Best places to visit in the U.S. Virgin Islands
By Andrea Milam on 30th May, 2020
The Virgin Islands of St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix offer a bevy of beautiful Instagram-worthy destinations to visit, most of them so stunning, you can snap and upload immediately. Here is our round-up of the best attractions and places to visit in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Take a seat at Drake’s Seat, on the Northside of St. Thomas overlooking world-famous Magens Bay, and capture some of the most spectacular photos of the island. Built in 1933 by Arthur Fairchild, the bench at this site is named after the British privateer Sir Francis Drake, who some say used the bay as an anchorage point for his ships and this vantage point to identify ships to later plunder. Visitors can gaze at outlying islands, Inner Brass and Hans Lollik, which serve as great backdrops for any photo.
These historic 99 steps that actually number at 103 are a popular photo op spot because they are one of the most distinguishable landmarks in historic Charlotte Amalie. The original name of the steps was Store Taarne Gade, which means Greater Tower Street in Danish. The bricks used were brought from Denmark as ballast in the holds of trade ships. The staircase is one of many built by the Danes in the mid-1700s to solve the problem of getting around the hilly areas. When you climb to the top, you’ll find stairs leading to Blackbeard’s Castle, a captivating National Historic Landmark that’s undergoing repairs following Hurricane Irma.
The finely detailed architecture of a clock tower at the entrance attracts many visitors to Fort Christian. Named after King Christian V of Denmark, it is said to be the oldest structure in continuous use in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Construction of the fort began in 1672, when the walls were built to be between 3 and 6 feet thick with the goal of protecting the colony and the island as a whole island from hostile marauders.
It has served as a jail, place of worship, and police station over the centuries. Today, the fort’s museum houses exhibits of historical artifacts. After being closed many years for renovations, the captivating landmark is once again open to visitors. It’s also a great spot from which to capture a remarkable panoramic view of the harbor.
The name says it all. Every day at Paradise Point is a picture-perfect day because it offers a stunning viewpoint where you can aim for the most colorful, panoramic shots of St. Thomas Harbor while taking in the sights of downtown. Get there by taking a short scenic tramway ride from the base station in Havensight to 700 feet above the town. When you get to the top, you’ll find a restaurant, observation deck, and stores. Head up near sunset for a stunning photo op.
Main Street Alleyways
A walking tour of downtown Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas’s capital, presents a great opportunity to shop and see the sights. There is an abundance of historic Danish architecture in this area locals refer to as “town.” There are cobblestone alleyways with Danish names like Raadets Gade, Tolbod Gade, Store Tvaer Gade, and Strand Gade, all leading to Main Street. In these alleyways, you’ll see traditional Danish architecture featuring red-roofed buildings constructed using the yellow bricks that were brought to the islands as ballast on the great trading ships of the 1700 and 1800s. In the late 1600s, fires destroyed almost all of the original wooden colonial structures downtown, leading to them being rebuilt with these bricks to protect them from any future fires or hurricanes.
Trunk Bay is one of St. John’s most breathtaking attractions. Its dreamy atmosphere entices the hundreds of couples who gather there each year
to snap stunning photos and renew their wedding vows in an event held annually on Valentine’s Day. The beach is often called the most pristine in the Caribbean, with clear, warm water and silky sands. With a 225-yard-long underwater coral reef trail, Trunk Bay presents a great opportunity for some underwater photography. As part of the Virgin Islands National Park, this beach is pristine, perfectly beautiful, and one you must share with your followers.
If a picturesque, private, remote location is what you are seeking, then make your way to Lameshur Bay on the south shore of St. John. The area is always perfectly lit with bright natural sunlight for your scenic beach shots. The beach offers access to the Lameshur Bay Trail which connects to the Reef Bay Trail, where you’ll find the petroglyphs, an ancient Taino site with intriguing rock carvings, and one of the most complete sets of sugar plantation ruins on island. Snap some photos here to deepen your feed with history and culture.
Looking for the perfect location for a sunrise shot? Then you will be mesmerized by the views at Point Udall, named for former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall. The scenic drive on the east end of the island out to the point offers a full panoramic view of the turquoise sea. Be sure to capture the Millennium Monument, a sundial designed by Bill Rich to commemorate the site’s distinction of being the first place the sun rises on American soil, making Point Udall where the 21st century began for the U.S.
The monument’s native stonework set against the sun rising up from the crisp, unspoiled Atlantic horizon will surely draw attention from your followers.
Article written by Sandra Goomansingh
Read more: Best things to do in St Thomas, St Croix & St John