Are you looking to travel to a destination with breathtakingly lush, gorgeous land surrounded by dazzling blue seas? Whether you enjoy spending time on the beach or in the vast outdoors, you may want to consider the Virgin Islands for your next trip. While it is the perfect getaway, there are many islands to consider. So, what’s the best Virgin Island to visit for you?
The Virgin Islands are comprised of thousands of tiny islands, but there are seven main islands that attract the most tourists. The area itself is divided into two territories: the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. Even though the islands are quite similar, each territory is owned by a different country.
In This Article…
- The United States Virgin Islands
- The British Virgin Islands
The United States Virgin Islands
The US Virgin Islands consist of St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix. These islands have plenty of culture and activities, making them perfect for families, couples, and singles. People can relax and work on their tan while listening to the waves crash on the beach or they can zipline at breakneck speed through the forest for a taste of adventure.
St. John: For the Adventurous Nature Lover
St. John is the smallest of the three US Virgin Islands. But despite its size, there is no lack of activities to engage in. Tourists can explore dozens of beaches, coves, and trails. If you enjoy nature, you can visit the Virgin Islands National Park. There, you’ll be able to enjoy wildlife and protected marine life. The island is home to dolphins, green turtles, and migratory birds.
Those who love hiking will fall in love with the Ram Head Trail. This is a 2.5-mile hike found within the national park. The trail itself is not exceptionally strenuous, but the views are spectacular. After your day at the park, you can visit Salt Pond Bay, found at the end of the trek.
St. John boasts superior snorkeling locations, including the clear blue waters of Honeymoon Bay. For more adventure, visit Trunk Bay, which has an unusual underwater nature trail.
St. Thomas: For Adventure or Relaxation
The island of St. Thomas is always a popular destination for cruise ships. St. Thomas is known for its bountiful shopping, crystal clear blue waters, and white sandy beaches. Ships tend to dock in Charlotte Amalie – the city’s capital – which is nestled between beautiful, forested mountain tops. Attractions and shopping are available right at the port.
The impressive array of boutiques includes shops and a wide selection of fine jewelers.
St. Thomas contains one of the world’s most spectacular beaches: Magens Bay. This beach has soft white sand that feels like sugar between your toes. Stunning mountains encircle the beach as it is found in a crescent-shaped area on the island. Since it is tucked away and sheltered, this area has a calm tide that’s perfect for relaxing and swimming.
If it’s an adventure you seek, you will appreciate the hiking trail close to Magens Bay. It has 75 miles of hiking found on top of the hillside. You can also go kayaking in Cos Cay, where you can paddle while observing sea turtles and other wildlife. You can also jet ski to St. John’s Bay and swim with sea lions or dolphins.
If you love history, you’ll want to explore Charlotte Amalie, the capital city. There are 17th-century relics from colonial life combined with a bit of island charm and modernity. You can also walk up the historic 99 steps to take in a panoramic view of the city.
When you get hungry, the island offers numerous beach bars and restaurants filled with local cuisine. Waterfront cuisine makes dining extra memorable.
St. Croix: For the History and Nature Lover
St. Croix is the largest US Virgin Island. It contains the most spectacular snorkeling and diving found in the Caribbean. If you enjoy these activities, you will want to go to Buck Island Reef National Park. St. Croix contains acres of underwater trails where you can explore the sea floor and view the colorful coral reefs.
For snorkeling, you can also visit Cane Bay found on the northern point of the island. There you will find seahorses, eels, and turtles. Cane Bay is popular for cruisers who are looking for a slow-paced, relaxing vacation.
Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge will allow you to view endangered species, such as leatherback sea turtles. Between April to September, the area offers a nesting ground for hatchlings and turtles. This area remains completely untouched by humans.
If you enjoy history, you will want to visit Christiansted. Christiansted is a Danish-influenced location on the island featuring an 18th-century fort called Fort Christiansvaern. It is a very popular island destination.
Visitors can also go to the historical location of Frederiksted, which has the Museum Center for the Arts.
If sitting on the sand and soaking up rays is your thing, then Rainbow Beach is a must-visit. Here you can enjoy local music, incredible food, and a beautiful beach to relax on.
The British Virgin Islands
On the British side of the islands, there are incredible beaches with white sand and a relaxing atmosphere. Each island has something unique to offer.
Virgin Gorda: Experience a Day Trip to a Historic Site
Virgin Gorda is another area that visitors can use for a quick day trip from Tortola. This island can be reached by a brief 30-minute ferry ride. The legend of this area is that Christopher Columbus named the island Virgin Gorda because its shape resembled a woman.
This tiny island contains breathtaking secluded beaches accompanied by sugar-like sand. It also is home to Virgin Gorda Baths, which are granite stones that are more than 1,000 years old. They surround the beach, where tourists can snorkel in transcendent waters and take in the beautiful scenery.
Jost Van Dyke: The Perfect Chill Daytrip
This island is a brief boat ride away from Tortola. Despite the location only being three square miles in length, it is packed with activities, beaches, and restaurants. The Great Harbor contains beach bars and local seafood restaurants.
This area has a more relaxed and chill atmosphere. This makes it a wonderful day trip from the island of Tortola. Visitors will see many yachts resting out at sea as this is a popular area for this activity.
The most impressive location is White Bay, which is a stretch of white sandy beach shaded by coconut palm trees. It offers an incredible, scenic walk that you will never forget.
Anegada: For Relaxing and Unwinding in a Secluded Area
Anegada is a small volcanic island. Since it is very low-lying, it is known for its impressive coral reefs. Known for being quaint and containing an old charm, visitors will enjoy this area for its quiet retreat.
While this area is not as well-known, it is famous for its secluded beaches like Cow Wreck Beach and Loblolly Bay.
With no elevation, clear springs bubble out of its coral beds. In terms of animal nature, visitors will love the pink flamingoes, abundant wildlife, and extensive marine life. The best nature trail on the island is Bones Bight.
Tortola: From Distilleries to Breathtaking Views
Tortola is the largest of these four islands. It contains several incredible beaches, but the top spot is Smuggler’s Cove, famous for its white sand. If you are into surfing, you may want to visit Apple Bay, which is one of the best spots in the Caribbean for this activity.
Cruisers will love Tortola’s distillery history found at Cane Garden Bay. This is the location for Callwood Rum Distillery, which dates back 400 years. It is the oldest rum distillery in the Caribbean. Meanwhile, Cane Garden Bay offers lounging on the beach with a drink in hand and plenty of beautiful views.
In terms of diving, Tortola is the launching point if you want to visit the RMS Rhone shipwreck. The RMS Rhone sank during the 19th century from a powerful hurricane. This left the ship resting on the ocean floor. Visitors can also go to Mount Sage to take in its panoramic island views or experience nature while zip-lining through the trees.
Visitors can also go to the capital of the British Virgin Islands, Road Town, for swimming, diving, and windsurfing. You can go up Mount Sage for a panorama of the expansive, lush islands accompanied by sweeping ocean views.
What activities you enjoy doing will determine what is, for you, the best Virgin Island to visit. Most of the activities range from relaxing on the beach, swimming in the ocean, outdoor adventures, nature hikes, visiting wildlife, and enjoying historic sites. There is certainly no lack of things to do in the Virgin Islands.
When you are done exploring or chilling on the sandy beaches, you can enjoy a culture rich in heritage and abundant in island food. The cuisine has a local flair surrounded by scenic views no matter where you are on the islands. Going to this destination will offer you anything you desire accompanied by an experience you will never forget.