ST. CROIX

Swim alongside sea turtles and manta rays at Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge.

If you’ve ever dreamed of swimming alongside sea turtles and manta rays, you’re bound to spot some of these fascinating marine creatures underwater at Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge. In fact, the protected beach is home to the largest leatherback turtle nesting site in the U.S. Build sandcastles on the beach, with its crystal-clear water and two-mile-long stretch of powdery white sand. Or set off on a hike and see if you can spot the 100 species of birds, including black-necked stilts, brown pelicans and yellow warblers. The beach is closed to the public from April to August to protect the delicate egg-filled turtle nests, making a visit here even more special when it’s open.

Take a guided kayak tour through bioluminescent Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve.

Hop aboard a single or double kayak and prepare for one of the most extraordinary adventures ever. As you paddle the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve at night, the movement of the kayak through the water causes the bay’s glowing, bioluminescent organisms to twirl and spin like magical underwater stars. And since the kayaks are glass-bottomed, you’ll be fully immersed in this natural phenomenon. Sea Thru Kayaks VI and Virgin Kayak Tours both offer guided tours of the bay for families with kids aged eight and older.

Explore Fort Christiansvaern and learn about local history.

Fort Christiansvaern was constructed in the late 18th century to protect the island from potential invaders and possibly even pirates. Today, the fort is considered one of the best-preserved historical sites in the Caribbean. Explore the courtyard lined with cannons and venture inside the fort’s prison cells, officers’ barracks and small museum to learn more about colonial life on the island of St. Croix.

ST. JOHN

Glamp under the stars in a family eco-tent at Cinnamon Bay Beach & Campground.

Cinnamon Bay Beach is the longest stretch of pristine beach in the Virgin Islands National Park. It’s also the only beach on the islands where you can spend the night under the stars. Why simply camp when you can glamp? At Cinnamon Bay Beach & Campground, your family can spend the night in the great outdoors in a deluxe eco-tent. Cook your meals over a campfire or head to the on-site restaurant, the Rain Tree Cafe. Snorkel gear, paddleboards, kayaks and beach chairs are all available for rent. The campground also offers art classes, yoga, watersport lessons, guided hikes and other fun family activities. Cool off with an icy delight from the campground’s ice cream truck.

Snorkel with sea turtles at Maho Beach.

Calm Maho Bay is one of the most popular spots for snorkeling in search of sea turtles who enjoy munching on the bay’s bountiful seagrass. Clear, smooth waters make the protected bay ideal for families. Snorkeling gear, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are available for rent on-site at Reef 2 Peak.

Set off on a Night Kayak GLOW tour.

Get ready to glow as you set off on Night Kayak’s unforgettable GLOW tour. The family fun begins with glow body paint and photo ops at The Westin St. John Resort Villas. You’ll shine in vibrant color under the moonlight as you paddle the cove for about 45 minutes aboard a single or double clear-bottomed kayak. An adult must accompany children under 16, and if your child (age two or younger) can sit in your lap, they are invited to join in the night kayak adventure free of charge.

ST. THOMAS

Swim with sea lions and dolphins, or try SNUBA, at Coral World Ocean Park.

The many aquariums at Coral World Ocean Park teem with fascinating marine creatures. But kids can also dive into the sea for a spontaneous shallow water session on a submerged platform to learn about these aquatic marvels alongside their trainers. Or opt to set off on an underwater SNUBA adventure to experience the coral reef like a diver, minus the need for specialized training, certification or cumbersome oxygen tanks. Kids ages eight and older can experience the freedom of movement and ease of breathing underwater and come face-to-face with marine life.

Play and learn at The Virgin Islands Children’s Museum.

The Virgin Islands Children’s Museum invites families to discover and play together. Interactive, hands-on exhibits for toddlers through elementary school-aged children include a pretend mango farm (where the kids harvest the fruit from wooden trees), a play pirate ship, and plenty of opportunities to design and create. The museum also hosts a number of drop-in art workshops, storybook hours, and other family events and celebrations throughout the year.

Discover the Pirates Treasure Museum.

At the Pirates Treasure Museum, kids are invited to step behind the helm of a (virtual) pirate ship and pilot it out of a storm. They can also learn about the submarines and other technology used to recover real pirate booty. The two-story museum features hands-on exhibits and authentic treasures from the deep.

Experience the Tree Limin’ Extreme Zipline Tour.

Zip through the rainforest of St. Peter Mountain at Tree Limin’ Extreme Zipline Park. Six adrenaline-pumping ziplines connected to eight treetop platforms whisk thrill seekers through the treetops for sweeping bird’s-eye views of Magens Bay and the islands beyond. The fun begins at the main entrance, where you’ll hop into an all-terrain Pinzgauer and travel up to the top of St. Peter Mountain. From the mountaintop, prepare to travel through the treeline at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. Daring kids can zipline, too. A child may go tandem zipping if they are less than or equal to 70 pounds and at least 5 years of age. Tandem zippers ages 5–7 must zip with a guardian who is 18 years or older.

Explore more fun things to do in USVI.

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