Natural Attractions in the USVI

Treat yourself to a vacation in which the outdoors rule all

Photo credit: © Norman Allen
 

One of the best things about visiting the Virgin Islands is the beautiful surroundings. Not only are the beaches a site to behold, but there are brightly blooming gardens, lush forest land, and protected areas that feature endangered animal habitats.

Nature Preserves and Hiking

Virgin Islands National Park

Do you like spending time out in the fresh air? You can choose from a few hiking trails and some nature preserves in the USVI.

Virgin Islands National Park is a popular nature preserve St. John, in northern the USVI. Before entering the Virgin Islands National Park, most guests make it a point to stop at the Visitor Center, which features exhibits about the area's history, an activity schedule, maps, and more. Park rangers are on site to help you plan your outing.

Vacationers looking to locate a another great natural attraction will enjoy exploring places like Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge. Over 11,000 tourists a year sail over to Sandy Point regularly to observe wildlife in action. Over 100 species have been recorded, including a large number of birds and the endangered leatherback sea turtle..

Green Cay National Wildlife Refuge: Although the refuge might be considered an attraction for visitors to St. Croix, it is an attraction that can best be seen from a distance, by boat, from off-shore of the island in order to protect a highly-lizard species and easily disturbed juvenile brown pelicans. The refuge is closed to the public in order to protect its very fragile ecosystem and the endangered ground lizard.

Check out the table just below if you want more information.

Nature Preserves and Hiking In the USVI
Name Type Location Island
Buck Island National Wildlife Refuge Nature Sanctuary/Wildlife Reserve 5.2 mi. Southeast of Central Charlotte Amalie Capella Island
Butler Bay Nature Preserve Nature Sanctuary/Wildlife Reserve 2.7 mi. North of Central Frederiksted St. Croix
Green Cay National Wildlife Refuge Nature Sanctuary/Wildlife Reserve 2.9 mi. East-Northeast of Central downtown Christiansted Green Cay
Lamshur Bay Trail Hiking Trail 3.7 mi. East of Central downtown Cruz Bay St. John
Ram's Head Trail Hiking Trail 2.8 mi. South of Central Coral Bay St. John
Reef Bay Trail Hiking Trail 1.8 mi. West of Central Coral Bay St. John
Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge Nature Sanctuary/Wildlife Reserve 1.9 mi. West-Southwest of Central Frederiksted Southeast St. Croix
Southgate Coastal Reserve Nature Sanctuary/Wildlife Reserve 2.9 mi. East of Central downtown Christiansted St. Croix
St. Croix East End Marine Park Nature Sanctuary/Wildlife Reserve 8.9 mi. East of Central downtown Christiansted St. Croix
Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument Nature Sanctuary/Wildlife Reserve 7.4 mi. Southeast of Central downtown Cruz Bay None
Virgin Islands National Park Nature Sanctuary/Wildlife Reserve 3.3 mi. East of Central downtown Cruz Bay St. John
Yawzi Point Trail Hiking Trail 2.0 mi. South-Southwest of Central Coral Bay St. John

Waterfalls

Even though most people visiting the area come for the region's beaches, that isn't the only way to experience the area's natural beauty. One such example is Petroglyph Pool Waterfall. It is situated on St. John, in northern the USVI. <p>Deep in the Virgin Islands National Park among tall trees, crumpling ruins, and centuries-old carvings you will be able to spot the Petroglyph Pool Waterfall. This tall fall cascades down to fill a pool that is famous for something more than the waterfall alone.</p>

Parks and Botanical Gardens

Phantasea Tropical Botanical Garden

Vacationers can also spend some time in one of the many parks, or 5 botanical gardens in the USVI.

Hassel Island Historic Park is Hassel Island, in northern the USVI. The island is 135 acres and the National Park service works diligently to keep it pristine. There is much to be seen with a visit to the island including rail road tracks and the ruins of a hospital, a cemetery, a signal station, and several military sites.

Another popular choice in this category is Phantasea Tropical Botanical Garden. With more than 20 years in the making, Phantasea Tropical Botanical Garden is St. Thomas' newest eco-attraction. Visitors can now explore the garden's paths to enjoy over 1,000 orchid plants and hundreds of other tropical plants and bromeliads.

The parks and gardens you'll be able to find are shown in the chart below.

