St. Thomas is a spectacular tropical destination. It’s among the three large U.S. Virgin Islands, alongside St. Croix and St. John. Travelers can lounge on white-sand beaches, see marine life up close by snorkeling, hike nature trails, and partake in other adventurous water sports activities.
There is much fun to be had in St. Thomas, regardless of age. From family-friendly attractions like dolphin encounters at the Coral World Ocean Park to lively beach parties with endless rum punches, you can always find something to keep you entertained in this island paradise.
If you’re trying to figure out where to stay in St Thomas, this guide covers some of the best resorts and areas, with different attractions you can explore. There are different accommodations divided by region, so you can quickly identify what part of the island it’s on.
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Best Places To Stay In St Thomas
Staying in any of the lovely St. Thomas regions makes for a memorable tropical vacation. You can choose your hotel or resort based on proximity to their must-see attractions. If you prefer to embrace your inner beach bum, you will probably adore St. Thomas’ East End. On the other hand, travelers who want to learn more about the island’s history and culture may want to stay in Downtown Charlotte Amalie’s historic district.
Fortunately, the entire island is easily traversed by taxis that take you across all of it if you want, so you’re not isolated to where you're staying.
Downtown Charlotte Amalie
Charlotte Amalie is the colorful capital city of St. Thomas. The city is rich in culture and history, featuring some of the island’s most noteworthy national landmarks. Downtown Charlotte Amalie is walkable and makes a great day trip from any St. Thomas resorts.
It’s also one of the top areas on the island for shopping, particularly along Main Street (also known as Dronningens Gade). The street was formerly a central trading hub during the 17th century. Early street merchants have since upgraded to shops showcasing artisan gifts, souvenirs, and luxurious jewelry.
Attractions In Downtown Charlotte Amalie:
- Blackbeard’s Castle – A 1600s Danish military tower turned national landmark. Much of the grounds are closed to the public due to damage sustained from Hurricane Irma. Yet, you can still visit to see the castle’s exterior. Unfortunately, there are no signs of actual pirates here, but you can take some photographs with a sculpture of Blackbeard himself.
- Fort Christan – Fort Christian is a national landmark and the oldest building on the entire island, first constructed in 1672. The gothic-style Danish fort now acts as a museum offering guided tours of the grounds, chapel, dungeon, and former governor’s home.
- Emancipation Garden – A historic public park across from Fort Christan that commemorates the site where enslaved people were freed more than a hundred years ago. Keep an eye out for the Freedom Sculpture inside the lovely garden.
- 99 Steps – Built in the mid-1700s to combat the area’s hilly terrain up to Blackbeard’s Castle, the 99 steps is a picturesque attraction surrounded by vibrant plant life. The stairs take visitors directly to the castle’s base. It's definitely worth adding to your vacation itinerary.
Where To Stay In Downtown Charlotte Amalie
This chic boutique hotel in Downtown Charlotte Amalie is ideal for a romantic couples’ getaway or bachelorette trip. The Windward Passage Hotel is among the region’s newer, more modern hotels, offering guests terrific amenities.
The hotel has a large swimming pool open year-round, a fitness center, a sun terrace, and a mini-golf course for guests to enjoy. It’s also conveniently located within walking distance of Downtown Charlotte Amalie’s top attractions like the shops on Main Street.
The vacation rentals are immaculate and contain luxurious plush linens, a coffee maker, a mini-refrigerator, and rainfall showers. You can also enjoy private balconies in all ocean view rooms and suites, perfect for sipping on your morning cup of coffee.
It's certainly up there as one of the best hotels in St Thomas.
The Green Iguana Hotel is a family-owned and operated eco-friendly hotel in the heart of Charlotte Amalie. With affordable accommodations and stunning views of the island, it’s one of the best places to stay in Charlotte Amalie.
The facility utilizes solar energy and Tesla batteries for electricity and filters water on-site to limit its carbon footprint. Preserving St Thomas’ natural beauty is one of The Green Iguana Hotel’s values.
Guest amenities include villa-style guest rooms complete with comfortable beds, kitchens, common spaces, and harbor views. The property also boasts stunning tropical gardens where Iguanas roam and an outdoor pool deck overlooking the Eastern Caribbean Sea surrounded by St. Thomas’s numerous rugged hills.
