September 18, 2023

Why the U.S. Virgin Islands Make for a Great Family Vacation

The U.S. Virgin Islands are known as “America’s Caribbean Paradise”. The islands are where travelers go to see a Carnival parade and smell the homegrown spices from the locals. And for many, a family vacation to the USVI makes for the memory of a lifetime. Families can travel to either St. Thomas, St. John, or St. Croix. Some might even decide to see all three islands and enjoy the unique characteristics each one has to offer. And a bonus that most families enjoy is that everything can be paid using U.S. dollars.

Each island has something unique and different to offer visitors. St.Thomas is called “Rock City” for the hilly, rugged horizon. But it’s also known for the luxury — it’s hard to miss the yachts in the harbor or the high-end storefronts when exploring the area. Just a short ferry-ride east, St. John is more of a honeymooners paradise, but also caters to nature lovers (check out some of the best hotels on St. John here). With more than 7,000 acres of dedicated parkland and surrounding beaches, there are many outdoor activities to keep busy with during a family vacation to St. John. Further down south in the Caribbean Sea, the less-visited St. Croix has sugar cane plantations and rum distilleries that provide a glimpse into both the past and the present of the Virgin Islands.

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Ease of Getting There

American’s traveling to the USVI don’t need a passport, cutting out a big process for those who don’t have one yet. The pristine beaches, world-class snorkeling, diving, and deep-sea fishing, rich history, and large range of accommodations for couples, families, and adventurers of all kinds makes the U.S. Virgin Islands an easy escape from daily life. Several major airlines travel non-stop to the USVI, including Jetblue, American Airlines, Delta and Spirit.

When to Go to the U.S. Virgin Islands

All of the islands have temperatures in the 70s and 80s throughout the year, and most of the rainfall happens during hurricane season, which is generally between September and November. The best (and driest) time to visit the U.S. Virgin Islands is December through March or April. Travelers are more likely to enjoy sunny skies and perfect beach temperatures. This is also a great time for families to travel, as kids are off from school for holidays, winter break, and spring break.

Year round weather on the Virgin Islands

A graph showing the year round temperatures at Charlotte Amalie in the Virgin Islands (from


9 Reasons Why the USVI Makes for Great Family Vacations

When most people think about the USVI, the first thing that comes to mind is romance. The truth, though, is that the USVI can also be the perfect spot for you to take your family! In fact, there are tons of different things you can do on a USVI family vacation.

USVI Family Vacations Overview 

Once you and your family arrive, you’ll be able to choose from a wide range of different USVI activities. For instance, if your family loves hiking, you’ll have a blast being able to explore all the hiking trails. If you’re more of a beach family, you can spend your days swimming and lounging on the beautiful white and pink sand beaches. Do you prefer museums and history? The USVI has got plenty of those, too!  

Do you know what the top reason to vacation in the USVI is? Well, if you’re from the U.S., it’s the fact that you can enjoy a Caribbean vacation without needing a passport. This makes it easy to take your whole family on a wild adventure. Let’s learn more about the many different opportunities for family fun in the U.S. Virgin Islands! 

1. Fantastic Hiking Opportunities 

As previously mentioned, there are lots of truly fantastic places to go for a hike. The Virgin Islands National Park alone offers an astounding selection of hiking trails. From the easy rated, 1-mile loop of the Francis Bay Trail all the way to the difficult rated, 6-mile Reef Bay Trail, there is a place to go for everyone. Therefore, whether your family has been hiking together for years or is just getting started, it’ll be easy to find the best trail for your specific needs! 

While you’re on the trails, you’ll see a variety of wildlife, including lots of birds. Some of the USVI’s trails also lead you to a beach, which is the perfect reward for your kids after trekking through the woods. If you plan your trip correctly, you might even get to enjoy the trail and the beach away from any other visitors! 

2. Visit Coral World Ocean Park 

Are you looking for something fun but educational to do with your kids? Look no further than Coral World Ocean Park! Located on St. Thomas, this marine park has several activities to do, including: 

  • Dolphin Splash & Swim
  • Sea Lion Swim
  • Sea Trek
  • Dolphin Kayak Experience 
  • Sea Lion Encounter 
  • Dolphin Moment 
  • Sea Lion’s Lost Treasure Adventure 
  • Shark Encounter 

Furthermore, the park has several exhibits, including a touch pool and dolphin sea sanctuary. Your kids—and you—will absolutely love it! 

3. Soar Through the Trees at Tree Limin’ Extreme 

Are your little ones at least nine years old? If so, then why not plan a visit to the place that has been named ‘Best of Virgin Islands’ for six out of the last nine years! Here you’ll find a zip-lining adventure high in the rainforest. Even better, you’ll be treated to one of the most glorious views in the world. It’s even been chosen by National Geographic as one of the top 10 ocean/island views in the world, so you know it’s going to be special. 

