Salt, sun, and sand – the most sought-after things to do in St. Thomas, USVI. I mean, why else would you be escaping to the Caribbean, anyway? So lucky for you, we have an abundance of all three!
In St. Thomas, you’ll find salty ocean adventures like sailing, paddling, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Every day is a sunny day providing year-round warm weather. And let’s not forget about our unbelievable beaches with their white sand, turquoise waters, and swaying palms.
But I must say, after living here for the last year, I’ve also learned to enjoy everything else this island has to offer outside of the salt, sun, and sand. Those are great, obviously. But after taking a deeper dive into the culture, sites, and attractions, my list of things to do in St. Thomas may look a little different than most. Enjoy!
Table of Contents
- 33 Best Things to Do in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
- St. Thomas Sites & Attractions
- St. Thomas Museums & Culture
- Bays & Beaches in St. Thomas
- Outdoor Adventures
- Food & Drink
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33 Best Things to Do in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Magens Bay Beach
Bask in the sun at the USVI’s most famous shoreline
Welcome to St. Thomas! Your first order of business? Sinking your toes into the sand of the most stunning beach we have to offer! I’m talking about Magens Bay – our very own slice of tropical paradise seen on every postcard mailed from the USVI’s.
Tropical plants and sea grape trees line the white sand beach before falling into the turquoise waters of the bay. Surrounded by lush green hills, the backdrop of the beach is equally as stunning as the water itself. Additionally, you’ll have all the amenities you’ll need for a relaxing beach day including beach chairs, water sports rentals, a beach bar, bathroom facilities, and even a nature trail.
View historic buildings and colonial Danish architecture
Charlotte Amalie is the largest city in the US Virgin Islands and one of the oldest in the Caribbean. Founded in 1671 by the Danish, the city has seen many transformations over the centuries. Today, although repurposed, historic buildings dating back to the 1600s still line the streets. Main Street, in particular, is filled with jewelry stores offering duty-free shopping for cruise ship passengers.
🚶Take a Self-Guided Walking Tour: For some exercise and free fun, stroll around town to view the colonial Danish architecture on display in downtown Charlotte Amalie. Points of interest include Fort Christian, Frederick Lutheran Church, the St. Thomas Synagogue, Government Hill, Blackbeard’s Castle, Main Street, and Market Square.
Ascend a mountain peak in a cable car
Whether you’re staying a week or just a day, the Skyride to Paradise Point is at the top for things to do in St. Thomas. Literally. The view is incredible and one of the best in the Virgin Islands. Not to mention the exquisite steakhouse, PRIME, at its peak.
Drive a golf cart to historic landmarks and a serene beach
Departing hourly from Crown Bay Marina is a ferry bringing visitors to what is often considered the 4th US Virgin Island: Water Island. A stone’s throw away from St. Thomas, the small island made my list of the best places to go in the USVI. It is also an excellent day trip for adventurers and beachgoers.
The day is best enjoyed by renting a golf cart upon arrival where you can zoom around the winding roadways to a WW2 Era fort and Honeymoon Beach.
Coral World Ocean Park
Interact with rare marine life
Coral World Ocean Park offers unique interactions with some incredible marine life at the tip of Coki Point Beach. Playful dolphins, friendly sea lions, cool sea turtles, and elusive sharks all make appearances at the underwater aquarium and marine park as it descends below sea level. Visitors can even get up close and personal to sea life with a snorkeling tour of a nearby coral reef or a Sea Trek Helmet Dive.
Charter a Boat
Witness St. Thomas from the eyes of a sailor
You haven’t fully enjoyed St. Thomas if you’re not boarding a boat at least once. Lucky for you, your options are endless with daily charters departing from Red Hook, Crown Bay Marina, or Charlotte Amalie Harbor.
Popular stops for boat charters include Buck Island’s Turtle and Shipwreck Coves for snorkeling and Water Island’s Honeymoon Beach to freshen up your rum drink. Or you might even head over into the waters of Virgin Islands National Park for a chance to swim with sea turtles in Maho Bay.
Wherever you go, getting out on the water is among the coolest things to do in St. Thomas.
