St. Thomas is one of the Caribbean’s Virgin Islands. Together with Saint Croix, Hassel Island, Water Island, and St. John, it forms a constituent district of the USVI, United States Virgin Islands. Since it is an unincorporated territory of the US, St. Thomas is a great vacation destination for US residents. You do not need a passport to visit this beautiful island. Just book your flight and begin your vacation. It is a beautiful holiday destination with countless things to do and places to visit. The island offers everything from historical sites, shops, and museums, to stunning lagoons and sandy beaches. Are you looking for fun and adventurous things to do in St. Thomas? Here is a list of the 20 best things to do here.
20. Catch Some Sand at Sapphire Beach
Sapphire Beach is 25 minutes from Charlotte Amalie – St. Thomas' scenic capital. The white sand beach is stunning and partially sheltered by towering grape trees, allowing you to have a laidback day in the shade as you enjoy the ocean views. If you are in the mood for food and drink, you don't have to cut short your beach stay – there are several local vendors close by. And if you prefer adventure to lounge in the sun, you can play water sports at the water sports booth, including parasailing, jet skiing, snorkeling, kayaking, and windsurfing. Kids can play with the ducks at the nearby artificial pool.
19. Take a Dip in Magens Bay
Located in the northern part of the Island, Magens Bay is a popular beach and park considered among the most scenic and photogenic places in the entire US. The Caribbean waters are pristine and blue, contrasting perfectly with the white sands to create jaw-dropping scenery. Water sports fans can enjoy swimming and snorkeling under the keen eye of well-trained lifeguards. If you prefer to take in the scenery, you can tour the coconut grove or breathtaking botanical garden and enjoy a nature trail lined with several ecosystems, including mangroves, a mixed dry forest, and tropical forests.
Traveler's Tip: Magens Bay is a hub for tourists and is usually very crowded. If you want to avoid the crowds, go late in the afternoon or early in the morning.
18. Explore the Island Though a Boat Tour
Taking a boat tour is the best way to experience St. Thomas in all its glory, and many tourists do it for a reason. If you would like to get a perfect lay of the land, head over to Frenchman's Reef and get on a catamaran that will take you on a three-hour tour around the coastline. You will see most of the sights that make St. Thomas special, including the Buck Island National Wildlife Refuge. The boat ride will also include the opportunity to swim or snorkel if you are a water bug.
17. Enjoy the Deep Seas by Scuba Diving
St. Thomas has some of the clearest crystal waters in the world, which makes it a great place for scuba diving. The scuba diving sites on this island are beyond stunning, giving you vivid views of coral reefs and shipwrecks, including some that are still intact. If you don't know where to start, visit St. Thomas Scuba and Snorkel Adventures and check out their private and customized diving tours, all at affordable rates. The National Geographic Traveler called diving with this company a "must do while visiting the Caribbean".
Safety Tip: If you have never scuba dove before, you should join a four-person diving tour guided by a certified instructor that will tell you exactly what to do.
16. Sightsee at Mountain Top bar
At about 2100 feet above sea level, Mountain Top is situated on the highest cliff in St. Thomas. This location provides the most spectacular views of the Island and its waters and is the perfect place for you if you want to take pictures of your trip. In addition to the amazing views, you can spend the day at the location bar, cafeteria, and shop. The Mountain Top bar invented the world-famous banana daiquiri, and your visit here is not complete until you have had a glass of the original.
15. Climb the Distinguished and Historic 99 Steps
In the 1700s, the Danes built a stone staircase to ease their movement around St. Thomas' steep terrain. The staircase, now called 99 Steps, has survived this long and is one of the most famous and distinguished landmarks on the island. Located in Charlotte Amalie, 99 Steps goes through most of the hills in the surrounding harbor area and is lined with colorful gardens. Going on the steep climb up the steps is stepping through history. You should also be able to spot other iconic landmarks like Blackbeard's Castle and Fort Christian, the oldest building on the Island.
14. Wind Down at Secret Harbor
Secret Harbor is safely tucked away on the east side of the island, about 12 kilometers away from the capital, and is one of the most luxurious resorts in the Virgin Islands. It is the perfect place to unwind, being within the vicinity of Sapphire Beach and Lindquist. The property itself is on a secluded private beach where you can stand up paddleboard, dive, swim, or enjoy a cocktail as you watch the sunset from your beach chair. If you decide to stay, the suites have a private patio and full kitchen.
13. Hug the Tree Line On a Zipline
The Tree Limin Extreme Zipline course runs over St. Thomas island right from Saint Peter Mountain. Daredevils and adventurous souls will love this experience and the magnificent view of the island it offers. Moreover, the course is completely safe and accessible to everyone except children under five.
12. Lazy Around at the Mangrove Lagoon
No trip to St. Thomas is complete until you visit Mangrove Lagoon. Teeming with sticky mangroves and winding waters, this attraction is home to clear, calm waters, brown pelicans, stingrays, and colorful birds like the red-billed tropicbird and green-throated Carib. You can paddle through the lagoon on your own or book the Virgin Islands Ecotours 2.5-hour tour on a kayak guided by a local with immense knowledge about the lagoon. If you have some time on your hands, you can extend your tour and hike through Cas Cay – the stunning uninhabited island.
