The official name of the beach is Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge. Sandy Point is located on the West End of St. Croix. Simply put, this beach is absolutely stunning. It boasts crystal clear blue water and a 2 mile long stretch of sandy white beach (one of the longest in the Caribbean). This beach is typically not crowded, it’s likely that you’ll be one of the only ones there. There is little to no shade here however, and there are no facilities here. This beach is only open on the weekends (including holiday weekends) and when there is a cruise ship in port, with the exception of April-August when it is closed entirely due to turtle nesting season. All this exclusivity, however, makes Sandy Point even more rewarding when it is open.
We don’t recommend going to this remote beach alone. You cannot put stake anything into the ground, namely an umbrella, so your only protection from the sun is good ol’ sunscreen which is highly recommended. The water has a drop off and gets very deep very quick. There is no fringe reef off of Sandy Point and the sea has a deep sandy bottom, so if you are snorkeling you won’t see as much here as other places, but keep your eyes peeled for turtles and rays in these waters. Just float your way to bliss at Sandy Point.
Sandy Point is a critical nesting habitat for the endangered leatherback sea turtle. Between the months of April-August, the beach is closed entirely to the public, and under strict watch by Rangers of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department. During the months of active turtle nesting, marine biologists and rangers manage an intensive research program. Volunteers tag and collect data on nesting turtles and help to relocate turtle nests away from erosion zones when necessary. Sandy Point provides habitat for over 100 species of birds as well. Bring your binoculars to spot brown pelicans, black-necked stilts, and yellow warblers, among others.
Sandy Point in Film, Commercials, and Videos
You may not realize that you’ve seen this beach before — in the movie Shawshank Redemption, starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. It was the runaway film success of 1994, based on a short story by Stephen King. Most of the movie takes place in a prison, except the memorable scenes that in the film that supposedly take place in Zihuatanejo (Mexico), but really are St. Croix, USVI. The last scene of the movie was filmed at Sandy Point, as have been numerous television commercials and photo shoots for catalogs.
Directions & Parking
From mid-island, take Melvin Evans Highway west. Continue straight, the highway will turn into a two way road. Along this road, you will see the entrance gate into Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge. Enter through the gate and follow the dirt road past the salt ponds. There are several parking areas within the refuge with access to the beach.
Because Sandy Point is a critical nesting habitat for the endangered leatherback sea turtle, access to the beach is restricted to Saturday and Sunday from 10 am – 4 pm only, and is closed to the public from April 1st through August 31st for nesting season. Pets are not allowed, and nothing can be staked/anchored into the sand including umbrellas, chairs, or pop-ups.
There are no amenities at Sandy Point. Make sure to bring plenty of drinking water, sun protection, and food if necessary. There is very little shade, so plan accordingly.