View of boats from a dock in St. Thomas, USVI

15 Best St. Thomas Boat Tours (By a Local Captain)

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! 

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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

The author's wife posing for a photo during their scuba diving with Red Hook Dive Center
St. Thomas is an amazing destination for scuba diving!

Departing from: Red Hook – American Yacht Harbor | Perfect for Certified Scuba Divers | 🤿 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

A green sea turtle under the Ocean Surfari
Green sea turtles are common to spot during this snorkeling experience

Departing from: Red Hook – American Yacht Harbor | Perfect for all groups and ages | 🐢 View National Park Snorkeling Tour

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.

🏞️ Seeking More Adventure? St. John and Virgin Islands National Park feature some of the best hiking trails in the Caribbean!

Small Group Catamaran with Stormy Pirates

View of the Stormy Pirates' sailboat
Stormy Pirates is one of the best sailing tours in the USVI

Departing from: Red Hook – American Yacht Harbor | Perfect for couples or small groups | 🍕 Catamaran Cruise – Snorkel and Pizza Boat

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

Red Yellow kayaks on a sand
Virgin Islands Ecotours has the best kayaking tour in the Virgin Islands

Departing from: Virgin Islands Ecotours | Perfect for all ages and group sizes | 🚣 Mangrove Lagoon Kayak and Snorkel

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

A man with his sister parasailing in St. Thomas
Who doesn’t love parasailing?

Departing from: Sapphire Beach Marina | Perfect for all ages and group sizes | 🪂 Parasailing Experience St. Thomas

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

View from Charlotte Amalie during sunset
A sunset cruise is an absolute must!

Departing from: Marriott Frenchman’s Cove Dock | Perfect for couples | Sunset Dinner Sail

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

The author's wife with her friends in Lime Out VI
Lime Out VI near St. John – the only floating taco bar in the Caribbean

Departing from: Red Hook – American Yacht Harbor | Perfect for families or small groups | 🛥️ National Park Cruise With Seas the Day

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

The author's wife posing for a photo during their private Catamaran cruise
This trip is perfect for those wanting the entire boat to themselves!

Departing from: Red Hook – American Yacht Harbor | Perfect for families or private small groups | Private Catamaran Day Sail

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

The author's mom experiencing scuba diving with the Discover Scuba Dive
My mom completed a Discover Scuba Dive experience when she visited

Departing from: Saga Haven Marina | Perfect for Beginners and Noncertified Divers | 🤿 Discover Scuba Diving in St. Thomas

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

Aerial view of the Lovango Cay
The Jet Boat does most of its work along these scenic islands

Departing from: Sapphire Beach Marina | Perfect for kids and families | 🛥️ Jet Boat Adventure

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 Castaway Cat sailing boat in St. Thomas
The VI Cat is a great way to island hop

Departing from: Marriott Frenchman’s Cove Dock | Perfect for singles, couples, and budget travelers | Set Sail Aboard the 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

Overlooking view of the Jost Van Dyke and Tortola from afar
View of Jost Van Dyke and Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Departing from: Blyden Ferry Terminal in Charlotte Amalie | Perfect for everyone | 🇻🇬 BVI Ferry Schedule

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

A fishing reel on a boat in St. Thomas
Inshore and Offshore fishing boats are a popular way to spend a morning, afternoon, or entire day!

Departing from: Red Hook – American Yacht Harbor | Perfect for all ages and groups up to 6 | 🎣 Fishing Charter With Ocean Surfari

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

View from the Shipwreck Cove
Shipwreck Cove near Buck Island is one of the best snorkel spots in the USVI

Departing from: Yacht Haven Grande | Perfect for small groups and families | ☀️ Sail and Snorkel Buck Island

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

The author enjoying his day in Water Island
Water Island features one of the best beaches in the US Virgin Islands

Departing from: Crown Bay Marina | Perfect for small adult groups | 🍹 Water Island Cycleboat

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!

If you’re headed to St. John, be sure to see my guide to the best boat tours in St. John next.

Enjoy your St. Thomas boat tour!

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