11. Enjoy the Water Along Coki Point Beach
The golden sands of Coki Point beach provide a beautiful contrast to the crystal clear waters of the sea. It is another great destination for beach lovers and is rich with amenities and facilities like bars, street food carts, beachside eateries, and shops selling beach necessities such as sunblock and wrap skirts. If you have an active nightlife, the beach parties at Coki Beach will tickle your fancy.
10. Take a Skyride to Paradise Point
Can't get enough of those scenic views of St. Thomas? Try a cable car. Right across from Havensight Cruise Ship Dock is Skyride to Paradise Point, where you can get on a cable car that takes you over 700 feet to a high point from where you can view the Caribbean in its entirety. When you get to the top, you can enjoy delicious cocktails and cuisines and play with parrots. You can also lounge at the bar and enjoy views of the ocean and the physical features of St. Thomas.
9. Put on Your Pirate Hat at The Pirate Treasure Museum
If you have always been fascinated by pirates and sea life, the Pirate Treasure Museum is a must-visit. The museum features many antique displays dating as far back as 148BC and artifacts from the sea and various shipwrecks. Essentially, visitors get a firsthand look at what pirate life used to be and enjoy the mysteries of the sea. The museum is located in Havensight and lets you bring home unique gifts and souvenirs from their collection. You can buy pottery necklaces, playing cards, and historical coins.
Traveler's Tip: If you are touring the Island with a large group of family or friends, book the private party tour of the Pirate Treasure Museum for some privacy.
8. Go on Shopping Spree at Main Street, Charlotte Amalie
Are you a shopaholic? Main Street Main Street, Charlotte Amalie is the best place to shop in St. Thomas. Whether you are looking for clothes, shoes, scarves, or trinkets and gifts to bring back home, you will get what you are looking for on Main Street. The place is filled with shops selling alcoholic drinks, electronics, diamond jewelry, perfumes, and more. However, due to this, it is usually very busy. Avoid the early or late afternoons if you do not like crowds.
7. Sample Caribbean Delicacies On a Food Tour
There is no better way to sample the savory tastes of the Caribbean than going on a food tour. If you are a foodie, you will love these four-hour excursions that take you through top scenes in St. Thomas and the liveliest shop districts. You will even make a stop at Mountain Top. The tour is designed to work up your appetite so you can enjoy tasty meals at several authentic Caribbean hotels and restaurants. In addition to sampling cultural dishes, you will also learn more about their history, how they are made, and the people who make them. You can prepare your palette for meals like Johnny cakes, dumplings, pate, kallaloo, and more.
6. Visit the Oldest Building in The Virgin Islands
St. Thomas has a rich history, and no building embodies it more than Fort Christian. Built between 1672 and 1680 during the Dano-Norwegian government as a defense point, the fort is over 3 centuries old. It is the oldest building in the entire Virgin Islands and a great destination for history buffs. Fort Christian is located in Charlotte Amalie and is a National Historic Landmark. Over the years, a museum was added that features intriguing artifacts, beautiful art, and Amerindian relics from St. Thomas' history.
5. Snorkel and Play with Sea Turtles
St. Thomas is teeming with sea life, and if you know where to look, you can have the experience of a lifetime. For example, you can take a four-hour snorkeling tour that will bring you up close and personal with stunning turtles. During the tour, you can enjoy the sights of several species of these sea animals as well as enjoy some meals and drinks in between your dives. A great place to get this experience is Brewers Bay, which is located in front of the University of the Virgin Islands behind the airport.
4. Enjoy the Ocean Views at Yacht Haven Grande
If you love boats and are looking to slow down your vacation a little, you can drive over to Yacht Haven Grande and spend the day in the presence of luxurious boats. The ocean view in this marina is beautiful, and the megayachts lend the scene an air of nobility and class not found on other shorelines on the island. There are also several restaurants in the area for when you want to leave the sea air.
3. Take the Jost Van Dyke Day Trip
The Jost Van Dyke day trip includes breakfast on a boat and swimming in Virgin Gorda's natural baths. Participants also get to explore natural structures like rock pools and caves before catching a swim at Jost Van Dyke. Later, you can visit the waterside bars for a few drinks before heading back to your hotel. It is the perfect way to spend your day without worrying about where to go next – everything is planned.
2. Get Your Hands Dirty at Phantasea Tropical Botanical Garden
The Phantasea Tropical Botanical Garden is home to a wide collection of foreign and native plants. With an admission fee of $5 for children and $10 for adults, it is also one of the most affordable destinations on the island. AS a bonus, the management lets you buy some of their flowers.
1. Take in History at the St. Thomas Synagogue
Another one for the history buffs. The ancient St. Thomas Synagogue was built in 1983 and is the second oldest building of its kind in the country. Situated in the heart of Charlotte Amalie, it is the perfect place to stop during your walk through the capital. The synagogue offers countless photo opportunities and landmarks you can enjoy through a guided tour for the best experience.
It is evident that there is no shortage of things to do in St. Thomas. This island is the ultimate Caribbean getaway with many natural and breathtaking bays, harbors, and beaches. Whether you want to sit by the ocean, play water sports, shop, or relive history, St. Thomas has got you covered.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn