What are the five best things to see and do in the U.S. Virgin Islands?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Andrea Milam

The three main U.S. Virgin Islands of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix offer endless activities and sightseeing opportunities. Here are the top five best things to see and do:
1. Approximately two-thirds of St. John is part of the Virgin Islands National Park, and hiking trails wind through 7,000 lush acres, taking you through beautiful tropical forests, past historic ruins and to stunningly beautiful beaches. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ favorite trail is Lind Point — it’s manageable at just one mile long with moderate elevation changes, and the reward at the end is Salomon Beach, one of the most tranquil stretches of sand on the island.
2. The USVI is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, so a day at the ocean is a must-do when you come to this U.S. territory. St. John’s iconic Trunk Bay offers a pristine stretch of white sand; generally calm, clear turquoise waters; and an underwater snorkel trail. On St. Thomas, plan to spend a day at Magens Bay Beach, a full half-mile of pure, soft sand and serene, blindingly blue waters. The USVI’s biggest beach is also one of its most gorgeous: St. Croix’s three-mile-long Sandy Point offers calm, shallow waters, but because it’s a protected reserve (the endangered leatherback turtle nests here), it’s only open on the weekends.
3. It’s next to impossible to take a step in St. Croix without tripping over a piece of the island’s history. More than 150 sugar plantation ruins fill the sloping landscape here, and the best way to take it all in is with a Ruins Ramble, courtesy of the St. Croix Landmarks Society. Historians lead these monthly tours November through May, allowing you to get up close and personal with St. Croix’s colonial history.
4. The Virgin Islands’ calm waters and the numerous cays and islands that dot the seascape make for an ideal boating experience, and there’s no shortage of charter companies to help you experience it all. St. Thomas and St. John are the perfect jumping-off points, as they are mere minutes from picturesque sandbars, deserted cays and even the British Virgin Islands, an attraction in its own right.
5. St. Thomas is the undisputed shopping capital in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Head to Havensight, one of the island’s two cruise ship ports, for duty-free jewelry, liquor, electronics and more. Visit Yacht Haven Grande to peruse high-end shops like Coach, Gucci and Louis Vuitton in a picturesque setting along the water. St. Thomas’ capital of Charlotte Amalie boasts street after street of shops housed in historic buildings. No matter which shopping area you choose, you’re sure to find quality goods at great deals on St. Thomas.

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