St. Thomas is the US Virgin Island that gets the most action. It is both the commercial and government capital of the territory and has the most variety and quantity of places to stay and things to do on vacation in the Virgin Islands.
Keep reading to find out the real deal about what you need to know when planning a vacation on St. Thomas.
But first…to really appreciate the island, you have to know about its past. Our brief timeline of St. Thomas’ fascinating and colorful history will fill you in on the most important bits to know for now. But another great resource is the St. Thomas Historical Trust’s website. They offer walking tours of historical downtown Charlotte Amalie, where the photo below was taken.
Planning Your St. Thomas Vacation
There’s a lot more that you need to know than just what to pack. We get into all of that in detail below.
Real quick though…what to pack? Not much.
Seriously. Most of it will probably stay unused in your luggage anyway. You’ll be most comfortable in clothing made of natural fabrics that breathe like cotton, linen and bamboo. Pack footwear that is comfortable for walking in hot places and a sturdy set of flip flops like Reefs. Take it from those who know: the uneven streets make it difficult to walk gracefully in heels. Also, stilettos and beaches do not a good couple make. It’s often too hot to be comfortable in heavy makeup or a lot of jewelry. One or two not-too-fancy dresses are about as formal as you need to get for dining or going out.
Do note that it is actually illegal to be in public places other than the pool or beach in your swim attire without a cover-up. Ladies, cover up those bikinis. Gentlemen, put your shirt on. Especially when you’re inside a restaurant, bar, or retail establishment.
And now, onto the stuff you need to figure out before tending to your luggage.
St. Thomas Transportation
You’ll first want to figure out if you’re interested in renting a vehicle. If so, is there room in your budget to rent one for the entirety of your trip? Knowing that will help to narrow down your choice of where to stay on St. Thomas.
There are plenty of options for folks who decide that they don’t need their own wheels, but there are a few areas of the island that just don’t make sense to stay if you don’t have a rental vehicle.
Read our Guide to Transportation on St. Thomas to help you decide what’s best for you. Curious about getting from one Virgin Island to another? We’ve got you covered on that too. Our Guide to Transportation in the Virgin Islands will get you there.
St. Thomas Resorts, Hotels, Villas and other Vacation Rentals
Then you’ll want to think about the type of accommodation you prefer and what’s most important to you.
Is it absolutely necessary that you be able to walk to the beach in a few minutes from your door? Or is it more important that you can sunbathe in the nude? Maybe you’re planning a trip for multiple couples or multiple families and need a lodging option that make sense for everyone. Do you like to vacation like a local and stay in a residential part of an island in a private home? Or are you a lover of resorts where you don’t have to cook a single meal and can have a massage, sip cocktails by the pool, and go paddleboarding all on the same property?
There is a type of lodging for every travel style on St. Thomas. Read our Ultimate Guide to Vacation Rentals on St. Thomas to find your perfect spot in paradise.
St. Thomas Activities, Excursions, and Attractions
After figuring out where you’re going to stay, then you’ll want to think about the types of things you want to do on the island. If you’re traveling to the island during peak season (December 15 – April 15), you’ll definitely want to book your activities ahead of time to make sure that you don’t miss out.
Our Five Part Series on Things To Do in the Virgin Islands will help you narrow down what you want to get accomplished on St. Thomas and give you island-hopping ideas as well.
Things To Do in the Virgin Islands Intro & Traveler Types
Things to do in the Virgin Islands On Land
Water Things To Do in the Virgin Islands
Sky Things To Do in the Virgin Islands
Island Hopping in the Virgin Islands
Of course, you’re probably also going to want to spend a day or two at the beach! St. Thomas has so many beaches, you’d have a hard time giving them all a fair try in a week on the island. Here you can peruse your options of St. Thomas beaches. After your trip, be sure to come back and upload your photos and reviews on the beach listings to help the people visiting St. Thomas after you!
There is so much more to share with you about planning your best vacation on the beautiful, lively island of St. Thomas. Check back for updates and additions. Also, check out the VI Insider, our blog where we share local personalities, stories and tips about living and traveling in the Virgin Islands.
Do you have more questions (or answers) about planning a vacation on St. Thomas?
Let us know what we missed in the comments sections.