Sometimes it’s hard to believe that St. Croix is a part of the US Virgin Islands. Maybe it’s because it’s 45 miles removed from the other main islands of the USVI. Or maybe it’s because it’s much larger than the others.
Whatever it is, it’s evident in the culture, the people, the landscape, the food, and the many other fun things to do in St. Croix.
Annaly Bay Tide Pools
Descend a cliffside hiking trail to dip into natural pools
The Annaly Bay Tide Pools are a natural feature carved into the rocky outcroppings of the island’s northwest corner. Although the trail to the tide pools is considered difficult to strenuous, an early morning dip in the crystal clear and calm waters of the natural basin is worth the heart-pumping trek.
Witness the earliest sunrise at the easternmost point in the United States
Sunrise at Point Udall
Set aside at least one very early morning to drive to St. Croix’s easternmost point and witness the first sunrise in all of the United States. Significance aside, the sun’s emergence from the Caribbean Sea may be the most stunning sunrise in all of the US Virgin Islands.
Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve
Managed by the US National Park Service, the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve features natural island ecosystems with a rich historical significance. The Taino (the Caribbean’s indigenous people) thrived on its lands and Christopher Columbus landed here during his second voyage to the New World.
Salt River Bay is also one of the world’s few bioluminescent bays – a rare phenomenon where microorganisms, quite literally, make the water glow brightly. It’s a mesmerizing experience that you can also discover in nearby Puerto Rico’s bio bays.
Mt. Pellier Domino Club
Crush cans with the beer-drinking pigs of St. Croix
Mt. Pellier Domino Club is an iconic dive bar nestled in the tropical rainforest just outside of Frederiksted. It’s a longstanding watering hole popular with locals and tourists alike because of the outrageous beer-drinking pigs that call the place home.
For just a few bucks, you can purchase a can of non-alcoholic beer and witness a gleeful porker crush the aluminum with ease and slop up its contents. It’s a hilarious and interesting experience, to say the least.
Cane Bay Wall
Go Scuba Diving along The Wall directly from Cane Bay Beach
Most of the north shore of St. Croix parallels an underwater trench descending thousands of feet below sea level. For some reason, this trench comes unreasonably close to Cane Bay Beach – providing an amazing treat for snorkelers and scuba divers.
Christiansted National Historic Site
Discover St. Croix’s complex history within an old Danish fort.
Landscape view of the exterior of Fort Christiasvaern in Christiansted
Christiansted National Historic Site
Discover St. Croix’s complex history within an old Danish fort.
Christiansted National Historic Site highlights life on St. Croix between 1733 and 1917 when the Virgin Islands were known as the Danish West Indies under Denmark. The site is managed by the National Park Service with Fort Christiansvaern as its centerpiece.
Self-guided tours within the district include the Danish Customs House, Scale House, Danish West India & Guinea Company Warehouse, and Steeple Building – all of which have deep historical significance.
Buck Island Reef National Monument
Sail, beach, and snorkel at an uninhabited island
You won’t find a better boat trip in St. Croix than a sail and snorkel to Buck Island.
The federally protected Buck Island is amongst the most beautiful places in the US Virgin Islands while featuring stunning underwater scenery. Full and half-day tours depart from Christiansted Harbor regularly with stops at Buck Island’s Turtle Beach and its elkhorn coral barrier reef.
🏞️ US National Parks in the Caribbean: Along with the three on St. Croix, the Caribbean is home to other US National Parks including Virgin Islands National Park on St. John and the San Juan National Historic Site in Puerto Rico.
Stroll along the liveliest atmosphere in the US Virgin Islands
For one of the best entertainment districts in all of the US Virgin Islands, head to the Christiansted Boardwalk. You’ll find duty-free shopping, plenty of bars, restaurants, and cafes to choose from, and many boat tours to Buck Island departing the docks.
🏝️ More Nightlife in USVI: It’s tough to decide which area is better for nightlife in the USVI, Christiansted Boardwalk or Cruz Bay on St. John?
Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge
Visit the longest and most beautiful beach in the US Virgin Islands
| Hours: 10 AM – 4 PM on Saturdays and Sundays ONLY September through March. Closed all other months and days.
On the tip of St. Croix’s west end is Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge. The park is open sparingly throughout the year as its delicate shoreline frequents a high volume of sea turtle nesting.
So when it is open, I highly suggest you go out of your way to visit as the sandy shores are among the best beaches in the US Virgin Islands.
Museums & Culture
Estate Whim Sugar Mill
Learn about the sugar plantations that once dominated St. Croix’s landscape.
| Hours: 10 am – 4 pm Wednesday through Saturday | Entrance: $10, adults 13+, $5 ages 7 – 13
During the peak of the Danish West Indies, sugar was king on St. Croix as hundreds of sugar cane plantations dotted the hillsides of the island. Using slave labor, sugar was cultivated into molasses and rum to distribute all over the world. Much of this history is encapsulated at Estate Whim Sugar Mill and Museum – an iconic and well-preserved sugar cane plantation.
Hermit Crab Races
Choose your crab as it races to the finish
Throughout St. Croix, many bars, restaurants, and resorts serve as hosts to what has become an island pastime of sorts: hermit crab races. It’s fun to experience at least once during your visit with one of the island’s most famous races occurring at Brew STX in Christiansted on Wednesday nights.
Estate Little Princess Plantation
Wander one of the most well-preserved sugar plantations on the island
Estate Little Princess Plantation is a historic property just northwest of Christiansted currently serving as the office for the Nature Conservancy. There’s not much to do in terms of interactive exhibits, but it’s still a fun and free place to explore the walking trails for an hour if you’re visiting the Virgin Islands on a budget.
Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts
Appreciate artwork from a variety of Caribbean-born artists
CMC Arts Website | Hours: 9 am – 4 pm Tuesday – Saturday | Entrance: free, but donations are graciously accepted
The Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts showcases an impressive collection of artwork originating from many of the Caribbean Islands. Between the art gallery and community center, the organization also provides classes and events engaging the local community.
Search for Chaney
Collect centuries-old porcelain fragments that often wash ashore
Along many of the beautiful beaches on St. Croix, you’ll eventually stumble upon small, porcelain fragments amidst the scatterings of shells and sea glass. Crucians call these fragments, “Chaney” – an inventive mash-up of “China” and “money”.
These shards likely originated from European ships as they threw bits of broken china plates and tea cups overboard to avoid paying taxes on the weight of their cargo as they arrived at St. Croix. Today, local artisans turn these peculiar shards into beautiful pieces of jewelry.
Frederiksted Historic District & Fort Frederik
Enter an 18th-century fort built by the Danish
Hours: 9 am – 4 pm daily, Closed Sunday | Entrance: $5, adults, under 16 free
Fort Frederik is an 18th-century fortification built to protect Danish interests on St. Croix. Overlooking a deep water bay, the fort fended off pirates, privateers, and other colonial powers while maintaining order among the enslaved population of the island. Today, it’s the centerpiece of Frederiksted’s Historic District with a coinciding museum.
St. George Village Botanical Garden
Roam through native flora set within a preserved sugar plantation
St. George Village Botanical Garden | Hours: 9 am – 3 pm daily | Entrance: $10, adults, $2 under 12
Although the botanical gardens on nearby St. Thomas are a sight to behold, the tranquility of St. George Village Botanical Garden on St. Croix is a step above the rest.
Part of the reason why is its unique setting amidst the ruins of an 18th-century sugar plantation. As you roam through the 16-acre garden, you’ll witness over 1,000 species demonstrating the diverse horticulture of the Virgin Islands.
Estate Mount Washington
Meander the grounds of one of the largest sugar plantations on St. Croix
Hours: Private Property that’s graciously open to the public. Be courteous and only visit during reasonable hours
Estate Mount Washington was one of the most prominent, original sugar plantations of St. Croix built in the 1700s. Once consisting of 160 acres, the property consisted of a Great House, animal mill, rum factory, and many guest cottages. Today, you can wander around the grounds and explore the impressive structures left behind.
