It’s all about the clear blue water of the Caribbean – swimming, sailing, snorkeling, kayaking. It’s building sandcastles, watching sunsets and enjoying the slower pace of island living. You are immersed in the culture of the Caribbean but still part of the USA. Join us on a quick exploration of St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John. It’s fun to stay on just one island or hop and explore all three.

St. Thomas:

St. Thomas is the busiest of the three islands. In addition to the natural beauty you will also find attractions, shopping and restaurants. Be sure to check the cruise ship schedules because the most popular beaches become overcrowded on days when many ships are in port.

Number of beaches: 40. Megan’s Point is considered one of the best beaches. It’s the only beach with lifeguards and an admission fee. Concessions include food, drinks and beach rentals.

Attractions: Coral World Marine Park. Submarine Adventure.

Resort: We stayed at the Wyndham Sugar Bay. The beach and three connecting pools keep the kids busy for hours. The stairs down to this area may be challenging for parents with young children. There is a shuttle available. A miniature golf course is on the property. Kids club for ages 4-12.

St. Croix:

The largest of the three islands, St. Croix is full of history with two historic towns. You can see the mountains from the beaches, giving them a laid-back feeling.

Number of beaches: 30+. All beaches are public in St. Croix. One of the busiest is Cane Bay Beach. Other beaches worth exploring include Cramers Park, Tamarand Beach and Sheys Beach.

Attractions: Buck Island Reef National Monument. Take a boat ride to this underwater monument. Older kids will enjoy the snorkel trails and smaller kids can run and play on Turtle Beach.

Ecological Tours: These tours explore St. Croix by horseback riding through the rainforest, kayaking the Salt River, hiking the Sugar Mill ruins, snorkeling and more.

Resort: The Buccaneer gave our two-night stay a true taste of the Caribbean. This smaller family-owned resort puts out the welcome mat for all its guests. The quieter pace makes it ideal for families who want to relax and unwind. An extensive and very flexible kids program (mostly complimentary) keeps kids busy. Nice extra touch: bug spray in the room.

St. John:

Number of beaches: 30+

Attractions: Virgin Islands National Park is popular with everyone. You can enjoy nature walks, bird watching, hiking in addition to swimming and snorkeling. There is no admission fee. At Trunk Bay there is a day use fee. It has an underwater snorkeling trail and is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 Caribbean beaches. Make sure your kids stop at Cruz Bay and find out how they can be a junior ranger.

Resort: The sprawling Westin St. John is the newest resort on the island. It’s family friendly with a nice playground and kids club. Of course, the pool area is a draw for all kids. The highlight of the beach is the water trampolines. Free recreational activities include the iguana feed and crab races.When young guests check in they receive a small beach bag filled with goodies.

 – Liz White

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