If you’re looking to go beyond the beachfront resort during your upcoming trip to the US Virgin Islands, I’ve carefully crafted an amazing US Virgin Islands itinerary for you to see everything else these gorgeous islands have to offer!
My wife and I have been living and working in St. Thomas for quite some time now while bouncing between the other two main islands of St. John and St. Croix. My experiences exploring these islands have given me enough insight to confidently plan this thrilling, yet efficient, itinerary!
This action-packed itinerary takes you to the best sites on each island over the span of 10 days. Of course, you can tailor it to your liking if you want more downtime for the beach or only have 7 days available to you.
Table of Contents
- 10 Days in the US Virgin Islands
- 7-Day St. Thomas and St. John Itinerary
- Day 1 – Arrive at St. Thomas & Scenic Overlooks
- Day 2 – Charlotte Amalie & Magens Bay Beach
- Day 3 – Coral World Ocean Park, Coki Beach, & Red Hook
- Day 4 – Water Island, Honeymoon Beach, and St. Thomas Northside
- Day 5 – Circling St. John on a Boat Charter
- Day 6 – St. John & Virgin Islands National Park
- Day 7 – Hiking Trail, Trunk Bay Beach & Cruz Bay
- 3-Day St. Croix Itinerary
- How to Get Around in the US Virgin Islands
- US Virgin Islands Itinerary Planning Tips
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10 Days in the US Virgin Islands
Without ever being here, it may be hard to understand the spacing between the three main islands of the US Virgin Islands. St. Thomas and St. John are a mere five miles apart and are easily accessible to each other. St. Croix, on the other hand, is 40 miles south of St. Thomas and should be treated as its own itinerary.
That’s why this itinerary is over the span of 10 days – spending a week between St. Thomas and St. John with an additional three days (or more) on St. Croix. If you only have a week available, I recommend staying on St. Thomas and traveling to St. Croix for a separate vacation later on!
7-Day St. Thomas and St. John Itinerary
Day 1 – Arrive at St. Thomas & Scenic Overlooks
Most flights from the mainland arrive at Cyril E. King International Airport (STT) on St. Thomas during the late afternoon. Upon landing, your main goal is renting your car and getting to your hotel – leaving very little daylight for any other activities.
While en route to your hotel, this is the perfect time to make a quick pit stop at two of the best overlooks on St. Thomas: Drakes Seat and the Charlotte Amalie Overlook. Drakes Seat famously overlooks Magens Bay and the British Virgin Islands while the Charlotte Amalie Overlook is a unique perspective of the largest city in the US Virgin Islands, Vieques of Puerto Rico, and St. Croix.
Keep in mind as you roll out of the airport: we drive on the left side of the road! If you’re anxious to do so, calm your nerves with our handy guide, driving in the US Virgin Islands!
- 🛎️ Where to Stay: Secret Harbour Beach Resort ($$$, secluded East End beachfront) • Sapphire Beach Resort ($$, beachfront community with stunning views) • The Green Iguana Hotel ($$, quaint and personable guesthouse)
- 🍽️ Where to Eat: 13 Restaurant ($$) • The Smoking Rooster ($$)
- 🍺 Where to Drink: Box Bar ($$) • Dog House Pub ($)
Day 2 – Charlotte Amalie & Magens Bay Beach
Start your morning with a walking tour throughout downtown Charlotte Amalie after parking at Yacht Haven Grande. Follow the Waterfront to the territory’s capital city which dates back to the late 1600s and is home to many architectural feats like Blackbeard’s Castle, the 99 Steps, Fort Christian, and some of the oldest churches and synagogues in North America.
Continue to stroll through alleyways like Drakes Passage and Palm Passage for duty-free shopping before sitting down at the Side Street Pub for lunch. Head back to your car and head to the north side of the island to visit Magens Bay Beach for the rest of your afternoon.
