50 Things To Do and See on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Updated: Mar 24, 2020
The largest of the four U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Croix is an 84-square mile gem in the Caribbean Sea nestled between Puerto Rico, it's sister U.S. Virgin Islands, and the eastern Caribbean. Upon first glance, one would find it hard to believe that there's so much to do in such a small place - but as a native I can guarantee that you're in for an adventure on each visit! Here's my "bucket" list of 50 things to do and see on St. Croix!
This list is written in no particular order!
1. Visit the Agricultural Fair
Every February, St. Croix hosts an annual agricultural fair (the largest in the territory.) Locally known as "Agrifest" this is your place to grab local food and see the work of our farmers and artisans!
2. Christmas Boat Parade
Our annual boat parade is held as a part of the Crucian Christmas Festival. Local boaters spruce up their vessels with Christmas lights and decorations and take part in a lined parade down the Christiansted harbor. There's music, food and fun (and the competition is FIERCE!) Look out for this parade during the third week of December.
3. Eat at La Reine Chicken Shack
Known by some locals as "La Pollera De Millin" the chicken shack, located centrally, is known for its roasted chicken, johnny cake, and it's coquito festival! It's a MUST for me when I come home.
4. Hear a cariso singer
Cariso is Virgin Islands folk-song, and an "ancestor" of Calypso music. It is a huge part of how our oral and historical traditions were passed down from generation to generation. Mrs. Cedelle Petersen is one of the most notable cariso singers on St. Croix. She still sings and tells stories at the Estate Whim Museum.
5. Eat Callaloo/Kallaloo at Panchy's
Panchy's is a well known food spot located in Gallow's Bay on St. Croix. It's been featured on Andrew Zimmern's Travel Channel Show "Bizarre Foods." To say that the food at Panchy's is good would be the understatement of the century. On your visit, ask for some callaloo. It's best described as a leafy vegetable soup dish that can sometimes incorporate fish and meat. Panchy's is the best on island, and no Crucian will debate you on this.
6. Visit Buck Island Reef National Monument
Buck Island is a small island about 1.5 miles Northeast of St. Croix. It's designated as a protected national monument by the United States and is home to dozens of species of wild life (including turtles who do their nesting there!) Day sails take visitors to the island almost every day, where you can sunbathe, hike, and snorkel.
7. Grab a Bushwacker and Jet Ski at Rhythm's at Rainbow Beach
Rhythm's at Rainbow Beach is a beach bar (and one of my absolute favorite places) on the Western end of the island. It's housed on one of St. Croix's best beaches and welcomes regular visitors with music, great food, and ESPECIALLY great drinks. If you're in search of something light and "tropical" go for a Cruzan Confusion bucket. If you want something a bit thicker with a chocolatey flavor then the Bushwacker is your best bet! Speaking of fun at Rainbow Beach, check out West End Watersports! They provide jet ski, kayaking, and paddle boarding rentals right next to Rhythm's. An unguided jet ski tour will run you about $60 for 30 minutes or $100 for a full hour.
8. Eat Seasonal Flavors at Armstrong's Ice Cream
You haven't been to St. Croix if you haven't had Armstrong's Ice Cream. Located off the Queen Mary Highway in Fredriksted, Armstrong's has been serving the Crucian community since 1900. My personal favorite is banana, but you can grab some unique flavors too like pumpkin or guavaberry!
9. Grab some madras from "designs by Regal"
Madras is one of the cultural staples of the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Caribbean as a whole. The plaid fabric is often seen during cultural celebrations, in decor, and now in modern fashion created by local designers. "designs by Regal" is a local designer who creates unique pieces out of madras. If you're looking for something special to bring back with you, contact her before your trip and pick up your designs before you leave!
10. Drive Mahogany Road
Mahogany Road will take you from the center of the island through our rainforest. It winds through local flora, fauna, hidden houses and ruins. One of my favorite things to do back home is take this route to the West end with my sunroof and windows open. This road does have some blind corners, so don't be surprised if you hear other cars honking their horns to let you know they're coming!
11. Shop natural skin care at Cultured Naturals
Cultured Naturals is a local body care shop located in Christiansted town. The shop sells handmade skin and hair care products that contain no bases, fillers, or chemicals. All products are made with essential oils, plant oils, botanicals and butters from local farmers.
