Home to the biggest cruise port in the Caribbean, St. Thomas seems at ﬁrst glance a place with little to offer beyond duty-free shopping. In reality, this 32-square-mile island has more texture than meets the eye. Along the narrow streets of capital Charlotte Amalie, you’ll ﬁnd reminders of the 17th-century Danish settlers, such as the 99 Steps, constructed of old ships’ ballast bricks, and the 1679 Blackbeard’s Castle Tower (named for that legendary pirate). Beyond town, hilly roads with staggering views of untouched coastline lead to little hamlets like Frenchtown, where some of the residents still speak Creole. But the real appeal of this island is found along its perimeter: miles upon miles of white-sand beaches.
Taking in views of St. Thomas Harbor while sipping rum punch under the palm trees at Hotel 1829’s terrace bar.
Checking out the West Indian antiques and paintings by Camille Pissarro on display at Haagensen House, a restored 19th-century Danish banker’s house in Charlotte Amalie.
Day-tripping to nearby St. John island, a 6,000-acre national protected park that’s just a short ferry ride away.