Snorkel a Coral Reef
Explore pristine marine environments
The best part about snorkel adventures in St. Thomas is you can practically do it anywhere – whether you’re on a boat or even right off the beach with a buddy. Popular snorkel tour destinations via boat include Turtle Cove, Christmas Cove, Lovango Cay, and Maho Bay. As for self-guided beach snorkeling, I suggest heading to Lindquist Beach, Sapphire Beach, or Brewers Bay on St. Thomas, and Trunk Bay Beach on St. John.
🤿 Travel Snorkel Gear: Every beach day turns into an adventure day on St. Thomas when you bring your snorkel gear. We suggest this handy travel set to discover an entire marine world of opportunity.
St. Thomas Sites & Attractions
Sip a world-famous banana daiquiri with an epic view
The best view in the US Virgin Islands is atop St. Peter Mountain. More commonly known as Mountain Top, the scenery provides 360° views of St. Thomas while overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, St. John, St. Croix, the British Virgin Islands, and the Spanish Virgin Islands (Vieques and Culebra, Puerto Rico). While exploring the views and gift shop, be sure to indulge in a delicious banana daiquiri!
Smell the aroma of exotic flora
Of the many St. Thomas attractions, strolling through the tropical flora of exotic gardens may be the most meditative and relaxing. You have two different options: Phantasea Tropical Botanical Garden and Plantation Crown and Hawk Botanical Garden. Both are equally as interesting, peaceful, and restorative.
Shop until you drop, tax-free
All of the US Virgin Islands enjoy duty-free shopping so don’t be confused by the sheer amount of jewelry stores lining Main Street in Charlotte Amalie. Primarily catering to cruise ships, other shopping districts include the Havensight Cruise Ship Dock and Mall, Crown Bay Center, and Yacht Haven Grande.
Mingle with a weathered community of sailors
Red Hook is the main village on the East End of St. Thomas. The village harbors a forgotten sailing community intermingling with a modern-day boating industry. Weathered sailboats sway beside multi-million dollar megayachts; salty dive bars nestle next door to high-end restaurants. Ferry service to St. John departs hourly and private boat charters every morning and afternoon. Water taxis to the British Virgin Islands typically dock in Red Hook, as well.
📚 Related Reading: Red Hook and the surrounding East End is our top pick for places to stay on St. Thomas. But it’s not for everyone. Weigh the pros and cons of staying in each district on St. Thomas to find which one is right for you.
Snap a picture at the famous overlook
The iconic photo of Magens Bay Beach is taken from Drake’s Seat. And believe me, it’s equally as beautiful in person as it is in the photos. Plus, beyond the bay are some breathtaking views of St. John and the British Virgin Islands with clear looks at Jost Van Dyke and Tortola.
The British Virgin Islands
Island hop to an entirely different country
We’ve already mentioned the BVIs a countless number of times, so now it’s time to think about actually going there! Water Taxis depart from Red Hook daily to bring visitors to the iconic beach bar, Soggy Dollar, on Jost Van Dyke. Other boats head to Tortola and Virgin Gorda to explore the beautiful beaches, lively villages, and wild beach bars peppered throughout.
✈️ Note on pandemic travel to the BVIs: The British Virgin Islands cut off visitors from the USVIs almost entirely throughout the pandemic. Restrictions remain in place as of this writing (March 2022) but we hope they loosen up soon! So be sure to check what requirements and fees are necessary before you plan your trip!
Cruz Bay, St John
Pull up a barstool for happy hour
A ferry ride away from Red Hook is the small beach village of Cruz Bay on St. John. Although it’s technically not on St. Thomas, it’s incredibly easy to skip across Pilsbury Sound for a few hours to enjoy a rum punch (or five) at one of the many beach bars during happy hour. Just be careful, the last ferry back to St. Thomas departs at 11 PM and you’d hate to miss it!
While you’re thinking of St. John, check out my list of fun things to do in St. John, USVI!
