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U.S. Virgin Islands

St. Thomas Family Vacations

Magen's Bay Beach; © U.S.V.I. Dept. of Tourism
The St Thomas port allows family vacationers to get off the ship and immediately start shopping, dining and looking for entertaining activities.

After docking it is easy to take a short 10 minute taxi ride to the downtown area. Best of all, no one has to leave the docked area because it has a mini version of the downtown area.

Must See Family Attractions


Coral World Ocean Park
At Coral World Ocean Park, families can enjoy many different activities. Included in admission are the attractions Marine Gardens, Stingray Lagoon, Touch Pool, Turtle Pool, Shark Shallows, Undersea Observatory Tower, Caribbean Reef Encounter, Critter Corners, and Feedings & Preservation.

For an additional fee, visitors can experience activities such as Sea Lion Encounter, Sea Lion swim, Sea Trek, SNUBA, Turtle Encounter, Shark Encounter, Shore Ex Trans, or the Special Sea Lion Encounter.

Bluebeard's Castle and Frederiksberg
The tower that is historically said to have been built by the Dranes in 1689 is part of a legend claiming that Bluebeard had it built instead. This attraction offers fami
lies a short history lesson and views of different areas of the island.

Child Friendly Dining


Old Stone Farmhouse
This open air restaurant is located in the countryside a few miles from the center of town where most tourists dine. The chef encourages all guests to come take a look around the kitchen to meet with him.

Havana Blue
Havana Blue is located close to the port on the ocean front. It features a variety of fresh seafood and fish options and offers a fine dining experience that is still appropriate for families, even those with young children.

Favorite Family Beaches


Secret Harbour
This beach is a bit off of the beaten path and requires a short cab ride to get there. Secret Harbour is less crowded than others but still has snorkel rentals and a nice area for those just wanting to relax.

Magens
Magens is one of the more popular beaches because of its close proximity to the cruise ports. During days when the port is busier this beach can become crowded. It is still possible to sneak away to a less crowded area since the beach is over a mile long.

Best Family Shopping


Veterans Drive
Because St Thomas is completely duty free, shopping is often favored here as to other docked locations while on a cruise. Visitors might notice the barkers on the street yelling for different shops and helping guests to decide where to shop.

Bargain Shopping
Many families enjoy saving money and being able to purchase items that cost a considerable amount more at home. Many special outlets and bargain shops line Vendor's Plaza. These include Perfume Palace, Royal Caribbean (specializing in electronics and jewelry), Little Switzerland, and Diamonds International.

Adventures and Excursions to Check Out


St Thomas Ecotours
These eco-friendly tours are done by kayak, hiking, and snorkeling for around three hours. Everyone will get to see the island from a unique perspective for $79 for adults, $49 for children 2-12, and free for children 2 and under.

Tree Limin' Extreme Zipline Park
Families can spend 2.5 hours zooming through the trees and seeing the sites of the island from eight different aerial platforms. Six ziplines make up the tour, which is one of the longer or more extensive that is offered on the island.

St Thomas is a wonderful port stop on any cruise in part because it has so many diverse options. There are activities that are thrilling, those that are relaxing, and fun to be had by everyone.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

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October 14, 2013

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