St. Croix offers many scenic drives, but in my opinion the drive along the North Shore coast is the most picturesque. North Shore Road winds along the northern coast of the island between Salt River Bay and the way to the eastern tip of the rainforest. As you drive alongside the blue Caribbean Sea you will wind around rolling green hills, past scenic ocean bluffs, historic sugar mill ruins, and the world famous Cane Bay.
After several years of living on St. Croix, I can honestly say that North Shore Road still offers my favorite views of the island. Heading east to west, as you pass Salt River Bay the road rises over the endless blue of the Caribbean Sea to your right as the rolling green hills peak high above you to your left. While much of the drive is natural landscape, you will see a few houses tucked into the seaside bluffs, and a few up on the hills with what must be unbelievable, panoramic ocean views. As you head west, the view across North Shore is breathtaking. White capped waves crash on the rocky shores below the bluffs, while in the distance you will see the lush rainforest covered hills rising above the water at Davis Bay. On a clear day, you can look out across the ocean and see St. Thomas, St. John, and some of the British Virgin Islands. If you would like to take pictures of these amazing panoramic views, there are several areas where there is a shoulder or pull-off next to the guardrail. Please be careful when pulling over to take pictures and keep an eye out for other cars.
As the North Shore Road starts to drop down to sea level, just before the La Vallee area, the ruins of the Rust Op Twist sugar mill and great house will be up on a hill to your left. You can drive up to the ruins and walk around, and I highly suggest that you do. Not only are the ruins historical, but the view from the hilltop where the sugar mill stands truly a postcard worthy view.
Continuing west, you will soon be brought into Cane Bay. If you want to make a day of the North Shore drive, this is a great place to spend a few hours. At Cane Bay you can find great snorkeling and world-class diving, as well as a beautiful stretch of beach for sunning, playing in the sand, going for a walk, or just floating in the Caribbean. Across the street you will find Cane Bay Dive Shop, Virgin Kayak Tours, and eat @ cane bay, a great restaurant and bar if you want to enjoy lunch or a cocktail. If you are lucky enough, and you are here in the winter months, you might even see humpback whales migrating through Cane Bay in the Puerto Rico trench about 300 yards offshore.
As you continue west, the road begins wind towards the rainforest and a canopy of lush vegetation and trees shades the road. As you come to the end of North Shore Road you will find a three way intersection with a stop sign. If you make a left you can drive up the steep winding hill known as ‘The Beast’ and into the rainforest. Or, you can continue going straight and you will end up at the Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort and Davis Bay. The beach resort has a great bar and restaurant if you want to stop for a bite, as well as the beautiful Davis Bay Beach.
While this drive is incredibly beautiful, make sure to watch the road as you go. Several miles of this scenic drive are hairpin turns and blind corners, and around Cane Bay there are a lot of pedestrians (and sometimes horses) along the road. Most of all, take your time and enjoy the natural beauty and roadside attractions that the North Shore has to offer. In fact, make a day of it – you’ll be glad you did!
– Jennie Ogden, Editor
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