Girl's trip to St. Thomas
January 24, 2017 4:49 PM   Subscribe

I'm sending my daughter (16), my niece (15), and their moms on a vacation, and they picked St. Thomas in early June. I'm looking for travel deals, excursions, good places to stay/eat, bad places to avoid, and any other general tips I can get.

My wife and I have a sixteen year-old daughter that will be a senior in high school next year, and it's time to buckle down on deciding colleges. She's leaning to a local university, which is fine, but it's probably because it's what she's familiar with. My wife and I wanted to give her an experience to broaden her perspective prior to her making her decision, to give her some glimpse of a wider world.

Our family hasn't traveled much, so we decided to offer her a vacation of her choosing, within reason. As my wife and I continued to discuss it, a girls-only trip my daughter (16), my wife, my niece (15), and her mom sounded better then trying to figure out some place that I and my eleven-year old son would enjoy. (We're going to do a guys trip later.)

My daughter and my niece want to go to St. Thomas in June. What are some good tips for finding good deals? Should we piece together our own vacation, go through a travel agent, or a resort package? What are good things to do/places to go/food to eat? What are things to avoid? What should we be thinking about that we're not thinking about? Any help is appreciated.
posted by medarby to Travel & Transportation around Virgin Islands (5 answers total)
I would recommend taking a ferry or taxi boat to St. John and staying there. It is smaller, feels safer, and much more picturesque island with more natural, protected beaches.

I also recommend renting a car if adults are comfortable riding on the "wrong" side, St. John is beautiful place to explore by car and traffic is slight. You are not supposed to take the rental cars from St. Thomas on the ferry to St. John, so it might be better to rent it at St. John than face the ire of the rental car agency (I've done it).

I generally recommend planning your own trip, and St. John (or St. Thomas if they want to stay there) is an easy place to travel even for novices. Outside the US Virgin Islands day trips to Tortola, British Virgin Islands, are popular.
posted by zeikka at 6:05 PM on January 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

I came to say exactly what zeikka has already said. Just head straight to the ferry when you land on St. Thomas and head to St. John.
posted by jimmereeno at 7:42 PM on January 24, 2017

Some rental companies allow or even encourage you to take your car on the ferry; we used this place and they were excellent. Personally it was nice to spend a few days on St. Thomas before going to St. John to get a feeling of the two islands, but agree that St. John is much more worth visiting if you enjoy more natural, secluded environs. St. Thomas has far better shopping though if your girls enjoy that.

We used VRBO and homeaway for our USVI holiday, the value was much better than hotels which we found overpriced.

The day trip to BVI is fully worth it, we used these people and they were very good.
posted by sid at 7:48 AM on January 25, 2017

Food was not a highlight of our trip, St. Thomas was far better than St. John on that front, but still quite mediocre. We relied on Yelp and Tripadvisor to find places and were mostly underwhelmed. We ended up doing sandwiches for lunch and firing up the BBQ at our VRBO for dinner in St. John on most days.

One exception on St. John was Long Board in Cruz Bay, which was excellent.
posted by sid at 7:54 AM on January 25, 2017

I just came back from St. Thomas and St. John. I do agree to spend more time in St. John, but since the airport is in St. Thomas, it was nice to stay on St. Thomas for the last day so we didn't have to worry about taking the ferry to the airport. If you stay in Cruz Bay in St. John, there are a few beautiful beaches you can hike to, and it's possible to catch a cab to and from some of the more famous and accessible sites. However, it works a lot better with a car, and the roads can be twisty and sometimes just dirt. And I agree that Longboard in Cruz Bay was a highlight!

In St. Thomas I stayed in Charlottle Amalie, but if I could do it again I'd stay on Lindberg bay, a beautiful beach that is weirdly close to the airport (which I mention since it's convenient both for catching cabs and for traveling, not cause it bothered me). There's no immediate beach in the town, but it's easy to get to town from Lindberg. Maybe my experience was worse in Charlottle Amalie because it was a Sunday, but I felt that everything closed once the cruise ships left in the early afternoon, so being "in town" wasn't as convenient as I expected.
posted by sometamegazelle at 9:44 AM on January 26, 2017

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