Swaying palm trees. Moon bed nights. Deserted sandy beaches. Life is good on Water Island.

It may be the smallest virgin island in the US at just 491 acres, but it doesn’t get any better than Water Island for a “Robinson Crusoe” feel. It is the smallest main island in the United States Virgin Islands and lies off the coast of St. Thomas. Inhabited by about 100 full-time residents, you don’t have to worry about rush hour traffic. Or any crowd for that matter.

The small roads, many in poor condition, 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 away from home, it is unusual to see 2 or more golf carts on the road at the same time.

Honeymoon Beach is the main attraction for both the handful of residents and full-time visitors. The 1/4 mile stretch of white sand is perfect for sunbathing, snorkeling, or just floating in the crystal blue water. It’s not uncommon to get to the beach and be the only ones there. Sitting on the beach and watching the fish jump and the Pelicans dive helps alleviate any stress that it may have brought with it.

Some of the owners rent their houses when they are off the island to accommodate visitors. Visitors sometimes call it “The Great Escape.” The beautiful flowers and wildlife, the friendly iguanas and the colorful Bananaquit birds, give you that truth. I am in Paradise. “It’s common for first-time visitors to return year after year.

Although the only commercial establishments on Water Island are a lunch car that serves lunch on Honeymoon Beach every day and dinner on Saturday nights, a small beach bar with tropical concoctions, and a small restaurant that opens occasionally, nobody seems care. All supplies must be brought from nearby St. Thomas.

You can get to the island by private boat or by the regularly scheduled small ferry. If you have to bring a vehicle to the island or construction material, a barge service is available.

If you are looking for real estate on Water Island, the profits are slim, but there are always several houses and lots of land for sale. When a property goes on the market, it is generally taken away fairly quickly.

Honeymoon Beach is maintained and cleaned by members of the Water Island Civic Association (WICA) and volunteer residents. The government of the Virgin Islands makes some cuts to the side of the road and a small repair of the same.

Water Island was used by the United States government in the 1940s when they partially built an underground fort, Fort Segarra, as part of the American defenses during World War II. The site is abandoned today, but many visitors climb the steps of the lookout post to enjoy the panoramic view of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

Administrative control of Water Island passed from the federal government to the territorial government on December 12, 1996, making Water Island the “Last Virgin.” In the following years, the Department of the Interior began transferring land, for a price, of course, to long-time residential tenants.

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