Camping In The Virgin Islands

Camping In The Virgin Islands

When you think of a tropical vacation in the Virgin Islands, you probably think about exotic resorts, palm trees and tropical drinks with little umbrellas in them. You’d be right, but there’s a side of the Virgin Islands that most people don’t even know exists–and it comes with palm trees, gentle waters, and stunning sunsets. It’s a wild, primitive, rustic side that lucky few ever discover–Camping In The Virgin Islands!

Virgin Islands Camping

While camping is an activity you might associate with dirt biking or RV’s, camping in the Virgin Islands is an entirely different kind of experience. Imagine sleeping nearly on the beach, waking up with the sun; no phones, no internet, no clocks, no pressure. Just simple days filled with snorkeling, swimming, sunbathing and hiking. Yes,camping is alive and well in the Virgin Islands.  In fact, there are many campgrounds in both the United States Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands that offer a winning combination of camping, the beach, the sun and the sea breeze.

Virgin Islands Pirates Paradise AdventuresIn the U.S. Virgin Islands, St.John is your best choice for camping in the elements. Cinnamon Bay and Maho Bay campgrounds in St. John are two campgrounds sanctioned by the National Park Service within the Virgin Islands National Park. Both are well maintained, with clean grounds and varying levels of services and features. Bare sites, which are tent-covered platforms, and cottages are available at Cinnamon Bay. There’s also a small camp store, a restaurant called T’ree Lizards and a small amphitheater that offers campfire programs.  Directly across from the Cinnamon Bay campground entrance is the ruins of the original Cinnamon Bay sugar mill, which is part of the Cinnamon Bay Trail. You can also find ruins left by Danish settlers on the same trail, among the lush and protected local wildlife and greenery. The campgrounds only permanent residents are local iguanas and donkeys and when you’re here, you’re truly camping–don’t forget bug spray and flashlights!

If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, head to Maho Bay on St. John.  Maho Bay offers tent cottages and access to a private beach.  There’s only 114 sites, so it’s a cozy campground, but the cottages have elevated beds and electricity.  Maho Bay Camps also has an on-site store, restaurant, and a dive shop where you can rent kayaks and snorkel equipment.

A great way to see St. John is by water, so we recommend chartering a day boat that can pick you up at Cruz Bay and take you to all the secret coves, beaches and ruins that St. John is so famous for. Imagine, coming into Trunk Bay on your own private boat.

The British Virgin Islands aren’t far behind when it comes to camping. It’s home to the famous White Bay campgrounds, just on the east end of White Bay.  Unlike the USVI campgrounds, you’re allowed to pitch tents wherever you’d like in the White Bay campground, as long as you are not in harm’s way. Cottages are also offered for those who aren’t up for setting up their own campsite.

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White Bay campgrounds is an easy walk away from the world renowned Ivan’s Stress Free Bar.  After snorkeling or sunbathing on the beach near the camp, head on over to the bar and enjoy a refreshing drink that you mix yourself….just leave a few bucks on the bar to cover the cost. You’ll meet some of the most interesting people in the world here, and if you’re lucky, spend a little time with Ivan, who has perfected stress free living.

Just because your camping doesn’t mean the island life won’t come to you. Each of these campgrounds offer live island music, happy hour and all the fun you can handle. You’re welcome to do as much, or as little as you like!

The best way to get to White Bay is by boat. Most people come into White Bay by boat and swim ashore at the Soggy Dollar Bar. You’ll find a mix of people enjoying the island vibe. It’s truly a “come as you are, be as you are” kinda place!

If you want to experience the rural, more rustic side of the Virgin Islands, camping offers a great way to do it. Cinnamon Bay, Maho Bay and White Bay campgrounds are just some of the idyllic campgrounds the islands offer, but they’re three of our favorites!

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