The author's wife admiring the sunset views at the shoreline, one of the things to do in Charlotte Amalie

20 Best Things to Do in Charlotte Amalie (in 2023)

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.

My wife and I have lived on St. Thomas for years, spending many days enjoying the experiences Charlotte Amalie offers, which include many of my favorite things to do on St. Thomas

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.

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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.

View of the 99 steps made of ship ballast stones leading to Blackbeard’s Castle
Climb the 99 Steps – built from ship ballast stones in the 1600s – to Blackbeard’s Castle.
A woman posing in front of The Dutch Reformed Church
The Dutch Reformed Church is one of many historic churches sprinkled throughout town.

📍 Google Maps | Entrance: free |Cultural Food and Walking Tour

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.

Buck Island

Snorkel in turtle cove and above a WW2-era shipwreck.

View of the sea turtles swimming under the ocean in Buck Island
Buck Island features the best snorkeling near St. Thomas, including a shipwreck and plenty of sea turtles.

📍 Google Maps | Website | Small Group Sail to Buck Island

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.

Paradise Point

Take a gondola up 700 feet for stunning views of Charlotte Amalie harbor with a vibrant bar, delectable restaurant, and gift shop.

View of the St. Thomas harbor and a cable car from the Paradise Point
Enjoy a relaxing ride up a mountainside.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 (340) 774-9809 | Website | Hours: Dependent on if a cruise ship is in port | Entrance: $25 for adults, $17 for children

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.

A glass of brewed beer served in Leatherback Brewing Company
Leatherback’s Reef Life IPA is my personal favorite!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 (340) 725-4677 | Website | Hours: Varies on season and cruise ship schedule.

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.

Duty-Free Shopping

Shop at one of the four duty-free commercial centers in Charlotte Amalie with convenient access from the cruise ports.

View of the Duty-free shops lined on the side of the streets of Charlotte Amalie
Duty-free shops line the streets of Charlotte Amalie.

📍 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.

View of a sea turtle under the water in Virgin Islands National Park
Sea turtles love the turquoise waters surrounding Virgin Islands National Park.

📍 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.

Ideal Restaurant

Relish the taste of authentic Caribbean roti at this local eatery. 

A plate of Conch roti with side dishes
Conch roti is a Caribbean staple.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 (340) 777-5321 | Website | Hours: 11 am – 4 pm daily, Closes at 3 PM on Saturdays, Closed Sundays

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.

Water Island

Explore the winding roadways of the 4th US Virgin Island on a private golf cart rental.

A woman with a dog sitting on a golf cart
Renting a golf cart is a fantastic way to spend a few hours exploring Water Island.

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Cycleboat Trip to Water Island

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.

Group of tourists enjoying at the shoreline of Brewers Bay
The waters in Brewers Bay are almost always flat and calm.

📍 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.

The author's wife wearing her diving suit in Coki Beach
Coki Beach is a popular beach diving spot but is also home to Coral World – a large marine park with an underwater observatory into the Caribbean Sea (pictured on the left).

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 (340) 775-1555 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 4 pm daily, hours may vary seasonally | Entrance: $29, adults, $16 children | 🐠 Browse Coral World Tours on Viator

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.

View of The Nao Trinidad in Yacht Haven Grande
The Nao Trinidad is a world-famous replica that stopped in Yacht Haven Grande.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 (340) 774-9500 | Website

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.

A woman smiling at the entrance of Phantasea
Phantasea is our favorite botanical garden in the USVI.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 (340) 774-2916 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 4 pm daily, Closed Mondays | Entrance: $10, adults, $5 children ages 5 – 12

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.

A signage of My Brother’s Workshop
My Brother’s Workshop features a cafe and bakery in Charlotte Amalie.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 (340) 715-2767 | Website | Hours: 7 am – 2 pm daily, Closed Saturday and Sunday 

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.

Top view of the flight of beer
Frenchtown Brewing Company is the most intimate brewery on the islands.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 (340) 642-2800 | Website | Hours: 11 am – 5 pm daily, Closes at 6:30 PM Fridays, Closed Saturdays, and Sundays

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.

View of the tourists enjoying the turquoise water and white sand of Magens Bay Beach
Shoreline of Magens Bay Beach.

📍 Google Maps | Website | Entrance: $5, adults, free under 12 + $2 for parking | 🏝️ Island Tour With Stop at Magens Bay

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.

Mountain Top

Observe the sprawling nature of the Virgin Islands from the best view of St. Thomas while enjoying a world-famous banana daiquiri. 

The author Andrew Bloem, overlooking Magens Bay at Mountain Top
Views of the British Virgin Islands from Mountain Top.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 (340) 774-2400 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: free | 🏝️ Island Tour with Stop at Mountain Top

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.

A plate of conch fritters, conch salad with punch on a table in the beach
Many Caribbean dishes feature freshly caught seafood like conch.

📍 Google Maps | 🍲 St. Thomas Food Tasting and Cultural Tour

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.

View of the waterfront old St. Thomas Yacht Club from a distance
The old St. Thomas Yacht Club along the waterfront.

📍 Google Maps

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.

View of the pirate tower and a palm tree on a sunny day
Blackbeard once roamed the waters of the Virgin Islands, as evidenced by the watchtower in his name.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: +1 (340) 775-9575 | Website | Hours: Varies on cruise ship schedule and season | Entrance: $12, adults, $12 children, under 6 are free

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.

Sunset Cruise

Hoist the sails as the sun sets over the glimmering lights of Charlotte Amalie.

View of the tourists during the sunset sail on the VI Cat.
Sunset sail on the VI Cat.

📍 Google Maps | ​​⛵ Charlotte Amalie Harbor Lights Sunset Dinner Cruise

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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