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20 Places You Need to See on Your St. Thomas Vacation

A cosmopolitan island brimming with life, St. Thomas is a true tropical paradise. Home to some of the world's most breathtaking scenery, it plays host to more than 40 sun-drenched beaches, countless species of flora and fauna, and deep, crystal clear waters.

Millions of visitors flock to the island annually to enjoy world-renowned shopping, dining, and nightlife in addition to the beaches, making St. Thomas a go-to oasis for those craving a Caribbean escape. With so much to offer, however, beware: you'll want to come back before you even leave.

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01 Spend the day swimming in Magens Bay

Magens Bay beach at Saint Thomas, US Virgin Islands Pola Damonte via Getty Images / Getty Images

The most popular beach on St. Thomas, Magens Bay is a pristine Caribbean oasis. This one-mile stretch of sand features calm, clear ocean with minimal waves or current, making it a go-to destination for swimming or just floating around. Since it deepens gradually, swimmers of any ability level can enjoy their experience safely.

Magens Bay is also one of two beaches on the island without an entry fee, so you can swing by multiple times during your trip. On-site, you'll find booths renting out kayaks, paddle boats, and sunfish to up your aquatic activity level, and beach chairs, floaties, and snorkel sets are all for sale. The lively Magens Point Bar and Grill features everything from burgers, wings, and pizza to classic island grub, like mahi-mahi and curry shrimp.

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02 Search for gold at the Pirates Treasure Museum

This two-story shipwreck museum showcases an impressive selection of treasures from the world's most famous ocean discoveries. Step back in time and immerse yourself in a world of deep-sea adventures with interactive exhibits on pirate weapons, shipwrecks across the globe, deep-sea technology, and ancient artifacts, to name just a few.

Many of these treasures and artifacts were believed lost forever prior to their discovery; you'll see rare finds dating back thousands of years. The gift shop features its own collection of coins and treasures, plus pirate-inspired merchandise so you can bring the experience home.

03 Sip banana daiquiris at the Mountain Top bar

No trip to St. Thomas is complete without a taste of its world-famous banana daiquiris. Perched atop the highest point on the island, the Mountain Top was the birthplace of this tropical treat, which is savored by over three million visitors every year.

Made from the island's own Cruzan rum, sugar cane extract, lime juice, locally grown bananas, and homemade secret banana liqueur, this delectable beverage is a quintessential part of any St. Thomas trip. Experience the bar's panoramic views from 1,500 feet up, or check out the impressive selection of duty-free shopping, which includes everything from clothing and jewelry to artwork, home goods, and one-of-a-kind treasures.

04 Spot aquatic animals at Secret Harbour

A top spot for snorkeling and discovering new species, Secret Harbour is a small, picturesque beach with plenty to do. With palm trees dotting the shoreline, the tropical ambiance is truly unparalleled, and hammocks between the palms are available for guests to enjoy.

The area is known for its impressive range of aquatic species, and you'll catch a glimpse of colorful corals, stingrays, barracuda, turtles, squid, lobster, needlefish, and exotic fish in every shade of the rainbow. A floating raft in the bay's center is the ideal spot for soaking in rays, and, since this is one of the calmest beaches on St. Thomas, it's a go-to for watching the sunset.

05 Spot striking flora at Phantasea Tropical Botanical Garden

This lush botanical garden is an immersive experience with over 1,000 orchids and bromeliad, plus palms, succulents, aroids, and heliconia ginger. It fills two acres, so there's a lot to explore here, and you'll discover eye-catching blooms at every turn, along with scenic glimpses of Magens Bay and St. John.

Spot a new favorite flower? A wide selection is available for sale, and information on each type abounds. The garden's goal is to enhance awareness of tropical plants, so you'll learn something new every step of the way.

06 Step up the 99 steps

 Famous 99 Steps in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas Jodi Jacobson / Getty Images

One of the most iconic sights in St. Thomas, the 99 steps (103, to be precise) were built in the 17th century using bricks recovered from Danish ships. Step streets are a signature of a bygone era, created to navigate the area's hilly topography. Flowers and palm trees surround the path, giving you a sense of the island's scenic beauty.

You'll be stepping through history as you ascend all the way to the top, where you'll find the path leading toward Blackbeard's Castle, one of the island’s oldest attractions built in 1679.

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07 Explore Main Street

Charlotte Amalie historic center and shopping district eskystudio / Shutterstock

This narrow street is one of the most lively spots in St. Thomas, and it's also one of the Caribbean’s premier shopping destinations. With duty-free goodies ranging from designer clothing and perfume to electronics, toys, and home goods, there's something for everyone here. The cobblestone streets are also lined with happening restaurants, bars, and festivals, including the annual Carnival celebration.

A range of historic attractions are also nearby, so you can spot centuries-old churches, synagogues, and museums while you shop. A joy to the senses, Main Street is a people-watcher's paradise that you'll return to again and again.

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08 Experience eye-catching views at Drake's Seat

View of Magens Bay on St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands from Drake's Seat vantage point Konstantin L / Shutterstock

Take in breathtaking views from this scenic overlook. Located nearly 500 feet above sea level, you'll get an unparalleled perspective of more than 100 Virgin Islands, including a panoramic peek at Magens Bay. The path to this lookout is a favorite among hikers, and it's an excellent place to stop and relax. Visitors describe the spot as an absolute must-do for taking in captivating Caribbean seascapes.

