The author and his wife with the USVI sign in one of the top places to visit in the USVI

17 Best Places to Visit in US Virgin Islands (in 2023)

Considering a trip to the Caribbean? Come experience the many fun things to do in the US Virgin Islands! After all, in today’s day and age, where else can you travel relatively headache-free and still discover a mesmerizing tropical paradise?

Our trio of islands – St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix – have everything you’d seek on your Caribbean vacation: vibrant culture, local cuisine, outdoor adventure, tasty rum drinks, and of course, pristine beaches.

I moved here two years ago, so I still have a lot to learn. But after much exploring and consultation with local friends from each island, these are the best places to visit in the US Virgin Islands during your trip:

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. See our Advertising Policy for further explanation. Thank you!

17 Best Places to Visit in the US Virgin Islands

Virgin Islands National Park, St. John

Hike through lush tropical forests descending into secluded white sand beaches.

The author and his wife in the scenic view of US Virgin Islands National Park
Views from the USVI National Park 

📍 Google Maps | National Park Service – Virgin Islands | 👉 Browse Places to Stay on St. John

Encompassing two-thirds of St. John, Virgin Islands National Park is an encapsulation of the natural and human-influenced history of the Caribbean. Hiking trails wind through the mountainous tropical forests where trekkers might spot feral donkeys, white-tail deer, and invasive goats. 

Sprinkled amongst the trails are ruins of old sugar mills serving as a reminder of the troubled past some of the Caribbean islands endured. Petroglyphs of the Indigenous Taino are on display along an ancient riverbed.

And finally, each trail culminates its descent into pristine, white sand beaches dropping into the glimmering turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.

📰 Did You See the News? St. John is #8 on our list of the best places to travel in the world in 2022!

Christiansted, St. Croix

The largest town on St. Croix with a historic district, boat tours, bars, and restaurants.

View from the entrance of Fort Christiansted
Entrance to the fort in Christiansted (photo: Big Blink Creative / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Go To St. Croix – Christiansted | Things to Do on St. Croix | 👉 Browse Christiansted Hotels on Booking

Christiansted is the largest town and economic hub of St. Croix featuring many sites, attractions, and tours departing to other popular spots on the island.

Walk along the scenic boardwalk stopping at the many tiki bars, cafes, and souvenir shops before hopping aboard a boat charter to Buck Island and its underwater national monuments. 

After your trip, explore the Christiansted National Historic Site and its colonial Danish architecture before heading over to nearby beaches Shoys Beach or Cane Bay for the rest of the afternoon.

Buck Island, St. Thomas

Explore a shipwreck or snorkel with sea turtles in Turtle Cove.

View of the blue water and the blue sky above Buck Island
The water surrounding Buck Island near St. Thomas

📍 Google Maps | VI Now – Buck Island |Browse Boat Tours to Buck Island

I may be biased (I do work as a Boat Captain here, after all) but exploring the United States Virgin Islands by boat is immensely better than land. And one of the coolest places to visit by boat is Buck Island near St. Thomas. 

The island boasts a beautiful lighthouse towering over its shores. Although you won’t be able to step foot on the island (it’s protected by the US Fish & Wildlife), the waters surrounding the island are stunning.

Turtle Cove and Shipwreck Cove are two excellent sites for snorkeling and scuba diving where you’ll encounter turtles and a WW2-era shipwreck known as the Señor Cartanza.

🏖️ Read Next: Where to Stay in St Thomas

Honeymoon Beach, Water Island

Visit the beautiful beach before exploring the rest of Water Island via golf cart.

The author walking on the shoreline of Honeymoon Beach
Honeymoon Beach on Water Island

📍 Google Maps | VI Now – Water Island | 👉 Browse Water Island Rentals on Booking

A mere stone’s throw across Charlotte Amalie Harbor is the 4th and lesser-known US Virgin Island: Water Island. The small island houses a few hundred residents, a WW2-era fort, and Honeymoon Beach – one of the best beaches in St. Thomas

Compared to others, Honeymoon Beach is incredibly active with a lively tiki bar, volleyball courts, water sports rentals, and a bustling bay filled with charter boats.

