The second edition of the "MY ISLAND" blog series is here!!!!
Woo Hoo! I couldn't be more proud to introduce to you my "Insta" Mama, Papa and two island-loving sisters.... The Salt Life Family!
If you are not familiar with their account @THESALTLIFEFAMILY you should definitely check them out. They share amazing tips on traveling as a family, taking you along for the ride to all the cool destinations they explore.
One thing that made this family stand out to me was the fact that Cari & Monty (Mama & Papa) wholeheartedly believe in showing their daughters, Maddy and Kennedy, what the world has to offer. They know that not only is travel good for the soul, it's a great form of education too. They immerse themselves in the local culture and much prefer to roam off the beaten path. For me this is what parenthood and family life is all about, which is why I often joke to them that I wish they would "adopt" me!
By The Salt Life Family
1. What attracted you to book your trip to the US Virgin Islands?
We originally picked St. John for our honeymoon over 21 years ago because almost 2/3 of the island is a national park and can’t be built on. There is no airport. You have to take a ferry to get there. The untouched beauty of St. John will leave you breathless. From pristine beaches to gorgeous hiking trails. There is only one chain hotel and zero high rise buildings. We have crazy busy lives and work ALOT so we usually go somewhere without crowds. When we step off the ferry we feel pure happiness. On this little island we can truly relax, recharge, and live in the moment.
2. Who did you travel with? Solo? Family? Friends?
This trip was a mixed bag. We started the trip with our family and halfway through we met up with friends that we love to vacation with. Best of both worlds. The USVIs is perfect for a solo trip, honeymoon, or a family vacation.
3. What were the locals you met like?
Grateful and kind. St John has a myriad of people and as with most of our island trips they are very appreciative of tourism. Since hurricane Irma they have been even more open and inviting. On our honeymoon a kind stranger stopped and asked us if we would like a picture taken overlooking Trunk Bay. No selfies back in 1998 so we were trying to take a picture ourselves. Later we found out he was an incredible photographer living on St. John. Our next trip he took family portraits for us. He and his wife have become lifelong friends.
4. Did you find any sights or activities off the beaten track?
This was our first trip to stay on a catamaran for part of the trip. Our 4 day/3 night trip included stops in the BVIs & USVIs. It was the perfect mix of relaxation & adventure. A few of our favorite hightlights:
The Baths, Virgin Gorda – We have been to the The Baths several times over the years but NEVER like this! We had the place completely to ourselves. Our boat captain made sure to time our trip after all the charter companies & cruise ships were gone for the day. We took our time and explored every boulder & nook. We stayed the night on the boat and watched the sunrise the next morning. It was incredible.
Renting a Moke for the day exploring Anegada – Don’t miss the seeing the flamingos & having Lobster for dinner.
Jumping off the famous Willy T Boat from the 2nd story.
Snorkeling the Caves at Norman Island. Every fun snorkel spot should include a treasure hunt. Go back in time to Robert Louis Stevenson’s book “Treasure Island” and pretend to be a pirate in search of buried treasure.
And last but certainly not least go to the Soggy Dollar Bar for a famous “Painkiller” on Jost Van Dyke.
5. Do you have a favorite local dish?
There is a restaurant called the Banana Deck. They have a signature dish called “Caribbean Chicken”. It is a chicken cordon bleu with pineapple sauce over jasmine rice. It went away for awhile after the hurricanes. But then Chef Doug brought it back 3 days before our vacation ended..... We had it twice!
6. What's your top 3 recommended hot spots in the USVI?
St. John is our absolute FAVORITE island in the Virgin Islands so we will stick to it. Rent a jeep and explore the gorgeous beaches for days. Trunk Bay is the go to if you only can do one thing. It’s stunning and beautiful and has an underwater snorkeling trail. Be sure to check the cruise ship schedules. Avoid days when more than 2 ships are docked in St Thomas for the day.
Francis Bay is our personal favorite. It’s one of the farthest north shore beaches and usually one of the least populated on that side of the island. Bonus tip “pack a lunch”
Hanover Bay is on the east end. It’s a smaller beach but just 100 yards offshore is the world’s only floating taco bar “LimeOut”. Chosen for Time Magazine World’s 100 Greatest Places of 2019. It is accessible only by water so kayak, paddle board, or boat it. Complete with incredible tacos, craft cocktails, & super fun water mats!
7. What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
We snorkeled with 10 - 20 sea turtles for hours at Maho Bay. It was magical.
8. Tell us one fun fact about the USVIs.
The USVI’s is the only place in the US that you drive on the left side of the road. “Stay left”.
9. Out of all of the USVIs, which island is your favorite and why?
St John is our favorite. Access to the BVI’s, as well as all the other USVI’s makes it desirable. But it has that local feel that we love. There are no chain restaurants on St John and no stop lights. Because it’s only 8 miles long you can get from Cruz Bay to Coral Bay in 30 mins.
10. Where's next on your bucket list? Let us know which cool destinations you will be traveling to soon.
The Salt Life Family xoxo
Take a look at the Dushi swag which The Salt Life Family never travel without...
1. Meet Me At The Beach Muscle Tank
2. Wish You Were Here Tank Top
3. Travel Often Tank Top
4. Always On Island Time Tank Top