15 Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in the US Virgin Islands

The U.S. Virgin Islands are located in the Lesser Antilles and includes the St Thomas, St Croix, and St John islands with a lustre worthy of global travel.

With a turbulent history, the Danish islands reflect Danish architecture with some examples of Neoclassical architecture.

There are number of beautiful Places to Visit in the US Virgin Islands. These islands are dotted with natural beauty, including lush mountains, tropical forests, dark beaches, and rocky coves. Some of the most popular attractions here are breath taking views, crystal-clear water and calm winds.

The US Virgin Islands, a Danish territory, are islands in the Caribbean Sea. The islands have their own particularities and attract visitors from all over. St. Thomas is the largest and most visited island of the US Virgin Islands for travelers looking for entertainment and leisure activities. Charlotte Amalie, its capital city, is a popular cruise ship port with plenty of shopping, dining, and entertaining options.

St. Croix is notably less tourist-driven than its other sister islands and has its highlights in the town of Christiansted with the sugar plantations, gardens, and coastal scenery on the Heritage Trail. Also worth checking out: Buck Island Reef, an underwater monument that’s Florida’s first designated site.

If you’re an eco-traveler, don’t miss out on the opportunity to go kayaking, diving, hiking, or fishing on St. John. With two-thirds of the island being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site and a National Park, travelers can experience the Virgin Islands like never before when they visit here.

Plan your sightseeing with our list of the top attractions and places to visit in the US Virgin Islands.

1. Virgin Islands National Park, St. John

Places to Visit in the US Virgin Islands

The US Virgin Islands is known as one of the top tourist destinations and one of the best Places to Visit in the US Virgin Islands with a wide array of attractions. One to include on your itinerary is Virgin Islands National Park. The park attracts more than one million visitors each year, making it the single largest attraction in the archipelago.

Rockefeller’s donation established the National Park in St. John in 1956, today the park covers two-thirds of the island and includes hiking trails, protected bays, stunning beaches and nearby petroglyphs.

One of St. John’s most popular walking trails, the Reef Bay Guided Hike offers visitors a tour of some of the best attractions on the island.

More than 800 species of plants and 30 species of tropical birds can be found in the park. With a multitude of coconut trees, sea grape, and bay rum trees, this area is home to native night-blooming cereus flowers that attract bats and moths. Other wildlife includes green iguanas, geckos, hawksbill turtles, and a diverse array of marine life in the territorial waters around Kastellorizo.

It’s no surprise then, that the Watermelon Cay, Maho Bay, Caneel Bay and Cinnamon Bay among others feature some great water activities.

One of the most popular things to do in the Virgin Islands is to explore its natural beauty. With a lifetime experience, nature lovers will treasure this for years to come.

Address: 1300 Cruz Bay Creek, St. John

2. Trunk Bay Beach & Underwater Snorkel Trail, St. John

Trunk Bay Beach & Underwater Snorkel Trail, St. John

In the list of most famous Places to Visit in the US Virgin Islands, Nestled in the Virgin Islands National Park, Trunk Bay has white sand and turquoise water. It is one of the best beaches in the Caribbean. The beach is lined by sea grapes and coconut palms and photographers love to take pictures here.

The Trunk Bay Underwater Snorkeling Trail lies just offshore from an islet out into the bay. At the crystal-clear waters, you can see up to 30 different species of fish. It has underwater signposts that label features of the coral reef.

Address: 1300 Cruz Bay Creek, St. John

3. Buck Island Reef National Monument, St. Croix

Buck Island Reef National Monument

Buck Island and its surrounding marine gardens are one of the most popular attractions on St. Croix. Located 1.5 miles off the northeast coast of St. Croix, right in the center of a vast marine sanctuary, Buck Island Reef was guaranteed protection when U.S. President John F. Kennedy made it the first U.S. underwater national monument in 1961.