Located in Charlotte Amalie’s historic district, the Bunker Hill Hotel offers travelers cozy accommodations and easy access to the area’s top attractions.
Guest rooms are pristine, featuring fresh linens and quality toiletries. They range from economy twin rooms to two-bedroom suites, allowing straightforward accommodations for your group no matter the size. Plus, many rooms offer private balcony access with spectacular views of Downtown Charlotte Amalie.
Other amenities include an outdoor pool, concierge service, and wireless internet connection throughout the facility. The hotel also has an on-site restaurant, The Sugarcane Grille, serving up tasty bites for lunch or dinner. The eatery is famous for its Bake and Shark sandwiches featuring freshly caught sharks and other locally sourced ingredients. Free breakfast is served during the mornings, with three different meals to choose from each day.
The hotel is within walking distance of some of the most notable attractions in St Thomas.
Red Hook/East End
St. Thomas’ East End is known for its exceptional beaches, marine life, exciting water sports opportunities, and nightlife. It’s one of the best regions for snorkeling in the entire US Virgin Islands. You can book an excursion or private charter cruise with the help of a hotel concierge or by reserving online.
Red Hook, a town in the East End famous for its homes with red-tiled roofs, is a fantastic place to grab a bite to eat after a day of sunbathing, swimming, or snorkeling. It also offers a vibrant nightlife scene, making it an excellent area for young people looking to dance the night away at one of the many bars or nightclubs.
You can also take the ferry here in Red Hook over to Saint John. So if you’re staying by this side, it’s easy to go over to St John and explore the only US Virgin Islands National Park with some of the most pristine and stunning beaches. If you end up deciding to staying over there instead, here is a list of the best places to stay in St John.
Attractions In Red Hook:
- Coki Point Beach – A stunning and lively sandy beach in St Thomas’ East End. It’s popular amongst locals though it can get pretty crowded when multiple cruise ships are in the port. Fish are friendly and abundant since they’re used to getting treats from travelers over the years (just don’t do this), making it a prime beach for snorkeling.
- Coral World Ocean Park – As St. Thomas’ top tourist attraction, you won’t want to leave the island without visiting Coral World Ocean Park. It has many fascinating exhibits showcasing marine life like sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles. Fish can be seen up close inside the undersea observatory tower. The facility also offers animal encounter packages, including kayaking with dolphins and guided sea treks.
- Sapphire Beach – An iconic beach on the East End with crystal clear waters and a rocky reef for snorkeling. It’s an excellent area for tanning, parasailing, swimming, and windsurfing over the crystalline waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Where To Stay In Red Hook
Nestled along the shores of Sapphire Beach, this stunning beachfront property is the perfect oasis to escape your busy life back home.
Beachfront at Crystal Cove is a one-bedroom holiday home with a full kitchen, bedroom, two bathrooms, and living space with cable television. Complimentary WiFi access is also available, which can come in handy for remote workers or digital nomads. Some villa rentals also include a private patio with scenic views of the beautiful beach.
The property also boasts a large tennis court, outdoor swimming pool, and straightforward beach access. The East End is a prime spot for snorkeling, so we highly suggest renting gear from the local dive shops.
Point Pleasant Resort offers postcard-worthy views of the Caribbean Sea from its 15-acre hillside property.
Villa rentals range from studios to two-bedroom suites with full kitchens, living areas, and private balconies. Other amenities include a private beach and three outdoor swimming pools. Scuba and snorkeling equipment are available to rent. You can contact the hotel’s virtual concierge service to book guided tours, fishing charters, or sailing expeditions.
There are two restaurants on-site, Mirador and Shoreline Bar & Grill, serving delectable meals and strong tropical cocktails daily. Visitors can explore Red Hook’s diverse dining scene, which is only a 6 to 8-minute drive away.
Sapphire Beach Condominium Resort is a luxurious oceanfront getaway in the east end.
Suites are spacious with living rooms, full kitchens, air conditioning, cable television, and balconies. Several suites have multiple bedrooms, ideal for larger families or friend groups on vacation.
