The Best of the Virgin Islands
If you have three weeks and an ample budget, you can hit the most important attractions in the Virgin Islands, from historic sites to empty beaches. You take in each island’s greatest hits: Charlotte Amalie and Magen’s Bay on St. Thomas; Christiansted National Historic Site and the Buck Island on St. Croix; and St. John’s petroglyphs and idyllic Trunk Bay.
Visitors may prefer to be more selective; island-hopping like this is very pricey and can be tiring, too. But if you really want to taste all that the Virgin Islands have to offer, this trip is for you.
Arrive at Cyril E. King International Airport in St. Thomas, and check into a hotel in or near Charlotte Amalie for two nights.
In the morning, walk around historic downtown Charlotte Amalie and visit the museums, historic sites, and galleries. Head to Magen’s Bay on the north shore for the afternoon. Have dinner at a Frenchtown bistro.
Catch a ferry to St. Croix, and check into a hotel near Christiansted for five nights. Spend the afternoon sightseeing around Christiansted National Historic Site.
Rent a car and drive around St. Croix, stopping at Cramer Park and Point Udall in the east before heading west. Go for an afternoon swim along one of the west coast beaches and watch the sunset.
Tour St. Croix’s historic attractions: Visit Whim Plantation Museum, Lawaetz Family Museum, and Fort Frederik Museum.
Take a day trip to Buck Island, where you can snorkel and hike to the top of the island. In the late afternoon, head to Cane Bay on the north coast for a late swim and sunset cocktails.
Pack a picnic and hike to Jack and Isaac Bays Preserve on the east end. Catch some local scratch music in the evening.
Take the seaplane back to St. Thomas and catch a ferry to St. John. Stop by the National Park Service office to get your bearings and then check into a hotel or beachfront campsite for five nights. Go to Trunk Bay for an afternoon swim.
Rent a car and take the long way around to Salt Pond Bay on the southern coast of the island. Hike to Ram’s Head, beachcomb at Drunk Bay, and sunbathe at Salt Pond Bay. Spend the evening listening to local blues and bluegrass in Coral Bay.
Take a guided tour of the Cinnamon Bay sugar mill ruins, then go to Annaberg Plantation to watch traditional St. John basket-making, baking, and gardening. Spend the afternoon relaxing on the beach closest to your hotel.
Take a day sail to Norman Island and Cooper Island. Snorkel at The Caves.
Rent a powerboat (and a captain) and sail to Jost Van Dyke. Stop at the beach bars in White Bay, Great Harbour, and Little Harbour. Say hello to Foxy Callwood, and help yourself at the honor bar at Sidney’s Peace and Love.
Catch the early morning ferry to Anegada and check into a hotel for three nights. Spend the day watching the north coast horizon at Cow Wreck Bay.
Rent a bicycle and tour The Settlement and stop at the Iguana Head-start Facility before heading out on a circular route around the Western Salt Ponds.
Take a taxi to Loblolly Bay and spend the day snorkeling and sleeping in a hammock. Enjoy your last lobster dinner.
Make your way back to St. Thomas for your flight home.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Virgin Islands, 4th edition