This coral reef is one of the best Places to Visit in the US Virgin Islands and the dive sites in the U.S. Virgin Islands and features elkhorn coral grottoes and an easily accessible trail that is ideal for those who are snorkeling or scuba diving. The reef also features many tropical fish, including blue tang and barracuda.”

Buck Island also has fully featured nature experiences that include protected beaches, picnic sites, and cooking grills. Also, a hiking trail through a forest of giant tamarinds leads to the island’s scenic ridge.

Address: Buck Island, St. Croix

4. Magens Bay, St. Thomas

Magens Bay, St. Thomas

Jutting out into the Indian Ocean, Magens Bay frequently graces lists of the world’s most beautiful beaches. The typically calm seas along this horseshoe-shaped bay are excellent for snorkeling, swimming, kayaking and other water sports.

Another nice hike in the Magens Bay watershed is the Tropical Discovery Hike, which takes place on a 75-acre sanctuary owned by the Nature Conservancy. This unique area includes diverse habitats ranging from dry forest hilltops to mangrove wetlands with numerous native and migratory bird species. The well-maintained trail winds downhill under tree canopies all the way to beautiful Magens Bay beach, where you can cool off with a swim.

5. Cruz Bay, St. John

Cruz Bay, St. John

Cruz Bay is small, has many yachts, and it’s considered the “downtown” of St. John. Until the 1970s, Cruz Bay was a quiet customs port without much activity. Today, the town of about 3,000 people has evolved into a hip center that does not have a formal name but rather has been nicknamed “Love City.”

There are many options for shopping and dining to be found among pastel-colored houses located on the hillsides outside of the town, and the area is a launching point for excursions to Virgin Islands National Park.

St. John has an interesting design-spend your day at the eclectic Elaine Ione Sprauve Library and Museum, located in a restored plantation during your time on the island. The museum accentuates the area’s cultural history with displays of photographs, newspaper articles, and Indian and colonial artifacts, as well as work by local artists.

6. Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

The capital of the United States Virgin Islands, Charlotte Amalie is one of the most popular stop overs in the Caribbean. It’s named after a Danish queen, and sits mid-island on the south shore of St. Thomas, where pretty pastel homes with red roofs can be spotted on steep green hills.

Apart from many restaurants and sporting & recreational options, Charlotte Amalie also provides a large number of retail stores and jewellery shops. There are several beaches for swimming and snorkeling in the area too

Some popular activities in Charlotte Amalie are going on the tour of Blackbeard’s Castle, a National Historic Landmark that is being restored after severe hurricane damage; visiting the serene St. Thomas Synagogue, famous for its natural sand floor; and exploring Fort Christian, the island’s oldest building.

Other notable landmarks are the Emancipation Garden, the Government House, distinctive honey-hued Fredericks Lutheran Church with red shutters.

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7. Coral World Ocean Park, St. Thomas

Coral World Ocean Park, St. Thomas

Find somewhere to have a fun day out with the whole family at Coral World Ocean Park. The marine park features an underwater observatory, a tropical nature trail, a Marine Gardens Aquarium, and a huge glass-enclosed coral reef tank.

As an animal lover, you can swim with dolphins and sea lions and feed stingrays in the hands-on enclosures displayed at this zoo. You can also interact with lorikeets while they’re in their natural habitat.

There are several popular things to do here, including SNUBA, parasailing, and a Sea Trek helmet dive. The park also offers a Nautilus semi-sub.

Keep an eye out for these wily critters!

Address: 6450 Estate Smith Bay, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

8. Heritage Trail, St. Croix

Heritage Trail, St. Croix

The St. Croix Heritage Trail is a 72-mile self-guided driving tour of the island’s historic and natural attractions. You will be guided by signs between Frederiksted and Christiansted, as well as following GPS coordinates to follow along the route.

The Heritage Trail travels along the scenic coastline, through tropical forests, cattle country and historic seaport towns. Along the way, you can visit popular attractions such as the Estate Whim Plantation Museum, St. George Village Botanical Garden and Fort Frederik on its two-mile stretch.

