Our visit to Virgin Islands National Park was unique in a lot of ways. It was the first park we had to fly to. We left from Fort Lauderdale and Spirit airlines got the transportation honors. Despite (or maybe because of) its cut-rate reputation, I love Spirit and their philosophy of bare fares that allow you to pay for only what you want. On our Facebook page we threw up a #SWITCHBACKmini with tips on how we packed for 10 days in U.S. Virgin Islands in a small backpack personal item to avoid baggage fees. We also got our Spirit tickets for free, but that’s a story I’ll unpack in the next few weeks. After landing and meeting up with my family who flew from Louisville to join us, the fun began.

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Another thing that made our visit unique our record 10-day stay. However 7 nights of that was spent with my family staying at a condo on St. Thomas – my parents incredibly awesome Christmas present to us. USVI is made up of 3 main islands: St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix. So although the National Park covers maybe 70% of the island of St. John, we also enjoyed plenty of sight-seeing, beaching, snorkeling and kayaking around the big island of St. Thomas. We spent two full days with my family taking the car ferry to St. John. Having our rental car there was great so we could see stuff all the way across the island (like the breathtaking views from Ram’s Head Point).

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The final unique thing about this visit was that we spent the final 3 days of our USVI stay (after my family had left) in the National Park on St. John trying to get around without a car. We were based at our impressively comprehensive Cinnamon Bay permanent campsite (get the tour of our canvas tent and beach view in the latest #SWITCHBACKmini on our Facebook page). From there we walked to pristine beaches and reminiscent ruins. Navigating public transportation in a (semi-) foreign country can always be dicey, but everything went incredibly smoothly. To leave the islands on our last day we took no less than 7 modes of transport. We took a taxi out of the campground, which dropped us off at a trail that we hiked into town. Left St. John on a ferry for St. Thomas. Took the bus across St. Thomas. Walked a mile from the bus stop to the airport. Hopped the plane back to Fort Lauderdale. Shuttled to our off-site parking lot. And capped it off with a 5-hr drive to a warm 1am reception from our gracious Jacksonville hosts.

As you can imagine, those 10 days gave us tons of time to do some pretty awesome things. Even though we focused the Virgin Islands National Park video on our exploits in St. John, it’s still a minute or so longer than usual. But I think you’ll agree that the cool underwater footage we got was worth the extra time!

Check out our USVI People of the Parks and post on “Do This, Don’t Do That”.

FYI, over the next month we are going to be thoroughly enjoying time with both our families. As such, we are changing our blog posting schedule to just Mondays and Wednesdays. Instead of a Friday post we will throw up a #SWITCHBACKmini on our Facebook page. So please like give it a like and hit the dropdown arrow to get notifications (desktop) or see it first in your newsfeed (mobile). 

Print from purplemoosebasics.com.

Written by Cole

  • U Tim

    Turtles!

  • Eileen

    Beautiful! Merry Christmas & enjoy the time with your families.

  • Susie

    What an idyllic 10 days–loved the snorkeling! Tx for sharing :- ) Merry Christmas!