St. Croix Vs. St. Thomas: Which USVI Island Should You Visit?

St. Croix and St. Thomas are highly-visited islands in the U.S Virgin Islands. While both have similarities with beautiful landscapes, there are some notable differences between them. Each island has different things about them that might make them a more enticing vacation option to certain people. Here is a comparison of the two islands and some categories in which one beats out the other.

St. Croix Vs. St. Thomas: Tourist Attractions and Activities

St. Croix has a variety of tourist attractions available. The Buck Island Reef National Monument is an excellent place for snorkeling and scuba diving, with hundreds of acres of beautiful water, reef, and caves. Rainbow Beach is a lovely place where you can often see ships pulling into port.

st croix port

Other noteworthy attractions include Fort Christiansvaern, an old yellow Danish fort. Point Udall is a hiking trail with beautiful views of the ocean and "The Castle," a picturesque mansion on top of a hill. Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge is a scenic beach where one can view all sorts of rare and beautiful animals, though it’s sometimes closed for turtle nesting season.

There are also plenty of fun tours you can go in St Croix, including a horseback riding tour that takes you through the beautiful beaches and another that takes you paddle boarding and snorkeling at Rainbow Beach.

The Carambola Tide Pools is another excellent hiking location where you can view and walk around through cool tide pools. You can take a self-guided tour around St. George Village Botanical Gardens to see a wide variety of beautiful and rare plants.

St Thomas has plenty of beautiful beaches like honeymoon beach and Magens Bay, including all of the activities that come along. Snorkeling, parasailing, you name it. For an exciting museum experience, Pirate's Treasure Museum exhibits many authentic shipwreck memorabilia and stories of great sea adventures. You can also go on a snorkeling tour where you're guaranteed to find sea turtles.

snorkeling usvi

Photo from my snorkeling sea turtle tour

For a piece of history, you can visit St. Thomas Synagogue, the second oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere. Another excellent tourist location is the 99 Steps. These step streets from the past were constructed of ballast bricks from Old World ships.

If a fantastic view is what you want, Drake's Seat is the vantage point Sir Francis Drake allegedly looked for enemy ships. It also offers an incredible view of roughly 100 islands in the Caribbean. St. Thomas also has botanical gardens, tons of water sports, and many other landmarks. There are plenty of things you can do in St. Thomas, so you won't get bored on your visit. 

Verdict: Both St. Croix and St. Thomas have various attractions, with some being unique and others quite similar. Honestly, neither St. Thomas nor St. Croix is objectively superior to the other regarding tourist destinations. They both have lovely beaches, great views, and historical landmarks. 

That said, St. Thomas has more adventure and thrilling types of attractions. Skydiving, underwater scooters, zip-lining, and the like. St. Croix is a bit quieter, having fewer adventure-like attractions, but still more than enough beaches to enjoy. It mainly comes down to what you’re looking for.

St. Croix Vs. St Thomas: Hotels & Other Accommodations

marriot-frenchmans-cove

In terms of accommodations, you’ll find far more options in St Thomas than St. Croix. Since the main island receives the most tourists, there are more housing options to house visitors, including Airbnbs and resorts. 

There are high-end luxury hotels you can stay at in St. Thomas like the Marriot’s Frenchman Cove but also budget-friendly choices like the Green Iguana Hotel and Bunker Hill.  

St. Croix has hotels like The Buccaneer Resort, a four-star beachfront hotel surrounded by beautiful landscapes and private beaches. It has high costs but makes up for it with its deluxe rooms and high-end facilities. There are golf courses, tennis courts, spa centers, salon on its premises. But there are also less expensive hotels like Hotel on the Cay

Airbnb’s aren’t too hard to find across the islands either. But there are far more choices in St. Thomas than in St. Croix. However, you might find them in more remote parts of the island.

St. Croix Vs. St. Thomas: Nightlife

If you like to go out at night, whether it’s for drinks or dancing, nightlight might be a pretty considerable thing for you. 

