St. Croix: Sandy Point Beach National Wildlife Refuge in Frederiksted
This is Sandy Point and it’s probably one of the best beaches I’ve ever been to. It is also one of the longest beaches in the caribbean. I’m lucky to spend most weekends here and the allure of its soft sand and crystal blue waters never gets lost on me. It boasts a soft sandy bottom but isn’t the best beach for snorkeling. On one end, the beach bends to the tip of the island while on the other, you get a sweeping view of the mountains. The water is typically calm and I could literally spend hours bobbing in it.
Since the beach is a wildlife refuge as well as an important turtle nesting site for the endangered Leatherback Sea Turtles, it’s heavily protected and only open from September-March, Saturdays and Sundays from 10-4. So far, I haven’t had the privilege of personally witnessing their majesty. They can grow up to 2,000 pounds and have been told they’re truly a sight to behold. I did, however get a chance to join turtle watch with the St. Croix Environmental Association. We were led by researchers and the park ranger to learn all about their nesting habits and the unique qualities of the largest turtle in the world! It also has about 100 different species of birds.
In conservation efforts, you aren’t allowed to stake anything into the ground for risk of disturbing nesting sites. There are also no amenities but what it lacks in convenience, Sandy Point provides in its beautiful abundance. Quick tip: stay on the sandy part of the beach as the greenery behind not only protects the beach but also has lots of sand spurs embedded in them.
We typically spend as many weekends as we can here and make it an entire day long affair. Do watch out for the Christmas Bush. There are dense thickets of them scattered throughout this beach and my husband had a couple run ins with them when we first arrived on island. What resulted was a very similar reaction to poison ivy. Our Sandy Point days begin with deep fried goodies from road side stands along the way and ends with ice cream, of course. Our favorite place on island is Armstrong’s, who have been churning out local flavors for over 100 years. If you’re traveling on a Saturday, you can also spot several fruit stands on the way for fresh local coconut, banana, pineapple and other in-season goods like sour sop, mango, sorrel, coquito and more.
To get here from Melvin H. Evans Highway, head west all the way down. Go straight through a stop sign and the road will curve a bit to the right. The entrance with the big sign will be right there to your left that says Sandy Point.