U.S. Virgin Islands
What Makes it Unique
The U.S. Virgin Islands is a triple threat: three isles, three styles, all accessible to U.S. citizens without cracking open a passport. St. Thomas is the most developed and easily accessible of the sunny trio, with regular flights from all over the U.S. It's a beach-lover's dream — strands run the gamut from tiny coves tucked into the scalloped coastline to Magens Bay, one of the most beautiful in the world. St. John is accessible only by ferry from St. Thomas and is two-thirds national park, with winding trails leading through marine forests populated with wild burros and dazzling lookouts (some topped by stone ruins) over quiet beaches. Hold your reception in funky Cruz Bay, the isle's walkable main town lined with eclectic waterfront eateries and bars. St. Croix, the least visited isle, has large swaths of untamed beach waiting to be explored. Iconic sites include Buck Island Reef National Monument, ideal for group outings thanks to its underwater snorkel trail (you can marry while you're sailing there), and historic downtown Christiansted, with its wedding-worthy band shell.
Stone remnants of sugar mills dot the grounds of resorts and parks on all three islands. At Caneel Bay resort on St. John, dozens of candles set into the stone walls make an incredibly romantic setting for dinner or a small reception; at the Buccaneer on St. Croix, the crumbling towers of former windmills stand like sentries throughout the hilly property. St. Thomas' Villa Botanica also features sugar-mill ruins among its tropical gardens.
Good to Know
If you are planning on tying the knot on one of the more popular beaches on St. Thomas or St. John, take the cruise-ship schedules into consideration since day-trippers can clog the otherwise quiet beaches.