No Fins Required: On Land, A Variety Of Exciting Recreational Opportunities Abound In The U.S. Virgin Islands

From hiking in the Virgin Islands National Park to teeing off on a Robert Trent Jones-designed championship golf course, cycling up St. Croix’s legendary incline, aptly titled “The Beast,” to seeing the sights by horseback, the U.S. Virgin Islands offers visitors an array of exhilarating experiences on land. Though quite diverse, all are played out against a backdrop of spectacular natural beauty.

“In a destination surrounded by crystal-blue waters, one might think that land sports would be easily overshadowed, but that’s hardly the case,” notes Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson Doty. “In fact, land-based sports fill a significant percentage of visitors’ recreational time in the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

The islands’ diverse topography, formed by volcanic eruptions nearly 100 million years ago, makes biking and hiking particularly enjoyable. Golfers partake in challenging play on picturesque championship courses and many resorts feature excellent tennis facilities. For those who find that the best time outdoors is often spent doing no activity at all, the U.S. Virgin Islands is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, affording visitors the perfect excuse to relax and unwind.

Scenic St. Croix

St. Croix combines the best of all recreational worlds. Golfers can follow in the footsteps of LPGA players at the par-70 Carambola Golf Club, a 6,843-yard course that hosts the annual LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) Golf Tournament every year. A winner of the Golf magazine Gold Medal, the course was designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and built by Laurence Rockefeller. Located on the grounds of a former sugar plantation, the Buccaneer Resort features a par-70 course designed by Bob Joyce. The course is known as much for its design as its beautiful views in virtually every direction. The Reef Golf Course is a nine-hole, 3,000-yard course on Teague Bay in the northeastern part of the island.

Serious cyclists find St. Croix’s terrain a delightful challenge, highlighted by the 600-foot climb affectionately known as “The Beast.” Hikers and horseback riders find no shortage of picturesque destinations, including sandy coastal shores and historic ruins.

Fun on St. John

On St. John, recreational opportunities typically showcase the island’s natural beauty. Hiking is especially popular and hikers of all skill levels find the Virgin Islands National Park’s 22 hiking trails an unmatched experience. One of the most traveled trails, the Reef Bay Trail, traces a three-mile path past sugar plantation ruins and ancient petroglyphs. The rangers staffing the Cruz Bay Visitors Center stand ready to provide pointers and guided hikes are also available. Many visitors explore the island’s scenic roads on horseback or bicycle. Tennis is available on resort and public courses.

Traditional St. Thomas

A favorite destination of golfers, St. Thomas is home to the spectacular Mahogany Run course, a par-70 18-hole championship course designed by George and Tom Fazio. A highlight of the 6,022-yard course is the challenging Devil’s Triangle where the Caribbean poses perhaps the world’s ultimate water hazard. For those who prefer tennis, there are resort and public courses around the island. Biking is another popular pastime. Visitors can rent bikes on nearby Water Island, which provides a superb opportunity to enjoy the unspoiled beauty of this U.S. Virgin Island located just a half-mile off the south side of St. Thomas.

For more information about the United States Virgin Islands, call 800-372-USVI (8784) or go toVisitUSVI.com. When traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. citizens enjoy all the conveniences of domestic travel—including on-line check-in—making travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands easier than ever. As a United States Territory, travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands does not require a passport from U.S. citizens arriving from Puerto Rico or the U.S. mainland. Entry requirements for non-U.S. citizens are the same as for entering the United States from any foreign destination. Upon departure, a passport is required for all but U.S. citizens. Follow us on Twitter (@USVImockojumbie) and become a fan on Facebook (www.facebook.com/VisitUSVI).