U.S. Virgin Islands is known for...
The number one reason visitors come to the USVI is for its incredible beaches. Fringed by palms, sea grape trees and wild jungle, the peaceful, uncrowded and well-maintained white sand acts a gateway to swimming, snorkeling, paddleboarding, kayaking, and picnicking. No matter which island you're on, the beach is never more than a mile or two away: on St. John it's just a short hop to the famously scenic North Shore Beaches; on St. Croix, zip to Cane Bay in the morning, then to Rainbow Beach in the afternoon; and on St. Thomas take the family to the popular Magens Bay one day, and the secluded Secret Harbour the next.
"Shop til you drop" is the unofficial motto of the Virgin Islands. Many of the shops are located near the main cruise ship ports in order to draw shopping-mad day trippers who want to scoop up deals on gems, jewels and duty-free items like rum and tobacco. But you can also find antiques, designer clothing, local arts and crafts, and electronics too. Whether you ply the quaint alleyways of colonial Main Street in Charlotte Amalie, the chi-chi promenades of Mongoose Junction in St. John, or the charming West Indian craft merchant stalls in Fredriksted on St. Croix, you'll come away with a souvenir you'll always treasure.
Snorkeling, SCUBA diving, jet-skiing, parasailing, fishing, and kayaking -- pretty much any kind of watersport you can imagine (and some you can't) are available in the Virgin Islands. Up-and-coming sports like stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) are gaining traction too, as are unique activities such as jet-riding (which lets you power above the water with a jet back on your back) and SNUBA (SCUBA without the heavy equipment). Ask your hotel or resort for a recommendation, or pull up to any marina and you'll find dozens of outfitters ready to take you out on the warm, inviting water for an unforgettable experience.
As a dining destination, the USVI is second to none: it's got some of the premier fine-dining restaurants in the Caribbean. But it's also got hundreds of authentic West Indian cafes, casual beach joints, and trendy coffee bars. There's a little something to satisfy any palate and budget. High-end dining, though, is a strong point of the USVI: a slew of top-notch restaurants serving up classic American, elegant European and innovative fusion fare are the reason many come to the islands. Wherever you dine, local fish is likely to be the highlight of the meal: conch fritters, grilled wahoo and saltfish are among island favorites.
Rather than passively absorb the natural and historical sights in USVI, visitors generally take an activity-based approach. The underwater sights are best viewed during a snorkeling or diving excursion, to places like the underwater trail at Trunk Bay, St. John, or the turtle sanctuary at Buck Island, St. Croix. Spectacular views toward Tortola and the BVIs can be admired while whipping through the trees at St. Thomas's new zipline attraction, or while touring the St. Peter Great House. History buffs love shopping while wandering through the historic colonial streets of downtown Charlotte Amalie or Christiansted, where ancients forts and synagogues sit side-by-side with galleries and gift shops.