Each of our three major islands has a unique character all its own. St. Croix's Danish influence is perfect for visitors who prefer a laid-back experience. The historic towns of Frederiksted and Christiansted offer quaint shops, charming pastel buildings and refreshing cultural diversity. From horseback riding near 18th-century sugar mills to playing golf on one of the island's three scenic golf courses, you're sure to find something to suit your tastes.
1. Virgin Islands National Park, St. John
A Caribbean jewel, Virgin Islands National park attracts more than one million visitors each year, making it the single largest tourist attraction in the entire archipelago. Laurence Rockefeller donated 5,000 acres of land to establish the National Park in 1956. Today the park covers two-thirds of the emerald island of St. John and includes hiking trails, protected bays, stunning beaches, underwater sea gardens, petroglyphs, and the ruins of historic sugar mills.
2. Cruz Bay, St. John
Set in a yacht-filled harbor backed by steep hills, Cruz Bay is the "downtown" of St John. Until the 1970s, Cruz Bay was a quiet customs port without much activity. Today the small town of around 3,000 people has evolved into a hip center, acquiring the nickname "Love Town".
3. Trunk Bay Beach & Underwater Snorkel Trail, St. John
Nestled in the Virgin Islands National Park, Trunk Bay's long and arching curve of creamy sand and turquoise water is the most photographed beach on St John. Fringed by sea grapes and coconut palms, this is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
4. Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
The capital of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Charlotte Amalie (named for a Danish queen) is one of the most popular cruise ports in the Caribbean. Located mid-island on the south shore of St Thomas, the town is sprinkled with pretty pastel, red-roofed homes against a background of steep green hills.
5. Buck Island Reef National Monument, St. Croix
Beautiful Buck Island and its surrounding sea gardens are one of the most visited attractions on St Croix. Lying 1.5 miles off the northeast coast of St. Croix, in the center of a vast marine sanctuary, Buck Island Reef was guaranteed protection when U.S. President John F. Kennedy named it the first U.S. underwater national monument in 1961.
6. Heritage Trail, St. Croix
The St. Croix Heritage Trail is a 72-mile self-guided driving tour of the island's historical and natural attractions. Road signs guide visitors along the route between Frederiksted and Christiansted, north to Hamm's Bay in the west and Point Udall in the east.
7. Christiansted, St. Croix
St Croix's largest town, Christiansted, lies on the north coast of the island between steep hills and a reef-protected, shallow harbor. At one point, the bustling port of Christiansted was the capital of the territory under Danish rule, and the attractive, six-block historic district reflects the glory days of Danish prosperity.
8. Frederik Lutheran Church, St. Thomas
An architectural gem in Charlotte Amalie, the Frederik Lutheran Church was built between 1789 and 1793 in the Georgian style. Restored twice in the 19th century, the church now features Gothic Revival elements such as a gable tower and roof.
9. Blackbeard's Castle, St. Thomas
Blackbeard's Castle, a five-story masonry tower, is the only one of its kind in the Caribbean. Known during colonial times as Skytsborg, the watchtower was built by the Danish in 1678.
10. 99 Steps, St. Thomas
A relic from the mid-1700s, the 99 steps (actually 103 steps) were built during Danish colonial times out of ship-ballast brick. The 99 steps are one example of many staircases built on the steep hills of Charlotte Amalie.
11. Government House, St. Thomas
This three-story, hipped roof, white mansion features two floors of cast-iron verandas. Built between 1865 and 1867, Government House was restored in 1994 and presently houses the offices of the territorial governor.