Which U.S. Virgin Island Is Best to Live On?

The U.S. Virgin Islands have become an increasingly popular place for people to move to, especially among retirees, remote workers, and real estate investors. But with three major islands to choose from, which one should be your new home? All of them offer plenty of benefits as well as stunning beaches, but each island has unique characteristics that sets it apart. Which U.S. Virgin Island is best to live on will vary from one person to the next, but taking the time to learn about these islands can help you make the right choice.

St. John

St. John is the smallest of the major islands, and about two-thirds of it is part of Virgin Islands National Park, so much of the island is undeveloped and untouched. While there are towns on the island, you won't find chain retailers that you find at home, though you will find lots of smaller shops, boutiques, and eateries. There's also no full-service hospital here, just a clinic; serious cases are ferried or helicoptered to St. Thomas. However, St. John does come with plenty of charm and beauty, and it's a great choice for people who want to be immersed in nature or who are interested in the unique history and culture the island has to offer.

St. Thomas

St. Thomas is the second-largest island and the most popular destination for tourists, so it's often much more crowded and fast-paced. Since cruise ships stop here regularly, there are thousands of new people coming and going on the island all the time, so it can be much more hectic compared to the other islands. It's also home to Charlotte Amalie, the capital of the U.S. Virgin Islands. St. Thomas does have many more amenities and shops that you'll be familiar with, and you'll generally pay a bit less for your shopping than you would on St. John, since items can be flown in directly from the mainland.

St. Croix

St. Croix is the largest of the islands, but it is much more rural than St. Thomas. It sees less tourism, though cruise ships do still dock here. You'll find a bit of everything on this island, so you can experience ecosystems from beaches to rainforests and explore both tracts of farmland and built-up towns that are home to American retail chains and fast-food outlets. The cost of living here is about the same as it is on St. Thomas, so if you're looking for something like St. Thomas but a bit quieter, St. Croix could be a good choice.