U.S. Virgin Islands
WHY WE LOVE IT
The American Caribbean: Three totally different islands with major resorts, pristine landscapes, exceptional beaches, and plenty of entertainments—and so nearby!
Beautiful St. John is two-thirds national park, an ecoparadise.
St. Thomas is frenetic and touristy, but varied, too. Visit lively Port Charlotte Amalie and world-class beach at Magens Bay.
St. Croix (say "croy"), with its Danish flavor, is less touristy than St. Thomas, more built up than St. John, with historic towns and former plantations.
Good buys: Cruzan rum, bowls from St. Croix LEAP carpenters in local mahogany, watercolors from Charlotte Amalie galleries, loose emeralds, anything duty-free, Sonya Ltd. St. Croix "hook" bracelets
WHEN TO GO
High season is December to April; look for bargains in May and early December and, for lowest rates, but worse weather, during the June to November hurricane season.