US Virgin Islands Travel Guides
Super useful & totally free travel guides, written by local and experts who love US Virgin Islands
Why We Love the US Virgin Islands: A slice of paradise without the hassle of ever leaving the United States. The US Virgin Islands are the idyllic Caribbean destination we all dream of. Serene blue water, pristine white sand beaches, vibrant Caribbean culture, lively tiki bars, delicious rum drinks, and untouched natural beauty.
It’s an ideal destination for travelers seeking an escape. A place where your problems drift away as your toes sink deeper into the soft sand. It’s a place you deserve. Welcome to paradise!
Best of the United States Virgin Islands
The USVI’s are composed of three major islands, an epic National Park, and a handful of minor outlying islands:
- St. Thomas – the most populated US Virgin Island is the territory’s economic hub and primary cruise port
- St. Croix – diverse Caribbean culture encompasses the largest US Virgin Island
- St. John – home to the Virgin Islands National Park and two small villages, Cruz Bay and Coral Bay
- Virgin Islands National Park – tropical forests, hiking trails, sugar mill ruins, and secluded beaches are prominent in this unique US National Park
- Water Island – home to a few hundred residents, the 4th US Virgin Island is a fun day trip from St. Thomas
👉 Explore all places to visit in the USVI
✨ Things to Do
Pristine beaches, vibrant sea life, remote islands, and untouched natural beauty await you in the USVIs:
- Magens Bay on St. Thomas – this mile-long stretch of white sand is a must-see in the US Virgin Islands, and one of the best things to do in St. Thomas.
- Buck Island near St. Croix – explore the vibrant reefs of the marine sanctuary before exploring the equally as stunning beach
- Snorkeling on St. John – the beaches of St. John’s north shore feature crystal blue water and pristine coral reefs, making for one of the best things to do in St. John.
- Hiking in Virgin Islands National Park – old forest roads wind through tropical forests before descending into secluded shores
- Honeymoon Beach on Water Island – visit this stunning beach via boat on one of the many day charters departing St. Thomas
🗺️ Where to Stay
With visitors primarily in mind, you won’t be lacking choice when deciding where to stay:
- East End of St. Thomas – the most visitor-friendly region in all of the US Virgin Islands
- North shore of St. Croix – popular hotels and resorts line the pristine waters of the Caribbean Sea
- Cruz Bay, St. John – The lively village is the gateway to Virgin Islands National Park
- Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas – cultural institutions, local restaurants, and duty-free shopping line the streets of the territory’s capital city
- On a Catamaran – a week-long boat charter is a popular way to see all of the USVI’s from a unique perspective
🛎 Best Hotels
World-class hotels overlooking mountainous islets, bayfront resorts tucked in hidden coves, and family-friendly guesthouses line the shores of the Virgin Islands:
- Ritz Carlton – St. Thomas – luxury beachfront resort with a secluded bayfront and high-end restaurant
- The Waves at Cane Bay (St. Croix) – intimate waterfront boutique hotel on the north shore of St. Croix
- The Westin St. John Villas – the largest resort on St. John grants visitors immediate access to the National Park
- Secret Harbour Beach Resort (St. Thomas) – our top-rated hotel in St. Thomas with an attached dive shop, bayfront restaurant, and secluded beach
- Sapphire Beach Resort (St. Thomas) – privately-owned condos with stunning views of St. John and Tortola
⛵ Best Boat Trips
The best way to enjoy the US Virgin Islands is from the water. Consider a boat trip to one of these islands:
- Buck Island (St. Thomas) – the best snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities in St. Thomas surround this pristine island
- Water Island – take the ferry or a private charter to Honeymoon Beach, one of the most popular beaches in the Virgin Islands
- Buck Island (St. Croix) – the marine sanctuary and the federally protected island is the top thing to do in St. Croix
- Coral Bay, St. John – circumnavigate St. John and make a stop at Coral Bay’s floating taco stand, Lime Out
- British Virgin Islands – a day trip to the beautiful islands of Jost VanDyke, Tortola, or Virgin Gorda is difficult with new restrictions. A multi-day boat trip may be worthwhile
⛱️ Best Beaches
- Magens Bay, St. Thomas – the postcard image of the USVI’s, and for good reason
- Maho Bay, St. John – food trucks and watersports rentals line this beach famous for snorkeling with green sea turtles
- Sandy Point Beach, St. Croix – one of the longest coastlines in the Caribbean is an untouched slice of paradise
