St. Thomas

At a glance
When you think about the United States Virgin Islands, you probably picture postcard-perfect beaches and rolling green hills. And you would be correct — but this collection of islands is so much more than the world-renowned beaches that line their shores. From a complex history dating back to the 17th century to a vibrant culture that serves as the heartbeat of the island, St. Thomas truly has it all. And if you think being the most developed of the USVI means it’s not for you, you’re in for a change of heart. We’re breaking down where to go for the best views, bites, drinks and tunes. Plus a thorough review of the best beaches to explore for every type of sun worshipper.
The bucket listBeyond the beaches
St. Thomas offers miles and miles of endless beachside bliss (more on that later) — but there’s so much more to these 32 square miles. Start your morning exploring trails blooming with local flora en route to an incredible viewpoint. Then step back in time at a historical fort that’s been standing for over 300 years. It’ll be easy to see why this island was attractive to several nations and how locals have created their own culture through it all.
99 Steps
This step-street, known as a frigant by the Danes, rises up from Kongens Gade leading to a scenic viewpoint overlooking Charlotte Amalie Harbor. Be sure to take plenty of photos along the way and stop and smell the bougainvillea and hibiscus greeting you at every turn.99 STEPS

Fort Christian
This scarlet brick fort in the island’s port city of Charlotte Amalie was constructed in 1672 as a crucial defense point for the Dano-Norweigan government during the colonial era. Today, it’s been converted into a museum that honors the complex history of the Virgin Islands.
Calypso music
You can count on hearing calypso music just about anywhere you go on the island. But for the best time to feel the unique rhythm of St. Thomas, head there during the month-long Carnival celebration — typically in April or May. As a bonus, you’ll get to see the crowning of the Calypso Monarch.FORT CHRISTIAN
On the western tip of St. Thomas lies a stretch of sand where the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet. One of the USVI’s best kept secrets, this rare double-sided beach is best viewed at low tide. Bring walking shoes and go exploring for rocky coves and spectacular views.
More to explore
The breakdown on beaches
With at least 13 beaches hugging the island’s various coastal nooks and crannies, you might not know where to start when it comes to picking your paradise. Each one offers something unique depending on the kind of day you want to have. Rest assured, we’ve outlined a few can’t-miss favorites right here for you.
For postcard-perfect shores
Magens Bay
Though it’s one of the few beaches that require an entry fee on the island, a trip to Magens Bay is priceless. Because it lies at the end of such a deep cove, the bay affords the most incredible backdrop of lush green hills. Trust us, you’ll see why this mile of white sand paradise makes every publication’s list of best beaches in the world. The seawall encircles the park, serving as the perfect jumping-off point to explore the intersecting trails of Stanley Park’s interior. Like the popular Beaver Lake Trail, where you’ll likely get to see a family of beavers swimming around their large den. And keep your eyes peeled for the iconic blue heron.
For wildlife encounters
Brewer’s Bay
If you want to venture away from the classic tourist stops, this less populated beach is the favorite among locals and wildlife. Keep an eye out for sea turtles and sting rays as you wade through the crystal-clear waters. And grab a beer and a meat-filled fried pastry called pate from the nearby food trucks.
For castaway vibes
Dorothea Beach
This is the most rugged beach on our list — but sometimes, that’s exactly what you’re looking for. Since it’s located on the north side of the island, the water can be rougher during the winter, but the snorkeling is unmatched, and you’ll feel like you’ve discovered uncharted lands.
Talk French to me
On the western side of Charlotte Amalie Harbor lies Frenchtown, started by French descendants who made their way to St. Thomas from St. Barth during the mid-19th century. Today, the fisherman’s neighborhood offers restaurants with unforgettable views of the water. And the seafood doesn’t get any fresher than this. Keep it casual with an order of conch fritters or go all out and indulge in a stuffed lobster tail.
Paint the night Red
Red Hook
This unofficial port town in the East End is where you’ll run into locals — likely sipping on rum-and-coke at their favorite well-loved watering hole. Show up at sunset to peek at the red-tile-roofed homes and businesses dotting the rolling coastline that overlooks neighboring St. John.

This information and photos are provided courtesy of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.

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