The beaches are the most obvious reason visitors come to Tortola. The natural, and nicest, beaches are on Tortola's north side. You should be aware that currents can be bad in the winter season, especially near the East End of the island, so swimming can be dangerous. The most popular Tortola beach, Cane Garden Bay, is surrounded by lush, steep hills and has finely crushed coral and rock sand that is soft on your feet. Other beaches to see include Josiah's Bay, Brewer's Bay, and Long Bay on Beef Island.
Hiking is not a regular activity in the British Virgin Islands, but there are marked trails in Sage Mountain National Park, where the remnants of Tortola's original forest are protected.
If you're interested in horseback riding on your vacation, contact Shadow's Ranch ((284) 494-2262). They offer walks through the National Park with fantastic views at every turn.
In the center of Road Town, you'll find the four-acre JR O'Neal Botanical Gardens, devoted to native BVI flora such as orchids, cacti, and local herbs. Along the way you can take a break on a lawn or bench, and appreciate the beauty of the plants, waterfalls, and ponds.