Spend the day relaxing on Magens Bay and snorkeling the coral reefs lining the edge of the water. Sip drinks from Magens Point Bar & Grill before making your way just up the hill for local cuisine at Brooks Bar come dinner time. Lastly, save room for a delicious alcoholic milkshake from Udder Delights before making your way back to your hotel.
- 🍽️ Where to Eat: Side Street Pub ($$) • Brooks Bar ($)
- 🍺 Where to Drink: Udder Delights ($) • Magens Point Bar & Grill ($$)
Day 3 – Coral World Ocean Park, Coki Beach, & Red Hook
After breakfast at your hotel, head to Coki Point on the island’s East End for a morning at Coral World Ocean Park. This interactive aquarium has opportunities to swim with dolphins, play with sea lions, or simply view the marine world from an underwater observatory tower.
Afterward, grab fresh seafood for lunch at Catch of the Day before trying your hand at Scuba Diving with Coki Beach Dive Center (no experience necessary). Soak up the sun at Coki Beach for the rest of your afternoon or drive to Lindquist Beach for a quieter stretch of sand.
After freshening up at your hotel, head out to Red Hook for dinner and drinks. Red Hook has diverse options of food including burgers, Italian, Latin, pizza, sushi, and of course, fresh seafood. Or keep things simple at nearby Secret Harbor Beach – home to the Sunset Grille where you’ll be treated to amazing food and a dazzling sunset.
- 🍽️ Where to Eat: Catch of the Day ($$) • Sunset Grille ($$$)
- 🍺 Where to Drink: Duffy’s Love Shack ($$) • Island Time Pub ($$)
Day 4 – Water Island, Honeymoon Beach, and St. Thomas Northside
Start your day with breakfast and coffee at Scoops & Brew in Crown Bay Marina before jumping on the ferry bound for Water Island. Considered the 4th US Virgin Island, the small island is home to a few hundred residents and one epic day trip from St. Thomas.
Upon arrival on Water Island, rent a golf cart from Rachael’s Rentals to zoom up and down the winding roads to Fort Segarra, Limestone Bay, and Heidi’s Hilltop Bar & Grill for lunch. End your visit on the sands of Honeymoon Beach as you soak up the sun, splash in the turquoise waters, and tip back a few drinks from Dinghy’s Beach Bar.
Spend between 4 – 6 hours exploring Water Island before heading back to St. Thomas for the rest of your day. Consider visiting Brewers Bay Beach to snorkel with sea turtles, hiking up to John Brewers Rock, or simply relax at your hotel before dining at Fish Bar near Hull Bay for the best fresh seafood St. Thomas has to offer.
Another fantastic option for evening plans is a sunset dinner cruise on the VI Cat departing from the Marriott’s Frenchman’s Cove. The 2-hour trip features a delicious BBQ (or taco) dinner with an open bar as the sun sinks over the lights of Charlotte Amalie.
Day 5 – Circling St. John on a Boat Charter
The best way to experience the US Virgin Islands is from the water – it’s what makes these islands so special. That’s why one of your days on St. Thomas should be entirely dedicated to a boat trip circumnavigating St. John and Virgin Islands National Park.
Most boat charters to St. John depart from American Yacht Harbor in Red Hook. Our favorite companies are Seas the Day and Stormy Pirates. The Captain will tailor the trip to your liking but I recommend stops at Maho Bay to snorkel with sea turtles, Waterlemon Cay to view critically endangered coral species, and Hurricane Hole to snorkel unique mangrove environments.
Request a stop at Lime Out VI for lunch – the Caribbean’s only floating taco stand with scrumptious tacos and even tastier frozen drinks. End the trip enjoying the turquoise waters of Salt Pond Bay before heading back to Red Hook for dinner at Island Time Pub – the best pizza spot on St. Thomas.
Day 6 – St. John & Virgin Islands National Park
Exploring St. John and Virgin Islands National Park by land is equally as important as exploring by water. That’s why the final two days of this portion of my US Virgin Islands itinerary are spent exclusively on St. John.
