Although it's 2016 and many wedding traditions have gone by the wayside, there's a reason why the honeymoon has stood the test of time: planning a wedding is stressful! So when all of the seating arrangements, "tablescapes," color schemes, and fittings are done, you definitely deserve a vacation. Enter: a beach oasis that's as romantic as it is easy, the U.S. Virgin Islands. Of course, all-inclusive resorts and soft, sandy beaches are what honeymoons are made of, but if you're not content to sit on a beach all week, there are plenty of activities that will make a honeymoon in the U.S. Virgin Islands super-memorable for you and your partner.
The best part? You don't even need a passport. Because the U.S. Virgin Islands are a U.S. territory, you’re able to bask in the gorgeous turquoise waters and white sands of the Caribbean with minimal hassle. Whether you go all-inclusive or not, there are plenty of options on the islands for hotels and resorts, meaning it’s not only incredibly relaxing and beautiful, but also affordable and accessible. In partnership with the U.S. Virgin Islands, I present my picks for the top nine honeymoon activities that will help you enjoy both the romance and adventure of this tropical destination.
1. Sail On A Party Catamaran In St. Thomas, Then Swim With Giant Turtles
Yep, this is a real thing. For a small fee, you can snag a ride on a catamaran with all of the amenities you could ever want: snorkeling gear, snacks, alcoholic drinks, and (if you're lucky) as many temporary pirate tattoos as you can handle. Once you get to your destination, you can actually snorkel amid giant sea turtles. Toss in a hilariously entertaining captain and crew, and you've got an activity that's a blast for couples and a downright steal.
2. Snorkel The World’s First Marked Underwater Trail At St. John's Trunk Bay
Consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world (that’s right — the world), St. John’s tucked-away Trunk Bay is not just photo perfect. It’s also home to the world’s first underwater snorkeling trail, which means you and your "honey" can float blissfully together through clear blue waters following the tiny neon fish and easily marked trail through the coral reefs. After that, you can relax on the powdery soft sand or grab a bite from the snack stand off the beach. Fun fact: like two-thirds of St. John, Trunk Island is considered part of the national park. Over 50 years ago (aka, long before it was fashionable) eco-tourism got its start when Laurance Rockefeller donated two-thirds of the island to the National Park Service, ensuring it would be well-preserved for all to enjoy.
3. Explore The Rainforest In St. Croix
Leave the beach behind for a day (we know, it’s tough) and explore the natural beauty of St. Croix with a hiking tour through the 15-acre forest. Along the way, you'll get to enjoy beautiful, off-the-beaten-path panoramic vistas and tidal pools. Be forewarned: it's a challenging hike, so be sure to bring water and leave your sandals at home!
4. Drink Rum (And Learn A Little About It, Too!) At A World-Class Distillery
From the minute you step off a plane, or a boat, on any of the U.S. Virgin Islands, you will typically be handed a shot of rum, and suddenly your biggest life decision becomes... banana or mango? Rum is a staple drink in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and it's been made right on St. Croix for hundreds of years, so the opportunity to explore where it's made for a small fee is pretty incredible.
5. Climb The 99 Steps In Charlotte Amalie In St. Thomas
The "step-streets" that cut through gorgeous Charlotte Amalie are a remnant of its historic Danish origins. The famous "99 Steps" were built in the 1700s from ballast carried over in the hulls of sailing ships. Once you climb up them, you have an incredible view of St. Thomas. Afterwards, you can shop the stores and markets of Charlotte Amalie, then grab a bite to eat at some of the many restaurants lining the romantic stone streets.
6. Check Out The Fire Dancers On St. Thomas
Once the sun goes down, island life always heats up. Over dinner, drinks, or a beachside stroll, you're sure to find St. Thomas' finest putting on a show. Their performances will have you and your partner gasping (and snuggling together in the firelight) as they throw and leap through flames.
7. Take a Night Kayak Or Stand-Up, LED-Lit Paddleboard Trip On St. Thomas
If you and your partner want a little adventure in the dark Caribbean, go on a night kayak or stand-up paddleboarding trip to explore the ocean by starlight. On some tours, the bottom of your kayak is see-through and lit by LED lights, so as you paddle you can check out stingrays, tarpon fish, and other marine animals swimming by.
8. Wander The Estate St. Peter Greathouse & Botanical Gardens
The 11-acre property, located in the volcanic peaks above Magens Bay in St. Thomas, features a walking trail and beautiful gardens. Visitors have called the views "stunning" and "spectacular."
9. Have Dinner At Sunset Over St. John's Cruz Bay
Yes, we know you've been adventuring all day, but sometimes it's nice to settle in for a fancy dinner with a water view. Head to a seaside restaurant to dine on a fresh, seasonal menu of seafood and other island fare, and watch the sun set before toasting over candlelight.
This post is sponsored by the U.S. Virgin Islands.