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U.S. Virgin Islands

St. Croix Travel Tips: Attractions, Beaches

St. Croix snorkeling
St. Croix has many beaches known for snorkeling. © U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism

St. Croix is the largest and possibly the loneliest island among the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The St. Croix cruise port at Frederiksted receives a small number of cruise visits compared to its much busier sister island to the north at St. Thomas.

That may change as a result of extensive waterfront landscaping, but it is a quiet location in the meantime with few of the regular restaurant chains.

Frederiksted is the second largest town on the island. The largest, Christiansted, is about a 30-minute drive to the east. Both towns have the largest concentration of dining, shopping and attractions.

Attractions and Shore Excursions

Fort Frederik, completed in 1760, is now home to a museum and art gallery. The fort’s stables, courtyard, and soldier’s canteen were recently restored. The fort is located in Frederiksted near Frederiksted Beach.

Visitors to the fort may see Buddhoe Park next to the museum. On July 3, 1848, “General Buddhoe” Gottlieb led more than 6,000 armed slaves in 1848 at this park to demand and win their freedom. The park has a bronze bust of the slave rebellion leader.

Fort Christiansvern is a popular island attraction. © U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism

The other major fort on the island, Fort Christiansvaern, is located in Christiansted and protected the town from pirates and other attackers. It was built in 1749 and expanded in the 1830s.

Later, it served as a courthouse and police station. It is now a National Historic Site and exhibits early 19th century furnishings and local military history.

Apothecary Hall Museum in downtown Christiansted is a pharmacy opened in the early 19th century that produced medicines for the Danish military garrison in the town.

The Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts, 10 Strand Street & 62 King Street, Frederiksted, promotes Caribbean artists and their art.

Buck Island is one of only three underwater national monuments in the United States because of its coral reef, hawksbill turtles, brown pelicans and other creatures. It offer underwater trails for snorkelers and scuba divers.

Point Udall, named after a former U.S. Secretary of the Interior, is the easternmost point in the United States.

Golfers will find 18-hole courses at Buccaneer Golf Club and Carambola Golf Club. The Reef Golf Course offers a nine-hole, par 35 course and driving range.

Beaches Near the Cruise Port

Beaches near Frederiksted include Frederiksted Beach just north of Frederiksted Fort as well as Butler Bay, Dorsch, Sandy Point and Sprat Hall.

At three miles long, Sandy Point is the longest beach in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The beach, part of the Sandy Point Wildlife Preserve, is an important nesting area for leatherback turtles. Visitors in cars can access the beach via a dirt road on Saturdays and Sundays. Turtle-nesting season from March through August may require closing the beach at times.

The beach access at Northstar Bay is known to scuba divers for having the steepest dive wall in the world. Reef Beach is popular with windsurfers.

Beaches known for snorkeling include Green Cay, Hibiscus, Pelican Cove, Sand Castle, Tamarind and Turtle.

Getting Around

St. Croix has a taxi association and laws governing fares. Fares must be published in all member vehicles. Be sure to ask about current rates before getting into the taxi.

The island has nearly a dozen car rental agencies including three international chains: Avis, Budget and Hertz.

Other than cruise visits or simply flying into the island, visitors can reach it from St. Thomas via ferry.

The ferry travels between St. Thomas and St. Croix from Thursday through Tuesday in about 90 minutes, according to U.S. Virgin Islands Tourism.

Go to the web site or call Smith’s Ferry at 340-775-7292 for schedule changes. Tickets are $50 for adults one way and $90 roundtrip. Children 3-11 are $45 one way and $80 roundtrip. Children under 2 are $10 one way and $20 roundtrip.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
February 17, 2020

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