Getting Oriented

St. Thomas is 13 miles (21 km) long and less than 4 miles (6½ km) wide, but it's extremely hilly, and even an 8- or 10-mile (13- or 16-km) trip could take well over an hour. Don't let that discourage you, though; the mountain ridge that runs east to west through the middle and separates the island's Caribbean and Atlantic sides has spectacular vistas.

  • Charlotte Amalie. The capital of the USVI has the lion's share of the island's historic sights, not to mention good restaurants, excellent shopping, and some recommendable inns and hotels. Many ferries leave from the dock here, as does seaplane service. The island's main cruise terminal is also here.
  • East End. Most of the island's large beach resorts (not to mention some of the best beaches) are on the East End, about a 30-minute drive from Charlotte Amalie. Red Hook, the main ferry hub for St. Thomas, is also here.
  • South Shore. There are a few beach resorts along the South Shore, as well as some restaurants.
  • West End. Aside from Frenchtown and Magens Bay, most of West End is residential, though the main airport is just west of Frenchtown. There are some less-visited beaches beyond Magens Bay, such as Hull Bay, as well as a few restaurants in the hills around Mafolie.

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Fodor's The Complete Guide to the National Parks of the USA: All 63 parks from Maine to American Samoa

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