- Trunk Bay, St. John – colorful marine life await snorkelers along the designated reef trail at this beach in the National Park
- Honeymoon Beach, Water Island – the famous stretch of sand has volleyball courts, water sport rentals, and a lively beach bar
⛰️ Best Hikes
- Reef Bay Trail, Virgin Islands National Park – the top hiking trail on St. John along old forest roads, sugar mill ruins, a secluded beach, and ancient Petroglyphs
- Jack and Isaac Bay Trail, St. Croix – two secluded bays await hikers on this trail beginning at the easternmost point of the United States, Point Udall
- Ram Head Trail, Virgin Islands National Park – a difficult, yet extremely rewarding trail on the southern end of the National Park
- John Brewers Rock, St. Thomas – short, yet heart-pounding trail culminating in a gorgeous view of Water Island and Vieques, PR
- Leinster Bay Trail, Virgin Islands National Park – a flat, beginner-friendly trail beginning at the historic Annaberg Sugar Mill ruins
🍹 Best Beach Bars
- Iggies Beach Bar & Grill, St. Thomas – a lively beach bar with live music inside Bolongo Bay Resort on the Southside of St. Thomas
- Dinghy’s Beach Bar, Water Island – a perfect spot to freshen up on a Rum Punch during a day charter around St. Thomas
- The Beach Bar, St. John – stop in for the best happy hour in the USVI’s after a day hiking in Virgin Islands National Park
- Rhythms at Rainbow Beach, St. Croix – nestled under swaying palms, Rhythms is a picturesque Caribbean beach bar
- Off the Wall, St. Croix – the top-rated tiki bar on the north shore of St. Croix near Christiansted
🏛️ Historical Sites
- Fort Christiansvaern, St. Croix – the Danish colonial fortification was built in 1749 to stave off pirates entering the harbor
- Annaberg Sugar Plantation, St. John – the sugar mill grounds are the most expansive on St. John as they overlook Tortola and the BVI’s
- Blackbeard’s Castle, St. Thomas – an old military watchtower built by the Danish in 1679 to protect the harbor of Charlotte Amalie
- Fort Frederik, St. Croix – overlooking a deep water harbor, the Danish built yet another fort to protect the island’s interest from other colonial powers
- Catherineberg Estate Ruins, St. John – one of the most impressive sugar mill ruins in the US Virgin Islands
US Virgin Islands Travel Advice
🗓️ Best Time to Visit
Truth be told, there’s never a bad time to visit the US Virgin Islands with its year-round warm weather and sunshine.
- 🌴 Fall – cheapest and least busy time to travel – just keep an eye out for hurricanes!
- 🌞 Summer – warmer temperatures don’t deter visitors as the islands remain steadily busy
- 😎 Winter – beautiful weather and slightly cooler temperatures bring in crowds escaping the cold weather on the mainland
- 🏖️ Spring – early March kicks off Spring Break for most visitors. Expect high prices and large crowds on the island
🚌 Getting In & Around
You’ll need to travel by air, land, and sea to get from point to point within the US Virgin Islands
- ✈️ Airports – Travel to St. Thomas or St. John via Cyril E. King Airport (STT) and to St. Croix via Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (STX)
- 🚗 Driving – Highly recommended for any semblance of reliable transit. Just don’t forget to drive on the left side!
- 🚇 Public Transit – extremely limited and unreliable. Most locals use the Safari system (see below)
- 📲 Ride Share – rideshares like Uber and Lyft do not exist in the US Virgin Islands
- 🚚 Safari – privately owned, open-air taxi cabs in the back of a truck. The cost is $2 per person and goes to most major destinations on the islands
- ⛴️People Ferry – travels between St. John and St. Thomas every hour for foot passengers only
- 🚢Car Barge – explore St. John unabated when you bring your car with you aboard the barge departing St. Thomas
- 🛥️St. Croix and Water Island Ferries – depart Charlotte Amalie Harbor bringing visitors to the two other US Virgin Islands
- 🚴♀️ Biking – narrow mountain roads make cycling incredibly dangerous. We advise against it
🚶♀️ Walking – advised within the main village centers, otherwise you won’t be walking too much given the mountainous landscape
👉 Tips & Things to Know
- 🤝 Exchanging Pleasantries – it is custom to start every conversation with an emphatic “Good morning!”, “Good afternoon!”, or “Good day!”. When you do, you’ll find your interactions with locals much more pleasant.
- 💰High Costs – from restaurants to grocery stores, don’t be surprised at the extremely high prices on food and other items
- 🩲 Covering Up – you might be in vacation mode, but locals are not fond of visitors walking around in only their swimsuits. If you’re not at the beach, respect the local customs and cover-up.
