April 11, 2023
The U.S. Virgin Islands are the place to enjoy crystal clear water and pristine beaches that transform your vacation into a luxury experience. Finding water activities isn’t hard to do when you stay on an island that fully embraces the tropical lifestyle. Within minutes of arriving in the USVI, you’ll see people sailing, jet skiing and surfing.
In fact, one of your hardest tasks might be narrowing down your options to find the activities you want to do the most during your stay. These 10 water activities will give you a jumpstart to planning a vacation that everyone in your group will be eager to dive into.
What Makes the USVI Great for Water Sports?
The US Virgin Islands are made up of three islands, St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John. All three of them are known as being premier destinations for water sports because they have the best conditions around for everything from swimming to water skiing and so much more.
Additionally, the water stays at a comfortable temperature throughout the majority of the year, and the calm and gentle waves create a safe yet beautiful tropical atmosphere. Unlike other parts of the sea, the water is also crystal clear, which makes for the ideal environment to go snorkeling or scuba diving, where good visibility enhances your experience.
What to Expect for USVI Water Activities
The majority of USVI water activities are easily accessible to the average traveler, but you might need to rent equipment or book lessons through a local company. Since the USVI is a U.S. territory, they follow national laws, which can give you the reassurance that you’ll be safer when you book a tour through a licensed company.
When you’re looking for tours, you’ll want to pay close attention to which island a company serves. Many tour companies offer services in each one of the three islands, but you may need to plan for additional time to ferry from one place to another.
Once you’ve planned your adventures, you’ll want to pack the basic essentials that you’ll need for each one. Most beachgoers need swimsuits along with water shoes and comfy coverups. You might also need a wetsuit or dry suit, although many rental companies offer them along with aquatic equipment.
As always, make sure to play it safe. While the water is clear and calm, you’ll still swim in an unpredictable environment. Make sure to use the buddy system and take a few lessons before venturing too far out on a surfboard or other piece of equipment that you are new to using.
Top 10 Water Activities to Enjoy In the USVI
If the prospect of splashing about in a tropical paradise that is filled with colorful tropical fish and coral is appealing, then you may be eager to start figuring out how you can make that happen.
These 10 water activities are all great starting points for planning a USVI adventure you’ll always remember.
Slip Into the Magical Underwater World While Snorkeling
Chief among the USVI fun water activities is snorkeling. All three of the islands have popular snorkeling sites that experience heavy visitor use. USVI Snorkeling allows you to experience the underwater world from just below the surface, where you’ll see the famous coral that grows along the USVI coastline.
This is one of the best water activities USVI vacationers can enjoy because even beginners can slip on their gear and view tropical fish, turtles and other aquatic animals in their natural environment. Snorkeling boats in St. John and St. Thomas offer special tours that invite you to dine and enjoy the sunset after your exciting underwater viewing.
Get a Deeper Glimpse of Sea Life by Scuba Diving
Scuba diving takes you down deeper into the amazingly blue waters of the Caribbean where you can view your favorite aquatic creatures in one of the most peaceful environments on Earth. You can find family friendly scuba diving tours with PADI courses for all levels and the opportunity to select excursions that meet your group’s skills and abilities. You can even find night scuba diving adventures for those who already have advanced skills in this popular water activity.
Fly High Above the Water While Parasailing
It’s hard to miss the beauty of parasailers enjoying their excursion far above the water. While parasailing accidents are rare, you’ll still want to make sure to stick to adventures that offer a Captain that is a licensed Master by the U.S. Coast Guard along with highly trained crew members who are all capable of providing the safest sailing trip possible. Booking your flight beforehand helps you ensure that you won’t be tempted to take a less-safe tour guide up on their offer to get a birds-eye view of the island.
Wonder at the Dolphins and Whales from a Power Boat
Dolphin and whale watching are among the most popular family-friendly activities for USVI travelers. You can find power boat tours that take you from St. Thomas to St. John, where you can experience magnificent whales swimming near shore or opt for a more comprehensive tour that will take you away from the island and onto open water, where you’ll have an up-close view of dolphins and other sea creatures that are much larger than yourself.
Snorkel/Sail to a Floating Taco Restaurant
If you’re searching for a unique way to explore the islands, consider taking a snorkel/sail trip that stops at one of the USVI's famous floating taco restaurants, Lime Out. You can jump in for some great snorkeling or swimming and then enjoy lunch and some refreshing cocktails or hibiscus tea on the water as you take in views of the island from afar.
Choose Your Style of Kayaking Adventure
Going kayaking is one of the top things to do in the USVI, and you can choose from both day and nighttime tours. During the day, you’ll get a better chance to check out the natural aquatic environment as you paddle along on your boat, but there’s also something special about heading out after the sun goes down. Nighttime kayaking tours offer fun opportunities to enjoy glowing adventures that involve using LED lights to illuminate your boat and path. If you choose a glass bottom kayak, then you might even spot a stingray gliding along beneath you on your route.
Jet Off into the Sunset On Jet Skis
Jet skis offer you a fun way to take off on your own to explore more of the water around the island. Jet ski rentals in the USVI typically allow for half an hour and hourly rates that let you decide how long you want to spend riding along the water. If you’re new to using jet skis, then you may also want to work with a concierge service to help you find a tour or pick the perfect rental.
Try out an Exciting Board Sport
Paddleboarding, surfing, wakeboarding and more board sports are all popular ways to spend the day in the USVI. St. John paddleboard rentals come in various sizes, and you can even get them delivered to your location. Whether you want to try out surfing or paddleboarding, you can also find lessons available that are perfect for families or individual adventurers.
Catch the Big One on a Fishing Trip
Fishing in the USVIs isn’t like going to the lake and catching bream, crappie and other freshwater fish that pale in comparison to the sea monsters in the Virgin Island waters. Instead, deep-sea fishing boat charters take you out where you can try your hand at catching big game. Blue marlin, sailfish and mahi-mahi are just a few of the trophies that you can catch on a guided fishing excursion that challenges the skills of even experienced fishermen.
Round Out Your Fun with a Beach Excursion
Many accessible adventures await you on the gorgeous beaches that surround the island. You might opt to take a trip to the Virgin Islands National Park, where you can go hiking along trails that are suitable for everyone from the youngest member of your group to senior citizens. You can also opt to just relax on the beach in your favorite lounge chair or mix it up by enjoying some beachside fun after you’ve been snorkeling.
Plan an Unforgettable Vacation with a Full-Service Concierge
Doing a little pre-trip planning helps you to pack all your favorite water adventures into your schedule. Whether it’s your first time visiting the USVIs or the tenth, it’s always beneficial to get some help with planning your vacation. A full-service concierge can help you identify the safest and most available places to book your rentals and adventures, along with finding the most convenient place to stay, which helps you spend more time focusing on other important details, such as where you want to go to have fun.