Cruise and Beach Destinations
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U.S. Virgin Islands

Best and Worst Times to Visit U.S. Virgin Islands

The best months to visit the U.S. Virgin Islands are December through April during the dry season.

The worst months to visit are September through November. These months fall inside the heart of the hurricane season, also known as the wet season.

The U.S. Virgin Islands rely heavily on tourism to sustain their economy. The islands welcome nearly 700,000 visitors each year by air and more than 1 million by sea. The island chain is one of the most visited in the Caribbean.

The Dry Season

The dry season in the U.S. Virgin Islands runs from December to May.

Many tourists choose to visit the islands at this time because of the likelihood of sunny weather and the elimination of hurricane threat. The annual Caribbean hurricane season begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30 every year. September and October are the most active months for tropical storms and hurricanes.

Nearly 60 percent of tourists to the U.S. Virgin Islands come between December and May. The peak tourist month is March during spring break from schools. December is a popular time to visit for the same reason.

Because so many people visit the islands during the dry season, crowds become larger. Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas, the capital of the U.S. Virgin Islands, is particularly popular with cruise ships because of its duty-free shopping.

It rains very little during the dry season with an average of about two inches a month. May receives the most rain of the dry months, averaging just over three inches.

Rainy Season

St. Thomas average monthly rainfall
St. Thomas average monthly rainfall. © 2019 Scott S. Bateman
While tourism drops during the wet season, the threat of hurricanes rises. Visitors to the islands during the wet season will likely find better deals and fewer crowds, but at the risk of inclement weather.

September is the least popular month to visit the islands, followed by October. Rainfall averages five to six inches a month from September through November.

Cruise passenger arrivals drop dramatically during the rainy season. The wet season officially runs from June to November.

Rainfall increases during the wet months. The islands receive about 40 inches per year, most of which occurs during the wet season.

Average Monthly Temperatures

Average daytime temperatures range from 85 degrees Fahrenheit in January to 90 degrees from July through September, according to 30 years of data from the U.S. National Weather Service.

Average nighttime temperatures range from 72 degrees Fahrenheit in January to 78 from June through September. Seawater temperatures stay between the daytime highs and nighttime lows. Swimming is usually comfortable for every month of the year, although there are some exceptions during cooler days.

Other Tips on When to Visit

Although December through April are the best times to visit because of comfortable temperatures and low risk of rain, some travel planners may want other options.

Fewer crowds and lower prices can make rainy season months seem more appealing. But threat of hurricanes can make travel during this time a risky bet. It's a better option for last-minute vacations after reviewing the 10-day forecast.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

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February 17, 2020
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