St. Thomas Museums & Culture
Purchase fresh produce at the Saturday morning market
📍 Google Maps | Hours: 5 am – 8 am on Saturday only
Every Saturday morning at dawn, local farmers and fishermen gather at the historic Market Square to sell their fresh produce and fresh catch. It’s early, especially after a late night at the beach bar, but if you can do it you’ll be treated with the best cultural experience on the island, delectable fruit, and freshly caught fish.
French Heritage Museum
Learn the origins of the local fishing community
Local fishermen in St. Thomas date back hundreds of years after they arrived on the island from St. Barthelemy, a French Caribbean territory in the Windward Islands. Since then, the French descendants have fished and farmed St. Thomas for centuries. Their origin story is incredibly interesting as highlighted at the French Heritage Museum, St. Thomas.
St. Thomas Pirates Treasure Museum
Become a scallywag at this St. Thomas museum
The Pirate Treasure Museum is a unique exploration of real shipwreck artifacts from around the world. These include weaponry like guns and swords to trinkets like coins and personal effects of famous pirates. All ages will enjoy the interactive exhibits as they discover how the artifacts on display were recovered and their historical significance to the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean as a whole.
Bays & Beaches in St. Thomas
Quiet beach on the East End with stunning views
One of the few East End beaches not associated with a resort, this beach is a bit quieter than others in the area. And that’s exactly why we love it. The pristine stretch of sand is sandwiched between turquoise waters and palm-lined greenery. The beach has restroom facilities, picnic tables, and lounge chairs available.
🏖️Top Beaches in St. Thomas: We love Lindquist Beach. But don’t forget about all the other beautiful beaches St. Thomas has to offer!
A popular stretch of sand near Red Hook
This beautiful beach is attached to one of the busiest beach resorts on the island. And sure, that draws in a lot of people but you also have a lot of amenities and fun things to do. Water sports rentals like snorkeling equipment and paddleboards, a beach bar with live music, an attached marina with boat tours, and a delicious on-site restaurant. Oh, and not to mention, unbelievable views of the neighboring islets.
Hull Bay Beach
Bob with the boats at this Northside bay
A true local’s beach. Hull Bay is a favorite amongst residents and fishermen alike. But make no mistake, all are welcome to this wildly scenic bay. Small patches of coral reefs offer snorkeling opportunities; the unique swell wrapping around the peninsula is ideal for surfers; local fishermen clink their bottles of Heineken at the nearby beach bar after a long day at sea. Or, at the very least, pull up a chair and enjoy the sun at one of the best beaches in the USVI’s.
Coki Point Beach
Spend an entire day exploring Coki Beach
A day at Coki Beach is one of the best things to do in St. Thomas with all the activities surrounding the area. Start your day at Coral World Ocean Park before making your way to Coki Beach Dive Center for a Discover SCUBA to explore the colorful reefs right off the beach (no experience necessary). After attempting a dive, stroll through the local vendors and hit up one of the many rum bars jamming to live music.
Brewers Bay Beach
Snorkel with a sea turtle at this local’s favorite beach
We all want to see a sea turtle. We all want to swim with a sea turtle. And yet, for some reason, Brewers Bay on the West End of St. Thomas often gets overlooked when it comes to this endeavor. But trust me, this is the best place to go snorkeling with sea turtles in all of the USVI’s. Sure, the sea is a fickle place, but you’re just about guaranteed to encounter a sea turtle or ten just a few feet from shore.
Discover coral reefs and shipwrecks
St. Thomas offers scuba diving opportunities for all sorts of experience levels and backgrounds. Uncertified divers can do a Discover Scuba Course with Coki Beach Dive Center. Certified divers can select one of the many dive charters on the island to visit popular dive sites like Cow & Calf Rock, Cartanza Señora, or the Ledges of Little St. James. Our top picks for dive charters include Red Hook Dive Center and Aqua Marine Dive Center.
🏴☠️Visit Me! I work as the Captain for Red Hook Dive Center so be sure to let me know you read this article next time you come aboard my boat for a dive trip!
