Hotels and resorts are known for facilitating top rated excursions, but on your next trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands, we dare you to attend an event like a local. Are you up for the challenge? If so, here are some of the top events and tours hosted by the Virgin Islands National Park.
Beach-to-Beach Power Swim
For the past twelve Memorial Days, the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park has hosted the Beach-to-Beach Power Swim on St. John. Starting at Maho Bay Beach, swimmers have the option to choose between three courses:
Short Course- Maho Bay to Cinnamon Bay- 1 mile
Intermediate Course: Maho Bay to Trunk Bay- 2 ¼ miles
Long Course- Maho Bay to Hawksnest- 3 ½ miles
It’s a great event for visiting families to swim with the locals and support the mission of the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park. Plus, how many people can say they raised money while swimming in the U.S. Virgin Islands?
Depending on the season (usually September to Decemeber), Virgin Islands National Park will also host free, weekly bird watching. Tourists have the chance to observe birds all over St. John island, while viewing both migratory and native species.
Hike L’Esperance Trail
Again, depending on the season (usually November to April), Virgin Islands National Park offers hiking tours of St. John for just a small fee. The tour leads you everywhere from a historic Danish road to ruins and plantations, to St. Johns sacred trees and Bay Rum trees, to the best views of Reef Bay. You’re sure to get every glimpse of the landscape on this hiking tour. Read more about hiking in the U.S. Virgin Islands here.
We really value the preservation of our island and the efforts Virgin Islands National Park puts forth to protect our ecosystems. So on your next vacation, stop by and say your hellos to the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park.
Are you the type of vacationer that likes to go where the locals are? Do you want to look like you fit in and not like the typical tourist? There are some gorgeous, secluded beaches in the U.S. Virgin Islands most people don’t even know about. But we’ll let you in the secret spots:
Top Beaches in St. Thomas:
Lindquist Bay: Lindquist Bay also known as Smith Bay Beach is on the east end of St. Thomas near Red Hook. With white sand beaches and crystal blue waters that the Caribbean is known for, this beach offers the perfect amount of privacy.
Top Beaches in St. John:
Salt Pond Bay Beach: Put on your hiking shoes! Salt Pond Bay Beach is a moderate hike from the road, but the trek is well worth it. After your short hike you will reach one of the best beaches in the U.S. Virgin Islands with top snorkeling. Soak up the sun, feel the ocean breeze and enjoy the peaceful views.
Hansen’s Bay Beach: Another beach off the beaten path is St. John’s most secluded beach, Hansen’s Bay Beach. This is just off the main north shore drive near the town of Coral Bay. Did we mention there are some equally incredible places to eat nearby?
Top Beaches in St. Croix:
Grapetree Bay Beach: Grapetree Bay Beach is located on the east end of St. Croix near Divi Carina Bay Resort. Because this beach is in close proximity to residential area, it tends to be more quiet and peaceful. Locals do ask that if you enjoy this beach with them that you are respectful of their homes nearby.
While you can’t go wrong exploring basically anything in the U.S. Virgin Islands, one of the top things to see in St. John is Tektite. Learn why this attraction is must-add to your list.
What is Tektite?
Tektite was an underwater laboratory in the late 1960’s that was named after a research project conducted at Beehive Bay. Scientists studied the habitat for many years before opening up the waters to divers.
How is Tektite today?
Today, Tektite is open to scuba divers and snorkelers alike. It offers some of the best snorkeling around, and it is fairly accessible by land. Half the fun is getting there by taking the road to Great Lameshur Bay, which is partially unpaved, rocky and steep. Do a quick rock scramble across some boulders, and you’ve made it!
Start at the first point, Donkey Bite, and then find a place to swim over to Beehive Cove. From there, you can see underwater caves, scattered coral and large rock formations. Who said all of the best things to see in St. John are above water?
Tekite is a must-see for avid snorkelers and scuba divers. See what other snorkeling and scuba diving locations to add to your list of excursions in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Whether you are newlyweds on your honeymoon or on a family vacation in the U.S. Virgin Islands, there are plenty of things to see in St. John. Among the many popular tourist sites, Annaberg Plantation is a favorite.
What is Annaberg Plantation?
As of 1780, Annaberg Plantation was one of 25 working sugar-producing factories on St. John. Annaberg also produced rum and molasses. Slave labor was used to clear the dense forested hillsides and to terrace the slops to make farming possible. In addition to clearing trees, slaves also planted, harvested and processed sugarcane on the plantation.
After slavery was abolished, the 518 acres that housed the thriving sugar plantation was divided into smaller farms. Now the city is appreciated for the ruins and history that still prospers.
How is the plantation today?
Today, the plantation ruins are protected by the Virgin Islands National Park and are open to the public. With trails leading through the factory ruins, windmill, slave quarters and other remains, the plantation makes an interesting and educational day trip. In addition, the signs and placards along the trails describe how the sugar was produced. This helps visitors gain insight on the plantation life in Annaberg and on St. John as well.
Another of the many things to see in St. John are the thirty-four foot wide, twenty foot tall windmill at Annaberg. For many years, it was one of the largest windmills on the islands. So if you’re a history lover, we highly recommend touring Annaberg. It will be a true treat that you’ll never forget, and you might even learn something too!
If you’re interested in the history and want to visit the Annaberg Plantation on your stay in the U.S. Virgin Islands, consider staying at a hotel or resort in St. John, so you’re close to the action.
Nothing beats a 360 degree view of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix that you get to experience from the sea. But before you set sail on the pearly blue, here’s a sneak peek on how to do cruises in the U.S. Virgin Islands:
When cruises port in St. Thomas, all of the activities and sites to see can be overwhelming. A popular spot to start at is the capital itself. Charlotte Amalie is the heart of activity and home to over 51,000 residents. While docked at this largely mountainous city, you can enjoy hikes along the beaches or through historic homes and inns with panoramic views of the whole island and ocean wherever you look. For those who want to spend even more time on the water, snorkeling, scuba diving, windsurfing, sailing and fishing are options as well.
Perhaps the most special things about cruises in the U.S. Virgin Islands is having different things to do on each island. Unlike the other islands, St. John houses the Virgin Islands National Park. It protects over 7,000 acres of its 12,5000 acres making up the entire island. Also, hiking trails and tours through the historic sugar plantation ruins are another fun and interesting change in scenery. Aside from nature, Cruz Bay and Coral Bay are very popular stops due to the shopping, restaurants and fantastic views. So as you can see, this island offers something for everyone.
When your cruise ship reaches St. Croix, be sure to take in the breathtaking views. Being the largest island, it is 84 square miles total and houses three national parks. As you can imagine, there is a variety of nature things to partake in, such as marine gardens and pre-historic ruins. Also, you can take a load off and hit the green with a round of golf or enjoy jeep tours and a outdoor jazz concerts before you get back on the boat.
You won’t be disappointed on any of the cruises in the U.S. Virgin Islands. No matter what you choose, you can’t go wrong with any of our amazing islands! For more things to do in the U.S. Virgin Islands, click here.