The United States has a great many national parks that are found within the continental states, but national parks are not just found on the mainland.

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Virgin Islands National Park

Where Beauty and Preservation Meet in Perfect Harmony

Virgin Islands National Park 1 198x300 Virgin Islands National Park

Virgin Islands National Park

They are also found in some of the islands that surround the country. The United States Virgin Islands has long been a place to relax and enjoy the tropical environment without having to have a passport to leave the country. The year of 1956 marked the beginning of the Virgin Islands National Park, but it did not gain national park status in the usual way.

History of the Park

Laurence Rockefeller was a man that owned the area that the Virgin Islands National Park site on. At that time is was known as Jackson Hole Preserve, but it was not protected by the government of the United States. Rockefeller loved the land very much and wanted it to maintain its natural beauty instead of being developed like other parts of the islands, so he decided to donate the land to the United States and in return, the government agreed to keep the area from being developed. The now protected Virgin Islands National Park attracts roughly half a million visitors per year to the small 5,500 acres the park sits on, but the land is not the only thing people come to visit.

A Snorkeling Paradise

Although the Virgin Islands is home to 138 species of birds, much of the draw to this particular area comes from the thought of getting up close and personal with a wide variety of sea creatures. Snorkeling excursions are particularly enjoyable because visitors are able to see perfectly through the crystal clear waters to see over 400 different fish associated with the reef surrounding the islands. Apart from the tropical fish, sponge and coral species can be viewed as well. Even if you do not desire to go under the water you will have the opportunity to view many of the marine life from the shore with 17 different species of dolphins and whales that regularly swim close to the shore of the island.

Take a Hike

When you view the Virgin Islands on a map it looks so small when compared to much larger land masses, but Virgin Islands National Park is not as small as you might think. Apart from the seemingly endless ocean opportunities surrounding the park, there are 20 hiking trails just waiting to be explored. For thousands of years the islands have been home to many different civilizations and cultures. Each one of these groups left their mark in some way on the islands and you can see the evidence of that fact when you go on either a self-guided or ranger guided hike. Lind Point Trail is where most visitors find the best places to take the perfect shot of the island and surrounding ocean. It winds its way through two beaches including Honeymoon and Salmon Beach, so it is a relaxing hike with the ability to cool off in the waters or a rest on the sandy beaches.

Things to Know

There are no entrance fees to the Virgin’s Island National Park, but there are some fees associated with the use of specific amenities in the bays. Trunk bay requires a $5 fee for an individual for use of their amenities. It should also be noted that fees are taken for docking a boat overnight. The fee is $26 per night. Throughout the year there are certain times when the fees are waved for a special occasion so be aware if you are traveling on these dates that entrance to the park may be a bit more crowded than usual.

The Virgin Islands is known for their beautiful accommodations, but if you want to stay within the Virgin Islands National Park area your choices are Cinnamon Bay Resort and Campground and Caneel Bay Resort. The fees vary depending on the time of year you are visiting so make certain that you know what they are for your visit. Reservations are recommended and the resorts maintain that they are able to accommodate visitors on any budget.

When visiting Virgin Islands National Park, you have to keep in mind that you are visiting a place that has been home to many civilizations. There is much culture to be found on the islands and you may come across some artifact that you wish to take home. This is not advised as the purpose of the national park is to maintain the land and preserve its rich history. Only take out what you bring in. The Virgin Islands National Park may not be the largest national park you will ever visit, but the culture and beauty that surrounds the islands will definitely allow it to be one of your favorite places to visit.