Let’s be honest, as beautiful as the beaches are on St. Thomas, you can only sit in the sand for so long on so many days. So why not change the pace a bit by taking one of the best St. Thomas boat tours?
I always say the best way to fully enjoy the US Virgin Islands is by getting on the water in some capacity. In St. Thomas, there’s a boat tour suitable for everyone – whether you’re seeking adventure or simply wanting to enjoy a rum drink on the bow!
Now, you can call me biased – that’s okay. I am a local Captain here, after all. But I would say that makes my perspective a bit better. I know these St. Thomas boat tours – which ones are good, and which ones are bad. I interact with them on the water every day!
Table of Contents
- 15 Top Boat Tours in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
- Scuba Diving with Red Hook Dive Center
- Snorkel with Sea Turtles on Ocean Surfari
- Small Group Catamaran with Stormy Pirates
- Kayak a Mangrove Lagoon
- Parasail Virgin Islands
- Sunset Dinner Cruise in Charlotte Amalie
- Private National Park Cruise Aboard MV Aquarius
- Private Catamaran Cruise with Seas the Day
- Discover Scuba Diving with Aqua Marine
- VI Jet Boat Tours
- Large Group Sailing and Snorkel with VI Cat
- Ferry to the British Virgin Islands
- Offshore or Inshore Fishing Charters
- Sail and Snorkel with Fury
- Cycle Boat to Water Island
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15 Top Boat Tours in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
⚓ Pro Tip from a Captain: No matter which of the St. Thomas boat tours you end up on, consider taking sea sickness medication the morning of the trip. Aside from the secluded coves, much of the water surrounding St. Thomas is rough, and believe me, I’ve seen my fair share of seasickness around these parts!
Scuba Diving with Red Hook Dive Center
In a purely unbiased fashion, I had to put my place of employment up top because I believe we offer the best scuba diving excursions in all of St. Thomas. I’m the Captain aboard this vessel, and I must say, compared to other dive operators on the island, we have the widest range of dive sites with access to nearly all surrounding waters of Saint Thomas.
Red Hook Dive Center is the best choice for experienced scuba divers while still offering Discover Scuba Diving programs for newbies. Expect to see an abundance of tropical fish, friendly sharks, green sea turtles, beautiful eagle rays, and plenty of other marine life!
🇻🇮 When to Visit the USVI? Hurricanes, financial savings, and pristine weather – there’s a lot to consider when it comes to the best time to visit the US Virgin Islands!
Snorkel with Sea Turtles on Ocean Surfari
The US Virgin Islands are one of the best places to snorkel with sea turtles in all of the Caribbean Sea. And nobody makes a better day of it than Ocean Surfari. Departing from St. Thomas, you’ll motor along the stunning north shore of St. John before hopping in the waters of Maho Bay in Virgin Islands National Park.
The bay is a magnet for green sea turtles as its bottom is covered in seagrass beds – a tasty snack for the marine reptile. It’s not uncommon to see dozens of sea turtles on one go! The tour provides all snorkel equipment, unlimited drinks, soft drinks, and other light snacks.
Small Group Catamaran with Stormy Pirates
Stormy Pirates is one of the premier boating operators on St. Thomas offering private and luxury excursions as a small group tour. The trip listed, specifically, does not operate as a private boat charter but rather on a per-seat basis – maxing out at 12 passengers. It’s a great way for singles, couples, or a small group to save money while visiting the US Virgin Islands!
Highlights aboard this catamaran include snorkel stops around St. John, lunch at the floating pizzeria known as Pizza Pi, and a visit to Honeymoon Beach – one of the best beaches on St. Thomas!
Kayak a Mangrove Lagoon
For more adventure-minded individuals, consider booking a kayaking tour into the Mangrove Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary of St. Thomas! The fare includes boat rentals for your group, snorkeling gear, and a tour guide as you enter the marine reserve and learn about the various ecosystems in the US Virgin Islands!
🎒 Keeping Your Stuff Dry: Whether it’s the beach, boat, or kayak, if I’m near the water you can bet I’m using a dry bag to keep my belongings water and sand-free!
Parasail Virgin Islands
In my humble opinion, no good tropical destination is complete without a parasailing experience! This one departs the resort-laden East End of St. Thomas and is the perfect way to spend the afternoon taking in some of the world’s best views from a parasail.
