What is There to do in the US Virgin Islands?

Diana Bocco

The US Virgin Islands is the only Caribbean land area that belongs to the US. Located near Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands consist of three large islands and several small ones. The larger islands: Saint John, Saint Thomas, and Saint Croix house the most important business and tourist developments, while Water Island and the other small archipelagos are mainly national park areas and beaches.

Coral reefs, like this one, are found around the US Virgin Islands.
Coral reefs, like this one, are found around the US Virgin Islands.

Thousands of miles of white beaches and temperate climate make the US Virgin Islands an ideal destination for those wishing to relax on the sand or practice water sports. The US Virgin Islands, however, are much more than a beach destination. Many historical and natural attractions dot the islands, and offer all visitors a chance to enjoy the surrounding beyond the water edge. For those wishing to take on the water, the US Virgin Islands offers sailing, snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving, and many other options. For those wishing to see a different side of the US Virgin Islands, there are other options.

The US Virgin Islands is a great place for snorkeling.
The US Virgin Islands is a great place for snorkeling.

The Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve in the US Virgin Islands contains the ruins of Fort Salé, a French settlement, plus large mangrove forests and several archaeological sites. The preserve is home to numerous endangered species. Another important natural area in the US Virgin Islands is the Coral Reef National Monument, which can be visited by people doing snorkeling or underwater swimming in general. The Buck Island Reef National Monument is actually an island. Though inhabited, it can be visited by snorkelers and kayakers.

The US Virgin Islands National Park is not only the largest in the area, but also the major territorial component (60 percent) of the island of Saint John. The park encompasses hiking trails, forests, waterfalls, mountain peaks, and archaeological ruins. Petroglyph paintings and carvings can also be found in the mountainside. There are two campgrounds inside the park's limits, so it may be possible to skip hotel luxuries and enjoy nature first-hand.

The Christiansted National Historic Site, a historical fortress, is one of the oldest areas in the US Virgin Islands. The site consists of five main structures, including the Danish West India & Genia Company Warehouse, which dates back to 1749. The Christiansted National Historic Site also holds several exhibitions on the history of slavery in the Caribbean and the ship trade with Europe.

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Discussion Comments


@Sporkasia - There are some good hotel packages for the islands online, but be sure to verify what you are getting with those deals. I have a friend who made reservations online for a St. John's US Virgin Island hotel room. The hotel room turned out to look nothing like the picture that was on the website.


We're planning a family trip to the US Virgin Islands, and we have found really good hotel deals online. I am pleased to read in this article that there are educational experiences available as well as the hiking opportunities. With young children, finding vacation activities that wear them down physically is a necessity to the adults on the trip having fun as well. There is not much worse than having under-exercised kinds with excess amounts of energy when you are trying to eat in a restaurant or when bedtime arrives.


I went on a cruise a couple of years back and one of the stop-over points was Jamaica. I had heard so many people talking about this place, and most people were saying how I absolutely had to go there because it was fabulous. After all of the recommendations, my husband and I booked the cruise as a romantic getaway from the kids for a week.

Parts of the trip were really nice, and it was great to be alone with my husband for some us time, but some parts I could have done without. From the time we landed on the island until we left we were hounded by people trying to sell us stuff. It was terrible.

A friend from work told me to look into the US Virgin Islands vacations next time we want to get away for sun and relaxation because there is much more to do there than in Jamaica, and the locals are not as aggressive toward the tourists in the US Virgin Islands as the locals are in Jamaica either.

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