Whether your preference is mountaintop views, gorgeous beaches, tropical forests, coral reefs or historical sites, you'll find plenty to see in these islands. Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas and Christiansted and Frederiksted on St. Croix are full of architectural interest and history. For water with wow factor, visit Trunk Bay, St. John, for the beach, and Buck Island Reef off St. Croix for snorkeling. To see how West Indian planters lived, explore Annaberg Plantation on St. John or Estate Whim Museum on St. Croix.
The hills that cover St. Thomas offer some lovely lookouts. The scenery is spectacular from the top of St. Peter Mountain, the highest viewing point on the island and location of the popular tourist attraction Mountain Top. You can see almost 20 islands and cays, including St. John, as well as Tortola and Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands.
The sun, sand and sea are the main attractions, with lounging on the beach and watersports the main reason most people visit the Virgin Islands. Visitors will find gorgeous beaches on all three islands. Each has numerous dive operators and day-sail boats to take visitors to an offshore cay for a look at the undersea world by scuba-diving or snorkeling. Fishing charters take you out in hopes of catching the big one. When you tire of the beach and watersports, if that's possible, you'll find plenty of other things to do. Most hotels have tennis courts, St. Thomas and St. Croix sport golf courses, and St. John is the hiking capital of the Caribbean.
What should I wear?
Casual summer clothing is appropriate all year, but it's considered rude to go shirtless in town. Wearing a swimsuit in town without a coverup is frowned upon. Shorts are acceptable almost everywhere, although you'll feel underdressed in a nice restaurant for dinner. Restaurants that require men to wear jackets at dinner are very rare—take a jacket only if you are planning to dine in an exclusive resort restaurant. Others often require collared shirts.
If you're there on business, pants and shirts suffice for men, but if you're heading to court or government offices, a suit is best. For women, a dress, skirt or pants and a neat blouse work, unless you're on legal or government business. In that case, a suit is fine.
The U.S. Virgin Islands has stepped up efforts to combat crime. The islands are generally safe and present no more danger than other Caribbean destinations. But you should exercise common sense, especially on the more heavily populated islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix. Don't flash money around in public places or wear expensive jewelry. Avoid deserted or poorly lit areas after dark, such as parking lots or back streets of towns. Be careful whom you befriend (and how much you drink) in local bars. Be wary of pickpockets, and don't leave valuables in plain view—either in a car or on a beach.