Charlotte Amalie’s attractions revolve around tourism, with many of the best things to do in Charlotte Amalie (pronounced Amalia) sprinkled throughout the city’s historic streets or, at the very least, a short cab or boat ride away.
As you explore the unique and fun things on this list, you’ll find an appreciation for the original Danish colonial architecture the city boasts, dating back to 1666.
Table of Contents
- Best Things to Do in Charlotte Amalie
- Historic Walking Tour
- Buck Island
- Paradise Point
- Leatherback Brewing Company – St. Thomas
- Duty-Free Shopping
- Virgin Islands National Park
- Ideal Restaurant
- Water Island
- Brewers Bay Beach
- Coral World Ocean Park
- Yacht Haven Grande
- Phantasea Tropical Botanical Garden
- My Brother’s Workshop
- Frenchtown Brewing Company
- Magens Bay Beach
- Mountain Top
- Charlotte Amalie Food Tour
- Charlotte Amalie Waterfront
- Pirates Treasure Museum
- Sunset Cruise
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Best Things to Do in Charlotte Amalie
Historic Walking Tour
Wander around Charlotte Amalie’s historic district featuring pirate watchtowers, military forts, and scenic churches.
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to explore Charlotte Amalie is on a self-guided walking tour.
Beginning at the iconic Fort Christian and Legislature Building at the waterfront, you’ll weave through the streets to view historic buildings like the Government House, Frederick Lutheran Church, St. Thomas Dutch Reformed Church, and St. Thomas Synagogue. The trek culminates with an ascent up the 99 Steps to Blackbeard’s Castle – a 15th-century watchtower.
🛌 Need a Place to Stay? Including quaint guesthouses in Charlotte Amalie, check out our guide on where to stay on St. Thomas.
Snorkel in turtle cove and above a WW2-era shipwreck.
Buck Island is a small islet near Charlotte Amalie’s harbor and the most popular spot for sailing, snorkeling, and scuba diving in St. Thomas.
You can visit Buck Island via this small boat tour or on this large group catamaran as they set sail for the protected coves of the island. Upon arrival in Buck Island, underwater explorers will discover many scuba and snorkeling sites, including Turtle Cove and the Cartanza – a WW2-era cargo ship.
Take a gondola up 700 feet for stunning views of Charlotte Amalie harbor with a vibrant bar, delectable restaurant, and gift shop.
Hop aboard a gondola as it ascends 700 feet to Paradise Point. Riders enjoy the best views of Charlotte Amalie, the cruise harbor, and neighboring islands Vieques and Culebra of Puerto Rico atop the mountain.
Leatherback Brewing Company – St. Thomas
Taste the largest locally brewed beer in the Virgin Islands.
Leatherback Brewing Company is the largest craft brewery in the US Virgin Islands, with its primary operations in St. Croix.
From there, Leatherback brews and bottles its beer before shipping it to St. Thomas for patrons to enjoy in their local taproom. In addition to the company’s regular lineup, the brewmaster on St. Thomas specializes in creative tastes for a unique and personalized experience.
Shop at one of the four duty-free commercial centers in Charlotte Amalie with convenient access from the cruise ports.
📍 Google Maps | Hours: Dependent on cruise ship schedule
The US Virgin Islands enjoys tax-free shopping, potentially saving you hundreds, if not thousands, on items like jewelry, watches, bags, and more.
Specifically, Charlotte Amalie is home to some of the premier shopping centers near the cruise ports in Havensight, Yacht Haven Grande, Crown Bay Center, and within the alleyways of the Charlotte Amalie Historic District.
Virgin Islands National Park
Snorkel with sea turtles in a protected cove to the backdrop of the lush green hills of St. John.
📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 (340) 776-6201 | Website | 🤿 Snorkel With Sea Turtles at Maho Bay from Charlotte Amalie
Although you won’t be able to explore all of Virgin Islands National Park on St. John from Charlotte Amalie in a day, you can hop aboard a large-group vessel bringing eager snorkelers to its pristine shorelines.
This highly-rated snorkel tour caters to cruise shippers and resort goers on St. Thomas and St. John before stopping in Maho Bay – one of the Caribbean’s most scenic bays.
Relish the taste of authentic Caribbean roti at this local eatery.
For local taste and experience, consider stopping into Ideal Restaurant for lunch during your stay. The small to-go Caribbean eatery specializes in local fare and makes the best brand of roti in the Virgin Islands.
Explore the winding roadways of the 4th US Virgin Island on a private golf cart rental.
Often considered the 4th US Virgin Island, Water Island is a small islet with a few hundred residents just south of St. Thomas and Charlotte Amalie. The Water Island ferry departs Crown Bay Marina almost hourly.
Once on the island, I highly recommend renting a golf cart for a few hours of whizzing the island’s roadways to scenic Honeymoon Beach, Dinghy’s Beach Bar, Limestone Bay, and Fort Segarra – a WW2-era fortification.
Brewers Bay Beach
Relax, paddle, swim, or snorkel the calm blue waters of this local’s favorite beach.
📍 Google Maps | Entrance: free
Brewers Bay is our favorite beach on St. Thomas and our shoreline of choice for lazy Sundays. It’s close to our home and always calm, with loads of marine life for snorkeling. Sea turtles are abundant. Eagle rays are frequently spotted. And large schools of colorful fish abound.
