No passport? No problem! If you are a US citizen looking for an easily accessible Caribbean Island with insane beauty, look no further. With stunning beaches, panoramic views, outdoor adventures, relaxation, and island hopping, St. Thomas, USVI, may be your island getaway.
The second largest of the three major United States Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John), St. Thomas is a major Caribbean hub. The U.S. Virgin Islands are an unincorporated territory of the United States, allowing United States citizens to visit the islands without a Passport or Visa.
Facts About St. Thomas, USVI
St. Thomas was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493 during his second voyage to the Americas, but it wasn’t settled until the 1670s by the Danish West India Company.
Like many Caribbean islands, the USVI played a role in the transatlantic slave trade during this colonial era, with enslaved Africans brought to the island to work on sugar plantations.
You know we have to mention pirates! The infamous Blackbeard, as well as others, utilized St. Thomas as a Caribbean haven.
The United States purchased St. Thomas in 1917 during World War I, motivated by strategic military interests in the Caribbean.
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, is the capital of the United States Virgin Islands.
Today, the island’s beautiful beaches, duty-free shopping, and cruise ship industry have made it a popular tourist destination.
How to Get to St. Thomas, USVI
There are multiple ways to get to the island from the United States. Your method of travel will depend on how long you would like to experience the island.
A very popular method of travel to the island is via cruise ship. St. Thomas is a major destination for most eastern Caribbean cruise ship itineraries (including Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruise lines). The ship will dock early in the morning and leave in the evening, providing a day of adventure on the island. You will have the option to find activities on your own or to book an excursion with your cruise. Remember: If you are exploring independently, make sure you return to the boat on time. A ship will wait on a cruise-sponsored excursion but not on a late couple stuck in traffic.
While a cruise ship stop provides enough time to check out one or two of the top attractions, you need a few days to experience all the island offers. If you plan to stay for a few days or a week, you must look into flights. Luckily, there are direct flights to St. Thomas, USVI from a handful of different airports within the US (DFW, IAH, MIA, FLL, MCO, ATL, CLT, ORD, MSP, IAD, PHL, EWR, JFK, BOS). Be mindful that the availability and frequency of these routes depends on the season. You will likely connect through MIA if you do not have a direct flight. From MIA, the flight is under 3 hours to STT.
If you are island hopping through the USVI from St. Croix, then make sure you arrive to the island via the Seaborne Airlines seaplane. This truly incredible experience will allow you to land in the Charlotte Amalie harbor.
Best Time to Visit St. Thomas, USVI
The peak tourist High Season for St. Thomas runs from December to April. The high season will bring larger crowds but fantastic weather. During this season, the weather is pleasant temperature, ranging from the mid-70s to the low 80s with minimal rainfall. As expected, with the significant tourist demand, accommodation and airfare prices will also be higher.
The St. Thomas Shoulder Season runs from May to August. With warmer weather (mid-80s to low 90s), the crowds thin a bit. During this season, you will likely find decent deals on your travel and hotel.
The Low Season on the island is also Hurricane Season – this runs from June to November. Being in the eastern Caribbean, St. Thomas runs the chance of experiencing a hurricane. While hurricanes can happen anytime, the highest risk runs from August to October, with September being the wettest month. Remember: purchasing travel insurance is always a good idea if you choose to book during this time.
One of the best times to visit the island on a budget is to book during hurricane season. Thanksgiving is an excellent option as it is at the tail end of the low season, right before the high season starts. Holiday travel is also a great way to save on your work vacation days.
Things to Do in St. Thomas, USVI
Explore Charlotte Amalie: The capital of the USVI, this town is rich in culture, history, and shopping. Visit Fort Christian (the oldest standing structure in the USVI), Blackbeard’s Castle (for some pirate history), and the 99 Steps before some duty-free shopping.
Drive the Island: The winding roads of St. Thomas are lined with panoramic views. Drive the mountains and take in the breathtaking sights.