Whether or not you choose to stay in St. John for these days is up to you. Obviously, it makes it easier to see most of the island, but I will say, getting to St. John from St. Thomas is incredibly easy as two separate day trips.
With that said, if you’re leaving from St. Thomas, hop aboard the earliest car barge bound for St. John before driving to Ram Head Trail past Coral Bay. This is arguably the best hike on St. John offering panoramic views along a moderately difficult trail. Hiking Reef Bay Trail is another option here but only if you start the trail as early as possible.
After your morning hike, make a breakfast smoothie stop at Colombo’s before exploring Annaberg Sugar Plantation Ruins. This old sugar plantation is the most impressive ruin collection from the Danish West Indies. Grab lunch at one of the tiki huts at Maho Bay Beach before settling on one of the gorgeous white sand beaches along the north shore. My favorite is Cinnamon Bay but Maho Bay, Trunk Bay, Jumbie Beach, and Hawksnest Beach are equally as beautiful beaches.
Finish the day shopping and grabbing a light bite to eat at Mongoose Junction in Cruz Bay before taking the car barge back to St. Thomas. If you’re staying on St. John, consider grabbing dinner at The Longboard in Cruz Bay before tipping back a few drinks at the Beach Bar.
- 🛎️ Where to Stay: Estate Lindholm ($$$, top-rated hotel in St. John) • The Westin St. John ($$$, all the amenities on the island) • Cinnamon Bay Campground ($, rent an eco-hut or bring your own tent)
- 🍽️ Where to Eat: Greengo’s Caribbean Cantina ($$) • The Longboard ($$$)
- 🍺 Where to Drink: The Beach Bar ($$) • Tap Room ($$)
Day 7 – Hiking Trail, Trunk Bay Beach & Cruz Bay
Start your day hiking another trail on St. John. If you did Ram Head Trail the day before, consider hiking Reef Bay Trail today, or vice versa. If you’re arriving from St. Thomas, take the passenger ferry rather than the car barge and hike Lind Point Trail to beautiful Honeymoon Beach and Caneel Bay.
Afterward, whether by car or taxi, plan on spending your day at Trunk Bay Beach, one of the best beaches in St. John. Pack a lunch to maximize your time or grab some food from the snack bar before kicking out to the underwater snorkel trail in the crystal clear bay.
Head back to Cruz Bay before sunset to grab dinner at one of the many amazing restaurants before turning in early back on St. Thomas or your hotel on St. John. You have an early day to St. Croix tomorrow!
- 🍽️ Where to Eat: The Banana Deck ($$$) • The Lime Inn ($$)
- 🍺 Where to Drink: Quiet Mon Pub ($) • Rum Hut ($$)
3-Day St. Croix Itinerary
Unlike St. John, traveling back and forth to St. Croix from St. Thomas is not so easy. The largest US Virgin Island is 40 miles south of St. Thomas and must be explored over multiple days. You cannot visit St. Croix on a day trip from St. Thomas or St. John.
Day 1 – Arrive in St. Croix, Explore Christiansted, Buck Island
Depart your hotel early to get to St. Croix via airplane or ferry. Cape Air flights depart throughout the day and at least one ferry departs Charlotte Amalie once a day, almost daily. The ferry to St. Croix is the cheapest option, yet it is known as a wildly uncomfortable ride while flights are smooth yet much more expensive.
If arriving by ferry, you’ll land directly in Christiansted, the largest community on St. Croix. If arriving by plane, grab a taxi or rental car from the airport before making your way to the town. I recommend staying in or near Christiansted as it’s centrally located with the most restaurants, marinas, beaches, and St. Croix attractions within its vicinity.
Upon arrival, grab a coffee and late breakfast from The Bistro, Coffee, and Eatery before hopping aboard an afternoon boat bound for Buck Island Reef National Monument. Spend the trip snorkeling the pristine coral reefs surrounding the island before heading back to Christiansted.
End your day exploring the Christiansted Historical District including Fort Christiansvaern before strolling the Christiansted Boardwalk for dinner and drinks at Rum Runners Restaurant.