Food & Drink
Virgin Islands Food Tours
Guided food tasting into the culinary world of St. Croix
St. Croix is known for its multicultural influence infusing culinary scenes from all over the world. Virgin Islands Food Tours is a company based in Christiansted that provides a guided food tasting and walking tour. You’ll enjoy multiple restaurants and unique dishes for one, low price.
Rhythms at Rainbow Beach
Pull up a stool at this iconic beach bar
Rainbow Beach | Hours: 11 am – 7 pm daily
Nestled beside the famous Rainbow Beach, you can splash in the crystal blue waters during the day before pulling up a bar stool at Rhythms to witness the sunset over the Caribbean Sea.
Locals and tourists flock to the beachfront bar every evening for cool rum drinks, live music, and good friends – Rhythms at Rainbow Beach is the iconic tiki bar you can only find in the Caribbean.
Ziggy’s Island Market
Taste authentic and delicious Caribbean-style fare at this unassuming market
Towards St. Croix’s East End is Ziggy’s Island Market – a modest gas station unassumingly home to the island’s best local cuisine. After pulling up, you’ll find a small outside bar where you can order the chef’s daily special. Check their Facebook page to see what’s available and what time food is served on any given day.
Sion Farm Distillery
Enjoy home-distilled island-style vodka straight from the source
Sion Farm Distillery | Hours: 11:30 am – 7:30 pm Monday through Friday, 10 AM – 2 PM Saturday, Closed Sundays
Sion Farm Distillery is home to the only Island Vodka Distillery on St. Croix. Locally sourced and crafted, walk-ins are welcome to tour the distillery every hour on the half-hour. Afterward, be sure to pull up a chair and taste every different island vodka flavor created on St. Croix.
Leatherback Brewing Company
Tip back a few local brews at this community-focused brewery
Leatherback Brewing Website | Hours: 11:30 am – 8 pm daily
Leatherback Brewing Company is the largest brewery in the Virgin Islands keeping a wide variety of craft beers on tap.
You can find their most popular brews in most bars, restaurants, and grocery stores throughout the islands but nothing quite replicates a freshly poured, crisp beer directly from the source.
La Reine Chicken Shack
Savor the best BBQ and rotisserie chicken in the Virgin Islands
Phone: 340-778-5717 | La Reine Chicken Shack on Facebook | Hours: 10:30 am – 8 pm Thursday – Saturday, 9 AM – 5 PM Sunday, 10:30 am – 6 pm Mon. – Wed.
La Reine Chicken Shack is a St. Croix staple offering island-style BBQ including some incredibly tasty smoked chicken. Infusing Caribbean flavors into a traditional smoking pit, La Reine Chicken Shack has chicken, ribs, steak, pork, conch, fish, and some of the best Johnny Cakes in the Virgin Islands.
Outdoor & Adventure
Tan Tan Tours
Embark on an island Jeep Tour to visit the hidden gems of St. Croix
Tan Tan Tours is a locally owned and operated tour company offering excursions all over the largest Virgin Island. Whether it’s hiking, sightseeing, off-roading, or beach-hopping, Tan Tan Tours will get you there safely with a private guide. Give them a call to schedule hiking tours to Annaly Bay Tide Pools and other of the best things to do in St. Croix!
Caribbean Sea Adventures
Select your ideal boat tour with Caribbean Sea Adventures
Caribbean Sea Adventures | Hours: 8 am – 5 pm daily
Caribbean Sea Adventures is the largest boat tour operator in St. Croix. The company offers private, small group, and large group tours aboard various boats for a price that fits your budget. Most tours depart from Christiansted Harbor before traveling to multiple destinations including Buck Island Reef National Monument.
🛥️ More Boat Tours in the US Virgin Islands: As a local Captain in nearby St. Thomas, boating is my specialty. Enjoy my full list of the best boat tours on St. Thomas as well as the best boat trips on St. John.
