This laid-back and friendly island, part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, is known for its calm beaches as well as wild jungles. Only two cruise ships at a time can berth at the pier in Frederiksted, which is one of St. Croix’s main towns. Unlike other Caribbean port towns, Frederiksted hasn't been overly commercialized, which goes for most of the island.
What We Love
Gentle Waves: Friendship Beach is right off the pier and perfect for relaxing. It’s safe for swimmers of all ages, with clear warm water and splashy baby waves.
Low-Key Town: Frederiksted is one of the few Caribbean port towns that hasn’t turned its waterfront into a showy outdoor mall. Instead, you can meander among gardens, tide pools, and a beachfront promenade.
Best Known For
Getting in the Spirit: The Cruzan Rum Distillery has been run by the same family since it was founded in the early 19th century. Take a tour for an engaging Rum 101 lesson, followed by (inexpensive) cocktails in the backyard bar.
Beach Parties: Rainbow Beach is a quick ride away — and you’ll want to stay all day. The entire stretch is a mellow party, with beach volleyball, wave runners to rent, and a bar providing reggae and rum drinks.
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Who It's Best For
DIY Visitors: If you prefer to rent a car and create your own itinerary, this island is perfect. It has quality roads, decent signage, and a slow speed limit.
Snorkelers: Take the day-long excursion to Buck Island Reef National Monument and do the underwater snorkel trail to see a variety of sea life.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Not for Shoppers: You need to take the half-hour drive to Christiansted, which does have some outdoor malls, for souvenirs and sundries.
Get Outta Town: St. Croix's funky jungles and hidden beaches are not near the port. Plan ahead or hire a guide to really see what makes the island great.
Lena Katz is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Brides.