With three islands for visitors to choose from, a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands is a great way to enjoy a Caribbean vacation without having to leave American soil. Although the U.S. Virgin Islands are an American territory, there is much to consider when planning a vacation, such as ensuring that you have the proper travel documents and attire and selecting the best island, or islands, for your vacation.
The island of St. John offers picturesque views of the Caribbean.
A passport is not required for American citizens traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands, but it is often the best form of identification. When leaving the U.S. Virgin Islands, American travelers without a valid passport must show proof of citizenship, such as an official birth certificate, and a government-issued photo I.D. Young children must provide proof of citizenship as well, although they are exempt from having to show a photo I.D.
Three Main Islands
Three main islands, St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas, comprise the U.S. Virgin Islands, although there are many more small, uninhabited islets and cays that make up the island chain. St. Croix is the largest of the three and home to three golf courses and a selection of hotels, restaurants and stores, particularly near the towns of Frederiksted and Christiansted. Two-thirds of the island of St. John is designated as a national park by the National Park Service, making the island a popular location for island visitors wanting to hike, camp and discover the island’s scenery. St. Thomas, the most visited island, offers upscale dining and resorts in the main city of Charlotte Amalie.
Americans with a valid U.S. driver’s license may drive a vehicle while in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and rental car services are available on each of the three main islands. Visitors who choose to do so must remember to drive on the left; using a cell phone while driving is illegal. Visitors to the islands typically arrive by plane, landing at the airport in St.Thomas or St. Croix and using local water taxis or inter-island flights to travel between locations. Some visitors arrive on the islands as part of a cruise vacation.
Pack light, comfortable beach wear, such as shorts, T-shirts and swimwear for a trip to the islands, as island dress is typically casual and the weather in the U.S. Virgin islands is warm and sunny year-round. The U.S. Virgin Islands website notes that the average high temperature during the summer months is 82 degrees Fahrenheit, with the winter high averaging 77 degrees. Avoid wearing revealing clothing on the islands, such as a thong bathing suit at the beach or a bathing suit with no cover-up while shopping or dining, the VInow website notes, as islanders are conservative in regard to dress.
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