- 🛎️ Where to Stay: The Buccaneer Beach & Golf Resort ($$$$, iconic and luxurious St. Croix hotel) • Sugar Apple Bed & Breakfast ($$, cozy B&B in the heart of Christiansted)
- 🍽️ 🍺 Where to Eat & Drink: Rum Runners Restaurant ($$) • The Mill Boardwalk Bar Brick Oven Pizza ($$) • Shupe’s on the Boardwalk ($$)
Day 2 – Frederiksted, Rainbow Beach, and Sandy Point
Spend your next day on St. Croix almost entirely on the island’s pristine west end beginning with breakfast at Polly’s At the Pier in Frederiksted, the island’s second-largest community. After breakfast, spend the cooler hours of the morning wandering the streets of Frederiksted including Fort Frederik and other historical buildings.
Once the sun heats up, it’s time to cool off by snorkeling or scuba diving the Frederiksted Pier. Amazingly, underneath the large pier is one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the entire Caribbean. Stop into Cane Bay Dive Shop for guided tours or equipment rentals.
Grab local Caribbean cuisine for lunch at Uca’s Kitchen before spending the rest of your day at either Rainbow Beach or Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge. Sandy Point is among the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean but is open variably as it serves as a nesting site for endangered leatherback sea turtles.
End your day watching the sunset over the Caribbean Sea from the Louie and Nacho’s Beach Bar deck before heading back to Christiansted for the night.
- 🍽️ 🍺 Where to Eat & Drink: Polly’s At the Pier ($$) • Louie and Nacho’s Beach Bar ($$$) • Uca’s Kitchen ($$)
Day 3 – Point Udall, Jack & Isaacs Bay Beach, & Cane Bay
Catch the earliest sunrise in all of the United States at Point Udall on the easternmost point of St. Croix. Be sure to pack your hiking shoes and beach towel to hike down to the secluded beaches of Jack and Isaacs Bay following the sunrise.
After hiking back up, stop at Ziggy’s Island Market for some of the best Caribbean cuisines in all of the Virgin Islands. Afterward, head to Cane Bay on the north shore of St. Croix to enjoy the rest of your day. Cane Bay is known for its sudden drop-off into thousands of feet below sea level – an excellent spot for scuba diving and snorkeling.
End your afternoon with a few rum drinks at Off the Wall, one of the many beach bars along St. Croix’s north shore. If you need to catch the ferry back to St. Thomas, be sure to get back into Christiansted at a reasonable time to not miss your departure. Otherwise, consider getting a flight back home (or to your next destination) departing Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (STX) the next morning.
- 🍽️ Where to Eat & Drink: Ziggy’s Island Market ($) • Off the Wall ($$)
- 🏝️ Read More: Best Hikes in St. Croix
How to Get Around in the US Virgin Islands
The US Virgin Islands are one of the few places in the world with so many options for transit from place to place. Below is a complete list of how to get around each island and even how to get from island to island.
How to Get Around St. Thomas
🚙 Rental Car – renting a car upon arrival at Cyril E. King Airport (STT) is the easiest way to get around St. Thomas. Plus, if you head to St. John for a day or two, it’s easy to bring the car with you.
🚕 Taxi – taxis travel from the airport to most major destinations and hotels throughout the island. However, it can get costly quickly, especially for larger groups.
🚌 Safari – Safaris on St. Thomas are an affordable and fun way to get around the island. The drivers travel on a fixed route stopping by populous areas and frequented sections of the island. The best part? It’s only a few dollars for each ride!
How to Get Around St. John
🚙 Rental Car – renting a car in St. John is helpful but not necessary if you’re staying in Cruz Bay. I’d recommend renting a car if you’re staying outside of Cruz Bay, particularly towards Coral Bay or the island’s remote East End.
🚕 Taxi – taxis are readily available for a fair price per person in Cruz Bay at the Westin or ferry dock. If you’re staying in Cruz Bay, you may not need to rent a car.