This once-in-a-lifetime experience will take you at least two hours to complete. You might need to tackle some fears to go zip-lining, but Tree Limin’ Extreme is definitely worth it. 

4. Say ‘Ahoy Matey!’ at the Pirates Treasure Museum 

If your kids are interested in pirates—and really, what kid isn’t—you can’t miss the Pirates Treasure Museum in St. Thomas. More than just a tourist trap, this museum has actual treasures and artifacts that were recovered from old pirate ships! This place also has two stories full of pirate-related materials, which makes it much more educational than you might expect. Exhibits include: 

  • Pirate Weapons
  • Pirate Encounter
  • Deep Sea Technology 
  • Ancient Artifacts 
  • Extreme Weather
  • Virgin Islands Shipwrecks
  • Shipwrecks Around the World
  • Wreck of the SS Republic 
  • Ship’s Bells

You’ll also have a chance to own a piece of pirate history! There are coins from several different pirate shipwrecks available to purchase, along with many unique gifts. 

5. Explore the USVI with Kids at the Virgin Islands Children’s Museum 

No trip to St. Thomas would be complete without checking out the Virgin Islands Children’s Museum. Open every day except Monday, this museum is primarily aimed at kids, although there is some teen time set aside in their program, too. If you’ve got a toddler, you’ll want to plan your visit here on a Tuesday to take advantage of Toddler Tuesday. Something else this spot offers is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library! 

Want to throw a birthday party while you’re on vacation? The Virgin Islands Children’s Museum has got you covered with a private party area for up to 30 guests. Alternatively, you can rent out the entire museum instead, which has a capacity for 100 guests. 

6. Explore the Many Beaches of the USVI 

Want to know what many, many people have come to the USVI to do? Go beach bumming, and you can, too! Families love visiting at least one or two of the famous beaches, but you can take this even further. There are so many beach options, in fact, that you could never see them all. St. Thomas has 40 major beaches on its own, not to mention St. Croix and St. John’s beaches. 

So, where should you start? We’ve got three primary recommendations: 

Maho Bay Beach is probably the best beach in USVI for small children. Even better, it usually doesn’t attract major crowds. If you’ve got toddlers, this is a St. John beach you can’t miss! 

If you’re staying on St. Thomas instead, you should check out Coki Beach. This free USVI activity features translucent water, which makes it easier to see the many tropical fish. Coki Beach might be more populated than Maho Bay Beach, but it’s also one of the best places around to make sandcastles. 

7. Stop and Smell the Flowers at St. George Village Botanical Garden 

Known as “the hidden gem of St. Croix,” this botanical garden has four primary exhibits: 

  • Museum 
  • Herbarium 
  • Botanical Heritage
  • The Seed Bank 

If it’s raining outside—or if you’ve had too much sun—head into the museum to learn all about the 2,000+ year history of the Estate St. George. You’ll be greeted by Amerindian artifacts that date back to 100 C.E. Additionally, you’ll be able to see items from the Danish colonial era. 

Botanical Heritage features an effort to preserve rare plants that are natural to the USVI. Some of the plants on display here can’t be found anywhere else! Meanwhile, the Seed Bank is all about preserving genetic diversity, with a special focus on endangered or rare plants. 

Finally, the Herbarium is dedicated to collecting pressed and dried specimens from across the USVI. There are currently more than 6,000 specimens on display, which represent 80% of all plants that are known to grow in the USVI. 

8. Take Instagram Worthy Photos at Fort Christiansvaern 

If you have any teens in your family, then you can understand the appeal of visiting a historic place that’s perfect for Instagram and TikTok. Visiting Fort Christiansvaern will also give you a feel for what it was like when the Danish colonized the USVI. 

As you look through this historic fort, which was built in 1749, you’ll feel as if you can almost see through time. Fortunately, Danish colonizers have long since left the USVI. What they left behind, though, has become one of the top tourist attractions on St. Croix. It also happens to be the oldest building in Christansted. 

9. Become a Mermaid at Mermaid Swim VI 

Let’s be honest; who hasn’t dreamed of becoming a mermaid or a merman? Now, you can make your kids’ dreams come true—and maybe yours, too! Owner and photographer Katie Rockefeller offers guests the opportunity to put on a mermaid or a merman tail and have pictures taken. Even better is the fact that all ages are welcome at Mermaid Swim VI

Have your picture taken in the water or on the beach—or choose a combination of both! After all, your mermaid package comes with 10 digital pictures. 

Choose the Perfect Place to Stay in the USVI 

Regardless of whether you’d like a St. Thomas family vacation, St. John family vacation, or a St. Croix family vacation, you’ll find the perfect luxury rental at Vacation VI! Book a family friendly hotel today to kick off your island family vacation in style.

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