While there are no on-site restaurants, travelers can taste their way through Red Hook’s stellar dining scene. The town is only a 3-minute drive or 15-minute walk from Sapphire Beach Condomiumum Resort.
The resort offers plenty of outdoor recreational activities, including snorkeling and water sports like kayaking and paddleboarding. Take a dip in the multi-level pool, featuring breathtaking views of Sapphire Beach.
Frenchtown/Charlotte Amalie West
Charlotte Amalie West is one of the largest towns in St. Thomas. It’s located close to Cyril E. King Airport, allowing for a quick and easy commute to your resort after your flight.
Frenchtown is a charming fishing village in Charlotte Amalie West. It was previously the home of French immigrants that relocated from St. Barthelemy Island through the late 19th century. The area offers many diverse and delicious dining options at eateries like The Twisted Cork Café or French Quarter Bistro.
Stay in Frenchtown if you want a low-key beach trip with access to incredible Caribbean-style meals. Accommodations are also much more affordable than those on the island's east end.
Attractions In Frenchtown:
- Crown Bay Marina – Head over to this marina in Charlotte Amalie West to see or rent luxurious yachts. Fishing is also a popular activity near the Crown Bay Marina.
- French Heritage Museum – A quaint and informative museum that showcases French history and the development of Frenchtown.
- Lindbergh Bay Beach – A relaxing white sandy beach perfect for sunbathing or simply lounging while reading a book. You can snorkel, swim, or paddleboard. It’s a public beach bordered on the east by Emerald Bay Beach Resort.
- Brewers Bay Beach - This sandy beach in Charlotte Amalie West with turquoise water is one of the hidden gems of the island. It’s not commonly visited by tourists and is more popular with locals, but it's also one of the quietest beaches on the island. The waters are also an excellent spot for snorkeling with sea turtles, tropical fish, octopus, and manta rays.
Where To Stay In Frenchtown
Emerald Beach Resort is a gorgeous oceanfront destination in Charlotte Amalie West.
The vacation rooms are pristine and more affordable than most other resorts in the U.S Virgin Islands. The hotel has a stunning outdoor pool complete with a built-in rocky waterfall and a beach bar.
There are three restaurants at Emerald Beach Resort, including the Emerald Café, which serves refreshing fruit smoothies, coffees, and assorted breakfast items. The other waterfront eateries have great, locally sourced seafood and veggies for dinner.
A complimentary shuttle bus is also available for guests who want to check out the dining or recreational options at its sister property, Lindbergh Bay Hotel.
Lindbergh Bay Hotel & Villas is an excellent setting for a laid-back U.S. Virgin Islands vacation. Like its sister property Emerald Beach Resort, the hotel gives you a bang for your buck.
Resort amenities include clean guest suites with ocean or garden view balconies, cozy linens, and free WiFi. The hotel’s elevated outdoor freshwater pool offers scenic views of Charlotte Amalie West’s hillside. You can grab a Mai Tai from the pool bar and take in the scenery before taking a dip.
Grab dinner at the Lindbergh Bay Hotel’s on-site restaurant, Oceanside Bistro. The menu features freshly caught seafood, hearty sandwiches, and even pizza! Travelers can also take a free shuttle bus to nearby Emerald Beach Resort, with three additional restaurants.
The Southside of St Thomas is conveniently located near the hustle and bustle of Charlotte Amalie. Many tourists visit this area, especially via the cruise ships ported at the Havensight Dock. You can also take a ferry from St Thomas to St Croix through here. The Southside is an excellent place to shop, eat, and stay at some of the most luxurious waterfront resorts.
Most of the beaches in St Thomas’ Southside are connected with hotels but still open to the public. Bolongo Bay Beach is fabulous and an excellent alternative to Magens Bay Beach during the crowded peak seasons.
Attractions In The Southside:
- Havensight Mall – A shopping mall boasting many boutiques, gift shops, and restaurants. It’s a commonly visited attraction, especially when cruise ships are docked at the Havensight Dock.
- Limetree Beach – A stunning beach with strong waves ideal for surfing. It’s a public beach but often crowded with guests from the Limetree Beach Resort.
