Are You Looking For The Dream Vacation?

Imagine in sitting soft sand, looking out at crystal clear water, filled with exotic fish, turtles, and coral. What more can you ask for? You can get all of this within U.S. territory and only a short, 5 hour plane ride away, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The U.S. Virgin Islands are a series of islands just East of Puerto Rico. The islands in this territory are St. John, St. Thomas, and St. Croix. I have traveled to both St. Thomas and St. John, and I can speak from experience and say that they both were unforgettable trips definitely worth taking.

There are lots of different lodging options when staying in the U.S. Virgin Islands. You could stay in a beautiful resort, with private beaches, pools, and a glamorous suite with a view. You could also stay in a vacation rental, with a short walk to the beach, total safety and privacy, and plenty of space. These different hotels and vacation rentals also come with a range of prices to accommodate you and your financial needs. As you can see, the US Virgin Islands offer several different lodging options, but wherever you decide to stay, there will be always be a beautiful view!

The food in the U.S. Virgin Islands is amazing everywhere you go. They serve quite a lot of fish and seafood. Seafood is often served with “johnny cakes.” They are made with flour, baking powder, shortening, and salt, then fried or baked and are quite popular on the island. Calallo soup is another popular dish, which is made of leaves from a daheen plant mixed with okra, local herbs and often various meats or seafoods. While, the islands have their own exotic kinds of food, they also serve a lot of American food, so don’t worry, it is not hard to find a great burger!

Going to beaches is obviously the most popular thing to do when visiting the islands. There are several different kinds of beaches you can go to depending on your needs. Magen’s Bay, in St. Thomas is a very family friendly beach. They offer a clean, and well managed food and beverage concession stand, clean changing rooms and stalls, lifeguards who are trained and certified in American Red Cross, and of course, stunning, crystal clear water. Salt Pond Bay, on St. John, is beautiful, with unique coral and fish, but is not recommended for families. To get to the beach, you have to take a 15 minute hike, which is downhill on the way down, but is uphill when you are leaving. There also is very little parking, so it is recommended that you get there early, or else you will have to park in the street. And while there is one bathroom, it is not cleaned on a regular basis so can be very disgusting. Beautiful beaches are what these islands are known for, so do some research prior to your trip and find the one best for you!

Besides going to beaches there are plenty of other exciting, or relaxing activities you can do! One exciting, and unforgettable activity you can look into is scuba diving. The Aqua Marine Dive Center, in St. Thomas, is an international scuba school, that also offers yacht charters to the best scuba spots around the islands. Although this would be a breath-taking experience, it is pricey, and not great for kids. Another incredible experience that I was lucky enough to experience was the Virgin Islands Ecotours, located in Charlotte Amalie, in St. Thomas. First, you will kayak through the beautiful mangroves to your snorkel spot, then you will snorkel through crystal clear waters and learn about the unique wildlife you are seeing. On my ecotour I saw an octopus, which I will remember forever! It’s also okay if you have never been on a kayak before, or have never used snorkel equipment before, you will have an amazing tour guide, that will help you every step of the way!

I hope some day you have the chance to experience these incredible islands, because you will be wowed by what an amazing time you will have. If you would like to look further into this vacation spot, visit for more information.


My “ Epic” Family Trip

Over the summer my sister, my dad, my step-mom, and I  all went on a family trip to “The Big Sky State”, Montana, with 13 other members of my step-mom’s family. My step-mom’s dad and her own an Upland Bird hunting and Fly fishing ranch. The ranch is located on 5,200 acres of beautiful scenery. I personally was kind of scared because of the rattle snakes, but I fortunately never actually encountered one. I also thought, “wow, I’m gonna be bored outta my mind!,” but there was always something that I could be doing, like fishing in the two ponds, or driving the ATV’s around the property.

Probably the most epic thing we did was go Horseback riding through Yellowstone National Park. The reason I describe this as epic was because of how goofy everybody looked! My little sister, Kinsey, got an old, blind mule horse named Opal, who was partially deaf and blind in one eye. My dad, also had a mule. What was funny about that is that mules aren’t as big as horses, so my dad sitting on that mule was like Shaquille O’neil riding a miniature pony. My dad’s mule also had stripes on its legs, like a zebra! My horse wasn’t dysfunctional or funny looking like my dad or sisters’ mules because I had an actual horse, named Bear. Bear was good for the most part, but he was mean. Bear kept bucking and trying to kick my grandpa’s horse. My grandpa’s horse was probably one of the funniest things though. His horse had googly eyes and was actually called “Crazy Horse”.

Over all, my family had a very “interesting” trip and we look forward to doing it again next summer!

~William Ratchelous