The icing on the cake for a day on Water Island is the golf cart rentals. For a low price, you can motor your way along the winding pathways visiting all Water Island has to offer.

See my guide to visiting Water Island to get planning.

Cruz Bay, St. John

The lively waterfront village is a perfect representation of the Caribbean lifestyle.

Overlooking view of Cruz Bay during sunset
Cruz Bay on St. John

📍 Google Maps | VI Now – Cruz Bay | 👉 Browse Cruz Bay Hotels on Booking

Cruz Bay is the largest town on St. John serving as the landing point for the ferry service from St. Thomas and the launching point into Virgin Islands National Park.

Throughout the walkable town, you’ll find souvenir shops, jewelry stores, fantastic restaurants, countless beach bars, charter boat companies, and the largest dive shop in the Virgin Islands. However, the town is best enjoyed between the hours of 3 – 6 PM as you hop from dive bar to beach bar during the coolest happy hour in the Caribbean.

Coral World Ocean Park, St. Thomas

Discover a mesmerizing underwater world.

View of the welcoming sign in Coral World Ocean Park
Coral World on St. Thomas

📍 Google Maps | Coral World Ocean Park | 👉 Browse tours at Coral World Ocean Park

On Coki Point is Coral World Ocean Park – a thrilling dive into the marine world perfect for kids, families, and anyone interested in underwater life. Interactive exhibits include snorkeling opportunities with sea turtles, diving with dolphins, and encounters with sea lions. It’s definitely one of the most fun things to do in St. Thomas for families!

After spending the day within the park, head next door to Coki Beach for more snorkeling opportunities at Coki Dive Center, souvenir shopping from local vendors, and rum punch at one of the many tiki bars. You’ll soon understand why

Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, St. Croix

One of the longest untouched coastlines in the Caribbean.

View of the blue water and sand in Sand Point Beach
Sandy Point Beach on St. Croix

📍 Google Maps | Sandy Point – US Fish & Wildlife | 👉 Browse Places to stay in nearby Frederiksted

For natural beauty in the Caribbean, look no further than the western tip of St. Croix. Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge is a 2-mile stretch of protected shoreline and one of the busiest nesting sites in the world for leatherback sea turtles. Because of this, the refuge is sparingly open throughout the year so be sure to check before you go. 

Your launching point into the refuge is Frederiksted, the second largest town on St. Croix and home to other popular attractions like the Estate Whim Plantation Museum and Fort Frederik.

🏝️ Need Help Planning? Just swipe my US Virgin Islands Itinerary and your trip planning is done!

Magens Bay, St. Thomas

Witness the beauty of Magens Bay to see why it’s the most popular beach in the US Virgin Islands.

The author on the water of Magens Bay
On the north coast of St. Thomas, Magens Bay is one of the many perfect beaches on the Virgin Island

📍 Google Maps | Magens Bay Authority | 👉 Browse Places to Stay on the Northside of St. Thomas

Magens Bay is the postcard image of the US Virgin Islands, and rightfully so. This beach is absolutely stunning. The mile-long stretch of white sand is lined with sea grape trees and coconut palms providing a natural canopy as the turquoise waters lap the shore.

Mostly surrounded by lush green hills, Magens Bay still feels like a natural getaway despite its popularity with cruise passengers and visitors to St. Thomas.

🌴 Want secluded beaches in St. Thomas instead? We have those too! Check out our article on the best beaches in St. Thomas to find out where!

Coral Bay, St. John

A peaceful village for those seeking a quiet atmosphere and natural beauty.

Overlooking view of the blue water in Coral Bay
View of Coral Bay on St. John

📍 Google Maps | Coral Bay, St. John | 👉 Find a place to stay in Coral Bay on St. John

As fun as Cruz Bay is with its bars, restaurants, and lively atmosphere, some of you might be looking for a slightly different pace on St. John Island.

Welcome to Coral Bay: a peaceful village amidst a forgotten corner of the Virgin Islands. The town is sleepy, the locals are salty, the bars are divey, and the views picturesque. 

