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Activities You Can Enjoy in the US and British Virgin Islands on a Yacht Vacation

On shore yacht charter fun

One of the most common questions from our charter clientele is “what is there to do off the yacht?”. If you are traveling with a group that enjoys a variety of activities and experiences, have no fear, the Virgin Islands do not fall short when it comes to options. “Enjoyable” vacation means something different to every individual. Some prefer to simply sit back and soak in the sun while reading a book. Others enjoy more active relaxation such as fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkeling and scuba diving. However, most individuals crave connection to the culture and native activities onshore. Rest assured, the Virgin Islands offer so many unique land experiences, you may have to book another trip to continue your explorations and even re-visit your favorites spots.

First, let us start with the obvious: The Virgin Islands are world-famous for their beaches, beach bars, and live music. This is what molds and shapes the island’s character. Imagine anchoring on the shore of a hopping beach bar where the drinks are flowing, the music is playing, and everyone is happy, relaxed, and having fun. Whether it is wading in the crystal-clear waters with a drink in your hand, building sandcastles with your children or playing multiple popular bar and beach games, there is something for everyone. Popular destinations are The Soggy Dollar or Foxy’s (Jost Van Dyke), Dinghy’s Beach Bar and Grill (St. Thomas), The Beach Bar (St. John), the infamous Cow Wreck Beach (Anegada), and Pusser’s Road Town Pub (Tortola) where you can sample the famous Pusser’s Rum Painkiller.

-Play a Round of Golf or Treat Yourself to The Spa-

Golfing and spas are often a component of a memorable vacation. If a round of 18 or around-the-clock massage is what you seek, know the Virgin Islands will deliver. Buccaneer Hotel and Resort (St. Croix) offers a complete golfing experience, including private lessons, a driving range and even a golf simulator. Here there are so many ways to perfect your game while perhaps others in your party take advantage of the full-service salon and spa. Buccaneer’s is a perfect spot for celebrations as they offer private cabana dinners and special occasion cakes upon reservation. Additionally, their Mermaid restaurant offers dine-in or take out (including drinks). Another popular spot is Mahogany Run Golf Course (St. Thomas), where the infamously challenging 3-hole Devil’s Triangle (holes 13-15) resides. For spectacular views, The Reef Golf course (St. Croix) is a fun option for a nine-hole round of golf or a round of an eighteen-hole disc (frisbee) golf that is fun for all ages!

-Get Your Shopping In-

While some are occupied with one activity, others may have shopping on the agenda. Both the US and British Virgin Islands have multiple shopping areas to get local and eclectic keepsakes and memoirs. You will find everything from clothing, jewelry, handbags, arts, and crafts. Be sure to ask your crew to avoid the cruise ship crowds to optimize your shopping experience. St. Thomas’ shopping is the perfect duty-free shopping destination. Here you will find liquor, linens, china, crystal, jewelry, popular dolls by Sally George, and native spices and foods. While visiting Foxy’s Bar, swing over to The FoxHole Boutique (Jost Van Dyke) for not only Foxy’s Tamarind Bar merchandise but also Cuban cigars and a unique selection of handbags and accessories. St. Croix shopping destinations include Gecko Boutique, Hot Heads (hats), Island Tribe (Bali sourced clothing), the Blue Mutt (local art and gifts for Animal Welfare Center), Many Hands (pottery and paintings), Mitchell-Larson glass studio, Crucian Gold and ib designs (jewelry). St. John’s shopping spots include Bojo el Sol (art) and Bamboula (housewares, clothing, gifts). Tortola, specifically Road Town off Main Street, offers many boutiques and shops such as Wickham’s Cay and Crafts Alive Market.

-Start Exploring-

The most attractive thing about the Virgin Islands is the islands themselves. Hiking, relaxing on the beach, or simply exploring are all common pastimes. Hiking on St. Croix (Ay-Ay Eco Hike and 3-4-hour Tours) will take you through a rain forest, along a beach shore and even includes some old ruins. St. Croix also offers horseback tours (Paul and Jill’s Equestrian Stables), while St. Croix and Jost Van Dyke offer jeep tours. A Popular attraction on St. John is the Annaberg Plantation, previously used to make sugar, molasses, and rum. Another is Reef Bay Trail (reservations for guided tours recommended). Tortola is home to the J.R. O’Neal Botanic Gardens and the Sage Mountain National Park offering beautiful views and rare plant species. If your party is interested in a truly short fifteen-minute hike, check out Virgin Gorda Peak National Park, where there is a spectacular 360-degree view. For a more leisurely walk, visit the St. George Botanical Gardens (St. Croix) which is amid the ruins of a sugar plantation, in addition to a small worthwhile museum. The Estate Whim Museum, also on St. Croix offers an insight into what life on a sugar plantation in the 1800s was like. This is also the perfect spot for children to run around. Amidst the formal hiking trails and tours, there are countless beaches to explore. Lucky for you, many of them are only reachable by boat. Your crew will know the least crowded “don’t tell anyone about this” spots for the most customized vacation experience.

-Find Something for Everyone-

Other top places to visit are, an all-around favorite, The Bath’s (Virgin Gorda), Snorkeling at Coki Beach (St. Thomas), the Cruzan Rum factory (St. Croix), and snorkeling the Caves (Norman Island). If all this has not worn you out, or if you are looking to have some nightlife fun, Jost Van Dyke (Soggy Dollar and Foxy’s) is where the party’s at. St. Croix offers Blue Moon and Sunset Jazz which offer live music on select nights. St. Thomas has some nightlife options including Greenhouse Bar and Restaurant (weekends), or a more family-friendly option Iggies Beach Bar which includes karaoke. Tortola offers the Pub and the Pusser’s Road Town Pub and Myett’s. If you are on Virgin Gorda, check out the Bath and Turtle or the Restaurant at Leverick Bay. **you will need to check the Limin’ Times for most up-to-date entertainment schedule**

Family-friendly options include helicopter tours (Caribbean Buzz), Skyride to Paradise Point where one can enjoy a bushwhacker, Coral World Ocean Park/Aquarium, Virgin Islands Children’s Museum, or the Magic Ice Gallery. Performing art shows are available at Pistarkle Theater or Reichhold Center for the Arts ( all this is found on St. Thomas). The Virgin Islands are home to many local and famous entertainers. Tortola offers a performing arts series held annually from October through May. There are many festivities and celebrations that rotate through the seasons. If history is your niche, there are countless self-guided and guided tours available throughout the islands however St. Thomas will hold the most robust history.

-Ask Your Crew-

Finally, if you are chartering a crewed yacht, your crew is going to be your best travel guide. They are experts in staying current with the entertainment and knowing where to find exactly what you and your group seek. They are the key to optimizing and customizing your Virgin Island experience. Once your crew has a good idea of what everyone is looking for, they will mix and match your destinations to deliver everyone’s dream vacation of a lifetime.

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