When to go

Prices, experiences, and weather vary considerably depending on the time of year you visit the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

Winter (December-March) is the high season, when North Americans and Europeans come to escape cold weather back home. This coincides with the dry season in the islands, and the season of the best sailing winds and coolest, most comfortable temperatures. If cost is no object, there is simply no better time to visit than when the weather is clear and sunny, the breezes blow, and there is a whole array of things to do.

During the summer (May-October), travelers will find bargains. Most hotels offer discounts of up to 40 percent during summer, and airfare tends to be less, too. It is hotter, and the winds tend to die down for sailing. Some establishments, including dive shops, museums, cultural centers, and stores, cut back their hours.

The so-called shoulder seasons (April, November) may be the best time of all to visit the islands, especially if you’re on a budget. You’ll typically enjoy pleasant weather (not too hot), lower prices (15-30 percent lower than winter rates), and fewer tourists (you’ll have the beaches to yourself).

Also take into account the hurricane season (June-November). While you should not expressly avoid traveling to the Virgin Islands during the hurricane season, buy trip insurance if you do, especially for trips in August, September and October, the peak of the hurricane season. Flights are usually the first thing to be canceled when a storm approaches.