Virgin Islands National Park, St. John
Hike old forest roads to secluded beaches
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (340)-776-6201 | Website | Visitor Center Hours: 9 am – 3 pm Monday – Friday | 🌴 Browse Snorkel and Kayak Tours in Virgin Islands National Park
Despite being on another island, it’s insanely easy to visit Virgin Islands National Park for an entire day directly from St. Thomas. Hop aboard the ferry in Red Hook and take a cab upon arrival to Cruz Bay to anywhere within the National Park.
Some of the best trails & sites include Rams Head, Reef Bay Trail, and the Annaberg Plantation Ruins. Maho Bay, Trunk Bay Beach, Cinnamon Bay, and Salt Pond Beach are amongst the most beautiful beaches in the Virgin Islands.
John Brewers Rock
Climb the best hiking trail on St. Thomas
Hiking trails are sparse around St. Thomas, but there are a few worth your time and effort. My favorite is John Brewers Rock. The trailhead is just across the street from the sugar mill ruins next to Brewers Bay. It takes about an hour to hike the rocky surface but once at the top, you’ll be treated to scenic views of Water Island, Vieques, Culebra, St. Croix, and on a clear day, mainland Puerto Rico.
Zipline – St. Thomas
Zip through the tropical forest
What’s a trip to a tropical destination without a zipline tour? St. Thomas is no different. Originating near a mountain peak, thrill-seekers will enjoy this excursion as you zip through the tropical forest to the backdrop of pure Caribbean beauty.
Stroll to a secluded beach on the West End
For one of the best free things to do in St. Thomas, consider embarking on the hike to Mermaid’s Chair. Situated on the very West End of the island, Mermaid’s Chair offers a secluded beach, scenic views, and climbable rock structures. The hike will take around 3 hours in total, so be sure to pack plenty of water, sunscreen, and beach items you might need!
Virgin Islands Ecotours
Kayak through a mangrove lagoon on a guided tour
Found in tropical climates, mangrove forests work in conjunction with coral reefs and seagrass beds to ensure thriving marine habitats. Virgin Islands Ecotours offers kayaking trips into the largest mangrove lagoon in the USVI’s. Paddlers of all ages will learn more about the important species while hoping to catch a glimpse of rare tropical wildlife.
Food & Drink
Frenchtown Brewing Company
Quench your thirst in an intimate beer tasting
Frenchtown Brewing Company offers a beer tasting unlike any other you’ve ever done. Upon arrival, you’ll sit down with the owners themselves as they take you through each beer they have on tap, the stories behind them, and how they brew it. Their hours are extremely limited so be sure to call ahead the day of and schedule an appointment!
Stir It Up Coffee Shop & Bakery
Savor a freshly baked croissant
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (340)-642-9972 | Hours: 6:30 am – 2 pm Mon – Fri, 7 am – 2 pm Sat, 8 am – 2 pm Sun
Every Sunday, you’ll find us waiting in line at Stir It Up to get one of the delicious, freshly baked croissants. Flavors range from almonds and chocolate to strawberry and cheese. Get there early before they’re all gone!
Enjoy local cuisine at an island staple
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (340)-777-6871 | Hours: 10 am – 10 pm daily
Brooks Bar near Magens Bay has been an island staple for years. This is the place where locals and visitors meet and intermingle after spending a long day at work or at the beach. The food is delicious, the drinks are cold, and the atmosphere is distinctly Caribbean.
Upscale Caribbean eatery in Red Hook
One of the best restaurants on St. Thomas is The Easterly in Red Hook. With a focus on fresh seafood served with a Caribbean influence, the dishes encapsulate the culture it seeks to represent. We’d recommend spending an evening enjoying their unique cocktail menu and distinct island vibe.
Side Street Pub
Quaint outdoor seating in a Charlotte Amalie alley
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (340)-775-5131 | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily
After climbing the 99 Steps to Blackbeard’s Castle on your Charlotte Amalie walking tour, be sure to pay a visit to Side Street Pub upon your descent. This unique eatery is nestled in an alleyway within the Historic District with plenty of cold drinks to cool yourself after the sweat-inducing adventure you just undertook.
🏝️ Wait, before you go … be sure to bookmark all my St. Thomas travel guides!
Have you decided on which of the things to do in St. Thomas you’re going to try out on your next visit!? Let us know in a comment below!