Considering that St. Thomas is really just one giant rock, anytime you drive more than 100 feet uphill, you’re bound to get a great view of something. However, some view points are better than others in terms of what you can see, and how far you can see. Here’s a list of some favorites:
Drake’s Seat: The most famous of St. Thomas’s lookout points, this north-east- facing spot affords beautiful views of Magens Bay, Hans Lollick, St. John, Jost Van Dyke, and Tortola. Sir Francis Drake allegedly used this vantage point to spy on Spanish ships passing through the area in the late 1500s.
Mountain Top: This is actually the highest lookout point on St. Thomas, at 1,547 feet. The view is very similar to the view you get from Drake’s Seat, except that you can see farther on a clear day. In addition to Magens Bay, St. John, Jost Van Dyke and Tortola, you can also see Virgin Gorda if you’re lucky. And don’t forget to try a wicked banana daiquiri when you’re up there.
Skyline Drive Overlook: This is my favorite lookout point. Also known as Valdemar Hill Scenic Overlook, it is a south-facing viewpoint at the top of Mafolie Road, which rises above downtown Charlotte Amalie. You not only get a dramatic 180-degree view of the entire Charlotte Amalie harbor, including both cruise ship docks, Water Island, and Hassel Island, but also major landmarks in town, including Yacht Haven Grande, the Marriott hotel, the Governor’s Mansion, and Bluebeard’s Castle. On a clear day you can see all the way south to St. Croix and west to Culebra and Vieques. (See photo above.)
Paradise Point: Cruise ship passengers like to take the cable car up to this point, which offers a northwest view over Charlotte Amalie, including Blackbeard’s and Bluebeard’s castles, Yacht Haven, and the waterfront. On non-cruise-ship days when the cable car is not running you can drive up the hill. The bar serves potent drinks such as the Bailey’s Bushwhacker and the Painkiller, and there is often live music on weekends. TIP: drive up here at night to see the twinkling lights of Charlotte Amalie by moonlight.
Bordeaux Fire Station: This isn’t an official lookout point, but it’s a great out-of-the way place for a view in a different direction. To get there, take the waterfront highway west out of Charlotte Amalie, and just keep going. Go past the airport, the University, and head up hill. The road twists and turns for about three miles to the far western tip of the island. Eventually you will see the fire station on your right. On a clear day you can see the islands of Culebra and Vieques to the west, and if it’s REALLY clear, you can see all the way to the main island of Puerto Rico.