I’ve been to the U.S. Virgin Islands more times than I can count. I have visited St. Croix once, St. John twice, and St. Thomas at least four times. Some of those trips have been via cruises while others were destination visits. Living on the East Coast makes travel to the Caribbean extremely easy and convenient. However, the USVI is not just for East Coasters, and travel to them is just as easy (albeit a bit longer) from the Midwest or West Coast. If you’ve never visited the U.S. Virgin Islands, you must add them to your bucket list ASAP. And if you’re wondering which one you should visit first, I’d say it depends on your style as a traveler. St. Croix offers a more authentic Caribbean experience featuring historical and cultural offerings. The beaches are quiet and the waters peaceful. St. Thomas, on the other hand, is full of life, tourists, cruise ships, and shopping. However, St. Thomas has fantastic beach bars and plenty of cays and islands nearby to explore. St. John offers a bit of both and has fantastic snorkeling and hiking opportunities. If you’re still not convinced why you need to visit, here are four reasons and photos that just might have you booking your ticket in no time.
The USVI has some of the most beautiful and pristine beaches in the Caribbean. The water is as clear as can be on a sunny day, and you can see plenty of fish and sea life milling about your feet. Sunshine abounds and warms up the water to a comfortable temperature that will have you wanting to abandon your beach chairs and umbrellas for an all-day dip. Some of my favorites are Honeymoon Beach (Water Island) and Secret Harbour (St. Thomas).
While you may miss a beautiful beach sunset if you visit the USVI via a cruise, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to catch one if you make one of the islands your destination for a week. The most beautiful sunset I witnessed was on Water Island (a 15-minute ferry ride from St. Thomas). I couldn’t get over how pretty the boats looked against the pastel colors of the sky.
FOOD & DRINKS
Fresh fish is one of my favorite things to enjoy while visiting the USVI. If you’re in St. Thomas, you must eat at the bar located at Secret Harbour. They have the most delicious sweet potato fries and mojitos. Heidi’s Honeymoon Grill is another fantastic food joint (Honeymoon Beach, Water Island). Heidi’s serves the best grilled veggie salad with salmon that I’ve ever had, and their bushwackers will keep you coming back for more. This food truck puts many mainland restaurants to shame. Unlike parts of the U.S., the islands know how to throw together a mean drink. You won’t have to worry about ordering a mojito with only a drop of rum. Instead, you might be wondering if there’s anything else besides rum in your drink.
You can’t visit the islands without snorkeling at least once. You’ll be shocked at just how much life thrives underneath those beautiful crystal clear waters. St. John’s snorkeling is pretty much unparalleled. Waterlemon Cay has the best snorkeling I’ve ever seen, but the water is quite shallow in patches, so if you decide to head there, make sure you are great at swimming and that you take care not to step on any coral. Watch for sea urchins — they’re everywhere, and stepping on them could mean a ruined vacation! If you’re not the strongest swimmer, book your trip with a guide. They’ll know how to maneuver the waters.
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This post was brought to you by the U.S. Virgin Islands through their partnership with POPSUGAR. While I was compensated to write a post about the U.S. Virgin Islands, all opinions are my own.