Sunset Dinner Cruise in Charlotte Amalie
Aside from day tours, many of the large catamarans on St. Thomas offer sunset cruises. These two-hour excursions explore the peaceful waters surrounding the island as they serve appetizers, dinner, and unlimited drinks. It’s the best possible way to witness a beautiful sunset over the water!
🏝️ Day Trip to St. John: The nearby island is incredibly easy to get to from St. Thomas and an excellent day trip during your vacation. Filled with hiking trails, sugar mill ruins, beautiful beaches, and amazing snorkeling opportunities, there are plenty of things to do on St. John to consume an entire day!
Private National Park Cruise Aboard MV Aquarius
One of my fondest memories during my first year of living on St. Thomas was the day we booked MV Aquarius for 7 hours on a beautiful December weekend. The entire day was crafted to our choosing as we took in the best sights of Virgin Islands National Park, St. Thomas, and St. John from the water.
We even included a stop at Lime Out VI for lunch – the only floating taco stand in the Caribbean Sea.
Private Catamaran Cruise with Seas the Day
Seas the Day is another top-notch private boat charter offering full or half-day trips around St. Thomas and St. John. This luxury catamaran tour, specifically, is tailor-made for your group with options of stopping at the pizza boat in Christmas Cove, the white-sand beaches of St. John’s north shore, picturesque snorkel spots, and other hidden gems spread throughout the Virgin Islands.
Discover Scuba Diving with Aqua Marine
Discover Scuba Diving is a program where folks with no scuba experience get the chance to work one-on-one with a dive instructor before embarking on a dive! It’s a great program for anyone who’s ever considered getting scuba certified but has yet to make the plunge. Or, at the very least, you’ll be able to try something cool and unusual for the first time while exploring beautiful coral reefs in the Virgin Islands!
📕 Bookmark for Later: Our Ultimate Guide to Driving in the US Virgin Islands is a great way to prep yourself for driving on the left side of the road!
VI Jet Boat Tours
Personally, I’ve never been on this trip but I see them just about every day as they rip past my boat near Mingo Cay (an uninhabited island near St. Thomas). This trip looks absolutely wild. The boat speeds forward at full throttle before pulling into a seemingly uncontrolled tailspin near the string of islands. I can hear the shrieks of thrill and excitement from thousands of feet away so I can only imagine how fun it actually is!
Large Group Sailing and Snorkel with VI Cat
The VI Cat is a large group sailing vessel based in Frenchman’s Cove of the Marriott. It’s a massive boat so your ticket to get aboard is much cheaper than other catamaran cruises without diminishing your experience. With an open bar and snorkel gear, the tour brings guests to some of the best places to visit in the USVI like Buck Island and Water Island!
Ferry to the British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands are officially open for business (as of this writing in July of 2022)! Welcoming visitors via private vessels and ferries, it’s finally possible for nonresidents to visit the beautiful string of islands after a two-year hiatus.
Departing from Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas, you’ll land in Road Town of Tortola before having options to visit Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda, or Anegada! Although it’s possible to visit for the day, we recommend visiting the British Virgin Islands for multiple days as an extension to your Caribbean vacation.
Offshore or Inshore Fishing Charters
St. Thomas is incredibly close to the Puerto Rican trench – one of the deepest points in the ocean. This means strong currents and lots of chances to catch coveted pelagic fish like wahoo, Mahi, and kingfish, amongst others!
Depending on the conditions, you’ll have options for inshore and offshore fishing excursions. Regardless, I always recommend taking seasick medication before you go – it’s usually a very bumpy ride!
Sail and Snorkel with Fury
One of the best adventure tours in St. Thomas is aboard the sailing vessel Fury. The intimate experience is perfect for small groups or families looking for a wholesome day of snorkeling, environmental education, and of course, sailing! The vessel tends to set sail for Buck Island, one of the best snorkeling spots in the US Virgin Islands, before making its way to the beautiful shores of Honeymoon Beach on Water Island.
Cycle Boat to Water Island
For a day of boozing, white sand beaches, and beach bars, consider hopping aboard the Cycleboat to Water Island! This quirky vessel is perfect for cruise ship passengers unloading in Crown Bay looking for a fun way to explore some of the best things to do in St. Thomas during their brief stay!
Which of the boat tours in St. Thomas has piqued your interest? Or which ones have you been on before? If you have any questions be sure to let us know in the comments below!
Afterward, it’s time to plan another aspect of your trip – which beach you’ll be visiting on your day in St. John.
Enjoy your St. Thomas boat tour!
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