While you are here on St. Croix, I recommend that you take the very scenic drive all the way up to Point Udall at the far East End of the St. island – as far as you can go. Point Udall offers stunning panoramic sea views, and is the easternmost point of the United States. Home to the Millennium Monument, this tranquil point is must on any St. Croix ‘to do’ list.
As you drive the winding road that leads to Point Udall, you will see that the arid climate on the East End of St. Croix hosts a variety of cactus and desert-like foliage in stark contrast to the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. You can look up towards the south and see Goat Hill rising above the road, and you can look out across the Caribbean Sea to Buck Island to the north. As you reach Point Udall, named for former Secretary of the Interior, Stuart Udall, the Millennium Monument comes into view right in front of you.
The Millennium Monument was designed by Bill Rich and erected in 2000 to commemorate the beginning of a new millennium for the United States. The monument is a giant sundial which is fitting since Point Udall is the first place the sun rises on U.S. soil. In fact, special ceremonies were held at Point Udall as the sun rose on the most easternmost of American soils in the western hemisphere on the first day of the new millennium, January 1, 2000.
Point Udall was named for Stewart Udall in 1968, to honor his work to support the economy of the US Virgin Islands. Udall served as Secretary of the Interior from 1961 to 1969, under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Interesting fact: the westernmost point in the US, Point Udall in the US Territory of Guam, is named for his brother Mo Udall. This means that America’s day begins and ends at Point Udall.
Once you have perused the monument, make sure to take in the surrounding view, because it is truly breathtaking. Looking down below you to the east and south, you will be captivated by the multi-blue, reef-laden waters and the waves crashing on the shore. To the northwest you will see Buck Island off in the distance. Enjoy the peace and quiet Point Udall offers, with only the sounds of the crashing waves and wind, and the occasional murmur of other visitors.
There is no admission charge to visit Point Udall and the Millennium Monument, so spend as much or as little time as you would like. If you would like to make a day of it, you can hike down to Jack’s and Isaac’s Bays from the small parking lot just below the monument for some great snorkeling. Of course, one of the most popular times to visit Point Udall is at sunrise. If you do go first thing in the morning, you can also hike up to the top of Goat Hill for an amazing view of St. Croix.
As is always a good rule of thumb in any tourist area, we recommend that you do not leave valuables in your car. Also, be advised that there is no cell phone reception on the far East End of the island, and there are no stores nearby. We recommend that you bring plenty of water, snacks, sun protection, and your snorkel gear if you want to head down to Jack’s and Isaac’s. Maybe consider taking a picnic breakfast or lunch with you and spend some time taking in the tranquility of Point Udall while you dine alfresco. Whatever you choose to do when you arrive, enjoy the incredibly scenic drive to Point Udall, the easternmost point of the U.S.!
– Jennie Ogden, Editor