Over 50 small cays and islands dot the waters of the USVI. These cays and the coastal areas around them provide prime habitat for seabirds, lizards, turtles and corals. For this reason all 33 territorially owned offshore cays are designated wildlife sanctuaries. Other cays are protected by the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Some are privately owned. Boat excursions from St. Thomas typically travel by various small cays; some make stops for swimming and snorkeling. In some cases, where allowed, it’s possible to swim to shore if a beach exists. Special use permits are required from the Department of Planning and Natural Resources to access territorially owned cays.
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