The perfect combination of cosmopolitan and rugged, St. Croix appeals to a broad range of adventurous and culturally curious travelers.
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Point Udall in St. Croix US Virgin Islands
Credit: Benjamin Velazquez/Getty Images

At just 84 square miles, you'd think St. Croix would fly right under the radar. But in the U.S. Virgin Islands, those miles stack up to make it the largest island in the archipelago. And every square inch is brimming with something special for visitors. So, bookmark this page for your next trip to St. Croix to remember everything you should see, do, and explore on the island paradise.

Getting to St. Croix

St. Croix is relatively accessible to U.S.-based travelers. Several leading air carriers (American, JetBlue, Spirit, and Delta) operate nonstop flights from major gateways like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Charlotte, and Atlanta. Perhaps most convenient for this set of travelers is the fact Americans do not need a passport to enter, as the island is an unincorporated U.S. territory.

However, Americans will notice one major difference upon landing: The local population drives on the left. But the transition is easy, thanks to "Keep Left" road signs and stickers prominently displayed in rental cars and road signs providing helpful reminders along the way.

St. Croix History and Culture

While on the island, visitors may catch a glimpse of several different flags swaying in the breeze, including the Dannebrog, the national flag of Denmark. This is a holdover from the island's colonial-era past, prior to the purchase by the U.S. and its transition of power in 1917. 

The culture on the island is a deep combination of African, European, Caribbean, native Carib and Taino, and American heritages. It's a place where storytelling and music can be found on every corner and town square, and it's a good idea to stop, learn, and appreciate what makes this destination and its locals so special. 

Best St. Croix Beaches, Hikes, Shops, Restaurants, and More

Frederiksted, Saint Croix, US Virgin Islands
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St. Croix appeals to a broad range of adventurous and culturally curious travelers. The island's twin towns, Christiansted in the east and Frederiksted in the west, offer a wealth of shopping, fine dining, art, and historical attractions.

Fort Frederik in Frederiksted is historically significant from an Afro-conscious perspective. It was here, in 1848, that the proclamation freeing all enslaved Africans throughout the Danish West Indies was made. A bust commemorating General Buddhoe, a formerly enslaved person who led the insurrection that proved pivotal in earning emancipation, sits just outside the fort's weathered red walls. Additional historical attractions in Frederiksted include the Estate Whim Great House and Museum (the only sugar plantation museum in the Virgin Islands) and the Lawaetz Museum.

Danish customs house in the Fort Christiansvaern Park in downtown Christiansted, VI
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Christiansted is also home to several centuries-old attractions. Fort Christiansvaern forms the centerpiece of the Christiansted National Historic Site, a collection of carefully restored Danish colonial structures dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

Arguably, the bigger draws in Christiansted, however, are the shopping and dining venues. Here, exciting foodie adventures and one-of-a-kind buys await in cafes, restaurants, and boutiques housed in distinctive structures pulled right from the past.

Top restaurants in the neighborhood include Savant, Café Christine, Galangal, and Rum and Wine Bar Restaurant. Meanwhile, savvy shoppers keen on collecting unique mementos won't want to miss Sonya's, home of the original St. Croix hook bracelet. Crucian Gold and ib Designs are also big on producing fine, handmade jewelry born and bred on the island.

Away from the twin towns, St. Croix's beaches, hiking, championship golf courses, snorkeling, and scuba diving options fill days with thrills that keep travelers coming back for more.

View from Goat Hill hike with lush, native greenery in the rolling landscape and Caribbean Sea seascape on St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands.
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For a stunning view, put in the work with a hike up Goat Hill, where you'll enjoy the full expanse of the island extending westward and the easternmost point of the U.S., Point Udall, to the east.

The Jack and Isaac Bay Preserve below Goat Hill allows travelers to combine hiking and beachcombing in one rewarding adventure. Low-impact trails lead to the remote, unspoiled beaches lined with sugar-white sand, lush trees, and blessedly nothing else.

Additional hiking trails are also available at Buck Island, a small, uninhabited island just off St. Croix's northeast shore. Buck Island and its surrounding reef and waters lie within the Buck Island Reef National Monument, a protected natural environment managed by the U.S. National Park Service. Hiking adventures here are a boon for bird-watchers or anyone seeking to commune with nature in peace and tranquility. An undersea snorkeling trail along the Buck Island Reef makes it easy for visitors to familiarize themselves with the coral and sea creatures that call these protected waters home.

Several tour operators offer half-and full-day excursions to Buck Island. Chief among them is Captain Carl of Buck Island Charters. The family-owned charter company provides a nonmotorized full-sail Buck Island experience aboard trimaran sailing vessels.

Peacock flounder in Cane Bay in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.
Credit: Jennifer Idol/Stocktrek Images/Getty Images

For scuba divers, nothing beats the fun at The Wall at Cane Bay. One of the world's renowned dive sites, The Wall drops to depths in excess of 13,000 feet. The deep waters here teem with out-of-this-world wildlife and coral formations.

Best St. Croix Resorts

The leading hotels and resorts in St. Croix are a bit different than those found on other Caribbean islands. In place of large, all-inclusive properties and familiar international brand names, St. Croix hotels are generally smaller and more intimate. Often, they echo the island's rich history. And many of the newest hotels are actually updated and reimagined versions of older, historic properties.

The Buccaneer Beach and Golf Resort

The Buccaneer Beach and Golf Resort truly has it all: a stunning 18-hole championship golf course, modern tennis facilities, a full-service spa, multiple dining options, three beaches, and an array of water sports equipment. The estate was originally founded in 1653, when the Knights of Malta controlled St. Croix. Historic remnants of the old plantation, like the sugar mill that sits astride the main entrance to the hotel lobby, remain on the grounds. The property was converted into a hotel in 1947, earning The Buccaneer the distinction of being the oldest family-owned and operated property in the Caribbean. 

Company House Hotel

Exterior of Company House Hotel at night
Credit: Courtesy of Company House Hotel

Nestled in the heart of downtown Christiansted, the historic Company House Hotel is a cozy and freshly remodeled oasis of refinement built on simplicity. A somewhat secret grotto pool and an elegant mahogany bar in the lobby serve as the two main gathering points. There's no restaurant, though this encourages guests to seek out the many fantastic restaurants that have recently elevated Christiansted into a culinary hot spot in the area.

The Fred

The most stylish hotel to open in St. Croix in a generation, The Fred sits right on the waterfront of its namesake town, Frederiksted, on the west coast of the island. Formerly a private residence, the property's structure dates back to the 18th century. The swanky pool, elevated sundeck, party-sized Jacuzzi, half-moon bar, and boardwalk above the beach are all new additions to the building.

Feather Leaf Inn

Exterior view of Feather Leaf Inn
Credit: Blake Floyd Gardner/ Feather Leaf Inn

What's old is new again (and much improved) at the Feather Leaf Inn. Formerly known as Estate Butler's Bay, the property is an 18th-century Danish sugar plantation. Rather than glorifying its dark, colonial past, Feather Leaf builds on its agrarian roots, emphasizing healthy, plant-based food and sustainable tourism. Much of the grounds are devoted to developing a seaside botanical forest filled with tropical fruits and herbs. As for the accommodations, nine guest rooms are spread among three separate buildings, and each is 100% solar-powered, distinctively styled, and features jaw-dropping sunset views over a calm, secluded bay.