See, feel and hear St. Thomas's natural and historical attractions

St. Thomas is a small mountainous island with spectacular views, amazing marine life, and lots of history, so it's no wonder that the best attractions on the island highlight these natural strengths.

Coral World, for example, is a mini-marine park that consistently ranks as one of the Caribbean's most popular attractions. The underwater observatory, stingray-feeding pool, shark tank, and sea lion show highlight the natural marine wonders of the Caribbean. The park is especially popular with the younger set.

For the best views on the island, the Skyride to Paradise Point is a top choice. First you experience the thrill of riding a cable car up a steep mountain peak, then you are treated to incredible 180-degree views over Charlotte Amalie Harbor, Water Island and Hassel Island.

Another spectacular view can be had at Mountain Top, a hilltop gift shop and observatory, which reopened in 2011 after a devastating fire in 2009. Here the views stretch out toward St. John, Jost Van Dyke, and Tortola. The gift shop has far superior items to many other locations on the island, and the famous banana daiquiris can't be beat. Similar views can also be seen from Drake's Seat, minus the gifts and drinks!

The best historical attractions on St. Thomas include Fort Christian (built in 1672), which is just to the east of downtown, and the famous 99 Steps which lead up to the Danish-era Blackbeard's Castle. Take a self-guided tour and you'll get a good feel for the history all around.

And last but not least are the beaches. Magens Bay Beach is the most famous on the island, and some say the whole Caribbean. Its incredible white sand, calm turquoise water, swaying palms and isolation from the "real world" make it a must-see stop on any itinerary of St. Thomas.

This Danish Colonial plantation was built in 1721 and produced sugar, rum and molasses. Today it's a museum where you can learn about all phases of plantation life and sugar production. You can tour the old slave quarters, factory, and windmill...  Read More

Fort Christiansvaern

This wonderfully restored fort was built in 1774 to protect the city of Christiansted and its harbor. Admission to the fort also gains entrance to the Steeple Building Museum, the Old Scale House, and the Danish West India Company warehouse....  Read More

99 Steps
Photo courtesy of Karen Elowitt

Built in the 1700s to make climbing Government Hill a bit easier, this staircase is one of St Thomas's most famous landmarks. Some historians feel the stairs are making up for Danish engineers' lack of knowledge about the steep landscape of St...  Read More

This lush, 17-acre botanical garden resides within the ruins of a 19th-century sugar plantation. The Premises also overlap an 1800-year-old Amerindian settlement. Over 1,000 varieties of plants are represented in the garden's innovative design,...  Read More

St. Peter Great House and Botanical Gardens
Photo courtesy of Karen Elowitt

Plan to spend at least 45 minutes strolling the grounds at this lavish estate and gardens, nestled in the hills high above the sea. Wander the gallery where local art is displayed, or peruse the old plantation house. It was built in the early...  Read More

Estate Mount Washington Plantation

If you're intrigued by the island's history and what gave it prominence and status early on, this site provides clues. St. Croix's best-preserved sugar plantation occupies 13 acres and welcomes visitors to explore the grounds on self-guided...  Read More

Virgin Islands National Park
Photo courtesy of Dr. Caroline Rogers

The Virgin Islands National Park is St John's largest and most popular attraction. It covers 3/5 of St John's landmass and includes 12,624 land and marine acres that encompass pristine beaches, coral reefs, hiking trails, wild donkeys and 800...  Read More

Fort Christian

Built in 1672 and named for Danish King Christian V, Fort Christian is the oldest standing structure in the United States Virgin Islands. Through the years this National Historic Landmark, designated as such in 1977, has been used as a jail, the...  Read More

Blackbeard's Castle / Skytsborg Tower
Photo courtesy of Karen Elowitt

No one knows when Skytsborg Tower became known as Blackbeard's Castle. The tower was built in 1679, at the highest point on Government Hill, to serve as a watchtower for Fort Christian. It is rumored that Edward Teach – Blackbeard the Pirate...  Read More

Paradise Point St. Thomas Skyride
Photo courtesy of Courtesy of TripAdvisor

A gondola located across the street from the Havensight cruise ship dock and shopping center whisks visitors high above Charlotte Amalie harbor to an entertainment center at the top of the 700-foot peak. From here you can see all the way to St....  Read More


Meet Karen Elowitt

Karen worked for several years as a newspaper reporter and copy editor before becoming a travel writer. She worked for renowned  travel expert Peter Greenberg before going freelance, and now...  More About Karen