Escape the Winter Blues in the U.S. Virgin Islands
Why is the U.S. Virgin Islands the ideal destination to retreat from the cold winter? Well, there’s the weather, for one. Secondly, the islands are easy to get to. And thirdly, it’s party time.
Let’s start with the weather. Winter in the USVI is warm and sunny, with highs in the 80s and lows in the 70s. The gorgeous weather allows visitors to fully immerse in the destination’s nature offerings, which include a plethora of stunning white-sand beaches, plenty of palm trees (perfect for hanging a hammock), and pristine National Parks located throughout St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas. Yes, the USVI has six national parks in total. The biggest and likely the most brilliant is the Virgin Islands National Park on St. John, spanning more than 11,500 nature-packed acres.
Certainly, in the winter, most people flock first to the incredible beaches. For light adventure, the calm waters of Magen’s Bay on St. Thomas are perfect for kayaking and paddleboarding. More adventurous types will enjoy the range of options around Cinnamon Bay Beach, located within the Virgin Islands National Park on St. John. The beach is about a mile long, and the turquoise waters are ideal for windsurfing and snorkeling. You have to do some hiking to get to Jack’s Bay and Isaac’s Bay beaches on St. Croix, since they are part of a larger Nature Conservancy area with no direct access roads. But the scenic trek is worth the effort. Soft white sand beaches are surrounded by the sparkling Caribbean Sea and a barrier reef teeming with marine life.
Carnival in the U.S. Virgin Islands is a treasured tradition. Each island hosts its own rendition at different times of the year. The St. Croix Carnival, called the Crucian Christmas Festival, takes place between December 26 and January 6. Most of the action takes place in Christiansted and Frederiksted, but visitors can enjoy activities island-wide. Celebrations include musical competitions, pageants for Carnival royalty, and cultural activities. There are also fairs that showcase local arts, crafts, food and drinks. Carnival parades are the highlight of the Crucian Christmas Festival, as well as the last official events. The embodiment of Crucian culture, the parades feature troupes dancing through the streets wearing intricately hand-crafted costumes. The more feathers, the better. The most famous of the promenades is Adults Parade on Three Kings Day (January 6), where flamboyantly attired merrymakers and spectators alike party the day… and night…and Carnival…away.
No Passport Required
Getting to the islands and through the airports is a breeze. Because the USVI is an American territory, U.S. residents don’t even need to dig out their passports to get there. Plus, with great options on daily non-stop flights available from several mainland hubs to both St. Thomas and St. Croix, getting there is a tropical breeze.
U.S. Virgin Islands | www.visitusvi.com