One Day in St. Croix is Never Enough
Guest Post by Kristy Tolley
“Oh, my gosh! Did you see that nurse shark?” My daughter squealed in delight. “That was so cool!”
I never would have expected my kids (at the time, ages eight and five) to be so thrilled about learning about marine life. However, that was just one of several pleasant surprises we experienced during our family’s visit to St. Croix.
|A stretch of empty beach beckons on Buck Island St. Croix|
Our first diversion was snorkeling on Buck Island. Located off St. Croix’s northeast shore, it was declared a National Monument in 1961. A number of local companies specialize in half or full day tours, yet the trail is protected by the park system so it’s never over crowded. We snorkeled with Big Beard’s Adventure Tours, and had a remarkable experience.
|Ready for snorkeling off Buck Island, St. Croix|
Our next stop was the St. George Village Botanical Garden in Frederiksted. What an unexpected gem! The garden is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is situated on the remains of a 19th century Danish sugar cane plantation. The gardens are alive with more than 1,500 native and exotic species of flora. A tour here reveals ornamental ferns, bromeliads, heritage gardens, a naturalized forest, and other treasures.
|Cactus in St. George Village Botanical Gardens St. Croix|
Historical treasures in the garden include artifacts ranging from pre-Columbus through the plantation era. A few of the restored buildings to see are the Blacksmith Shop, the Overseer’s House and the Great Hall, among others.
|View of Christiansted from the water, St. Croix.|
While this brood certainly enjoys outdoor action and soaking up some history, we do appreciate a little “chillaxing time” as much as the next folks. Chenay Beach and Rainbow Beach are perfect family hangouts. Chenay provides shallow water and lots of shells to hunt. Its palm-lined shore offers ample shade. The kids can even go nuts on the play set. Rainbow Beach is like hanging out at a friend’s house for a barbecue. Volleyball, swimming and snorkeling are on hand on this white sand beach. Often, you can enjoy live music as well.
Although our time on land was waning, refueling with local cuisine was a “must do”. Our group
|View from Rum Runners' deck in Christiansted, St. Croix.|
I wasn’t surprised how quickly my family fell in love with the island. I got bit by the St. Croix bug years ago, and was excited to finally share it with them. After we boarded the ship and watched St. Croix fade into the distance from our cabin balcony, I asked my daughters when they wanted to go back. Their response was a resounding “Now!” Ditto, girls.
Kristy Tolley, from Tega Cay, South Carolina, is a freelance travel copywriter with a soft spot for the Caribbean. Her blog reflects that love - and other amusements. She's no stranger to traveling boldly. She's traveled with children, and has forgotten to pack deodorant on occasion. You can follow her on Twitter @KristyTolley to share ideas on what she should write about next - or share packing tips.