9. Christiansted, St. Croix

Christiansted, St. Croix

St. Croix’s largest town, Christiansted, lies on the north coast of the island between steep hills and a reef-protected, shallow harbor. Christiansted is home to a bustling port and is one of the most attractive districts in the territory under Danish rule.

In Christiania, which was designed by a Norwegian architect and incorporates an eclectic mix of Neoclassical structures and housing, and trendy dining and entertainment options.

A great way to start your walking tour is with the Christiansted National Historic Site, encompassing five colonial buildings, including Fort Christiansvaern, Customs House and the Steeple Building. Other popular sites in Christiansted include Apothecary Hall, Government House and the beaches and water sports of Protestant Cay. Several cruise ships dock each week at Christiansted’s harbor.

There’s only one documented point on US soil where Christopher Columbus landed. The Salt River Bay National Historic Park is the popular spot for kayaking tours through the mangroves and especially a nightly tour to watch the bioluminescent light show by night.

10. Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge

Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge

A refuge worth visiting when you want to get more of nature’s beauty than the average beach. The Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge has a two mile stretch of pristine sand and sea with lesser crowds, making it the go-to destination when surrounded by other people is not your preference.

Although the refuge protects leatherback sea turtles and many other species of birds, be sure to check the opening times before you go as it is only open certain days of the week (usually Saturday and Sunday). Bring your own food, water, and sun protection with you; there aren’t any facilities here.

Readers interested in The Shawshank Redemption may be surprised to learn that the final scene of the movie was shot here.

11. Frederik Lutheran Church, St. Thomas

Frederik Lutheran Church, St. Thomas

Centuries of history is contained inside these walls, which were built between 1789 and 1793. Frederick Lutheran Church has been restored twice; first in the early 19th century and again in the late 19th century with Gothic Revival architecture.

The entrance to the church features a “welcoming arms” stairway typical of West Indian architecture. During the 19th century, the congregations of the church were segregated into West Indian and Danish groups.

Visitors can still find activities in the church

Address: Norre Gade, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

12. Blackbeard’s Castle, St. Thomas

Blackbeard's Castle, St. Thomas

On the top of the famed 99 steps, Blackbeard’s Castle is a five-story masonry tower and it is one of only three castles in the Caribbean. The watchtower was built by the Danes in 1678 and is said to have once been a lookout post for pirate Blackbeard in 17th century.

Today, the popular hotel and restaurant are not open, nor are there any views of St. Thomas Harbor and Charlotte Amalie because of Irma damage to the site.

Address: 1001 Blackbeard’s Hill, Charlotte Amalie 00802, St. Thomas

13. 99 Steps, St. Thomas

99 Steps, St. Thomas

A relic from the mid-1700s, the 99 steps (actually 103 steps) were built during Danish colonial times out of ship-ballast brick. The 99 steps are one example of many staircases built on the steep hills of Charlotte Amalie. It is here that you can enjoy wonderful views of the city.

14. Government House, St. Thomas

Government House, St. Thomas

Spend some time on Government House, a three-story, hipped-roof white mansion with two cast-iron verandas.

Government House was built in 1867 and houses the offices of this local Territorial Governor. It is a restored home where many paintings by artists from St. Thomas like Camille Pissarro can be seen inside.

The first and second floors of Government House are usually open to the public for touring, but Hurricane Michael damaged these areas. The building is currently being repaired.

Address: King St., Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

15. Emancipation Garden, St. Thomas

Emancipation Garden, St. Thomas

The event at the Emancipation Garden to mark the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation took place on July 3, 1848, after officials in authority received word from governor Peter von Scholten that he had freed the slaves on St. Croix.

Today, this park features benches, a gazebo, and plenty of shade opportunities. It is a good place to relax, or if you happen to be nearby when there is an event going on, it’s a popular place to catch the show. During the festival in April, they transform part of the garden into Carnival Village.

This philly public artwork is found in a park

Address: Between Tolbod Gade and Ft. Christian, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

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