Free Things To Do in U.S. Virgin Islands
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You don't have to make a special effort to visit the Virgin Islands National Park; if you're on St. John, you're probably standing right on the edge of it. Two-thirds of the island is parkland, and most of Love City's top attractions — Annaberg Plantation, Caneel Bay and Trunk Bay — are within its confines. There are numerous ways to enjoy this tropical paradise. Adventurous travelers should hike at least one of the 22 trails, while families will enjoy camping overnight on the beach.
- #4View all Photos#4 in U.S. Virgin IslandsMuseums, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDMuseums, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
The Estate Whim Plantation Museum chronicles the 18th century life of Cruzans, especially those involved in the production of sugar cane. You can tour the great house of this Frederiksted museum and stroll through the windmill and bath house.
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Caneel Bay is adjacent to the Caneel Bay Resort, but it's free for everyone to enjoy. And according to travelers, you should definitely take advantage. Very few tourists who aren't guests of the hotel ever venture to this northwest St. John beach, and as a result, it's one of the more romantic spots on the island. Settle into the hotel's top-notch restaurant for a leisurely lunch or dinner. Or for something more active, swim the 0.3-mile distance from the coast of Caneel to the even more isolated Honeymoon Beach.
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Sandy Point is a southern beach in St. Croix that moonlights as a habitat and natural refuge for the leatherback sea turtles. During the day, you can swim in the shallow waters or sunbathe along the buff-colored sand. If you're lucky you might catch some turtles nesting their eggs in Sandy Point's 2-mile stretch. One TripAdvisor reviewer notes that this off-the-beaten path locale can be a bit of a challange to get to: "Once you enter the park, follow the gravel road ... to the end. [G]o slow, it is a single lane with one or two turnouts for traffic coming the opposite direction." When you finally arrive, you may recognize the setting from the movie, "The Shawshank Redemption." The spot was said to be Mexico in the flick, but the final scene was actually filmed right on Sandy Point's beach.
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In its heyday, the Annaberg Plantation produced sugar, molasses and rum. Now, if you swing by this ruined (but partially restored) plantation and mill, you can learn about sugar production in the 18th and 19th centuries. And depending on the day, participate in a demonstration on basket weaving or bread baking. One TripAdvisor reviewer valued the chance to inject some history into a beach vacation: "The ruins are fairly extensive and well-preserved ... the signage is great and explains what you are looking at and some background on the sugar plantations and the slaves the plantations depended on." Down the hill from Annaberg is Leinster Bay, a perfect spot for some impromptu beachcombing.
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If you want to recline in the sun; choose Magens Bay or one of the more peaceful shores of St. Thomas' southern coast. But if you want to literally swim with the fishes, there's no better spot on the Rock than Coki Beach, located next to Coral World Ocean Park on the northeast shore. The beach is lined with vendors selling quite the variety of goods and services (from hair braiding to meat pies to marijuana), but the translucent waters (some report visibility of up to 100 feet!) are full of tropical fish.
- #14View all Photos#14 in U.S. Virgin IslandsCasinos, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDCasinos, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND...Read More »
If you've got that gambling itch, book a hotel on (or take a day trip to) St. Croix. The U.S. Virgin Islands' only full-service casino is located in the town of Christiansted on the grounds of the Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort. The casino is small by big-city standards but according to TripAdvisor users, it will appease any visitors who love trying Lady Luck. In addition to video poker machines, Divi Carina Bay has more than 300 slots as well as live-action table games like blackjack, craps and Caribbean stud poker. One TripAdvisor user described the casino as "clean, modern, safe. All the usual games and gimmicks on a very small scale — snack bar (very basic), players club, bells, whistles and no natural light."
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