Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond
U.S. Virgin Islands

15 Best St. Thomas and USVI Attractions

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
The St. Thomas cruise port at Charlotte Amalie. © 2023 Scott S. Bateman

The best St. Thomas tourist 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 by cruise and another 700,000 visit for stayover vacations each year. Nearly all of the cruise travelers go to St. Thomas.

St. Thomas Tourist Attractions

1) Havensight Mall

The duty-free 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 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

Magen's Bay beach
Magen’s Bay beach is the most popular beach in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

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 beach to visit for cruise visitors to St. Thomas. It is a 15-minute drive from Havensight Mall via taxi or excursion bus.

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

7) Coral World Ocean Park

Nature lovers may want to visit the Coral World Marine Park and 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. $$

St. Croix Tourist Attractions

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) St. Croix Beaches

Popular St. Croix beaches include Cane Baye, Chenay Bay and Coakley Bay.

St. John Tourist Attractions

11) 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.

12) Beaches

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

13) 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.


St. John beaches include Cinnamon Bay, Francis Bay, Francis Bay and Hawksnest.

15) USVI 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. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
June 21, 2023

St. Thomas Cruise Port Guide

St. Thomas cruise port
The St. Thomas cruise port is packed with attractions and popular for duty-free shopping.

Best Times to Visit U.S. Virgin Islands

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

Best St. Thomas Tourist Attractions

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
Unique USVI attractions include Fort Christian, the historic Christiansted and Coral World Ocean Park.

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