Swaying Palm trees. Moon lit nights. Deserted sandy beaches. Life is good on Water Island.
It might be the smallest U.S. Virgin Island at only 491 acres but you cannot beat Water Island for a “Robinson Crusoe” feeling. It is the smallest main island of the U.S. Virgin Islands and sits off the coast of St. Thomas. Inhabited by about 100 full time residents you do not have to worry about rush hour traffic. Or any crowds for that matter.
The tiny roads, many in disrepair, are very narrow. You can use a car but the preferred vehicle is a golf cart. It sure helps with the price of gas these days. When you are out and about it is unusual to see 2 or more other golf carts on the road at the same time.
Honeymoon Beach is the main attraction for both the handful of full time residents and visitors. The 1/4 mile white stretch of sand is perfect for laying in the sun, snorkeling or just floating in the crystal clear blue water. It is not uncommon to arrive at the beach and be the only ones there. Sitting on the beach and watching the fish jump and the Pelicans dive help relieve any stress you might have brought with you.
Some of the homeowners rent their homes out when they are off island to accommodate visitors. The visitors sometimes call it “The Great Escape”. The beautiful flowers and wildlife, friendly Iguanas, and colorful Bananaquit birds, give you that true “I really am in Paradise” feeling. It is common for first time visitors to return year after year.
Although the only commercial establishments on Water Island are a lunch wagon that serves lunch at Honeymoon Beach every day and dinner on Saturday nights, a small beach bar with tropical concoctions and a small restaurant that is open occasionally, no one seems to mind. All supplies must be brought over from nearby St. Thomas.
You can get to the island by either private boat or the regularly scheduled small ferry. If you have to bring a vehicle to the island or building supplies there is a barge service available.
If you are looking for Real Estate on Water Island the pickings are slim but there are always several houses and lots of land for sale. When a property goes on the market it is usually snatched up fairly quickly.
Maintenance and clean-ups of Honeymoon Beach are performed by members of the Water Island Civic Association (WICA) and volunteer residents. Some roadside cutting and a little road repair is performed by the Virgin Islands’ government.
Water Island was used by the U.S. Government in the 1940s when they partially constructed an underground fort, Fort Segarra, as part of the U.S. defenses during WWII. The site sits abandoned today but many visitors climb the steps of the lookout post to enjoy the panoramic view of the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.
Administrative control of Water Island was turned over from the federal government to the territorial government on December 12, 1996, making Water Island the “Last Virgin”. In following years the Department of Interior started transferring land, for a price of course, to the long-time residential leaseholders.