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Now that you have possibly booked your cruise to the U.S. Virgin Islands, it is time to plan some fun activities.
The Virgin Islands National Park of St. John offers hiking, swimming, and scuba diving opportunities, as well as duty-free deals on high-end merchandise along Main Street in St. Thomas. For a history walkthrough, visit Fort Christiansen in St. Croix or the Estate Whim Plantation Museum in St. Croix.
Virgin Islands National Park St. John
You’re likely to be right on the edge of the Virgin Islands National Park when you’re on St. John during your Virgin Islands vacation. Most of Love City’s top attractions, such as Annaberg Plantation and Trunk Bay Beach, are located within its boundaries. There are many activities to enjoy in this tropical paradise. Over 20 hiking trails await adventurers and families alike.
After the 2017 hurricanes, portions of the park, including Cinnamon Bay Resort and its campgrounds, are still undergoing repairs and revitalization. Travelers agreed that there is still much to do at the park, including different beaches and hiking trails, not to mention water sports like boating and snorkeling.
Trunk Bay (St. John)
Trunk Bay is considered the mecca of beaches by some. There are few Caribbean beaches with sand pearly or water quite so aquamarine. Despite the constant barrage of tourists, Trunk Bay still maintains its otherworldly serenity as the Virgin Islands National Park cocoons it.
Try your hand at underwater snorkeling. It is two hundred twenty-five yards long and full of corals and fish with underwater plaques dotted along the way. Although a fun experience, some travelers have said the path is unimpressive and shows damage from hurricanes Irma and Maria last year. For the best snorkeling, go to the far end of Trunk Bay.
Magens Bay St. Thomas
Magens Bay is the most celebrated beach on St. Thomas (or maybe even the entire Virgin Islands archipelago). Let us add our own poetic spiel: This north coast beach might be the most photogenic and swimmable stretch of the Virgin Islands coastline. Nevertheless, years of positive reinforcement have led to enormous popularity with tourists who are more than happy to pay the entrance fee to enjoy Magens’ charms.
This beach has nothing but positive reviews from previous visitors. They found very little to fault, from its white sands to its pristine waters to its spectacular views.
Annaberg Plantation St. John
Danish colonists established the Annaberg Plantation in the late 1700s. 1300 acres of sugar cane were farmed by enslaved workers, who produced 100,000 tons of sugar each year. Molasses and rum were also produced at the site. Visitors to Annaberg today can learn about the plantation’s role in the slave trade as well as how its goods were made. The plantation and its mill are slightly in ruins, but some parts have been restored.
Visitors will be able to see the enslaved people’s quarters, their worksites, and the guardhouse that prevented them from escaping. You may also be able to watch a basket weaving or bread baking demonstration on a particular day.
The ruins were a hit with tourists. Although visitors enjoyed both the ruins and the spectacular views from the site, they were particularly impressed with the knowledge of the employees. Furthermore, those with mobility issues may have difficulty navigating some of the steps on site.
Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge St. Croix
On the southwest tip of St. Croix, Sandy Point serves as a habitat and a nearly 400-acre natural sanctuary for leatherback sea turtles. The final scene in “The Shawshank Redemption” was actually filmed right on Sandy Point’s beach. The spot was said to be Mexico in the movie. Swim in the shallow waters or sunbathe on the buff-colored sand during the day. Sandy Point’s 2-mile stretch might be home to turtles nesting their eggs if you’re lucky.
There are many reviews raving about the beach, saying it is pristine and worth visiting. They warned that the trade-off would be a lack of restrooms and other amenities, as well as limited shade. You should also know that there are only a few parking lots and the beach is at the end of a long unpaved road.
Estate Whim Plantation Museum St. Croix
Estate Whim Plantation Museum chronicles the lives of the people who lived and worked on the 18th-century plantation. This is the only sugar plantation museum in the Virgin Islands. On-site are the sugar mill, a cookhouse, and the quarters of the plantation’s enslaved people. Visitors can learn how sugar was cultivated and processed by enslaved workers and about the plantation’s economics. The complex’s great house and windmill are currently closed for construction following the hurricanes of 2017.
In spite of the closed attractions, travelers found the museum worth visiting. Reviewers said they gained a greater appreciation of the Virgin Islands’ rich and varied history.
Buck Island National Monument St. Croix
Buck Island is located about 1 1/2 miles off the coast of St. Croix and is a great place to scuba dive or snorkel. The National Park Service manages this island, which is surrounded by a barrier reef full of tropical fish and elkhorn coral. There is also a subtropical dry forest on land. The island has a few trails that are perfect for a post-snorkel stroll or hike. There are picnic spots and restrooms on one side of the island, but you will need to bring your own refreshments.
Buck Island’s snorkelers say it’s the place to snorkel, but the coral isn’t worth the hype. Many travelers noted the coral lacks vibrancy due to environmental damage. Nevertheless, they encouraged future travelers to stop on Buck Island, urging them not to overlook the island’s forest.
Coral World Ocean Park St. Thomas
An indoor-outdoor aquarium filled with small sharks, stingrays, and starfish is one of St. Thomas’ most popular tourist attractions. Coral World is situated on the northeast coast of St. Thomas, next to Coki Beach, and also offers a walk-through aviary and an underwater observatory 15 feet beneath the surface of the ocean.
Previous visitors have expressed mixed opinions about the site despite its popularity. Many praised the facility for the care it gives to its animals and said that it is a fun stop for families. Some visitors felt the park left something to be desired and noted that parts of the facility still need repair after Hurricane Irma.
You may find “The 8 Best Caribbean Beaches” Helpful with your vacation.
Cruzan Rum Distillery St. Croix
Cruzan Rum can be sampled on its island of origin by vacationers, and you should do the same at its distillery in Frederiksted. You can learn about the distilling and bottling processes at the rum headquarters. A majority of visitors noted that the tour is fun and informative, but is short: It lasts approximately 30 minutes. The guides will mix you up to two cocktails (included in your tour fee) at the end of the tour.
Main Street St. Thomas
If you love shopping, St. Thomas has the best shopping plaza in the Caribbean. On Main Street in Charlotte Amalie, you will find diamonds, perfume, designer clothes, electronics, and even potent liquor. As you’ve read online and heard from friends, it’s all duty-free.
If you’re not in the mood to shop, stay away, especially in the late morning and early afternoon. Visiting the narrow Main Street is an assault on the senses, filled with tourists straight from the cruise dock and solicitors begging you to visit their shops. Tourist taxis try to drop visitors as close to the shops as possible in the surrounding area of Charlotte Amalie.