St. Thomas has always been one of my favorite places to vacation since my. family started going several years ago. We try to go at least once a year. Through our travels on and off the island, I have picked up on a few things and I want to share those with you as you plan your visit to the tropical paradise. This is a short list and works for my family. There are a million and one things to do and each person is different. With that being said, here are my best tips and fun places to visit and yummy places to eat.
Perhaps my biggest tip is in regards to getting around the island. Though the island is technically small, it is mountainous. So travel is hard and the “bus” can be crowed and can take a while to reach your destination. To combat this, rent a JEEP! This will 100% improve your trip. There are many rental companies located at the airport but our favorite is Discount Car Rental. They meet you at the airport to pick you up and then they make a short 3 minute drive to their office for you to sign some paperwork. It’s that easy! Now you can enjoy the island so much more because you have the freedom to drive around and explore all the beaches.
So far, the only way I have stayed on the island is through my family’s timeshare. So if you have Marriott or Ritz Carlton timeshares, this is the place for you. However, if that isn’t something you have, there are many options. In addition to their timeshares, Marriott and the Ritz have hotels on the island (Ritz has a spa – anyone can use it). A couple other options are to reserve an Air BnB or rent a house for long or short periods of time. This is a fun option for people that want to really immerse themselves in island life.
Something great about St. Thomas is that all beaches are public even when attached to a hotel. So go see them all! Some of my top favorite beaches on the island are…
Going out to eat at local restaurants is a great way to get to know any place. It allows you to taste the culture. There are lots of little holes in the wall so don’t be afraid to go anywhere. Be sure to call each place to find out if they are open due to COVID-19.
If you’re like my family, we like to cook and not always go out to eat (that can get pricey). Grocery stores are not what we are used to in US. On the mainland (US) we have gorgeously set up grocery stores that pretty much are like department stores. On this island, it is not like that at all. Don’t expect beautifully lit spaces or decorations. Perhaps the “prettiest” grocery is “Moe’s Fresh Market” in Red Hook. Other than that most are bare but carry everything you need to have delicious home cooked meals.
St. Thomas has a lot of shopping, specifically in downtown Charlotte Amalie. Let’s also not forget about the no sales tax! So take advantage of that. One of my favorite stores is Zola’s, which is a lady who makes custom made sandals! To learn more click here.
This is when things get pretty open. There are so many activities to do when on the island. In my case, my family just liked beach hopping rather than doing anything. There may be some people though that want a little bit more adventure. So I have compiled a list of different things to do while on the island other than beach hopping (beaches mentioned previously).
St. John’s is the island directly next to St. Thomas. It is a tiny island that is 90% National Park. It is also Kenney Chesney’s favorite spot to hang out. The best way to get there is by ferry that docks in Red Hook. There is a ferry that allows you to drive your car on and sit in while the ferry travels from island to island. I recommend taking the earliest departure at 8:30am and spending the whole day visiting all the great beaches ( like Cinnamon Bay).
Now that you know a little bit more about the island and all my favorite joints, go have fun and explore for yourself! Find those hole in the wall restaurants and visit the beaches. You will have a blast taking in the gorgeous scenery so be sure to bring a camera.