12. Stay at Carambola Beach Resort
Officially known as Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa, the resort is one of the most well known and secluded resorts on island. Nestled into the mountains on the North side of the island, Carambola has immediate access to a beach, gold club, full service spa and restaurant. There are also several other local beaches, restaurants, and hiking trails nearby.
13. Grab a fraco
Fraco's are known elsewhere as "snow cones" but come with a local twist on St. Croix. You may be able to spot one of our local "fraco man" at big events like parades. They are even frequent funerals to serve mourners after services in the hot sun.
14. Eat Roti
Roti is not native to St. Croix, but can be easily found on the island due to our status as a cultural melting pot. While East Indian roti refers to a type of flat bread, Caribbean roti is a much larger meal that incorporates curry chicken or goat wrapped in dough.
15. Visit Braata
Braata is a local restaurant run by one of the island's most well-known chefs, Digby Stridiron. Chef Digby runs the rum bar and contemporary West Indian kitchen with a focus on the influences of the indigenous cultures of the West Indies and the impact of the African diaspora.
16. Shop at DPMNM
DPMNM is a local clothing brand on St. Croix which offers urban streetwear. Locals can often be seen in "DPMNM" shirts, chains, and other accessories. The acronym "DPMNM" can be translated to "don't pay me no mind." A common phrase used in Virgin Islands culture.
17. Drive Up "The Beast"
The Beast is a large hill on the Northern side of the island near Carambola Beach Resort. It is a 600-foot climb in a 7/10 of a mile stretch of road. It was named "The Beast" because of its relative difficulty for bikers who take part in St. Croix triathalons like the Iron Man. There is even a painting of a monster's paws at the base of a hill, and it's head toward the very top.
18. Feed The Bear Drinking Pigs
You read that right. In the rainforest you will find Montpellier Domino Club, a restaurant that's home to some very unique pigs! The pigs at Montpellier drink have been helping themselves to (nonalcoholic) beer thanks to visitors for the last two decades!
19. Watch a quadrille dance
Quadrille is the official dance of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Although the group dance originated in Europe, Virgin Islanders have turned it into an important aspect of culture by pairing it with Quelbe (our official music.) Quadrille dancers wear beautiful madras costumes and can be seen at many cultural celebrations as well as during some cruise ship arrivals.
20. Tour the Estate Whim Museum
The Estate Whim Museum houses portions the former Estate Whim Plantation, an 18th century sugar plantation and factory. On a visit to Whim, you can see the ruins of the factory, the Great House, shop local goods and art at their store, and even meet and speak with "tradition bearers" who teach old time local games, crafts, and folklore. Remember Mrs. Cedelle Petersen from earlier? She often sings at the Whim Museum! On your visit, say hi to Maria the museum manager (she's my mom!)
21. Jump Up
On the first friday of some months, Christiansted Town comes alive for "jump up." It's best described as a local block party with local vendors, steel pan groups, mocko jumbles, music and more. It's great for a nighttime stroll with the family!
22. Christiansted Historical Tour
Christiansted Town is home to dozens of St. Croix's 18th and 19th century historical landmarks, including the government House, the custom's house, the steeple building, one of our two Danish-built forts and more! Many of the buildings at the Christiansted National Historic Site are open for self-guided tours and are maintained by the National Park Service.
23. Art Thursdays
From November through May, Christiansted town hosts nighttime visitors from 5:00 - 8:00 pm for Art Thursdays. Dozens of art galleries, shops and jewelry studios are open and local students and artists are featured.
24. Sleep at The Fred
The Fred is one of the newest hotels and one of the only hotels located on the Western end of St. Croix. It is a boutique hotel located down the street from our cruise ship docks. This hotel is perfect for visitors coming during our festival. The hotel is located one street over from both our parade and Jouvert routes.
25. See the Crucian Christmas Festival!
Many islands refer to their biggest annual cultural celebrations as "carnival." On St. Croix, it is referred to as Festival. We've been celebrating it for well over 60 years! Carnival lasts from the first week of December through the first week of January! There are over a dozen designated events including pageants, music and fashion shows, and more. I'll name a few individually at the end of this list! Our Division of Festivals is your hub for ANY U.S. Virgin Islands carnival related questions.