- Sky Ride to Paradise Point – A gondola 700-foot lift ride with breathtaking panoramic views of Downtown Charlotte Amalie and the Atlantic Ocean. Once at the top of Paradise Point, visitors can eat, shop, and sip on the area’s iconic “Bailey’s Bushwacker” frozen cocktail. Tickets begin at $24.95 for adults and $16.95 for children.
Where To Stay On The Southside
Bolongo Bay Beach Resort on the south end is a spectacular island retreat.
Amenities include tropical-inspired vacation rooms with private balconies, eco-friendly toiletries, and comfortable linens. You can purchase an all-inclusive package that features unlimited dining, alcoholic beverages, and water sports. The two on-site eateries offer daily tasty a la carte meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The resort offers stellar watersport activities, including kayaking, snorkeling, sailing, and paddleboarding. Unlike some of the other white sand beaches in St. Thomas, jetskiing is permitted on Bolongo Bay Beach.
Travelers can also embark on sunset catamaran cruises, which are free for certain all-inclusive guests. In addition, charter boat rentals are available for fishing, snorkeling, or scuba diving excursions outside of the resort at an additional cost.
Limetree Beach Resort is your home away from home, with a white sand beach within a short walking distance.
The hotel has more than sixty vacation home and timeshare rental units. Each unit has a full kitchen, living room, and either 1-2 bedrooms or bathrooms. This resort is terrific for couples or families planning to stay on the island for longer trips.
The facility also has a fitness center, hot tub, tennis courts, floor shuffleboard, and heated outdoor pool. Complimentary WiFi access is available across Limetree Beach Resort. You can easily access Limetree Beach straight from the resort.
Check out their live cams to get an idea of the type of views you can get in person.
Marriot’s Frenchman’s Cove is one of the most luxurious resorts in St. Thomas, offering guests a myriad of world-class amenities.
Guest suites range from one to two bedrooms, making this resort an excellent choice for large families and bachelor/bachelorette party groups. They are spacious and filled with luxe amenities like plush linens and high-end personal care products.
Children are more than welcome at Marriot’s Frenchman’s Cove. Various family-friendly activities are available, such as an on-site day camp, scavenger hunts, and poolside movie nights.
There are multiple outdoor swimming pools on the property, including a picturesque infinity pool with next-level views of the landscapes, plus a hot tub. You can explore the ground’s tropical gardens or partake in watersports near the private beach.
Adventure travelers can enjoy various activities offered on and near the luxury resort like night kayaking (which we loved), scuba diving, kayaking, and snorkeling tours.
St. Thomas’ Northside features a combination of hillside and beachfront properties. It’s famous for having the best viewpoints on the island, particularly Drake’s Seat. You don’t want to forget to bring your travel camera as it’s a prime spot for a memorable photograph.
While the area is primarily known for having the most popular beach on the island, Magens Bay Beach, it has many other exciting attractions. The Northside offers scuba diving and snorkeling excursions, thanks to an abundance of coral reefs in its crystal clear waters. You may also encounter shipwrecks, depending on your diving spot.
Attractions In The Northside:
- Drake’s Seat – A scenic overlook with outstanding views of St. Thomas, particularly Magens Bay Beach. It’s named after Sir Francis Drake, who kept watch for enemy fleets from atop the elevated hill. Drake’s Seat is easily accessible from the Northside of the Island and the capital, Charlotte Amalie.
- Magens Bay Beach – The most beloved and picturesque beach on St. Thomas. From the glistening white sandy shore to the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, its natural beauty is unmatched by most places. It’s a great destination for surfing and other water sports. There is a small entrance fee of $5, though it is well worth the price to enjoy everything Magens Bay Beach offers. You can also get drinks at the beach bar.
- Mountain Top – A massive duty-free shop complete with a restaurant, observation point, and world-famous banana daiquiris crafted with local Caribbean rum.
- Tree Limin’ Experience – An exhilarating zip-line tour through St. Thomas’ tropical rainforest on St. Peter Mountain. Thrill-seeking solo travelers and families are sure to enjoy their time at Tree Limin’ Experience.
