The U.S. Virgin Islands consist of St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix. St. Thomas is the biggest of the USVI, with the popular cruise port of Charlotte Amalie (the capital of St. Thomas). The British Virgin Islands consist of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, and Anegada. You do need a passport to venture over to the BVI.
There are plenty of beautiful beaches to visit all over St. Thomas.
Magen’s Bay Beach is on the north side of St. Thomas. The beach faces west so the sun rises behind you but there is plenty of sun all day long with beautiful sunsets over the water. The water is clear and warm and great for snorkeling. You can see green mountains rising up from the water on each side of the bay and an island in the distance; Magen’s Bay Beach looks like a beautiful white beach!
Frenchman’s Reef is on the south side of St. Thomas, just south of Charlotte Amalie. Frenchman’s Reef comes to a point with a luxury resort at the southern tip. This beach is a little busier and more built up than Magen’s Bay.
Bluebeard’s Beach is southeast of Frenchman’s Reef with Bluebeard’s Castle and the 24-acre timeshare resort on the beach. It’s a small beach with palm trees and lined with rocks. This beach is mostly exclusively used by Bluebeard’s Castle visitors.
Still following the coastline southeast, you’ll reach Bolongo Bay next. It’s a very natural beach with lush green hills sloping gently to a white sand beach lined with palm trees.
Coki Point Beach is on the east side of St. Thomas and is a popular beach for cruise passengers. It’s well-known for snorkeling. Try to go to this beach on a day when a cruise ship isn’t in port; it gets crowded!
Sapphire Beach is on the far east end of St. Thomas. Contrary to its name, it is not full of sapphires. It was actually my least favorite beach in St. Thomas because it was small with grainy sand. The water is a beautiful sapphire color though.
Virgin Islands National Park is acres of lush greenery ending in a beautiful postcard-like beach. It’s about a 5-10 minute walk through the park to get to the pristine beach, but you can find the best surfing in the Caribbean here. Despite the long walk, the national park beaches get very crowded!
There are many other beaches in St. Thomas and St. John, but these are the ones I was lucky enough to visit!
Iggy’s Beach Bar is in Bolongo Bay, St. Thomas. I don’t know if it’s named after the iguanas or not, but there are a lot of iguanas running around!
Duffy’s Love Shack is in Red Hook, St. Thomas. It’s a tourist and local bar/restaurant. You can sit outside, but outside seating is right in the parking lot! Still, you can’t beat this place for a great atmosphere. Great food and great entertainment! (I still have my Duffy’s tank top souvenir 8 years later.)
Bolongo Bay has a restaurant on the beach with entertainment. After dinner, partake in all kinds of activities!
Woody’s Seafood Saloon in St. John is a ferry ride from St. Thomas but well worth it! It’s world-famous and written up in all travel books. It looks like a shack on the side of the street but there will always be a long wait for a table. You get a real local feel for the Virgin Islands at Woody’s. Go for happy hour, dinner, late night drinks, after a wedding, or celebrity-searching.
Fun Fact: Kenny Chesney’s favorite bar is Woody’s in St. John! It’s a well-known secret on the island that he takes his whole band and crew to the island after he finishes up a tour. Derek Jeter has also frequented the bar.
How To Get Around
The Virgin Islands are relatively small, but not quite small enough where you don’t need a car. If you’re staying in Magen’s Bay, for example, it’s a good car ride from any other beach, restaurant, bar, or shopping. Be careful when renting a car in the USVI – even though they’re a U.S. territory, they drive on the left side of the road! A trick to remember what side to be on: if you’re driving, you shouldn’t be able to reach out and touch a car on the opposite side. You should be able to touch the mountains instead!
The ferry connects all the islands. It’s a car ferry, so you can bring your rental along with you to drive around the other islands. If you don’t have a car or prefer to walk or taxi, you can walk on the ferry for cheaper!
The Virgin Islands are beautiful, natural, volcanic islands in the Eastern Caribbean. It has one of the busiest airports in the Eastern Caribbean too. It has a small runway but landing and takeoff views are once-in-a-lifetime! You don’t need a passport to visit the USVI, but make sure to pack it if you want to travel to the BVI. All of the islands are definitely worth a visit!