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09 Try a full-day sea and snorkel experience

Snorkeler playing with stingray fishes EXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHER / Getty Images

Spend a full day at sea with this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Your boat sets sail in the morning, providing an immersive, seven-hour tour of the Virgin Islands and surrounding cays. You'll get a close-up look at the most breathtaking locations along the way, including little-known spots perfect for swimming and snorkeling. In between stops, you'll enjoy a fresh lunch with the crew surrounded by postcard-worthy views.

Upgrade your experience with customized tours, which are available for those who want to celebrate special events or explore specific areas more closely.

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10 Journey into the past at Fort Christian

Fort Christian, St. Thomas Virgin Islands Stephen Bakin / Shutterstock

Situated in the capital city, Charlotte Amalie, this expansive fort provides a true journey through time. Immerse yourself in centuries of history as you step inside the oldest standing structure in the Virgin Islands. Completed in 1680, the fort was originally built to defend the island's Danish settlement, with militia members standing at the ready to protect it against pirates and wayward invaders.

In addition to protection, Fort Christian, named after King Christian V, was the island's administrative center, the first governor's residence, and the official place of worship, before becoming the prison of St. Thomas in 1874. Today, you can hear engaging tales of the island's past, from pirates sailing the harbor to prosperous trading along the ports.

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11 Kayaking adventure at Cas Cay

Sunset kayak with amazing colours and dynamic sky P Weber / Getty Images

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of St. Thomas by embarking on a kayaking adventure around Cas Cay. Navigate through lush mangroves, absorbing the tranquil ambiance of the island. This unique experience combines exercise, adventure, and breathtaking views, making it an unforgettable part of your St. Thomas vacation. Some tours even offer additional activities like hiking and snorkeling, allowing you to explore the diverse marine life and untouched landscapes of the island.

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12 Experience local culture at Bordeaux Farmers’ Market

farmers market Melissa_Michelle / Getty Images

Dive into the vibrant local culture of St. Thomas by visiting the Bordeaux Farmers’ Market. Held twice a month, this lively gathering spot allows you to mingle with local farmers, sample delicious cuisine, and purchase handcrafted items. It's a perfect opportunity to appreciate the hard work of local vendors and taste the authentic flavors of the island.

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13 Nighttime exploration with illuminated kayaking

Silhouette mother and daughter kayaking in the ocean with million stars galaxy NeagoneFo / Getty Images

Add a touch of magic to your St. Thomas vacation with an illuminated night kayaking adventure. As the sun sets, embark on a unique journey on kayaks equipped with illuminated bottoms. This extraordinary experience provides an unparalleled view of the nocturnal marine life, making your stay in St. Thomas truly unique.

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14 John Brewer’s Rock: a hiker's paradise

Family hiking in woods Hero Images / Getty Images

For those who love the great outdoors, a hike to John Brewer’s Rock is a must. This moderate hike offers stunning views that are well worth the trek. Whether you're a beginner or an intermediate hiker, this adventure will reward you with a sense of accomplishment and panoramic views of the island.

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15 Discover the hidden oasis of Black Point Cape

Mother and Daughter Travels ameleonseye / Getty Images

Venture off the beaten path and discover the small peninsula of Black Point Cape. Located off Brewers Bay Beach, this hidden oasis offers a tranquil spot for relaxation. Whether you're exploring the marine life or simply soaking up the sun, Black Point Cape is a serene escape from the bustling tourist spots.

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16 Unearth the island's secrets with a tropical treasure hunt

Treasure Hunting gchutka / Getty Images

Add an element of excitement to your vacation with a Tropical Treasure Hunt. This interactive adventure brings the thrill of an escape room to the beautiful surroundings of St. Thomas. As you unlock clues and search for buried treasure, you'll learn about the island's rich pirate history and explore its stunning landscapes.

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17 Luxury and leisure at yacht Haven Grande

Sailboat gangliu10 / Getty Images

Experience the luxurious side of St. Thomas at Yacht Haven Grande. This upscale waterfront development offers breathtaking views and a variety of high-end shops. While it might be a bit pricey, an afternoon spent at Yacht Haven Grande promises a taste of the high life in the heart of the Caribbean.

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18 A Tropical Eden: St. Thomas Botanical Gardens

Tropical garden joebelanger / Getty Images

Explore the lush, vibrant world of the St. Thomas Botanical Gardens. Blooming all year round, these beautiful gardens are home to a diverse range of tropical plants. As you wander through the gardens, you'll learn about the importance of these plants to the island's ecosystem, making for an educational and visually stunning experience.

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19 Soar High with the Skyride to Paradise Point

cable cars SCStock / Getty Images

Elevate your St. Thomas experience with the Skyride to Paradise Point. This unique tram ride takes you 700 feet up, offering unparalleled views of the Caribbean Sea. Whether you're an adrenaline junkie or a scenery lover, the Skyride to Paradise Point is a must-do activity on your St. Thomas itinerary.

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20 Historical journey on Hassel Island

Panorama bennymarty / Getty Images

Step back in time and explore the rich history of Hassel Island. This small private island off the coast of St. Thomas offers self-guided tours that take you through its historical landmarks. From prehistoric times to the present, Hassel Island is a treasure trove of stories waiting to be discovered.

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