26. Visit Fort Frederik
Fort Frederik is the second of our two large Danish-built forts on island, but my personal favorite. Similarly to the Christiansted Historical Site, the fort is also open for tours on most days. Fort Frederik is unique, because it was the location of a number of historical events including the earliest reported salute by a foreign government to a United States ship (October 25, 1776), the Emancipation Revolt of 1848, the 1878 Labor Riot and Fireburn, and one of the 1917 ceremonies transferring the Virgin Islands to the United States.
27. Bathe in the falls near Creque Dam
Creque Dam is located in the rainforest and is a pretty secluded spot. During the rainy season, the dam is often filled to the brim (it holds up to 9 MILLION gallons of potable water) and locals can often be seen bathing in the small water falls that form in ravines further up the road. Built in 1926, the dam once served as the water supply for the entire town of Fredriksted.
28. Hike to the Annaly Bay Tide Pools
The hiking trails to these natural pools are located on the North side of the island and can be accessed from either the Carambola Beach Resort or Mahogany Road on the West End. The hike is relatively easy, but you will meet some steep hills and rocks on your way to the pools. Be prepared to take a dip and swim in the pools at the end of your hike (but avoid this trail on rainy or stormy days.)
29. Watch the sunrise at Point Udall
With St. Croix being a part of a United States Territory, Point Udall is officially considered as the easternmost point of the United States of America. Point Udall is home to the Millennium Monument, a life-sized sun dial that was erected to commemorate the millennium in 2000. Watching the sunrise from this spot means you are technically the first person in the United States to watch the sunrise on that day!
30. Hike to Jacks and Isaac's Bay Preserve
Jack's and Isaac's Bay is less of a hike and more like a nature walk. The trail can be accessed near Point Udall (where a parking lot is available for hikers!) The bay is a preserve that serves as a nesting area for sea turtles, but beach goers can enjoy the long stretch of sandy beach after a quick hike down!
Jouvert is an early morning street parade that is a staple in St. Croix's annual Festival celebrations. Revelers get ready in the early morning hours to dance their way down the streets covered in water, paint, and powder. Local U.S. Virgin Islands bands lead the way, and its common to see some unique (and sometimes revealing) costumes. It's Jouvert! (Almost) anything goes!
32. Eat Johnny Cake
Johnny cakes are a Virgin Islands delicacy! The fried dough treats can be found at local sports games, during festivals, at hole-in-the-wall shops, and especially during carnival! Pair your johnny cakes with fried chicken for the perfect USVI meal.
33. Drive South Shore
South Shore road runs, well...on the south shore! It's one of the two ways to access the easternmost side of the island. You're in for a peaceful and quiet drive on winding roads with beach and hillside views. It definitely calls for a "top-down" situation!
34. Ham's Bluff Light House
A short hike reveals an amazing view and a lighthouse that has been a part of the island's history since the early 1900s. Once operated by the Danish, the light house was then transfered to the U.S. Coast Guard until its deactivation in the 1990s.
35. Run Ha'Penny Beach
Ha'Penny/Half Penny/or HAY PENNY Beach is a mile long, crescent shaped beach on the island's east end (accessed via the South Shore road.) It's perfect for a morning or afternoon run, a romantic walk, or a picnic! Some islanders even host bonfires on the beach (but please avoid doing this without permits!).
You do not visit St. Croix without drinking Cruzan Rum. Since 1760, the Cruzan Rum Distillery has produced a number of flavored light and dark rums on the island of St. Croix. You can visit the distillery for a tour of their rum-making process, samples and more on the West end of the island! Fun Fact: Our airport offers Cruzan Rum shots in our baggage claim area! Start your trip off right. (PS. St. Croix is home two other distilleries including Captain Morgan and the Sion Farm Distillery which is home to Mutiny Island Vodka.)
37. Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights Christmas Tramp
During the Christmas holidays, you may hear some music at 3:00am. That's just our famed quelbe band Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights coming down the street for their Christmas "tramp." The tramp is an island tour where Stanley and the crew treat locals to their Christmas favorites. It's not a strange site to see Crucians in their pajamas dancing behind Stanley's truck. We've done it for decades!
38. Jump off Big Dock
Disclaimer: this item on my list is to be done at your own risk! While locals have been jumping off of our large cruise ship dock for thrills for as long as I can remember, it is not an officially sanctioned activity. There are no life guards at "big dock" and beginner swimmers should avoid jumping completely. The water is substantially deep in order to welcome large ships, but jumpers still take the leap as a "right of passage" in Crucian culture!