If you’re wanting to gain access to some of the more remote areas of Virgin Islands National Park, I highly recommend staying near Coral Bay. You’ll be well within striking distance from some of the best St John attractions, including secluded beaches like Salt Pond Beach, epic hiking trails like Rams Head, and scenic paddling routes through Hurricane Hole.

🇻🇬 Visiting the British Virgin Islands: Coral Bay used to be a popular launching point to the British Virgin Islands of Tortola and Virgin Gorda. However, new restrictions + fees in the BVI’s has made visiting the nearby islands incredibly difficult. We hope restrictions will fade in the future so our islands can reconnect once again.

Point Udall, St. Croix

The easternmost point of the United States offers stunning sea views.

View of the sundial at Point Udali and the colorful sky at sunset
The sundial at Point Udall, known as the Millenium Monument, was constructed in 2000

📍 Google Maps | Go to St. Croix – Point Udall | 👉 Browse Places to Stay on St. Croix

Point Udall is the most eastern point in the United States, and as such, the most popular place on St. Croix to catch a sunrise. The views are breathtaking.

Additionally, the point serves as the trailhead for a hike to multiple places of interest: Isaacs Bay Beach, Jack. A Beach, and Goat Hill. The two secluded beaches are a great place for an early morning swim after ascending Goat Hill for stunning views of the rest of St. Croix.

Reef Bay Sugar Mill Ruins, St. John

The most impressive sugar mill on St. John.

The author in front of Sugar Mill Ruins at Reef Bay
Sugar Mill Ruins at Reef Bay

📍 Google Maps | Virgin Islands National Park | 👉 Find a place to stay on St. John

If you select only one trail to trek during your time on St. John, heavily consider the Reef Bay Trail.

The old forest road winds from peak to valley passing by the largest trees on the island. You’ll also pass petroglyphs from the island’s first inhabitants, old stone ruins from houses, fencing, and sugar plantations. The most impressive is the Reef Bay Sugar Factory at the trail’s end.

The factory was operational well into the 1900s combining modern machinery with classic sugar production techniques. As such, the ruins are the most well preserved on the island and by far the most interesting.

🏖️ Read Next: 15 Best Beaches on St. John, USVI

East End, St. Thomas

Beautiful beaches, great hotels, excellent restaurants, and scenic views await visitors on the East End of St. Thomas.

View of people in Secret Harbour Beach
Secret Harbour Beach on the East End

📍 Google Maps | VI Now – Red Hook | 👉 Browse the many resorts on the East End of St. Thomas

If you’re considering staying on St. Thomas, there’s a good chance you’ll end up finding accommodations on the East End of the island.

The most popular resorts are peppered throughout the region including Margaritaville, the Ritz-Carlton, Marriott at Frenchmen’s Reef, Limetree Resort, Sapphire Village, and Secret Harbor Resort. Each has access to some of the most beautiful beaches on the island. 

The main center of commerce on the East End is Red Hook featuring a litany of boat charters, restaurants, dive bars, souvenir shops, and the ferry terminal to St. John.

Maho Bay, St. John

Snorkel with green sea turtles at this world-renowned beach.

A sea turtle under the Maho Bay
A common sight to see in Maho Bay

📍 Google Maps | Virgin Islands National Park | 👉 Search for places to stay on St. John

Nestled along the north shore of the National Park is Maho Bay with its white sand and swaying coconut palms. The beach is the most popular on St. John and the best place in the US Virgin Islands to snorkel with sea turtles. 

It’s easy to spend an entire afternoon searching the seagrass beds for everyone’s favorite marine reptile. When you’re done snorkeling, be sure to hit up one of the many food trucks along the waterfront before catching one of the frequent taxis back to Cruz Bay for happy hour.

🏖️ More nearby beaches worthy of visiting: Maho Bay can get busy due to its popularity. If you find the beach too busy for your liking, check out nearby Cinnamon Bay, Francis Bay, Trunk Bay, or Hawksnest Beach for smaller crowds.

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

Depart on a free walking tour through Charlotte Amalie, the largest city in the US Virgin Islands.

