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5 Ways to Explore the U.S. Virgin Islands

Choose your own adventure when trailblazing by catamaran, kayak, dinghy, horseback or on foot. Here are five ways to explore the USVI.

1. Paddle a mangrove maze Mangrove Lagoon on St. Thomas’ east end allows no motorized boats, making kayaking particularly peaceful. Virgin Islands Ecotours offers guided trips that incorporate hiking, so you learn about the flora and fauna of land and sea — for example, how green herons hunt, and why juvenile lemon sharks stay among the mangroves until adulthood.
2. Catamaran sail The sweetest beaches feel wildly remote, but lie within reach of a day trip. Heavenly Days, the catamaran belonging to Bolongo Bay Beach Resort on St. Thomas, takes guests to St. John's Honeymoon Beach, interrupted by few footprints. The crew packs salads, sandwiches and snacks, and when snorkeling ends, open bar begins.Bolongo Bay Beach Resort
3. Trek tropical forests The map online is free thanks to a renegade pathfinder who calls himself the St. John Trail Bandit. His chart details 34 hiking trails that vary in length and difficulty. One highlight, the Tektite Trail, provides a moderate climb with cliff-side views of the southern shore; it ends near Great Lameshur Bay, an excellent snorkeling spot.
4. Beach-hop via dinghy The Westin St. John hands over the keys to a dinghy, letting you set the course for the stretch of sand that best suits your mood. Cruz Bay Watersports rents a fleet on property, and offers tips on local beaches. To play volleyball with locals, head to Maho Bay, but for seclusion, Francis Bay is best.Westin St. John
5. Trot to high vistas With Carolina Coral on St. John, all paths lead to the same high perch overlooking Hurricane Hole and the British Virgin Islands — but horseback riders choose the path up based on difficulty. Regardless of route, you’ll encounter the pipe organ cacti plus the soursop and sugar apple trees that make St. John such a biodiverse destination.