US Virgin Islands — Things to Do
Although visitors can easily explore even the largest of the 80 small US Virgin Islands on their own, a handful of reputable guided tours are readily available to those who want them. However, some guided tours are cancelled if not enough people join during the low summer season. Visitors can take US Virgin Islands tours by boat, jeep, air, or all of the above.
Most US Virgin Islands things to do involve sea, sand, and sun, but visitors looking for pursuits more active than sunbathing can cycle around Water Island, hike past numerous former plantation sites along St John’s Annaberg Historic Trail, or organize a private sailing excursion across the Sir Francis Drake Channel to the neighboring British Virgin Islands. Buck Island is St Croix’s most popular snorkeling and scuba diving site.
Sailing lessons are a must before navigating the several secluded inlets and coves around the US Virgin Islands’ beautiful, yet challenging, waters. Jones Maritime Sailing School, one of St Croix’s most reputable sailing schools, offers two-day weekend sailing classes aboard one of three 24-foot day sailboats. More experienced sailors can hire bareboat charters, without captain or crew, to travel across the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Fully crewed charters are also available, complete with captain and cook, for those willing to pay a little more for the security of traveling with an experienced sailing crew.
The only US Virgin Islands outfitter combining sea kayaking excursions with camping is St John’s Arawak Expeditions. All sea kayaks this Cruz Bay-based outfitter provides are made of fiberglass, include foot controlled rudders, and can seat two people. All meals, kayaking gear, and camping equipment are included in this outfitter’s fee. Many other US Virgin Islands hotels and outfitters offer sea kayaking tours.
Caradonna Dive Adventures offers the greatest variety of scuba diving packages across the countless shipwrecks, underwater caves, and coral reefs beneath the US Virgin Islands’ turquoise waters. Buck Island, perhaps the finest scuba diving and snorkeling site on St Croix, is just a day sail away from Christiansted. However, experienced scuba divers may also enjoy exploring the caves and tunnels at the underwater wall along St Croix’s north shore. Salt River Canyon’s dramatic drop-off is 1,000 feet high.
The US Virgin Islands have been the site of over 20 world records in sports fishing during the past 25 years. The mega blue marlin may be the most famous fish swimming around the US Virgin Islands, but visitors can also try to catch sailfish, tuna, and several other fish aboard sport fishing charters like those Gone Ketchin’ offers from St Croix’s Salt River Marina. Mandahl Beach’s rocky shore is a popular St Thomas line fishing spot.
The hiking tours St Croix based Ay Ay Eco Tours and Hikes offers range from three to six hours. The half-day tour of the secluded coastline and forests around northeast St Croix is especially spectacular. The tiny Buck Island also contains a lot of beautiful scenery within its mile long and mile wide area. Fortunately, no poisonous snakes lurk around any US Virgin Islands hiking trails, but trekkers should keep their eyes peeled for the islands’ official flower, ginger Thomas, famous for its trumpet shape.
Freedom City Cycles offers both guided cycling tours of St Croix and bicycle rentals to cyclists preferring to explore the island at their own pace. Cyclists will encounter both paved and unpaved roads while pedaling through St Croix’s rainforests. Water Island Adventures, as its name suggests, specializes in guided cycling tours of Water Island, which begin with ferry rides from St Thomas.
Paul and Jill’s Equestrian Stables, based in St Croix, ranks among the highest rated horseback riding stables in both the US Virgin Islands and the entire Caribbean. These Sprat Hall Plantation stables welcome riders of all levels, including complete beginners, and both their horses and the trails they use are considered first-rate.
St Croix offers the finest golfing in the US Virgin Islands at the Buccaneer course at a hotel outside of Christiansted and the Carambola Golf and Country Club. The Mahogany Run is the most challenging golf course on St Thomas.