Go scuba diving between the columns of the massive pier during a night dive
Another bucket-list-worthy dive in St. Croix is night diving at the Frederiksted Pier. For whatever reason, the underwater columns attract an immense amount of biodiversity including sea horses, massive sea turtles, Caribbean reef sharks, frogfish, and other rare species. The site is extremely popular with the local scuba diving community and visitors alike.
Hams Bluff Lighthouse
Hike a short, uphill trail to a Danish lighthouse with scenic views
The Hams Bluff Lighthouse was erected in 1915 – just two years prior to the purchase of the Danish West Indies by the United States. Somehow, the rusty lighthouse is still standing overlooking the bluffs of the island’s northwest corner.
Ironically, the road to the lighthouse might be more rugged and difficult on your car than the hiking trail will be on you. Once at the trailhead, ascend an extremely short yet uphill path before finding the lighthouse. Take extreme precaution when climbing up the lighthouse as much of it is rusted through.
🏞️ Hiking in the US Virgin Islands: Although we love hiking in St. Croix, Virgin Islands National Park on St. John has some of the best hiking trails in the Caribbean.
Jack & Isaac’s Bay Preserve
Hike to two secluded beaches popular for sea turtle nesting
Managed by the Nature Conservancy, Jack and Isaac’s Bay Preserve constitutes most of the east end of St. Croix. Within its parameters are secluded beaches and the best hiking trails in St. Croix.
I highly recommend exploring this area early in the morning after witnessing the sunrise at Point Udall.
Climb a challenging path to panoramic views of the island and beyond
Extend your hiking day within Jack & Isaac’s Bay Preserve by continuing up to Goat Hill. This trail is mainly uphill, but relatively short. At its peak, you’ll be treated to some of the best panoramic views of St. Croix and its distant sister islands to the north of St. Thomas, St. John, and the British Virgin Islands.
St. Croix Sites & Attractions
Captain Morgan Rum Distillery
Tour the famous rum brand’s largest distillery
Hours: 10 am – 4 pm Monday – Friday | Entrance: $15
Few people realize St. Croix is home to the largest brand of spiced rum: Captain Morgan. Between the Captain Morgan Visitor Center and the Cruzan Rum Distillery, St. Croix has a few options for quality rum-tasting bars. However, both of these places have altered hours since the 2020 pandemic. Head to their website for up-to-date hours and tour information.
Hop aboard a short ferry ride to a small island in Christiansted Harbor
Protestant Cay (pronounced ‘Key’) is a small island with a resort, Hotel on the Cay, and a sandy beach in the middle of Christiansted Harbor.
It’s the only beach access within downtown Christiansted so it’s a great spot to visit if you’re staying in town. A short ferry ride leaves from the Christiansted Boardwalk for a small fee bringing visitors to the island.
Mt. Victory Eco Camp
Experience a relaxed, island-country lifestyle at this eco-lodge set in a tropical forest
Mt. Victory Eco Camp is a forest lodge nestled in the rainforests of St. Croix’s northwest corner. Their mission is to provide affordable accommodation so people can immerse themselves in the natural setting of St. Croix. Choose between a tent, cabin, or even an old schoolhouse, the Eco-Camp is a one-of-a-kind offering found nowhere else in the Virgin Islands.
Ride on horseback along the stunning west-end beaches of St. Croix
Phone: 340-690-7433 | Hours: 11 AM – 5 pm daily, Closed Saturday and Sunday
Cruzan Cowgirls is the best option for horseback riding along the sandy beaches of St. Croix with a scenic mountainous backdrop. Beginning near Rainbow Beach, the horseback riding tour brings riders along one of the most stunning beaches in the Caribbean while enjoying incredible views of the island.
Andrew Bloem is an adventure travel writer from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A pirate at heart, his travels usually don’t stray too far from a palm tree and an ocean view. When he’s not writing guides for Travel Lemming, you can find him typing away at the local tiki bar for his site, Oceanwide Explorers.
Declaimer: This information is being used for the visitors of the Virgin Islands from this writer.
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