Vacationing in the US Virgin Islands (USVI) is an experience that feels like stepping into a tropical dream. From the moment you set foot onto one of these enchanting Caribbean islands, you are greeted by the warm embrace of the sun and the gentle touch of the sea breeze.
With some of the best beaches in the world, beautiful national parks and historic sites, and three annual Carnival celebrations, the USVI is the perfect place to check off some of those bucket list adventures you’ve been dreaming of. A plus? Americans don’t need a US passport to visit!
Whether visiting St. Croix, St. John, or St. Thomas, each island has its own unique bucket list experiences waiting to be discovered.
Experience the Magic of Night Kayaking in the Bioluminescent Bays of St. Croix
Bioluminescent Bays are rare, and St. Croix is home to two of these stunning natural wonders. As the sun sets and darkness falls, Salt River Bay and Altona Lagoon come alive year-round with a natural light show. The enchanting phenomenon is caused by tiny organisms called dinoflagellates, which emit a sparkling blue-green light when disturbed by movement in the water.
One of the best ways to experience this unique opportunity is by kayak at night. As you paddle through the calm waters, you’ll notice every stroke creates a burst of radiant light beneath the surface. Night kayaking tours are available in St. Croix and are the best way to safely and sustainably interact with the plankton close-up. Want to enhance your experience? Be sure to find a night kayaking tour that offers see-through kayaks!
Swim Among Gentle Giants: Snorkeling with Sea Turtles at Virgin Islands National Park in St. John
St. John is a tropical paradise showcasing the beauty of the Caribbean’s diverse ecosystem. Two-thirds of the island is designated as the Virgin Islands National Park, providing the perfect playground for those who love the outdoors. Towering hills covered in dense forests provide the ideal setting for exploration, while the beautiful waters teeming with marine life offer a haven for snorkelers and scuba divers.
Those particularly interested in marine life will love Maho Bay, Francis Bay, and Honeymoon Beach, where they can go kayaking and snorkeling with tour groups like Virgin Islands Eco Tours and Sea Horse VI. St. John is home to some of the region’s most abundant and diverse sea turtle populations, making it a snorkeler’s dream come true.
From the Water to the Skies: Take a Seaplane Ride from St. Thomas to St. Croix
Riding on a seaplane is a unique and thrilling experience that combines the excitement of flying with the adventure of landing and taking off on the water. For those dreaming of taking their first seaplane ride, the US Virgin Islands is the place to do it!
With stunning aerial views of each island, sparkling blue waters, and lush forests, a seaplane ride from St. Thomas to St. Croix is an awe-inspiring experience. The panoramic views from the large windows are breathtaking, as you get a unique vantage point of the landscape below. This 20-minute ride will take you on a 42.5-mile journey across the beautiful Caribbean while you sit back, relax, and enjoy the views.
Experience the Beloved Tradition of Caribbean Carnival Throughout the Year
The US Virgin Islands Carnival is a vibrant celebration that encapsulates the spirit and culture of the Caribbean. Held three times a year, this cherished tradition brings together locals and vacationers for an unforgettable experience filled with music, dance, and revelry.
A grand spectacle of parades, colorful costumes, and electrifying performances, each island celebrates Carnival at different times of the year: St. Thomas in April to May, St. John in June to July, and St. Croix in December to January.
With its contagious energy and warm hospitality, the US Virgin Islands Carnival is a beloved event that entertains and unites the community in celebrating its rich history and shared identity.
Stargaze in Some of the Best Spots in the Region
St. Croix has some of the best spots in the region for those who want to take their stargazing adventures to the next level. The island’s clear and unpolluted skies become a canvas for countless stars, planets, and celestial formations as the sun sets over the horizon each day.
Popular spots for stargazing in St. Croix include Point Udall, the easternmost point in the United States, and Ham’s Buff in the island’s western region. Star gazing in St. Croix is a humbling experience, offering a rare opportunity to connect with nature’s grand spectacle and find solace in the vastness of space.
Bucket List Adventures Await in the US Virgin Islands
The US Virgin Islands bucket list adventures cater to all types of travelers, from nature enthusiasts and thrill-seekers to cultural enthusiasts and beach lovers, ensuring that every moment spent in this tropical paradise is nothing short of magical.
This article 5 Ways to Cross Off Bucket List Adventures on Your US Virgin Islands Vacation originally appeared on Wander With Alex. Photo Credit: [@Cezar_KSV/DepositPhotos]
Alexandrea Sumuel is a travel writer and the founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog, where she provides vacationers with trip ideas, travel guides, news, and itineraries. She travels to experience, eat, explore, and escape! Alex’s mission is to help peopl find the perfect vacation destination.