Water Island Attractions
One of the lesser-known islands in the US Virgin Islands chain, Water Island features a small residential community of just around 200 people. Tourists planning a getaway here are typically doing so for that exact reason: to get away. All of the island’s notable attractions are beaches, which is quite all right with its visitors; those who want to do some sightseeing can sail over to Charlotte Amalie for a nice cultural experience.
You’ll find a large selection of beaches to choose from on and near the island. Snorkeling is an option at some of these beaches, if some of the people in your group are so inclined.
If you are looking for a snorkeling spot, a location worth considering is Honeymoon Beach. The beach area features immaculate white sand and turquoise waters, perfect for snorkeling or swimming. Palm trees decorate the island, while lush green hills overlook the beach area.
Sprat Bay Beach
Another alternative to consider is Sprat Bay Beach. A quiet, calm bay that is almost never crowded, this beach is lined by coconut trees and offers the ultimate tropical island shore experience.
Named after the nearby airport, Lindbergh Bay is home to Emerald Beach, which provides soft, white sand that’s popular with locals. The occasional sound of planes and proximity to the airport tends to deter tourists, though it is perfect for those that want calm waters and soft sand, without the hassle of a crowd.
Activities on Water Island
At just over 490 acres and home to around 200 residents, Water Island is the smallest and most secluded of the US Virgin Islands. You don’t travel here for excitement, instead, your goal will likely be kicking back and relaxing away from other busy tourist destinations. Daily activities may take you from a hike in the hills to kayaking; fishing and pleasure sailing are the most popular pastimes of all.
Water Island has quite a few high quality dive sites that attract tourist from the United States and the world. Additionally, its proximity to St. Thomas makes it a convenient destination, while its distance is a welcome change for many frequent tourist.
Water Island offers all the prime fishing spots of St. Thomas without all the crowds, perfect for the tourist looking for a more relaxed location.
Like to golf? There are two golf courses in this area. The area courses are Mahogany Run Public Golf Course and Herman E. Moore Golf Course.
Natural Attractions & Parks
Hassel Island Historic Park
Hassel Island Historic Park is one of the local attractions you might consider visiting. Once connected to St. Thomas at the edge of the harbor, this island was separated and turned into a completely new island by the Dutch who hoped to create better water circulation. Today it is privately owned, but an important natural and historical landmark.
Another local attraction you might want to consider is Butterfly Garden. Come explore the fascinating world of butterflies at the Butterfly Garden. Located at the end of the Havensight cruise ship dock, this is a great relaxing place to visit where you see exotic species of butterflies from around the world including South America, Asia and Africa. You’ll learn about these amazing creatures which brings delight to children when they get such an interactive experience. If you just want to take pictures of these natural beauties you are welcome to do that as well.
Water Island Restaurants
There are only a few dining options on the small Water Island, but each is well-established and has withstood the test of time so you can expect good service and delicious food almost always served in an open-air setting.
Unfortunately, vacationers will only encounter one opportunity to enjoy trying local flavors and dishes on Water Island.
Dinghy’s Beach Bar & Grill
Dinghy’s Beach Bar & Grill has a couple of cuisine options to choose from, including American and Caribbean. The menu here is quite eclectic with offerings including American, Caribbean, Mexican, and Caribbean favorites. If you are looking for something specific and want to call before making reservations, do so at (340) 227-5525.
Accommodations on Water Island
Although it’s gained prominence as the “fourth” U.S. Virgin Island, Water Island is not a major overnight tourism destination. Rather, it’s a friendly residential community located just off the coast of St. Thomas. With a year-round population of about 200 residents and no major hotels, if you want to spend some time on Water Island, your options are limited to renting a house, staying in a camping facility, or selecting from the much wider array of accommodations on St. Thomas and commuting by ferry.
You’ll be able to find multiple accommodation types to pick from near the island, including a bed & breakfast and a pair of resorts.
Best Western Emerald Beach Resort
One place located on the oceanfront worth mentioning is Best Western Emerald Beach Resort. Located on beautiful Lindbergh Bay, the Best Western Emerald Beach Resort is a romantically styled getaway featuring Polynesian architecture. The secluded beachfront setting is perfect for couples or travelers seeking privacy. Visitors will find them at 8070 Lindbergh Bay.
Island Beachcomber Hotel
Another property worth considering is Island Beachcomber Hotel. The Island Beachcomber Hotel is a family-operated private hotel located on Lindbergh Beach on St. Thomas Island. The resort offers a relaxed lifestyle, and sits only steps away from the beach. Visitors will be able to find them at 8071 Lindberg Beach Road.
Transportation Options for Water Island
Water Island is a tiny island in the US Virgin Islands that relies almost entirely on St. Thomas for all of its needs, from groceries to mail service. The hillside is filled with private residences and luxurious rental properties where tourists can get away from busier resort areas and simply enjoy the peace and quiet that this island is known for. Planning your transportation here can be tricky, but it is definitely something you should have all figured out before you arrive.
While there is no airport on Water Island, there is a major international airport just northwest of the island on St. Thomas. Cyril E King Airport (CEKA) serves as a major gateway for the US Virgin Islands, welcoming numerous flights from the United States on a daily basis. Delta Airlines, Jet Blue, and the other major US based airlines are all known to fly here, so it will be best to begin your search for a flight with them. If you are traveling from Canada or Europe, on the other hand, you should plan to connect somewhere in the United States or elsewhere in the Caribbean because flights from these countries are rare.
Sailing and Boating
The US Virgin Islands are an incredibly popular destination among pleasure sailors, and many sail from the east coast of the United States on a regular basis. The option also exists to fly to activities then charter a boat to get you to Water Island.
If you’re sailing from outside of the the USVI, your first stop will need to be at an official port of entry. Charlotte Amalie is home to the one nearest Water Island. There, you’ll present documentation of nationality for each person aboard, the ship’s identification documents, and clearance from your last port of call. If everything is in order, you’ll be cleared to carry on to Water Island. A cruising permit is not necessary among these islands, but if you’ll be visiting for more than six months you’ll need to register with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources.
Water Island is more popular as a day trip for those staying on St. Thomas than it is as a destination for the full length of a vacation. Cruise ship passengers often use their time ashore as a chance to make it over to the pristine beaches and to check out the fort ruins. The ferry that travels between St. Thomas and Water Island is just a short walk from the Crown Bay Cruise Dock where cruise ships dock.
At just 491.5 acres, Water Island has no need for public transportation. There are no rental cars, taxis, or buses available on the island, so your own two feet will have to be sufficient enough to get you from place to place.
A ferry service operates between Water Island and St. Thomas out of the Crown Bay Marina. A boat leaves no less than once an hour from wither island between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 6:15 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with a shortened schedule on Sundays and Holidays. If you wish to take a ferry after 6:00 p.m., reservations must be made in advance. The cost is $5 each way for adults, $3 for children and $1(USD) per piece of luggage, and the trip takes about 10 minutes.
Whether you’re looking for the most peaceful setting in the US Virgin Islands to plan a getaway, or you just want to explore the island for a few hours during your stay on St. Thomas, it is important to be aware of the transportation options that exist. They may be limited, but they’ll get you where you need to go.