A special look at a place that has a huge piece of my heart
I’m kicking off #SSPTravels Week with a special peek into an island that has completely captivated my soul. This first post is going to be significantly different than the other day-to-day itineraries that I’ll share this week and I am considering this one a special BONUS. It’s a peek into a place that is so personally important to us. While I opted not to do a day-to-day itinerary format to kick things off, I included most of the things you might want to know about planning a trip to St Croix.
I am not the type of traveler who continues to go back again and again to one place but if there is one place that I will joyfully return to time after time, it’s St. Croix. In a lot of ways, St. Croix gave our family a bit of sanity. The first holiday season after my brother died, we traveled to St. Croix to spend Thanksgiving with my step-dad’s nephew and his family who were living and working on the island at the time. Because of them, we learned so much about STX and were so warmly welcomed by amazing Crucians! I have to give a special shout of thanks to Russ, Kate, Azure and Elan for welcoming us years ago and sharing their love of this beautiful island with us.
We were once told, St. Croix is like the Kansas of the Virgin Islands. St. John is the Hamptons of USVI and St. Thomas is the NYC but St. Croix is the under-appreciated, rural, hyper-local hidden gem of the trio. The locals, known as Crucians, are a diverse collection of people from all walks of life and heritages but a large population of ex-pats inhabit the island. It’s quieter, more agricultural and off-the-beaten-path. If you’re looking for a more authentic and less commercialized Caribbean experience, St. Croix is your island!
I can’t wait to share some of our closely guarded family traveling secrets with you today! I hope you’ll enjoy the recommendations that I have for you! Below you’ll find my personal favorites of where to stay, where to eat, what to do and what to see in St. Croix U.S.V.I.
where to stay:
Our personal favorite, beautiful Rainbow Beach house rental. Seriously, I can’t believe I’m sharing this but we think it’s St. Croix’s best-kept secret! Literally just feet from the ocean and a 60 second walk to Rhythm’s at Rainbow Beach for the best tacos and drinks, you cannot find a better spot on the island. The sunsets from the deck are life-changing.
what to do:
“Since the early 1800’s, the Nelthropp Family (a.k.a. Cruzan Rum Royalty) has called St. Croix home, becoming an integral part of the island’s history. And for the last two hundred years, the island has not only left its mark on them, but also on their rum. The unique spirit of St. Croix echoes in every bottle of Cruzan® Rum – from the Nelthropp family, who have crafted rum on the island for generations, to the warm, tropical breezes that circulate through the open-air warehouses of the distillery. Even the name reflects the people of St. Croix, called Crucians.”
The cost is approximately $8 per adult and includes plenty of tastings, tour and a free drink. There was enough alcohol and entertainment that we all considered doing the tour again!
Spend the day at Rainbow Beach on the west end and enjoy a fantastic sunset. We think “West is Best” when it comes to the calm beaches and the very local feel! It’s our favorite park of the island.
Walk around downtown Fredericksted and see the colonial architecture.
Visit downtown Christiansted including the boardwalk and great views. Be sure to pop into Crucian Gold and check out their beautiful, feel good, handmade jewelry! I absolutely love my Crucian Knot latching bracelet and it means so much to me. “The Crucian Knot, also known as the love knot, is rooted in the sailing culture of St. Croix and the Caribbean. Two simple knots are tied together in an embrace symbolizing strength in unity.”
Visit Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge and see the clear turquoise water and one of the longest stretches of beach in the Caribbean!
Check out Point Udall, the easternmost point of the United States.
Take a tour to Buck Island.
Do some off-roading on the northwest end of the island, just drive the island and see the gigantic oil refinery on the south shore!!
Spend a day at Cane Bay Beach on the north side.
Hike down to Isaac Point and Jack Beach on the east end.
Buy some fresh fish from locals selling on the side of the road and grill it at your place!
where to eat:
Eat @ Cane Bay for the best lunch, drinks and view of the north shore
Rhythms at Rainbow Beach (be sure to look for the resident dog, Mama!) for the most amazing, literally everything is delicious food, best drinks on the island, fun games, best views of the ocean, almost constant live music. This is one of our favorite spots!!
Polly’s at the Pier for the best breakfast sandwiches and rum + fresh fruit smoothies Another favorite!! Start off your day with a Crucian Confusion and a Polly Egg Muffin or the Bohemian Breakfast - a double shot espresso, dry toast, & a hug!
Beach Side Cafe at Sand Castle on the Beach for a classy and delicous west end dinner. If they are on the menu, get the mahi mahi and the bread pudding. You won’t regret it.
Rum Runners for a great lunch or dinner on the Christiansted pier while you boat-watch
The Waves at Cane Bay for an upscale seafood dinner on the water
Lost Dog Cafe for amazing pizza and a uniquely weird atmosphere
some helpful tips:
Be sure to rent a Jeep from Centerline Rentals! Nothing beats driving around in the salty air with the top off.
Don’t miss exploring the rainforest on the west side if the island and the desert-like flats towards the center.
You have a few options when it comes to getting to STX. We typically fly to Puerto Rico and then take a prop plane to St. Croix. Another option is flying to St. Thomas and taking a small plane to the island. However, in recent years, more major airlines are offering direct flights!