Snorkel: A trip to the United States Virgin Islands is incomplete without some snorkeling. One of the top beaches for snorkeling on the island is Coki Beach, with its clear water and abundant marine life.
Island Hop to St. John: Only a 30-minute ferry ride away, St. John is a beautiful day trip for anyone spending time on St. Thomas. The island is home to the Virgin Islands National Park and the famous Trunk Bay Beach (which has an underwater snorkel trail).
Island Hop to BVI: If you have a passport, St. Thomas is a great starting point for a day trip to the British Virgin Islands. With their unique beauty, they should be considered for an adventurous boat trip.
Coral World Ocean Park: This 5-acre property is home to aquariums, nature trails, marine exhibits, and snorkeling opportunities, as well as dolphin and sea lion encounters.
Relax at Magens Bay Beach: Located on the island’s north side, Magens Bay Beach is the top beach on St. Thomas and has a neighboring arboretum.
Beaches in St. Thomas, USVI
Magens Bay Beach: This beach is a Caribbean dream. It is known for its soft white sand and crystal clear waters. The waters are very calm and shallow, which is ideal for families. The bay is surrounded by the island’s green hills, creating a beautiful backdrop to your views. Being the top beach on the island, it can get very busy. The best times to visit are when fewer cruise ships are in port.
Coki Beach: As we mentioned previously, Coki Beach is the top snorkeling beach on the island. The calm and clear waters of Coki Beach provide the best environment for snorkeling. What makes your experience even better is that the coral reefs beaming with abundant marine life are within close proximity to shore. There are even guided snorkel tours from the beach. And no need to pack snorkel gear. You can rent equipment at the beach!
Lindquist Beach: Also known as Smith Bay Park, Lindquist Beach is much less crowded than Magens or Coki. Located north of Red Hook on the island’s northeastern side, this beach has the same clear blue waters and soft powdery white sand, with fewer crowds. This beach is perfect for relaxing.
Getting Around St. Thomas, USVI
Fun Fact: The U.S. Virgin Islands is the only location in the United States where you drive on the left side of the road. While you can rent a car on the island, catching a taxi is also very simple.
The open-air taxis are reliable and abundantly located at beaches, attractions, resorts, airports, and cruise ship docks. They are well organized and offer transportation with fixed rates per person by destination.
On a budget? The VITRAN public bus system has routes through the main commercial areas at $1 fares (per the last report). Want to splurge? Private transfer services are widely available as well.
Many things should go into choosing your accommodation in St. Thomas, USVI. If you are looking for a budget-friendly, you will likely have the best luck in the Charlotte Amalie or Red Hook area. Are you looking for more luxury? The Ritz-Carlton is located on the island’s east side just south of Red Hook. Mid-range? The recently debuted Westin Beach Resort & Spa at Frenchman’s Reef offers a great view of Charlotte Amalie, cruise ships passing, and the sunset.
Your St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands Vacation
If you need some time away, whether escaping the office or working on your tan, St. Thomas, USVI, is a fantastic island for a getaway. Home to the stunning white sand and clear blue water that the Caribbean is known for, this island is a dream. The fantastic beaches are ideal for snorkeling, relaxing, and family time.
While on the island, dip your toes into the island’s rich history before spending a few hours hopping from one duty-free shop to another. Check out your flight options and what time of the year is best for you – we recommend the end of the Low Season (before the crowds hit). With many accommodation types, St. Thomas provides options for luxury seekers to the budget-conscious. Experience the charm of the Caribbean and head on down to St. Thomas. You will not regret it.
Monica at Maxed Out PTO is a passionate travel blogger dedicated to helping 9-5 professionals make the most of their paid time off. With a love of travel, the maxed out PTO team has been able to maintain a healthy work-life balance and explore the world. We love sharing our experiences, cost saving tips and tricks, and strategic paid time off planning advice to help others unlock the travel protentional that is within their reach.