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Past, Present and Future of the U.S. Virgin Islands
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The Ideal Beach Destination

Nicknamed “America’s Paradise,” the U.S. Virgin Islands is famous for its beautiful white-sand beaches, turquoise waters and friendly people. A destination that has no real "off-season,” the islands’ average winter temperatures of 29 degrees Celsius (slightly higher in the summer) provides perfect beach weather all year long. Whether you prefer a beach chair, hammock or towel in the sand, spend the day sunbathing your cares away with views of dreamy seascapes at one of the islands' beaches, which are consistently ranked among the top 10 in the world.


Exciting Activities by Land and Sea

From world-class diving to deep-sea fishing, the U.S. Virgin Islands is home to an abundance of exhilarating water activities. Sailing, snorkeling, kayaking and paddle boarding are popular ways to see the tropical beauty of the islands, while visitors seeking bigger thrills should try windsurfing or jet skiing. Descend beneath the ocean’s depths and explore a shipwreck, wall, pier, shore and reef all in one day. Whether you're a newly certified diver or a more advanced one, there is much to see in the pristine waters, with more than 500 species of fish, 40 types of coral and hundreds of invertebrates inhabiting the sea. Lush landscapes and awe-inspiring vistas provide a breathtaking backdrop for land excursions as well. Horseback ride along the coast, take a captivating eco-tour, or hike and bike across diverse terrain.


The Diverse Culture of the Islands

The U.S. Virgin Islands has a rich cultural legacy that lives on today. The flags of seven different nations have flown over these islands, leaving their distinct imprint on the people, history, culture, architecture, art, music and cuisine. Take a stroll back in time through the many historic towns. Visit 17th and 18th-century forts, museums and heritage sites. Get immersed in the pulse of the local music and take part in the vibrant and colorful cultural displays during annual carnivals and festivals. With a tapestry of West Indian, African, European and American influences, the U.S. Virgin Islands is a celebration of diversity that encompasses all five senses. Taste it in the local fare and cuisine that spans the region and the globe. See it in architecture and art. Hear it in the captivating sounds of Quelbe and Calypso music and feel the vibrant energy that permeates the spirit of all those that call these islands home.

Past, Present and Future of the U.S. Virgin Islands
Video screenshot: Past, Present and Future of the U.S. Virgin Islands
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Fun Fact

The beautiful blue-green waters of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands
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Though the territory itself doesn’t have a nickname, its islands do: Twin City (St. Croix), Love City (St. John) and Rock City (St. Thomas).

The Millennium Monument at Point Udall in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands
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Point Udall in St. Croix is the easternmost point of the USA and home to the Millennium Monument.

Photo: U.S. Virgin Island Department of Tourism

St. Thomas sand floor synagogue in the U.S. Virgin Islands
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The island of St. Thomas is home to the second oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere.

Photo: U.S. Virgin Island Department of Tourism

Must see places

A hiking trail surrounded by flowers in Virgin Islands National Park
U.S. Virgin Island Department of Tourism

Virgin Islands National Park

Covering 2,832 hectares of the Virgin Islands, and much of that water, this park’s scope includes 60 percent of St. John and boasts tropical rainforests to explore, prime boating areas, dozens of nature trails and many sites that reflect the island’s rich history.

The view of Magens Bay from Mountain Top St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Mountain Top St. Thomas

It’s a party on top of St. Thomas's highest peak, where, at 640 meters, you’ll find yourself on an expansive observation deck overlooking Magens Bay, sipping the site’s famous banana daiquiri and taking in the view.

Taking a photo of Trunk Bay in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

Trunk Bay

The award-winning beach here is exactly what you picture when you think tropical paradise: turquoise water, sparkling white crescent shoreline and a rainforest in the distance. Snorkel the underwater trails here to get an unfiltered view of the coral reef.

Buck Island off the coast of St. Croix
U.S. Virgin Island Department of Tourism

Buck Island Reef National Monument

This cay just off of St. Croix is almost entirely bordered by an Elkhorn coral barrier reef, which keeps the lagoon-like water calm and swimmable. Go diving, snorkeling, boating, bird-watching or take a hike across the island (only 45 minutes). 

Aerial view of the Coral World Ocean Park in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
U.S. Virgin Island Department of Tourism

Coral World Ocean Park

Swim with sea lions, pet a shark and hang out with iguanas in this two-hectare St. Thomas park, which includes aquariums and marine pools as well as nature trails and a butterfly garden.

Aerial view of Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge

Discover a place where history and nature meet. At Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge on St. Croix, visitors can see ancient conch middens give way to softer spots in the sand, watch for birds of all species convene in the trees and marvel at leatherback sea turtles nesting grounds.

The historical Fort Christian located on St. Thomas
U.S. Virgin Island Department of Tourism

Fort Christian

This 300-year-old fort’s red and green façade looks cheerful, but it is also weathered: the long-standing fort has played many roles in the U.S. Virgin Islands’ complex story. Explore more on a walking tour of Charlotte Amalie, the capital city, where Fort Christian is located.

European architecture of Christiansted National Historic Site on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Christiansted National Historic Site

Located in an urban park, Christiansted’s six historic buildings reflect the European influence on St. Croix. Visitors can tour the site for an understanding of the Danish background and presence on the islands.

Distillery barrels at Sion Hill Distillery
Kent Pell Photography

Sion Hill Distillery

The spirit of St. Croix is even tastier with MUTINY Island Vodka, a handcrafted, specialty vodka made with breadfruit – one of the islands’ local staples. Visitors can tour Sion Hill Distillery and sample this flavorful vodka.

The 99 Steps of Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas
U.S. Virgin Island Department of Tourism

The 99 Steps

Built during the 1700s, the 99 Steps were built into the hillside to keep the orderly grid of the city intact. Beginning in downtown Charlotte Amalie and made of bricks that were once used as ballast on Danish and British ships, the 99 Steps (actually 103) lead to the residential area above Charlotte Amalie and Blackbeard's Castle, a U.S. national historic landmark.

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