I’m Chloe Jade – a photographer, content creator and online personality. Thanks for stopping by my article on the US Virgin Islands! I grew up in Napa, California but moved for college at 16. I graduated early and so this allowed me to graduate from university at 19 (when I was close to 20). Because I had started an online business, I began traveling at 21.
I went on a 2 ½ week trip with my family to Thailand and decided to stay for the rest of the year. This was in 2015. Both 2016 and 2017 were totally on the road, I backpacked through 56 countries or so on that trip. I only came back at the end of 2016 during the holidays and then took off again. So this is what started my love for off-the-beaten-path places. I had traveled for 6 months in Latin America and then 6 months in African countries.
This generated my desire to travel even more and I decided I wanted to visit every country in the world. So that has been the last few years for me. As far as luxury, I have been able to curate this by offering photography and content to hotels and resorts. Rather than pay for luxury, I can offer my services in exchange for a free stay. I like a mix of rugged and luxury.
2 Amazing Weeks in the US Virgin Islands
I primarily wanted to visit the US Virgin Islands because my spouse has been waiting for their green card, so it meant they could not leave the country during this time. I did a few solo trips out of the country while we waited 9 months, but we were trying to travel within the country. USVI was amazing though. We spent 2 weeks staying on 2 islands but we visited all 3:
- Our trip started in St. Thomas for a week. Here we stayed in an Airbnb and took a private boat to visit St. John, the smallest of the islands. I recommend staying on St. John for at least a few nights and would do this if I went back. It’s quiet and peaceful with the best beaches!
- We then spent the next week on St. Croix. It’s about a 30-minute flight from St. Thomas and there is more of a local vibe here. We stayed in another Airbnb which was in the hills and had a beautiful view of the ocean. It was nice because it was a lot quieter and not as touristy.
St. Thomas is a lot more touristy because cruise ships visit and it’s easily accessible. However, there is pretty good food here and the vibe is nice. However, it does feel like you are still in the United States, whereas St. Croix really feels like you are on an island in the Caribbean with more local foods and people to talk to. I think USVI is an awesome destination if you want to stay within the US, but also if you want to experience beautiful beaches.
Fun Things To Do in the US Virgin Islands
1. Discover the Most Beautiful Beaches of St. John
My favorite part of USVI was visiting the beaches of St. John. They are absolutely beautiful and truly the Caribbean water that I personally love. Beaches like Trunk Bay are home to crystal clear water and gorgeous white sand. Trunk Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, known for its unspoilt charm. You will certainly agree when you visit!
2. Go Scuba Diving in the US Virgin Islands
You really don’t need a wetsuit to go scuba diving in the US Virgin Islands and there are some amazing things to see underwater like over 500 species of fish, 40 types of coral, eagle rays, lobsters and more. The best spots in USVI for scuba diving include: The Wall (St. Croix), Frederiksted Pier (St. Croix), Eagle Shoals (St. John) and Tunnels of Thatch (St. Thomas).
3. Visit Buck Island via Christiansted, St. Croix
If you are staying on St. Croix you absolutely must go to Buck Island, it’s beautiful! The island is protected federally as a national monument. Buck Island is the very definition of an untouched Caribbean paradise – with its sparkling blue waters, swaying palm trees and incredible marine life under the water. The best way to get to Buck Island is via Christiansted, St. Croix.
4. Hire a Private Boat for the Day to Explore St. John
Hiring a private boat can either be done from St. Thomas or from St. John if you are staying there. This gives you better access to the island and all the beaches you normally couldn’t reach on foot. The most secluded beaches can be found this way. Boating is a great activity for groups of friends looking for a bit of party time or families looking to have a fun day out.
5. Take a Day Trip to the British Virgin Islands
If your passport allows it (you need a UK visa or a passport with visa-free entry) take a day trip to the British Virgin Islands. It’s cheaper in BVI and there are many islands to explore. The main activities here include beaches, having drinks such as the famous Painkiller, snorkeling and diving, visiting national parks, hiking the trails and enjoying the delicious local food.
6. Spend the Day at Magens Bay on St. Thomas
Magens Bay is a beautiful beach that everyone loves. This is the most popular beach on St. Thomas and for good reason. The beach stretches for one mile and is home to perfectly calm waters, snorkeling opportunities along the rocky coast, water sport activities, kayaking, beach chairs, floats and food such as pizza, burgers and other snacks. It’s well worth a visit!
7. Try the Local Food & Fish of the US Virgin Islands
Between all of the activities listed above you will definitely find yourself hungry, so it’s good to know that USVI offers some pretty spectacular local cuisine. Fish is a staple and the national dish but it comes with a twist: fish and fungi! Fungi is a polenta-like dumpling. My favorite dishes were fish and plantains. It’s typical island/Caribbean food but it’s still really tasty!
Tips for Visiting the US Virgin Islands
There are a lot of expats in the US Virgin Islands but a lot of locals as well. It’s a good mix of people. If you go to St. Croix you will meet more locals if you stay out of the tourist areas. I personally wanted to stay for a longer time in USVI and enjoy living a more “local” lifestyle, so I stayed in Airbnbs. I recommend staying in Airbnbs too if you want to feel more of a local vibe.
Definitely rent a car on either St. Thomas or St. Croix. Taxis are overpriced. You should also make sure you rent a boat to visit St. John or stay on the island. This is the best thing you can do in USVI. Definitely visit Trunk Bay if you go to St. John. It’s stunning! Otherwise, it’s a very straightforward trip.