St. Croix’s Caribbean location and colorful history have made it a haven for history buffs and nature lovers from all over the world. After all- we were the first American soil that Christopher Columbus landed on at the end of his second voyage to the New World in 1493! Organizations such as the U.S. National Park System and the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife oversee several locations and parks on island. You can explore the majestic forts that house old dungeons, there are protected ecological preserves to kayak through night or day and beautiful beaches that are home to endangered turtle species. To truly experience St. Croix, we recommend you explore our history and parks.
Buck Island Reef National Monument, An Underwater National Park! Can you believe it? An underwater National Park? In all total, the park encompasses 176 acres above and below water. It was established a National Monument by a Presidential proclamation in 1961 and grew in 2001 to preserve “one of the finest marine gardens in the Caribbean Sea.” Above water- take a hike along the nature trail to the highest peak for a breathtaking view. Below water…ahhhhhh. Treat your eyes to abundant native marine flora a fauna, vibrant coral reefs, playful fish, friendly rays and the occasional endangered hawksbill turtle. There is an “official” underwater trail off the east end of » read more »
Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge! Sandy Point, located on St. Croix’s west end, was designated a Natural National Landmark in 1980. It is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department. Sandy Point is the largest leatherback turtle nesting site in the U. S. There is no admission to enter the park and it is only open on Saturday and Sunday. Sandy Point is the longest stretch beach in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Depending on when the turtles begin their nesting season, Sandy Point is closed from about mid May until the beginning of September.
The Eastern Most Point of the United States! The Millennium Monument was erected in 2000 to commemorate the beginning of a new millennium for the United States, as this is the first place American soil sees the sunrise. Known as Point Udall, the drive to this east end monument is breathtaking as you look below at the multi-blue, reef-laden waters. Once you arrive at “the point” you encounter the monument, which is actually a large sundial and even more breath taking views. There is no admission charge to for the monument.
Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve! Not only is Salt River important historically, it is also a protected ecological preserve. Salt River is also known as Columbus Landing. Columbus landed at this spot in America’s Paradise in 1493, but encountered the not-so-friendly Carib Indian tribe. This led to the first documented conflict between Europeans and Native Americans. Some believe that Columbus never set foot on land, sending out a search party to explore the new land. Either way- we are proud of this beautiful area, which is recognized as a National Landmark. Salt River is no longer a fresh water supply, but is now a tropical ecosystem » read more »
St. Croix East End Marine Park! With nearly 17 miles of beautiful shoreline and the longest fringing reef in the US Virgin Islands, the East End Marine Park is a natural and cultural treasure! This first territorial marine park was established in 2003 in order to protect the natural and cultural resources of the east end of St. Croix. Fun places to snorkel include Chenay Bay at Southgate Coastal Preserve, Boiler, Jack’s, Isaac’s and Rod Bays. Bird watching abounds at salt ponds at Chenay Bay and Great Pond and be sure to find a local guide for kite surfing in Coakley Bay! Group interpretive tours can be arranged in advance » read more »
Fort Frederik! On the west side of the island lies Fort Frederik, which was built in the 18th century out of necessity by the Danish government to protect St. Croix against invasion of European powers, smugglers and pirates! It gained its status as a National Landmark because of the role it played in two events that eventually led to the dissolution of slavery in the Virgin Islands in 1848. In 1848, Emancipation Revolt ended slavery in the Danish West Indies, but inaugurated a 30-year period of serfdom based on contract labor that ensured continuing control by plantation owners. Then in 1878, escalating tensions erupted into the Labor Riot and Fireburn, » read more »
Christiansted National Historic District! This 6 acre area is mostly on the Christiansted waterfront and was established as a National Historic Site in 1952. The five historical structures exist on the site are the Fort Christianvaern, the Scale House, Danish Custom House, Steeple Building, and the Danish West Indie & Guinea Company Warehouse. The goal of this site is to preserve the historic structure and illustrate the Danish influence here between 1733 and 1917. Fort Christianvaern and the surrounding buildings are open Monday through Friday 8-5 and Saturday from 9-5. An informative walking tour is available at the visitor center at the park headquarters. Admission is $3 per person.