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U.S. Virgin Islands

U.S. Virgin Islands Tourist Attractions

Visitors will find many of the best shopping and historical attractions on St. Thomas
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
The St. Thomas cruise port at Charlotte Amalie. © 2016 Scott Bateman
Unique U.S. Virgin Islands attractions include Magen’s Bay beach and two of the largest duty-free shopping districts in the Caribbean.

St. Thomas is one of the most popular cruise destinations in the Caribbean. It is a common stop on eastern Caribbean cruises.

More than 2 million people visit the U.S. Virgin Islands and another 700,000 visit for stayover vacations each year. The majority of cruise travelers go to St. Thomas.

1) Havensight Mall


Havensight Mall, which sits right beside the cruise docks, has expanded dramatically in recent years. It appears to have overtaken Charlotte Amalie itself as the hot spot for shopping on St. Thomas.

The outdoor mall is a series of long buildings packed with jewelry and clothing shops as well as a handful of restaurants. More shops and restaurants have grown up near the mall. Visitors also will find the St. Thomas Skyride there.

2) St. Thomas Skyride


The skyride takes 24 passengers every seven minutes 700 feet above Charlotte Amalie to the top of Flag Hill for views of the islands. Shopping and dining are available at the top. $$

3) Charlotte Amalie


Shoppers can take a taxi from the front of Havensight Mall to Main Street, the major shopping district in Charlotte Amalie.

The growth of the Havensight Mall area has led to a decline in Main Street. But it still is an important duty-free shopping area, especially for jewelry and electronics.

Shoppers may want to combine the visit to Main Street with tours of nearby historical sites including Fort Christian, Blackbeard’s Castle and Government Hill.

Fort Christian
Fort Christian; © U.S.V.I. Dept. of Tourism

4) Fort Christian


A visit to Charlotte Amalie also is a chance to see Fort Christian, the oldest structure in the Virgin Islands. It dates back to 1762 and the original Dutch colony.

The fort is now a museum with exhibits on the human history and natural history of the Virgin Islands. It sits between Emancipation Garden and Veterans Drive.

5) More Charlotte Amalie


Skytsborg tower, also known as Blackbeard’s Castle, was once used as a lookout to identify enemy ships entering the harbor. The five-acre site in Charlotte Amalie includes the lookout tower, historical villas and 14-foot bronze sculpture of the pirate Blackbeard

The nearby Government Hill has sites including Government House, 99 Steps, Crown House and Seven Arches Museum.

6) Magen’s Bay Beach


The one-mile-long Magen’s Bay beach is often ranked among the best beaches in the Caribbean because of its scenic views and calm waters.

Whether or not the ranking is justified, Magen’s Bay on the north coast is the most popular place to go for cruise visitors to St. Thomas. It is a 15-minute drive from Havensight Mall.

7) Coral World Ocean Park


Nature lovers may want to visit the Coral World Marine Park & Observatory at Coki Point on the northeast coast of St. Thomas.

It has a tropical nature trail, marine gardens aquarium, coral reef tank and an underwater observatory. $4

8) Buck Island Marine Park


The 704 acres of Buck Island near St. Croix and the surrounding waters were established as a U.S. national park in 1961.

It is one of the few fully protected marine parks in the U.S. national park system. Visitors can snorkel the famous underwater trail and view the coral reefs.

9) St. Croix Heritage Trail


The Heritage Trail tour is a 72-mile ride that connects many of the island's historical and natural sites.

Shopping, dining and more history can be found in the largest towns, Christiansted and Frederiksted.

10) Virgin Islands National Park


Virgin Islands National Park includes more than 9,500 acres of land on St. John and an underwater reserve that makes up 5,650 acres of the total.

The park is filled with numerous human and natural history experiences including diving, snorkeling and sailing, an underwater trail at Trunk Bay and hiking at the Reef Bay Trail.

Beaches include Hawksnest Bay, Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay. Bus and car tours also are available.

11) St. John Historical Attractions


St. John historical attractions include the Elaine Ione Sprauve Library and Museum, the Ivan Jadan Museum and the Annaberg Sugar Plantation. Visitors to St. Thomas can take a 20-minute ferry ride to reach St. John.

12) Other Beaches


Popular St. Croix beaches include Cane Baye, Chenay Bay and Coakley Bay. St. John beaches include Cinnamon Bay, Francis Bay, Francis Bay and Hawksnest.

St. Thomas beaches include Coki Beach, Lindquist Beach and Bolongo Bay.

13) Golf


St. Croix is the place for golf with two 18-hole and one nine-hole courses. Buccaneer Golf Club is a par 70, 18-hole course encompassing 5,668 yards. Carambola Golf Club was built by Laurance Rockefeller and designed by Robert Trent Jones.

The Reef Golf Course is a nine-hole, par-35 course with a driving range. St. Thomas has Mahogany Run Golf Course, an 18-hole course designed by George and Tom Fazio. $$
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

 > Category: Attractions   

December 22, 2016

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