Where To Stay On The Northside & Magens Bay
Flamboyan On The Bay Resort in the heart of St. Thomas’ Northside is perfect for a relaxing island getaway. Coastal-inspired vacation rentals range from studios to two-bedroom suites. They feature a kitchenette and bathroom fully stocked with top-quality products.
It’s approximately a 5-minute drive or 25-minute walk to the beautiful Magens Bay Beach. However, you can stay at the resort and stroll through its magnificent tropical garden paths, home to numerous native plants and flamboyant trees. The bright orange floral trees inspired the resort’s namesake!
Flamboyan On The Bay Resort also has a jacuzzi, two outdoor pools, a tennis court, and an arcade for guests to enjoy. Animal-lovers will find the cat sanctuary a wonderful place to interact with adorable kitties looking for their forever homes. Since a lot of animals were left homeless following hurricanes on the island, the resort wants to use their property to give back to their four-legged friends.
Know Before You Go
Here are a few informational answers to questions you may have before embarking on your vacation to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
When Is The Best Time To Visit St. Thomas?
St. Thomas is a beautiful destination year-round. Although the prime time of year to visit the island is during its dry season, which spans from late December to May. Many travelers also visit the island in the winter months to escape the colder weather back home.
In terms of price, it’s often cheaper to visit St. Thomas in the early Spring, particularly from March through May. You can expect warm weather and little rainfall this time of year without excessive crowding or expensive holiday rates during the summer.
Is St. Thomas Safe?
St. Thomas, much like the rest of the USVI, is safe for tourists. The island has most of the same laws and regulations that you would find in states across the mainland.
With that being said, crime can happen anywhere. Curious tourists make prime targets since they are unfamiliar with the area. You should always remain aware of your surroundings, keep your belongings close, and secure trusted transportation when venturing outside your resort. Most hotel concierges can schedule taxis, rental cars, or shuttle busses for guests, making this process even easier.
Do You Need A U.S. Passport To Visit St. Thomas?
United States travelers do not need a passport to visit any of the US Virgin Islands, including St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas. However, you do need to bring a government-issued identification card. The British Virgin Islands are pretty close by, so consider bringing a passport if you want to take a day trip to them.
If you are traveling from outside a United States territory, be prepared to show your passport during customs when you arrive at Cyril E. King Airport.
Where To Eat In St. Thomas?
With its location in the Caribbean Sea, St Thomas and its neighboring islands offer some of the best Caribbean style seafood. Fortunately, for those who aren’t the biggest fans of seafood, most restaurants also offer meat and veggie dishes. Apart from Caribbean cuisine, you can enjoy others like American, French, and even Mexican options.
While most resorts offer all-inclusive or a la carte dining options, we strongly urge travelers to venture out to some locally-owned restaurants. Here are some of the best restaurants in St Thomas worth checking out:
- Duffy’s Love Shack – Get a taste of the nightlife at this Red Hook bar and restaurant, which serves excellent food and even better cocktails. Many beverages, including specialty shots like the thin mint-infused Trophy Wife, arrive in unique souvenir glasses. Duffy’s Love Shack also hosts frequent themed party nights that attract locals and tourists.
- Glady’s Cafe – Your one-stop shop for casual and authentic Caribbean fare like conch fritters, jerk chicken wings, and stewed oxtails in Downtown Charlotte Amalie.
- PRIME At Paradise Point – This well-known East End steakhouse boasts savory steak and seafood dishes. It’s a little on the pricey side though worth the splurge for a romantic date night in St. Thomas.
- Fish Stone House Cafe - The restaurant is tucked away in between streets near the shopping area of Downtown Charlotte Amalie. It offers some amazing seafood options with great service in a quiet setting.
- The Smoking Rooster – Located in Havensight Mall, The Smoking Rooster is a fantastic place to grab lunch or dinner near the south side of the island. Pair mouthwatering smoked meats with strong yet flavorful rum cocktails for a meal you won’t forget!
- Virgilio’s – Craving an authentic Italian meal while vacationing in paradise? Reserve a table at Downtown Amalie’s Virgilio’s. This hidden gem restaurant has served the community and thousands of tourists for over twenty years.