How to Get Around St. Croix
🚙 Rental Cars – renting a car is by far the easiest and most effective method of exploring the island. Taxis and public transit are available but may not get you to the more remote sections of St. Croix that are worth visiting.
🚕 Taxi – taxis are readily available in the tourist hubs near the airport, cruise ship dock, Christiansted, and major hotels. If you’re staying in more remote sections of the island, you may want to rent a car.
Island Hopping in the Virgin Islands
Knowing how to get from one island to the next is a confusing process. Here’s a comprehensive list of the best methods to get from island to island in the Virgin Islands.
🇻🇮 St. Thomas to St. John – you have a few options depending on if you’re bringing a car or not.
⛴️ Passenger Ferry – departs Red Hook hourly and Charlotte Amalie variably. Check the current ferry schedule.
🛥️ Car Ferry / Barge – three different companies with four boats in total travel between Red Hook and Cruz Bay on a fixed schedule.
🏖️ St. Thomas to St. Croix – you have three options for travel between the two islands.
⛴️ Passenger Ferry – two ferries travel back and forth between Charlotte Amalie to Christiansted variably throughout the week. Check the current schedule.
✈️ By Plane – Cape Air operates between St. Thomas and St. Croix with multiple flights throughout the day. Search for flights via Skyscanner.
🛫 By Seaplane – Seaborne Airlines provides a unique but expensive option for traveling between the two islands.
🇻🇮 St. John to St. Croix – limited service between the two islands, typically once a month during peak seasons. Check the current schedule.
🇻🇬 St. Thomas to the British Virgin Islands – ferries heading for Tortola and Jost Van Dyke depart Red Hook and Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas. Departure times are sporadic depending on seasonality so be sure to check the schedule before you plan anything concrete.
US Virgin Islands Itinerary Planning Tips
Tip #1 – Tweak as Necessary
By no means is this US Virgin Islands itinerary exclusive. Please, we encourage you to tweak it into a trip that works best for you. Some possible alterations include more time on St. John for nature lovers or a week’s stay on St. Croix for beach bums.
Additionally, much of my itinerary is extremely active and on the go. Feel free to slow it down. Sit on the beach or poolside more. Melt into that beach chair as your toes sink deeper into the sand. The rum is always flowing here, so drink it up while you can.
Tip #2 – Get on the Water
One aspect of our itinerary that I would recommend NOT tweaking is the listed boat trips. You simply cannot fully enjoy the US Virgin Islands without getting on the water in some capacity. Whether that’s a sunset cruise, snorkeling trip, or a day-long boat charter.
Tip #3 – Embrace the Outdoors
Embracing outdoor activities like hiking, snorkeling, or even relaxing on the beach can save you loads of money during your visit to the US Virgin Islands. These islands are expensive, but one way to enjoy the US Virgin Islands while on a budget is by taking advantage of the many free outdoor adventures.
Tip #4 – Pick the Best Time to Visit
Between peak tourist season, high costs, sweltering heat, or hurricane season, selecting when the best time of year for you to visit the US Virgin Islands is an important consideration.
Tip #5 – Visit the nearby British Virgin Islands
You’ve come this far into the Caribbean so you might as well go island-hopping into the neighboring British Virgin Islands. Just a short ferry ride from St. Thomas and St. John are Jost Van Dyke (home to the famous Soggy Dollar Bar), Virgin Gorda, Tortola, and Anegada – the four main islands of the BVIs.
Tip #6 – Spend a week in Puerto Rico before or after the USVI’s
Puerto Rico is another great extension of an amazing trip in the Caribbean Islands. The US territory is surprisingly close to the US Virgin Islands after a short 20-minute plane ride to San Juan from either St. Thomas or St. Croix. Check out our Puerto Rico Itinerary to see if the trip makes sense for you.
If you have any questions about the itinerary or some suggestions on alterations, feel free to leave a comment down below! Enjoy this US Virgin Islands itinerary!
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