The author's wife ascending the stairs in Blackbeard's Castle
Climbing the 99 Steps to Blackbeard’s Castle

📍 Google Maps | Walking Tour Guide | 👉 Browse for hotels around Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

History buffs will enjoy the walking tour through the largest city on St. Thomas: Charlotte Amalie. Beginning on the waterfront, visitors will pass by countless historical buildings. This includes Fort Christian, Frederick Lutheran Church, the Government House, Blackbeard’s Castle, the St. Thomas Reformed Church, Market Square, and much more. 

On display are the Danish architectural influences from centuries of development via the Dutch and Danes. Amazingly, many of the buildings in Charlotte Amalie date back to the 1600s.

🏖️ Read Next: 13 Best Beaches in St. Thomas, USVI

Buck Island National Reef Monument, St. Croix

Explore a vibrant, underwater marine protected area.

View of a woman snorkeling under the water of Buck Island
Snorkeling near Buck Island on St. Croix

📍 Google Maps | Buck Island National Reef Monument – NPS | 👉 Stay in Christiansted on St. Croix

Buck Island National Reef Monument is a Marine Protected Area 2 miles north of St. Croix managed by the US National Park Service. Visitors can explore the island by land or sea with many boat charters departing Christiansted daily. The surrounding reefs of the island are pristine with spotted eagle rays, reef sharks, lobster, and colorful fish making regular appearances.

Trunk Bay Beach, St. John

Snorkel over coral reefs right from shore with an underwater reef trail.

Scenic view from the Trunk Bay Beach
View of Trunk Bay, St. John

📍 Google Maps | National Park Service | 👉 Find a place to stay on St. John on Booking

Along the north shore of St. John, you won’t be lacking choice when selecting which of the pristine beaches you want to visit. However, if you’re looking for some world-class snorkeling right from shore, consider heading to Trunk Bay Beach.

The bay features an underwater snorkel trail with information plaques about the tropical fish and natural coral you’re viewing. It’s an excellent introduction to the marine life of the Caribbean Sea!

🤿 Need snorkel gear? Cressi makes an excellent travel snorkel set that will open up an underwater world during your trip to the Virgin Islands!

Annaly Bay Tide Pools, St. Croix

Take a dip in a natural pool carved into the limestone bedrock.

View of Tide pools in Annaly Bay in St, Croix
Tide pools are a common occurrence along St. Croix’s north shore

📍 Google Maps | Go to St. Croix – Annaly Bay | 👉 Browse Hotels on St. Croix

Nature lovers and adventure seekers will love the challenging hike down to the Annaly Bay Tide Pools. At the end of the 2.5-mile trail, trekkers will be treated to natural pools of saltwater along the rock face jetting into the Caribbean.

After taking a dip and enjoying the scenery, your hike back up to the trailhead begins. Keep in mind, this is a strenuous, yet extremely rewarding adventure!

FAQs About Places to Visit in US Virgin Islands

What are the best places to visit in the US Virgin Islands?

Some of the best places to visit in the US Virgin Islands include Virgin Islands National Park in St. John, Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge in St. Croix, and so many others.

What is the most popular US Virgin Island?

St. Thomas is the most popular and most populated US Virgin Island, as well as the territory’s main hub.

What are family-friendly places in the US Virgin Islands?

St. Thomas is a great island for families in the US Virgin Islands. Places like Coral World Ocean Park are especially family-friendly.


So what do you think? Have you booked your plane ticket yet? Or do you have anything I should add to the list of best things to do in the US Virgin Islands? Let me know in a comment below!

Have fun exploring the USVI! Next up, check out my USVI packing checklist.

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  1. Are the day trips for fishing very expensive? Do they offer 4 or 6 hour trips? Not looking to catch a giant but some keepers for a fresh fish dinner.

    1. Good evening Sherry,

      The USVI sign pictured above is found on St. Thomas in the Crown Bay Center – where the giant cruise ships dock.

      You can access the sign when no cruise ships are in town – and I suggest you do so. Otherwise, you’ll deal with thousands of passengers trying to get a similar picture.


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