Coral World Ocean Park
Tour this five-acre marine park on Coki Point with exhibits ranging from swimming with sea lions, aquariums, and an underwater observatory.
Coral World Ocean Park has been an island staple for decades and the perfect introduction to the underwater world for those less inclined to scuba diving or snorkeling. The underwater observatory provides a glimpse into the marine world, while other exhibits offer educational material for all age levels.
Other experiences include swimming with dolphins, interacting with sea lions, snorkeling excursions, an underwater helmet sea trek, and boat tours. After your time at Coral World Ocean Park, stick around for some local food and vibes at Coki Beach – one of the best beaches on St. Thomas. Otherwise, check out nearby Sapphire Beach or Lindquist Beach.
Yacht Haven Grande
Gaze at mega yachts before enjoying a cocktail and dinner at one of the many high-end bars and restaurants.
Yacht Haven Grande is the newest and most recently developed complex on St. Thomas, with high-end restaurants, shops, bars, and tour companies. The coinciding marina harbors large mega yachts and other world-famous boats, like the Nao Trinidad, as they pass through town.
Phantasea Tropical Botanical Garden
Smell the aroma of rare orchids in this tropical botanical garden.
Phantasea Tropical Botanical Garden is an excellent place for flora lovers to spend an hour or two exploring the native plants of St. Thomas.
The garden specializes in orchids as they hang from the other tropical plants. Bird lovers might enjoy the resident bananaquits and Puerto Rican parrots that call the gardens home.
My Brother’s Workshop
Enjoy a cafe while supporting a local nonprofit that helps at-risk local youth.
My Brother’s Workshop is an integral organization for the Virgin Islands community, offering immense resources and opportunities for at-risk youth in St. Thomas. In Charlotte Amalie, specifically, MBW hosts their culinary center featuring a cafe and bakery entirely run by participants in the organization.
The nonprofit is making massive impacts on the lives of young people all over the islands and is a personal favorite of ours. To support the organization, you can stop in, say hi, purchase a pastry or coffee, or head to their webpage to donate!
Frenchtown Brewing Company
Enjoy an intimate tasting at this small brewery serving the best local craft beer on St. Thomas.
Although smaller and more prominent than its cross-town counterpart, Frenchtown Brewing Company is another delicious craft brewery in Charlotte Amalie.
The brewery’s beauty rests in its simplicity – tastings are best when scheduled ahead of time so the establishment’s owners can take you on a personalized experience, ale by ale.
Magens Bay Beach
Sink your toes in the sugar-white sands of the most popular beach in the US Virgin Islands.
Magens Bay Beach is the crown jewel of St. Thomas and possibly the best beach in the US Virgin Islands. The mile-long shoreline is pristine, with sugar-white sand, glimmering turquoise waters, and lush green hills as a backdrop.
Spend your time sipping a rum drink at the beach bar, enjoying a picnic at one of the pavilions, or drifting away under the shade of a palm tree. Snorkel, paddleboard, and kayak rentals are also available for even more adventure.
Observe the sprawling nature of the Virgin Islands from the best view of St. Thomas while enjoying a world-famous banana daiquiri.
Mountain Top is the island’s one-stop shop for affordable “St. Thomas” labeled souvenirs while boasting the best views of the surrounding islands. Plan to spend an hour browsing the trinkets and clothing for sale while sipping the self-proclaimed “World Famous Banana Daiquiri.”
Charlotte Amalie Food Tour
Savor the local cuisine of the Caribbean and the Virgin Islands.
Part of any travel experience is relishing the delectable food the region is known for. Caribbean dishes are no different, infusing a unique blend of curry, seafood, goat, coconut, and other fresh fruits (amongst other ingredients).
St. Thomas and the US Virgin Islands are renowned for their rare combination of dishes from many other Caribbean nations, including a Latin influence from nearby Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Partaking in a Charlotte Amalie Food Tour is the best way to taste Caribbean flavors!
Charlotte Amalie Waterfront
Stroll the paved sidewalks along Charlotte Amalie Harbour.
Beginning in Yacht Haven Grande and ending near the Windward Passage Hotel, the Charlotte Amalie Waterfront is a great place to stroll, exercise, shop, or enjoy the scenery of the historic town. Food trucks, restaurants, and bars line the waterfront from beginning to end, making it a great way to spend an evening.
Pirates Treasure Museum
Discover ancient treasures and the fascinating history of the real-life pirates of the Caribbean.
Charlotte Amalie’s Pirates Treasure Museum showcases ancient artifacts from the storied past of pirate activity in the region. The interactive exhibits immerse visitors into pirate tales and the technology used to recover the relics once believed to be swallowed into the ocean forever.
Hoist the sails as the sun sets over the glimmering lights of Charlotte Amalie.
One of the most enjoyable evenings my wife and I have had in Charlotte Amalie is aboard the VI Cat for their adult champagne sunset sail. The tour departs at dusk from the Marriott before circling Hassel Island and into Charlotte Amalie harbor. From there, enjoy dinner and cocktails to the backdrop of the city’s glimmering lights reflecting from the water below.
We all know about the beautiful beaches in the US Virgin Islands, but with the plethora of things to do in Charlotte Amalie, it might be time to start thinking about spending some time away from the sand during your planned USVI itinerary.
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