If memories of summer are fading fast and winter seems to be dragging on forever, you could be ready for some time in the sun. A pristine beach, bright sunshine and the sound of lapping waves could be just the things you need to recharge your batteries and renew your zest for life, but where should you go?
America has some wonderful vacation destinations that could check all your winter getaway boxes, but what if you are looking for something a little more exotic? You could push the boat out and travel to an island resort on the other side of the world, or you could visit a little slice of America tucked away in a quiet corner of the Caribbean.
Why the USVI Is the Best Place to Escape the Winter
The U.S. Virgin Islands are the perfect place for Americans who want to experience the peace and tranquility of a Caribbean winter vacation while feeling right at home. St. John, St. Thomas and St. Croix all have incredible beaches, stunning scenery and warm and welcoming people, and they are simply packed with amazing places to visit and interesting things to do.
The climate in the USVI is tropical, which means the weather will be amazing no matter when you visit. You can expect high temperatures in the mid to high 80s and low temperatures in the low to mid 70s if you visit the islands to escape the winter blues, and you can leave your umbrella at home, as it rarely rains during the winter months.
Traveling to an exotic vacation destination usually means dealing with a certain amount of culture shock, but that’s not the case with a USVI winter escape. The islands are a U.S. territory, which means all you will need to visit them is a driver’s license or state I.D. You also won’t have to worry about language barriers or exchange rates once you reach this tropical paradise because English is spoken throughout the islands and U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere.
You can find quaint restaurants, hopping island bars and shops run by local artists in the USVI, but most people come for the incredible beaches. From secluded coves surrounded by lush tropical landscapes and bordered by soaring mountains to stretches of white sand that seems to stretch on for miles, the USVI offers its visitors some of the finest beaches in the world. Here are a few of the best:
- Cinnamon Bay: Located within the incredible Virgin Islands National Park, Cinnamon Bay Beach on St. John has everything that a Caribbean vacationer could want. Those who just want to enjoy the sun will have no problem finding a spot as the beach is about a mile long, and more adventurous types can take to its turquoise waters to kayak, windsurf or snorkel.
- Magen’s Bay: If a heart-shaped bay protected by lush hills sounds good to you, Megan’s Bay Beach on St. Thomas should be at the top of your list of places to visit. The sand here is incredibly soft, and the water is almost always very calm. You won’t have to bring much with you if you decide to spend a day at Magen’s Bay as kayaks, paddleboards and floats can all be rented at the beach.
- Jack’s Bay: This amazing beach on St. Croix is the perfect place for vacationers who want to get away from it all. You will have to do some walking to reach Jack’s Bay beach as there is no access road, but the effort will be worth it if you enjoy nature’s majesty. This beach is protected by a nature conservancy because it is a Green and Hawksbill Turtle nesting site, and hundreds of species of fish call its waters home.
Wildlife Walks at the Park
The USVI has six national parks, but the biggest and best is the U.S. Virgin Islands National Park on St. John. This amazing national park covers more than 11,500 acres and features several incredible trails, and most of it is still pristine. The Reef Bay Trail winds its way past an abandoned Danish sugar plantation and petroglyphs that were carved long before Europeans arrived. If you walk this trail, look out for iguanas and other curious critters lurking among some of the oldest trees in the Caribbean.
There are 22 species of mammals inhabiting the USVI, but bats are the only natives. All of the other mammals on the islands were introduced by Europeans or snuck onto their ships. They include sheep, donkeys, goats and mongoose. There are also deer that can often be seen swimming in the ocean. Rounding out the fauna and flora are 140 species of birds, seven species of amphibians, and more than 700 species of plants.
Waters to Explore
No USVI vacation would be complete without a dip in some crystal-clear waters. If you visit St. Croix, you will have reefs galore to choose from and a pier where you will see tiny critters nestling among sponges. You can catch a dayboat on St. Thomas to visit offshore reefs, or you could enjoy some peace and quiet in the serene waters around St. John.
The waters around the USVI are teeming with life, and you can expect to see lobsters, turtles and eels as well as a dizzying array of tropical fish if you decide to explore them. You may also catch sight of stingrays and sharks, but you won’t have to worry because they will look at you curiously and not like a meal. If you want to see what the ocean has to offer but would prefer not to leave the beaten path, Buck Island on St. Croix has a snorkel trail that is clearly marked as it winds its way through 704 pristine underwater acres.
Great Vacation Rentals and Resorts
If sprawling complexes with fast food courts and T-shirt shops are not your thing, you will be happy to learn that the USVI offers a more tranquil vacation experience. You will still be able to enjoy luxury and all of the comforts of home, but you won’t have to put up with the hustle and bustle of a mega resort. Here are just a few vacation rentals in the USVI you may want to consider:
- Tre Vista Estates: This five-bedroom gem is the perfect USVI rental for large families. Enjoy magnificent views, a gourmet kitchen, and lovely patio complete with outdoor bar. The double infinity edge pool is a nice perk too!
- Palms at Morningstar: This incredible modern villa is nestled on a St. Thomas hillside and is only a short drive from Morningstar beach. The sea is visible from just about every room in the house, and it can also be viewed from a stunning infinity pool.
- Miramar: Coffered ceilings, grand columns and marble floors will greet you as you enter this breathtaking St. Croix estate. The drama continues outside as opening the French doors reveals a heated pool, sun deck and outdoor dining area complete with a steel and stone gas grill.
Escape Winter with the USVI Vacation Experts
A USVI vacation is the perfect way to chase away the winter blues, and the experts at Vacation VI will work tirelessly to make sure that you will always remember the time you spent on these paradise islands. Our trained concierge staff will make sure that you enjoy island life to its fullest, and our luxury rentals will leave you with vacation memories that last a lifetime. If you are thinking about visiting the USVI and would like help planning your trip, you can call us at (800) 727-6610 or use our online form to get in touch with us.