With their serene location amidst the Caribbean seas, the tropical weather, crystal blue waters and avid wildlife, the US Virgin Islands is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Whether you’re looking for an island adventure or a relaxing retreat away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the US Virgin Islands have something to offer for everyone.
Consisting of three main islands; St Thomas, St John and St Croix, there’s an incredible amount on offer for tourists from white sandy beaches to snorkeling and scuba diving excursions and hiking in the mangrove forests. However, with crowds pouring in throughout the peak months and hurricanes sometimes a risk, it’s important to time your visit right.
Below, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know about visiting the US Virgin Islands, from the best time to visit, to the best activities on the islands.
The best time to visit the US Virgin Islands
While picturing the Caribbean conjures up thoughts of calm blue waters and cloudless skies, there are in fact seasons to avoid where rain and other adverse weather including hurricanes can be a potential risk. However, defining a set month to go isn’t so easy as some months are cheaper out of peak season, yet the months where the weather is great are crowded and more expensive.
The ideal time span to visit the US Virgin islands is April through to June as this is when the weather is pleasantly mild, the crowds have dispersed and the threat of a hurricane is low. While this avoids peak tourist season, you’ll still very likely to get in many days of sun and little rainfall.
September and October typically see the lowest prices in the year and the fewest tourists, however this is peak hurricane season so if adverse weather is something you would rather avoid then it probably isn’t the best time to go. If you are happy to roll the dice and chance tropical storms and potential hurricanes, air fares are incredibly low at this time of year and you are also likely to get a great deal on a hotel package, potentially saving thousands if traveling as a family or in a group.
The best things to do in the US Virgin Islands
There is never a shortage of things to do when visiting the US Virgin Islands, in which the best way to get around the islands is by boat. While boating excursions tend to be on the pricey side, why not consider chartering a boat via bigger online marketplaces that offer more affordable prices with some examples here for a sailing holiday. Not only is it something different to your standard hotel resort holiday, but you’ll be also able to sight see at your own pace and avoid the priced tourist excursions that tend to be packed.
If you’re already an experienced sailor then the US Virgin Islands are your playground. However, if you’re not an experienced sailor then you can still enjoy a boating holiday with the help of a skipper of a full crew. A skipper will help you to plan your journey and navigate the waters, giving you a chance to learn some sailing skills while getting hands-on, while a full crew will take the wheel for you and do everything from acquiring provisions to serving meals.
Being on a boat gives you a great opportunity to sail over to the secluded bays that many tourists cannot reach by foot. Here you can grab your scuba diving gear and head underwater to spot all kinds of wildlife, from sharks to dolphins and turtles. If diving feels a bit too challenging, grab your snorkel and check out the tropical fish that fill the surrounding clear blue waters.
The islands are also known for their tropical mangrove forests. These are best explored by kayak or by hiking through them, allowing you to get up close and personal with nature while taking a break from the typical tourist hotspots.
If you’re traveling with small children, why not head over to Coral World where you’ll be able to get up close with sea lions, sharks and turtles from a safe distance. There’s also the opportunity to feed stingrays and swim with dolphins and sea lions. Feeling adventurous? Older kids and adults can check out SNUBA, parasailing, and a sea trek helmet dive along the ocean floor.
Tips for sailing around the US Virgin Islands
While choosing a sailing holiday is incredibly rewarding and offers some fantastic memories to cherish for a lifetime, it’s important to stay one step ahead with the planning. Here are some things to keep in mind when planning your sailing holiday around the US Virgin Islands.
Check the weather
Even if you’ve made sure to avoid hurricane season, when you’re sailing, it is best to stay one step ahead of the weather and keep an eye on it at all times.
Go with the right team
If you’re traveling with a young family, then a skipper or a full crew will be your best option as a sailing holiday can be very hands-on. If you’re opting to sail alone, ensure you have everything planned out ahead of time, from where to get fuel and provisions, to which islands you are visiting and when.
Overall, the US Virgin Islands are one of the best places to visit for a vacation in the Caribbean, especially when you opt for a sailing holiday as there’s so much to explore and so many activities to participate in. So, whether you’re an experienced sailor or not, it’s time to dive right into a sailing holiday in the US Virgin Islands.