Parks and Gardens In the USVI
Name Type Location Island
Buddhoe Park Park 3.0 mi. West of Central Allandale St. Croix
D Hamilton Jackson Park Park Downtown Christiansted St. Croix
Educators Park Park Downtown Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas
Emanicipation Garden Park Downtown Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas
FDR Park Park 0.1 mi. North of Central Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas
Franklin Powell Park Park Downtown Cruz Bay St. John
Hassel Island Historic Park Park 0.9 mi. South West of Central Charlotte Amalie Hassel Island
Peter Carl Limpricht Park Park 0.5 mi. West of Central downtown Christiansted St. Croix
Phantasea Tropical Botanical Garden Botanical Garden 1.2 mi. Northwest of Central Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas
Phillips' Botanical Garden Botanical Garden 2.3 mi. South West of Central Charlotte Amalie Water Island
Roosevelt Park Park 0.1 mi. North of Central Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas
Saint George Village Botanical Gardens Botanical Garden 0.5 mi. East of Central Allandale St. Croix
St. Peter Greathouse & Botanical Gardens Botanical Garden 1.6 mi. Northwest of Central Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas
Villa Botanica At Plantation Crown and Hawk Botanical Garden St. Thomas St. Thomas

Zoos and Aquariums

Coral World Ocean Park

If the idea of spending some time at an aquarium tickles your fancy, you should visit Coral World Ocean Park. Get up close to all the sea animals in this fully immersive and interactive aquarium-water park. Swim with sea lions and turtles, or put on high-tech diving equipment to walk beneath the surface of the water, with all the world above you.

Take a minute to read this table to learn more.

Zoos and Aquariums In the USVI
Name Type Location
Coral World Ocean Park Aquarium 4.2 mi. East of Central Charlotte Amalie
Solberg Farm Zoo Downtown Charlotte Amalie

Farms

You can learn about local agriculture by visiting Virgin Islands Sustainable Farm Institute. Winner of the 2011 Environmental Quality Award from the EPA -- which is the highest honor given to a public farm -- the Ridge to Reef Farm (R2R) run by the Virgin Islands Sustainable Farm Institute is the first and the only USDA certified organic farm in the US Virgin Islands. The farm came into being in 2010 and focuses on restoring land that was ravished for years of plantation farming, as well as the promotion of green and sustainable living.

Farms In the USVI
Name Type Location Island
Virgin Islands Sustainable Farm Institute Farm 2.2 mi. West-Southwest of Central downtown Christiansted St. Croix

Land Formations

Another idea is to visit some of the more interesting area land formations. Fully natural attractions like these in the USVI are displayed in the chart below.

Land Formations In the USVI
Name Type Location Island
Benner Bay Bay 1.9 mi. Southeast of Central Anna's Retreat St. Thomas
Brewers Bay Bay 3.5 mi. West of Central Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas
Butler Bay Bay 2.8 mi. North of Central Frederiksted St. Croix
Coakley Bay Bay 1.6 mi. West of Central Cotton Valley St. Croix
Dorothea Bay Bay 3.0 mi. Northwest of Central Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas
Drunk Bay Bay 1.1 mi. South of Central Friis Bay St. John
Flamingo Bay Bay 2.9 mi. South West of Central Charlotte Amalie Water Island
Francis Bay Bay 3.9 mi. Northeast of Central downtown Cruz Bay St. John
Frank Bay Bay 0.4 mi. West-Southwest of Central downtown Cruz Bay St. John
Grootpan Bay Bay 1.6 mi. South West of Central Friis Bay St. John
Hansen Bay Bay 1.9 mi. Northeast of Central Friis Bay St. John
Hawksnest Bay Bay 1.5 mi. Northeast of Central downtown Cruz Bay St. John
Krum Bay Bay 2.3 mi. West-Southwest of Central Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas
Little Lameshur Bay Bay 1.9 mi. West of Central Friis Bay St. John
Mangrove Lagoon Lagoon 3.6 mi. East-Southeast of Central Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas
Salomon Bay Bay 0.7 mi. North of Central downtown Cruz Bay St. John
Salt River Bay National Historic Park and Ecological Preserve Bay 3.6 mi. East of Central Cane Bay St. Croix
St. Thomas Harbor Harbour 0.3 mi. South of Central Charlotte Amalie None
Water Bay Bay 4.2 mi. East of Central Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas
West End Salt Pond Pond 1.6 mi. South-Southwest of Central Frederiksted St. Croix

If you are seeking a wider range of attractions beyond what's offered in this category, you might want to think about other locations. For more information about other attractions, click here.

With all that the region has to offer, the Virgin Islands is a delight for the senses. When exploring the natural side of the islands your eyes enjoy the bright hews of the sea and sky; you'll taste the clean air; feel the difference of various terrain beneath your feet; smell the sweet fruits and fresh flowers, and hear the peacefulness that surrounds you. Give in to your primitive urges, get outside, take a look around, and enjoy every moment of it.

 

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