39. Eat at Bombay or Blue Water Terrace
Looking for a "fancier" dinner date on St. Croix? The Bombay Club is one of the best restaurants on island located in Christiansted. Daily specials include fresh lobster, pasta, fish and more. Blue Water Terrace is located further east and reservations are encouraged. It's a comfort food spot with a modern twist (and a killer view.)
40. Take a morning swim
If you're visiting any island, hitting the beach is a given, but I am specifically inviting you to take a morning swim at any of our great beaches! The morning is when the water is most calm, and a tad bit warmer. The beaches are also less populated in the morning. Your only neighbors might be local horsemen and other experienced swimmers!
41. Sunset Picnic at Rainbow
At the end of your day, head right on back to Rainbow Beach to watch one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. Rainbow Beach faces dead west, so you're literally getting a front row seat.
42. Greet the wildlife
St. Croix is home to abundant (and friendly) wildlife. Don't be surprised to see livestock, mongoose, iguanas, and more crossing our roads. Drive carefully, be kind and share the road! You can also throw some horseback riding into your trip by contacting the Cruzan Cowgirls.
43. Schedule a photo shoot
A new trend in vacation activities is scheduling photoshoots with local photographers! St. Croix is no different! Our local photographers know the ins and outs of our beautiful islands and can make sure you have memorable pictures of your vacation to last a life time! Some of my favorites include Chalana Brown, Local Lady Media,and more. Contact them ahead of your trip!
44. Festival Village
Our Festival Village is exactly what it sounds like, a village! It's similar to our food fair but still a unique event on its own. Grab local foods and drinks, listen to the best music the Caribbean has to offer, and let your kids enjoy our Kony Island themed rides! The village comes around once a year during our Crucian Christmas Festival.
45. Fort-to-Fort "Walk to Freedom"
In commemoration of Emancipation Day on St. Croix, there is an annual reenactment of our "walk to freedom." It begins at the eastern Fort Christiansvaern and ends at Fort Frederik, which totals approximately 15 miles. The walk happens on Emancipation Day each year, which is celebrated on July 3rd.
46. Grab a burger from Cheeseburgers in Paradise
Cheeseburgers in Paradise is another great restaurant located on the east end. This time, you're taking the North Shore Road to get some of the best burgers, salads, and tex-mex chicken sandwiches on island. Their piña coladas are pretty great too!
47. Estate Mount Washington Labryinth
Past Rainbow Beach is a hidden beauty called Estate Mount Washington. A former Danish cotton and sugar plantation, most of the grounds and plantation ruins are now open for exploration and photos. There is also a labyrinth where visitors can walk or sit to meditate.
48. Monk's Bath
It's rumored that these rectangular baths right on the beach on the northwest side of the island were carved by monks when the Knights of Malta once called the island of St. Croix home. Surprisingly, it's a lesser known spot on the island, but those who've found it love to jump in and enjoy the clear water that collects in the baths. To find this gem, drive northwest past Rainbow Beach and look for the "Northside Valley" sign.
49. Crucian Christmas Festival Parade
The culmination of the Crucian Christmas Festival is the Adult's Parade which usually takes place on the first Saturday in January. Hundreds of people in costumes flood the streets to celebrate behind their favorite local bands. Each troupe has a theme, from traditional masqueraders, to costumes of madras, jewels, or feathers. Mocko jumbies, our "guardian spirits, can also be seen towering over attendees on their stilts. The parade has been my favorite aspect of St. Croix culture my entire life, and you're more than welcome to come enjoy it!
50. Get authentic jewelry from IB or Crucian Gold
Leave with a piece of St. Croix that's unlike any other: a handmade bracelet, necklace or earrings from two of our most famous jewelers. IB Designs located in Christiansted makes unique jewelry with a traditional story tied to each piece. Crucian Gold, one of our oldest jewelers, is known for their Crucian knot and hook bracelets. It's a known fact that you can spot a Crucian woman by the collection of silver and gold bracelets on her arm. You can find both jewelry stores in Christiansted town!
With 50 things to see or do, you'd think there couldn't possibly be anymore to see on St. Croix. Think again! While writing this list I thought of at least 15 more, because that's just the kind of island St. Croix is. Rich in culture, cuisine, and historical beauty St. Croix has a ton to offer whether you're visiting for the first time, returning home, or in search of undiscovered experiences!