Many Caribbean travelers use St. Thomas as a gateway to other U.S. and British Virgin Islands. This 13-mile island, however, has its own gems to discover and its own experiences to embrace. From beaches, snorkeling and kayaking to noshing on delicious seafood, embracing wondrous vistas and even playing golf, St. Thomas island is a prime vacation spot. Because it’s not as popular as, say, the Bahamas or Jamaica, there’s also less foot traffic.
So, if you’re a U.S. citizen looking for a quick, passport-free escape, consider a visit to St. Thomas. Here is our list of the 10 must-sees and things to do in St. Thomas.
Kayak in the Dark
A must for anyone wanting to experience something new, night kayaking at Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort is [literally] the coolest way to enjoy the water – sans sunburn. The clear-bottom kayaks are equipped with LED lights that illuminate the water, allowing paddlers to catch glimpses of sea turtles, stingrays, tarpon and colorful fish.
Swim with Sea Turtles
Get some face time with your underwater neighbors at Buck Island, a known favorite hangout of sea turtles. Or join the knowledgeable guides of Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort on a three-hour snorkel sail, complete with music and bottomless rum punch.
Best Beaches in St. Thomas
More than 40 beaches dot the island’s 32 square miles. Which one is right for you? For soft white sand, head to Magens Bay. If the cruise ships are in port, opt for Coki Beach, where the sea life is spectacular, and the crowds are few and far between. For your “#NoFilter” vacation pic, Sapphire beach boasts beach-towel views of St. John and the British Virgin Islands. Feel like getting away from it all? Little-known Water Island is only accessible by ferry.
Loosen Your Belt a Notch
St. Thomas has phenomenal dining options. Take your favorite person or a group of friends to HAVANA BLUE, featuring a fusion of Latin and Pacific Rim cuisine served in a chic setting. You can’t go wrong with any of the cocktails on the menu, the award-winning wine list and entrees like chile-blackened tuna with citrus jicama slaw and smoked wasabi mash. Just make sure to leave room for the guava beignets.
Pet a Shark
On a family vacation? The kids will love the five-acre Coral World Ocean Park, featuring exotic aquariums, an outdoor marine pool and nature trails. You can feed stingrays and wild iguanas and maybe even pet a shark.
Scope Out the Best Views
Hop on the Sky Ride at Paradise Point, which whisks riders 700 feet above the town of Charlotte Amalie for amazing views of the boats in the harbor. Go in the early evening to catch the sunset. Keep the vistas-and-drinks theme going at Mountain Top, where the panoramas and world-famous banana daiquiris will sweep you off your feet.
Work on Your Green Thumb
If you want to see local breadfruit and an array of native plants, St. Peter Greenhouse & Botanical Gardens is worth a stop. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, the 2.5-acre gardens are filled with exotic orchids and tropical plants. Hint: The observation deck is the best place to take photos away from the crowds.
Play Golf in St. Thomas
Play the 18-hole, par-70 Mahogany Run course designed by George and Tom Fazio. The golf course is famous for the Devil’s Triangle, a challenging three-hole stretch. Hole 14 of the triangle is located 200 feet above a rocky inlet of the Atlantic Ocean.
Have the Happiest Happy Hour
Free for happy hour? Go directly to Room with a View for unique cocktails, $5 tapas, mango cheesecake and million-dollar sunset views of Charlotte Amalie.
Unwind at Lazule Spa with the Caribbean Sea Scrub. Budget time for a post-treatment soak in the private spa pool. You won’t have any trouble finding a seat in one of the private cabanas overlooking sailboats passing through the harbor.