June 18th and July 4th 2022
Someone finally heard our pleas to run a ferry directly from St. Croix to St. John! Many of us who live on St. Croix love to visit St. John for a quick getaway on what is known here in the US Virgin Islands as the 'Nature Island'. It makes for a great day -- here's what you can expect, based on my recent island hop day adventure with Native Son Ferry.
The ferry departed from Gallows Bay on St. Croix at 8:00am to make the 90 minute crossing to Cruz Bay, and left Cruz Bay at 5:00pm to make the return trip. It turned out that the ferry offered the perfect amount of time to enjoy a full day on St. John.
Located 38 miles from St. Croix, approximately 60% of St. John is Virgin Islands National Park lands ensuring much of the natural beauty of the island is preserved. St. John offers stunning beaches, great snorkeling, picturesque hiking, and lots of history. While island tours, watersports, and shopping were all located right off the Cruz Bay ferry terminal, we decided to make our own itinerary by combining a bit of outdoor fun with some indoor dining and shopping.
Upon landing in Cruz Bay, me and my travel companions walked over to Mongoose Junction. If you've never been, Mongoose Junction is a wonderful shopping area with restaurants, art galleries and unique boutiques located just down the street from the ferry landing. We popped into Bajo el Sol Gallery for some delicious lattes to kick start our full day of activities. Fully caffeinated, with water bottles in hand, we walked around to the National Park Service (NPS) office where a friend told us there was a relatively easy and beautiful hike called Lind Point.
The trailhead for Lind Point starts at the NPS parking lot with a short flight of stairs up to the trail. The trail itself is about a one mile hike that only takes about 45 minutes, and it meanders through cactus scrub and dry forest. As you walk along, you catch glimpses of Cruz Bay and you ascend gradually to about 160 feet of elevation. We stopped about halfway along the trail at the Cruz Bay Overlook and enjoyed a panoramic view of Cruz Bay, the ferry terminal, downtown, and Wharfside Landing. Then, we took the trail to a spur that goes about 1/4 of a mile down from the main trail to Solomon Bay Beach.
With the only way into Solomon Bay being to hike in or dinghy from a vessel moored nearby, the beach was quiet and secluded. While not large in size, the beach was big on limin' vibes so we plopped down our bags and went for a float. We spent an hour or so enjoying the feel of the refreshing saltwater and the soft sand between our toes.
Once we were good and pruney, we got out and let the warm tropical sun dry us off before packing up and heading back up to the trail. Since we had taken the Upper Lind Point Trail to hike in, we decided to take the Lower Lind Point Trail to hike out. Being just slightly lower in elevation, the landscape was different, so we enjoyed the new point of view and different scenery hiking back. By the time we got back to the NPS parking lot, we had worked up quite an appetite so we headed back to Mongoose Junction to find a spot for lunch.
While there are many great eateries in Cruz Bay, we chose Gringo's Caribbean Cantina for some hearty Mexican food and refreshingly cold drinks. With full bellies (or so we thought) we started walking towards Wharfside Landing when Irie Pops caught our eye. There's always room for ice cream, right? Irie Pops makes all-natural ice pops made with local, organic ingredients that are vegan, gluten and nut free...plus they come in amazing tropical flavors like Caribbean Creamsicle and Caribbean Kiwi Limeade. They were the perfect portable dessert to enjoy on our walk through town. We spent the next hour or so wandering along the waterfront and exploring the little shops in Wharfside Landing, then we walked back to the ferry terminal to board for the return trip to St. Croix.
For me personally, it was a perfect day in St. John. If you've never been, an island tour in a safari bus tour with a stop at one or two of the gorgeous beaches for a float and some sunbathing, followed by a meal and some shopping in Mongoose Junction or Wharfside Landing would be a great introduction. If you like snorkeling, Maho Bay, the cay at Cinnamon Bay, and Trunk Bay are all wonderful options at which a taxi can drop you. Of course, you can also take a local charter boat or try some watersports like SUP or kayaking. Next time, I would like to hike to the historic Anneberg Sugarmill Ruins, or to Reef Bay to see some of the petroglyphs carved by the Tiano people between AD 600 and AD 1500.
Regardless of what you choose to do, St. John has something for everyone. You can pack your day full or activities, or just head to the beach and relax the day away. We hope Native Son Ferry will get enough interest to keep the St. Croix to St. John ferry going and perhaps even add another day so we have the option to spend a weekend on St. John. Check the Native Son Ferry schedule to find out when the next ferry will be headed to St. John, or visit St. Thomas on one of their weekly routes. And while you're over on the other islands, be sure to tell the locals you meet all about St. Croix and the many reasons to check out our unique island!
-Jennie Ogden, Editor
Native Son Ferry is regarded by many as the pioneer of professional ferry service in the Virgin Islands. Since 1977, the management and staff of this elite ferry company have...
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