Which island

While the landscape, culture and attractions of the Virgin Islands are broadly similar, each island has its own personality and appeal. Survey the options before deciding where to focus your time.

St Thomas

Bustling, crowded, and commercial, St. Thomas is the most accessible of the Virgin Islands. Historic Charlotte Amalie is the main attraction, although spectacular beaches like Magen’s Bay and Lindquist Bay provide an escape from the city. Duty-free shopping for watches, jewelry, and crystal is a major draw for the millions of cruise ship passengers who visit here annually. More about St Thomas

St. John

Some two-thirds of St. John is protected by the Virgin Islands National Park. St. John has the best beaches in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the best hiking in the whole archipelago. Accommodations range from beachfront campgrounds to high-end resorts. Laid-back Cruz Bay and Coral Bay provide an antidote to the outdoors with funky shops, hip restaurants, and buzzing bars. More about St John

St. Croix

The largest of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix offers an appealing balance of history, natural beauty, and culture. Christiansted and Frederiksted are classic West Indian harbor towns with exquisite Danish colonial architecture. Buck Island is an ideal place for hiking and snorkeling. A lush rainforest is a perfect contrast to the sunny, sandy beaches, and divers come to explore the storied Wall off the island’s north coast. More about St Croix


Tortola is an island of windy roads, remarkable vistas, and quiet beaches. Delight in the exquisite white sand at Smuggler’s Cove, hike through a tropical forest at Sage Mountain National Park, or paddle around idyllic Cane Garden Bay. Explore off the beaten track to find bat caves at Shark Bay National Park and historical ruins at Mount HealthyMore about Tortola

Virgin Gorda

At The Baths National Park, giant boulders create grottoes and pools that have delighted visitors for generations. On the other end of the island, North Sound is a sailor’s paradise: a community without roads, where the fastest route between two points is over the water. In between, find a series of unspoiled beaches and a quaint town. Gorda Peak National Park, home to the world’s smallest lizard, is good for hikingMore about Virgin Gorda

Jost Van Dyke

This tiny island has more goats than people, and more visitors than year-round residents. Sailors especially delight in some of the best beach bars around. Great Harbour is picturesque—its main street is a sandy path lined by palm trees. White Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Virgin Islands. Offshore cays and little-known attractions, like Little Jost Van Dyke, Bubbly Pool, and Sandy Cay reward visitors who venture off the beaten path. More about Jost Van Dyke


Flat, dry, and sparsely populated, Anegada is famous for its miles of sandy coastline, endangered iguanas, world-class kitesurfing, and the fresh lobsters fishers harvest from reefs around the island. Anegada is also a sportfisher’s mecca: Elusive bonefish live in the shallows around the island, and wahoo, marlin, jack, and tuna patrol the nearby North DropMore about Anegada

The Out Islands

Set sail to the remote islands and cays along the Sir Francis Drake Channel for adventure and solitude. Salt Island stands watch over the Wreck of the RMS Rhone, a world-class dive site. Snorkel around the Indians or through rock grottos at the Caves at Norman Island, believed to be the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Head to the Willy-T, a floating bar, off Peter Island for happy hour. More about the outer islands

If you’re interested in….

  • a weekend getaway: St. Thomas
  • beaches: Virgin Gorda
  • nature: St. John
  • authentic island culture: St. Croix
  • an escape: Anegada
  • sailing: Tortola and the Out Islands
  • beach bars: Jost Van Dyke
  • views: Tortola
  • a family vacation: St. John
  • romance: Virgin Gorda
  • food: St. Croix
  • surfing: Tortola