St. Thomas, being a slightly busier island than St. Croix, has a bustling nightlife. It's full of bars and clubs like Hull Bay Hideaway, The Green House, Blue Bay Charter Company. This comes with great food and cocktails, not to mention plenty of boat tours you can enjoy both of these things on.

st thomas nightlife

There are a lot of bars in St. Thomas, that it would be difficult to list them all. There are many types of bars with themes like piano, cigar, jazz, and historic. Needless to say, if you're worried about having things to do during the night, that’s not an issue on this island. The nightlife is readily available and all over the place.

St. Croix may be a decently large island, but it has more of a small island feel. It's not as busy as St. Thomas, which means that it doesn't have quite as much nightlife as the latter. That said, it's not entirely lacking, not in the slightest.

St. Croix has the only casino in the United States Virgin Islands, so that's definitely bonus points if you value that. There's plenty of resorts and restaurants that do unique things, like beach barbecue and buffets or shows.

There are fewer bars in St. Croix than there are in St. Thomas, but there are still many of them. There is live music and even have odd things like crab racing for people to enjoy.

Verdict: St. Thomas has a more robust nightlife, there's no doubt about that. There are more bars as far as sheer volume is concerned. However, St. Croix still has plenty of things to do. There are lots of bars and night activities there as well. However, by the sheer volume of options alone, St. Thomas is probably a better pick.

St. Croix Vs. St. Thomas: Utilities and Convenience

St. Thomas is a busier, more populated, more commercialized island. By very definition, that means that it has more options available for pretty much everything. That includes the number of places to book lodgings, gas stations, groceries, and pretty much everything you need to live on it for a week or two.

Of course, this is not to say that St. Croix doesn't have those things. But being a somewhat quieter, less commercialized island, the saturation of those conveniences is just a little less. So as far as this is concerned, St. Thomas is technically a better choice. Keep in mind that it's also more crowded, especially if you visit during the summer, and a more popular tourist destination. So getting lodgings might require you to plan ahead of time than if you were to visit St. Croix.

Verdict: St. Thomas is the most convenient with more types of lodgings options and grocery stores. 

St. Croix Vs. St. Thomas: Kid-Friendly

If you're traveling to the virgin islands with kids — what's available to them should certainly play a role in your decision.

St. Thomas is the only island in the whole USVI with a zip-lining park. Tree Limin Extreme is one of the most popular attractions on all three islands. St. Croix, on the other hand, excels in water sports. For kids who are into water sports like sailing or boating, you'll find plenty of opportunities there.You can get quite a lot of beach time with both offering kid-friendly beaches.

However, one thing that differentiates them is that St. Thomas is a bit more populated, so it can be more hectic. Meanwhile, St. Croix is calmer. This may impact your choice depending on how you feel your kid will act based on those two things. 

Verdict: Tie. Both islands are a great destinations for kids, and each offers its own specialized set of activities.

St. Croix Vs. St. Thomas: Overall Costs

When you're taking a trip to the Virgin Islands, the white sand beaches and other amazing sights come at a cost. St Thomas and St Croix are pretty similar in costs to one another.

On average, you'll find that St. Croix hotels cost a bit less than the ones in St. Thomas, which is the same case when compared to St John as well. On the other hand, there are a wider variety of cheap and high end options in St. Thomas. In terms of goods, both islands share the same prices for them.

Between the three islands (including St. John), you'll find the activities like scuba diving also cost the same. 

Verdict: Tie. You can find affordable housing options in both locations. The prices for goods and activities are also consistently the same.

Final Verdict

Ultimately, neither St. Croix nor St. Thomas is better than its counterpart. These tropical U.S destinations have white sandy beaches, watersports, landmarks, great vantage points, decent nightlife, and all the things you would want out of a paradise beach vacation.

st croix beach sunset

The significant difference is that St. Croix is a quieter island, while St. Thomas is busier and more commercialized. So really, the primary thing to consider is your personal preference in regards to what you want to do on vacation and how you want to spend it. If you want to go all out and go on fun adventures, go to St. Thomas. If you want a more relaxed vacation, visit St. Croix. 

But no matter which island you stay at, you can visit both of them. All you need to take is a ferry, which moves between the two islands multiple times a day till night. You can even visit the nearby British Virgin Islands too.