The US Virgin Islands are one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean. This American territory, located between the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, consists of around 50 islands and cays, the biggest of which are St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John.
Following a stormy history marked by several occupations, the islands most conspicuously show their Danish influence, including some magnificent examples of Neoclassical Danish architecture. Another advantage is a natural beauty. All of the islands have lush mountains, tropical woods, curved beaches, and rocky coves, and the crystal-clear seas and consistent breezes entice sailors and boaters to anchor in the protected bays.
Each island has its own personality. St. Thomas is the most frequented of the islands and serves as the archipelago’s main entry point. Charlotte Amalie, the capital of the United States Virgin Islands and a major cruise ship port, offers a wide range of shopping, eating, and entertainment opportunities. The majority of the larger US Virgin Islands resorts are located on St. Thomas.
The largest of the three islands, St. Croix, is less touristy than its sisters. The ancient area of Christiansted, as well as the sugar plantations, gardens, and seaside vistas along the Heritage Trail, are all must-sees. Buck Island Reef, the nation’s first underwater monument, is also located in St. Croix.
St. John is a haven for eco-tourists, with the Virgin Islands National Park covering two-thirds of the island. Popular activities include hiking, diving, snorkeling, fishing, and kayaking.
Our list of the best attractions and places to see in the US Virgin Islands will help you plan your sightseeing.
Trunk Bay Beach & Underwater Snorkel Trail, St. John, U.S Virgin Islands
Trunk Bay is the most photographed beach on St. John, with its long and arching curve of ivory sand and blue sea nestled in the Virgin Islands National Park. This beach, which is surrounded by sea grapes and coconut trees, is also one of the nicest in the Caribbean.
Just offshore from the point of land projecting out into the bay is the Trunk Bay Underwater Snorkeling Trail. You may see up to 30 different types of fish in the crystal-clear waters here. Key aspects of the coral reef are labeled with underwater signposts.
Magens Bay, St. Thomas, U.S Virgin Islands
Magens Bay, surrounded by lush hills and coconut trees, usually appears on lists of the world’s most beautiful beaches. The tranquil waves that run the length of this horseshoe-shaped bay are ideal for snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, and other water activities.
The Tropical Discovery Hike, also in the Magens Bay watershed, takes hikers through a 75-acre Nature Conservancy area. This unusual location contains a broad range of ecosystems, from dry forest hilltops to mangrove swamps, as well as a diverse range of local and migratory bird species. The two kilometers of well-kept track run downward through the trees to Magens Bay beach, where you may cool off with a dip.
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S Virgin Islands
Charlotte Amalie, the capital of the United States Virgin Islands, is one of the most popular cruise ports in the Caribbean. It is named for a Danish queen and is located in the middle of the island on St. Thomas’ south side, where charming pastel cottages with red roofs dot the steep green slopes.
Charlotte Amalie has the most restaurants and entertainment options in the Caribbean, as well as the most boutiques and jewelry shops, as well as numerous beautiful beaches for swimming and snorkeling.
Climbing the historic 99 steps up to Blackbeard’s Castle, a National Historic Landmark that is being restored after hurricane damage; stopping in at the serene St. Thomas Synagogue, famous for its sand floor; and exploring Fort Christian, the island’s oldest structure are all popular things to do in Charlotte Amalie.
The Emancipation Garden, the magnificent three-story Government House, and the characteristic honey-hued Frederick Lutheran Church with red shutters are also noteworthy sights.
Heritage Trail, St. Croix, U.S Virgin Islands
The St. Croix Heritage Trail is a self-guided driving tour of the island’s historical and natural highlights that spans 72 miles. The path between Frederiksted and Christiansted is marked with road markers that go north to Hamm’s Bay in the west and east to Point Udall, the easternmost point in the United States.
The Heritage Trail passes through tropical woods, cattle land, and old maritime cities as it goes along the picturesque coastline. This is a fantastic chance to see some of St. Croix’s most famous sights in your own time, such as the Estate Whim Plantation Museum, the lush St. George Village Botanical Garden, and Fort Frederik.
Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, U.S Virgin Islands
Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge is the place to go if you want to enjoy a beautiful length of sand and water without the crowds. The refuge, which is located 15 miles southwest of Christiansted, has a two-mile stretch of beautiful white sand and turquoise sea.
Leatherback sea turtles, as well as a variety of bird species, are protected at the refuge. During turtle nesting season, check the hours of operation before visiting, since it is only open on specific days of the week (usually Saturday and Sunday). Because there are no facilities here, make sure you bring your own food, water, and sun protection.
Fans of the film The Shawshank Redemption may be interested to learn that the closing sequence of the film was shot on this beach.