- 🥭Buy local foods – locally grown fruit is sold at a better price than the stores at pop-up tents around the island (and it tastes better, too)
- 💍Duty-free shopping – with no sales tax in the USVI’s, you can save hundreds when you make purchases on jewelry and high-cost items
🧳 What to Pack
- ☀️Mineral Sunscreen – protect your skin from the blazing Caribbean sun
- 🚰 Reusable Water Bottle – with no recycling on the island, it’s important for environmental reasons to bring your own water bottle
- 👕 UPF Clothing – there’s nothing worse than getting sunburned the first day of your vacation. If you do, you’ll need more protection than just sunscreen.
- 🥫 Food – bringing snacks, boxes of food, and even frozen meat on the plane from the mainland can save on food costs
- 🤿 Snorkeling Gear – every beach in the USVI’s has something incredible to see underwater
🤓 Facts & Info
- Population – 87,146
- Capital – Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
- Largest Towns & Communities – Charlotte Amalie (St. Thomas), Red Hook (St. Thomas), Christiansted (St. Croix), Frederiksted (St. Croix), Cruz Bay (St. John), Coral Bay (St. John)
- Time Zone – Atlantic Standard Time (UTC -4 / no daylight savings)
- Airports – Cyril E. King Airport – St. Thomas (STT), Henry E. Rohlsen Airport – St. Croix (STX)
- Colleges & Universities – University of Virgin Islands
- Nickname – Rock City (St. Thomas), Love City (St. John), Twin City (St. Croix)
- Demonym – Virgin Islander (USVI’s), St. Thomian (St. Thomas), St. Johnian (St. John), and Crucian (St. Croix)
- USPS Abbreviation – VI
- Governor – Albert Bryan (D)
- Country – United States of America
💵 Costs & Budgeting
- 3 Star Hotel Room – $200 – $400 / night
- 1 Bedroom Apartment Rental – $100 – $200 / night
- Rental Car – $100 – $150 / day
- Public Transit Ticket – $2 per person on a Safari; ~$20 per person to/from the airport in a taxi
- Take Out Meal for Two – $40 – $50
- Sit Down Dinner for Two – $100+
- Draft Beer – $6 – $10
FAQs About Visiting the US Virgin Islands
Are the US Virgin Islands safe for tourists?
The US Virgin Islands are safe for tourists and anyone else visiting the island. As with anywhere, certain streets in town should be avoided, particularly at night, and you should lock up any valuables in a hotel safe.
What islands are part of the US Virgin Islands?
The three main islands of the US Virgin Islands are St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix. Many people consider Water Island the fourth US Virgin Island, as well. The territory also includes 50 smaller islets and cays that are either privately, federally, or territory owned.
Do you need a passport to go to the US Virgin Islands?
US citizens do not need a passport to visit the US Virgin Islands. Since the territory is owned by the United States, entry is seen as a domestic flight in the eyes of the US federal government.
Which US Virgin Island is the best?
Which US Virgin Island is best for you entirely depends on what you’re interested in and how you travel. St. Thomas is the best US Virgin Island for families, boaters, and cruise passengers. St. John is the best US Virgin Island for adventure seekers, beachgoers, snorkelers, and hikers. And St. Croix is the best US Virgin Island for scuba divers, history buffs, and those looking for a relaxed atmosphere.
Can a US citizen move to the US Virgin Islands?
After visiting, you’ll probably be asking yourself this question. The answer is, yes! Of course! Since the US Virgin Islands are a territory of the United States, it’s relatively easy for citizens of the US to make the move to the Caribbean paradise.
Meet Our US Virgin Islands Travel Expert
Andrew Bloem is an adventure travel writer from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A pirate at heart, Andrew’s travels usually don’t stray too far from a palm tree and an ocean view. When he’s not writing guides for Travel Lemming, you can find him typing away at the local tiki bar for his site OceanWide Explorers.
📰 US Virgin Islands Travel Guides
With three major islands, offering extremely different experiences, your journey into the US Virgin Islands is just beginning!
- Where to Stay in St. John, USVI (Best Places & Areas in 2022)
- Virgin Islands National Park (Ultimate Guide for 2022)
- 15 St. John Beaches You Can’t Miss (in 2022)
- 21 Best Things to Do in St. John, USVI (2022)
- 33 Best Things to Do in St Thomas, USVI (in 2022)
- Where to Stay in St. Thomas, USVI (Best Places & Areas)
- 17 Best Places to Visit in US Virgin Islands (in 2022)
- 13 Best Beaches in St Thomas, USVI (for 2022)