Route 82 and hang a right to head to the direction of Divi Carina Resort Hotel. Once you arrive, you'll enjoy easy access to watersport equipment for rent, plus miles of white sand. Not only that, but the hotel nearby has a bar, restaurant, and even a casino. This is the beach that has it all!
Roll Through the Rain Forest
True confession: this site isn't technically a real rainforest, but these grounds are definitely worth a visit. The locals themselves gave this area the name ‘Rain Forest,’ but it's really more of a very dense, 15-acre forest of exotic trees. If you're brave enough to hike through the rainforest, you'll see everything from kapok trees, turpentine trees, fruit trees, ferns and other types of lush vegetation. You can take your pick from several scenic hiking trails here, so grab your camera, strap on your hiking boots and get to it.
Things to Do in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
Escape the Crowds at Maho Bay
Maho is one of the few beaches in the U.S. Virgin Islands that you can literally drive right onto. Just pull up under a Maho tree, and there you are! It’s located right on the side of the road, so there are no signs to follow nor parking lots to navigate – nothing but the beach and groves of coconut palms waiting for you. It’s the casual vibe of this beach that makes it such a gem. Plus, Maho Bay has calm waters that are relatively shallow. The water deepens very gradually, so it’s perfect for kids and not-so-seasoned swimmers!
The Trail at Trunk Bay
Follow along this trail–not a hiking trail–but an underwater trail! That's exactly what you'll find at Trunk Bay. Once you arrive, you'll have to snorkel its underwater snorkeling trail that'll take you along a path of scenic coral and flashy fish. It’s even got underwater signs that explain the species of coral and types of fish you might spot. However, if you’d rather stay dry, Trunk Bay is also known as one of the most popular beaches on St. John. It has powdery, white sand and calm, clear waters–basically everything you want in a great beach. So whether you want to have a snorkel adventure or just enjoy the views from the sand, Trunk Bay’s got you covered.
Hike the Reef Bay Trail & See Petroglyphs
Not sure what a petroglyph is? Not to worry. You can find out all about petroglyphs on this popular trek. St. John has been home to almost every period of human life, and you can see evidence of that when you take this easy hike. Follow the trail through the National Park, and you'll get to marvel at remains of four sugar estates from a few hundred years ago. You'll also get to see rock carvings from well over a thousand years ago! The bay’s natural history, along with prehistoric remains and colonial-era ruins tell a fascinating story you can experience yourself.
Explore Annaberg Sugar Plantation
Wander through the ruins of an old plantation where you can see remains of a rum and sugar factory, former slave quarters and an old windmill. You’ll be taken back in time as you walk through the remains and see the hard labor equipment of the 18th century slave force. If you're not sure what you're seeing, don't worry. There'll be lots of placards and signs placed along the trails that will tell you all about how sugar and rum were once produced here. A visit here will give you some great photo ops too. Best of all, you'll be learning all about plantation life on St. John and the history behind it without ever cracking open a book!
Snorkel a Small Airplane at Little Cinnamon Bay
One minute in the calm, clear waters at Little Cinnamon Bay, and you'll know why it's known as a top snorkeling spot. Once you dive in, you'll be treated to schools of colorful fish and crystal-clear water. Even better, those in-the-know claim snorkelers like to snorkel here to see a little piece of history. If you can find it, you can snorkel what’s left of a small airplane resting just below the surface of Little Cinnamon Bay. Strap on your fins and see if you can find it yourself!
Things to Do in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Caneel Bay, St. John Kayak, Hike & Snorkel w/ Lunch
Enjoy a full day of fun exploring beautiful Caneel Bay in the heart of the beautiful Virgin Islands National Park on St. John. Kayak over turquoise waters, explore palm fringed beaches, hike, snorkel and enjoy a picnic lunch from a local deli. Expert guides will help you explore and enjoy this important UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Honeymoon Beach All Day Inclusive Fun Pass
This pass gives you the best of both worlds when visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands. For ultimate relaxation, float in the water on a luxuriously thick float or lie in a hammock under a shady palm tree. When you're ready for some action, snorkel the two colorful reefs at each end of the beach with your own mask, snorkel, fins & life jacket. Or, paddle around the bay on single & double kayaks and try the new rage - standup paddleboards that strengthen your core muscles. You can do just about anything you want with this pass to a tropical palm-fringed paradise!
Full Day Fun Kayak, Hike & Snorkel w/ Lunch
This is your chance to experience breathtaking scenic views of the mangrove lagoon surrounding the southernmost tip of St. Thomas. From this tranquil setting, enjoy a 10-minute paddle through romantic mangrove alleyways. Upon arriving at the wildlife sanctuary of Cas Cay, enjoy a hermit crab race, volcanic cliffs and a picnic lunch from a local market. After refueling, hike the pristine, 15-acre island, and snorkel through its crystal waters.
Stroll Through Charlotte Amalie
Take a walk through the vendor-lined streets of capital city Charlotte Amalie, and you’ll see exactly why some people call St. Thomas the duty-free shopping capital of the world. Browse through over 400 shops along the main street filled with trinkets, jewelry, rum, duty-free smokes and more. You can even find great deals and discounts on leather, electronics and designer clothes. This harbor also has some gorgeous European-style buildings that you can photograph. You'll love this bargain-shoppers’ bazaar and be able to do all your souvenir shopping at once.
Mountains and More at Magen's Bay
If you can’t choose between the mountains or the sea, you can have them both at Magen’s Bay. At Magen's Bay, you'll see breathtaking mountains roll right into the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. No wonder National Geographic named this beach one of the world’s 10 most beautiful beaches! The waters here are so clear that we consider this the perfect place for snorkeling and swimming. Watersports like kayaking are available, too. However, if you’d rather just lie in the powdery white-sand and work on your tan all day, we completely understand.
Explore Blackbeard's Castle
If you find yourself occasionally talking in pirate-speak, it’s time to head to Blackbeard's Castle. Once you arrive, you’ll be greeted by life-sized statues of pirates located around the garden area. Head up the tower located at the top of Government Hill, and from there you can see some pretty amazing views of the harbor at Charlotte Amalie. This is the only unmodified 17th century fortified tower in the entire Caribbean, so you know you're getting the real deal here in the U.S. Virgin Islands! Make sure to bring a camera along so you don't miss a thing.
Bright Bugs at the Butterfly Garden
Enter a lush tropical garden for an unforgettable experience frolicking with exotic butterflies from all over the world. Visit the garden in the morning and you might be lucky enough to see a new butterfly emerge from its cocoon and take its first flight. However, if you’re hoping for some great photos, come later in the day because the butterflies will tend to be less active and better photography subjects. If you decide to go, make sure to wear bright colors and perfumed lotion if you have them because they'll attract these lovely creatures right to you!