The Caribbean is home to some of the world’s most breathtaking islands. Many of these paradises are out of reach for some U.S. citizens because they require a passport for entry, but there are three tropical havens that Americas can enjoy travel-document free. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, the U.S. Virgin Islands – St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix – each have their own identities, but together they are home to some of the most beautiful beaches and landscapes in the world.
This bustling isle is home to the cosmopolitan capital Charlotte Amalie and boasts boundless opportunities for island fun. Find your perfect beach from 40 or so sandy spots that are scattered around St. Thomas’ 32-square miles. Once you’ve soaked up enough sun, head into the turquoise waves to swim with spectacular marine creatures like sea turtles and stingrays.
Back in the city, you’ll discover a bustling nightlife and shopping scene, and its surrounding landscape is dotted with world-renowned golf courses. If the social mood strikes you, but you’re looking for more of a laid-back aura, make your way to the East End towards a port town called Red Hook. You’ll discover a lively neighborhood filled with restaurants and bars serving cold drinks and live music. It might seem impossible to see everything St. Thomas has to offer, but you can still capture the best views of this island from 700 feet in the air on the Skyride or from atop the famous 99 Steps of Charlotte Amalie.
With over 60% of its countryside covered by a lush national park, St. John is the ideal escape for anyone searching to get off the grid. Eco-enthusiasts flock to this island for a chance to get up close and personal with some of the tropic’s most fascinating creatures. Hiking through its thick forests is a must, and be sure to keep a look out for a variety of vibrant birds like cuckoos and hummingbirds. For a unique snorkeling adventure, jump in the waters of Hurricane Hole to swim through mangroves and around their coral adorned roots. And the warm, aquamarine waves surrounding the island are teeming with playful dolphins.
When civilization beckons you back, you’ll find an easygoing vibe that will quickly lull you onto island time. St. Johns small stature and lack of crowds makes the main town of Cruz Bay a great spot for bar hopping and strolling through the streets.
As the largest island in the trinity, St. Croix is rich in history and culture. Its population is vastly diverse, with the native Arawak and Carib people influenced by immigrants from Spain, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, the Knights of Malta, and of course, the United States. This blend of cultures has shaped the island’s arts, music, and cuisine, giving it a unique flare that is celebrated at various festivals held throughout the year. History buffs will be pleased to find St. Croix soaked with a rich past evident in the town of Christiansted with its Dutch colonial architecture and 18th century fort that was built to defend the area from pirates.
On the leeward side of the island lies the sleepy town of Frederiksted. Despite its small size, this town and its surroundings offer plenty of activity, which draws families, honeymooners, and friends alike. Sun worshipers gather on white sand beaches to float in tranquil seas. Adrenaline seekers can enjoy eco-thrills such as ATV rides through the rainforest, and golf lovers can’t miss the chance to tee off on professionally designed courses. St. Croix’s nearly endless supply of fun is as varied as the friendly locals.
While the Caribbean calls to those craving a tropical escape, we’re proud to say the US Virgin Islands are the States very own piece of paradise boasting three times the tropical bliss with no passports required. Call your travel agent to plan your own escape to America’s oasis today.