St. Croix

At about 82 square miles, St. Croix is the largest of the three US Virgin Islands. Lush hills and less traffic create a pastoral, soul soothing environ. White sand beaches hugged by the azure sea beckon sunbathers and water lovers. Exceptional diving and snorkeling, historic plantations, and varied dining are all part of the package on this friendly island.

St. Croix is immensely popular with US travelers, and for good reason. You don’t need a passport to get here. Convenient non-stop flights from the US, no confusing currency exchanges, and no language barriers are perks, too. You’ll get the best bargains on hotels and area attractions from April to June.

Whether you’re a novice or advanced diver, several dive shops on the island provide tours to match your skill. Getting certified while you’re on vacation is also an option. Shipwrecks, thriving coral reefs, wall dives, and piers – there are endless water possibilities here.

Take a day trip to Buck Island. Located off St. Croix’s northeast shore, it was declared a National Monument in 1961. A number of local companies specialize in half or full day tours, but since the trail is protected by the park system, it’s never over crowded. The beach is ridiculous, and snorkeling there is exceptional.

Other beaches to consider include Cane Bay, Mermaid Beach, and Carambola Beach. Wide and sandy, Cane Bay is dotted with dive shops, restaurants, and hotels. It’s great for people watching and water activities. Part of the Buccaneer Resort, Mermaid Beach is fringed with shady coconut palms. Non-guests pay a fee for parking, but it’s worth it. Attached to the Carambola Resort, Carambola Beach is perfect for wave jumping and skim boarding. If you’re feeling adventurous, hike to the Carambola Tide Pools (about three miles away). A secluded beach and excellent snorkeling are your rewards.

Drink in a little local history (figuratively and literally) at the Cruzan Rum Distillery. It’s a short tour. For just $5 you get the tour, four samples, and two rum drinks. Better than most happy hours, yes?

Make some time for strolling along the charming historic towns of Frederiksted and Christiansted. Here you’ll find restaurants, art galleries and shopping. Many evenings throughout the year, downtown Christiansted is also host to the Jump Up block party. This lively street fair teems with entertainment, local artisans, and food vendors (who offer free samples!).

If you seek an easy peasy vacation that’s not too hard on your budget, St. Croix is an excellent bet. Places to base yourself range from upscale resorts to bed and breakfast accommodations. We recommend St. Croix for its varied attractions, restaurants, and low-key vibe.