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St. Croix: Sandy Point Beach National Wildlife Refuge in Frederiksted

This is Sandy Point and it’s probably one of the prettiest 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.

1 Day in St. Croix: What To Do in St. Croix West End/Frederiksted

Just in case you missed it:

St. Croix is a stop for the cruise ships and viewers often write in to ask for fun activities that can easily fit into a single day.  Though this short time is not ideal for exploring everything that St. Croix has to offer, you can still get a little {delicious!} taste.

Since the cruise port is on the west end/Frederiksted, you’ll be really close to the following: the Monk’s Baths, Hams Bluff, Caledonia Gut and Sandy Point.  I’ve furnished several options so you can create the perfect itinerary for yourself.

The Monk’s Bath

This “bath/pool” was carved by the monks from the Knights of Malta in the 1600’s.  It is located north of town about 3 miles away.  The most direct parking can be found off the road in front of Estate Northside Plot 4A.  If you hit Beresford Manor, you’ve gone too far.

Ham’s Bluff

Ham’s Bluff is located on the Northwest tip of the island behind an old national guard building, past the Monk’s Baths.  When you arrive, take the trail on the left side of the building.  Bear in mind that there is no railing and it can get steep, but most of the way is shaded.   It’s about a 30 minute trek up with a sweeping view of the North Shore and the coast hills known as the Maroons.

Right by Ham’s Bluff is Caledonia Gut, a sort of hiking trail that when visited during the wet season, has baby waterfalls that trickle through.

It is located right by the entrance of the rock quarry.  There is some parking in the front.  If you’re facing the front, there is a fence on the left and you walk to the side of that along the quarry.

In my opinion, Sandy Point is one of the most beautiful beaches here on St. Croix.  It was even featured in the last scene of The Shawshank Redemption.  It’s also a site where the endangered leatherback turtles nest so it’s entirely closed to the public then and only open 10-4 Saturdays and Sundays during the season.

You could also drive through the rainforest to observe the flora and fauna of the west end which is different than the drier, more arid and cactus spotted east end.

If food and drink are what you’re after, as soon as you step off of the pier, there’s the popular “Polly’s” that features a breakfast and lunch menu.  Lost Dog Pub is a local watering hole and Rhythms and Freedom City Surf are popular with tourists.  Beachside Cafe is, you guessed it, lunch and dinner served on the beach.  If you’re craving freshly baked, wood fired bread, check out Nidulari.  For gigantic sandwiches, try Turtle’s Deli.  If you happen to be here on a Thursday-Saturday, make sure to check out Villa Morales for a taste of Puerto Rican and Caribbean dishes and for dessert, Armstrong’s ice cream is a must for local flavors and homemade ice cream.  Both spots are a short drive from center city.

Keep an eye out for subsequent posts on”1 Day in St. Croix: What To Do in St. Croix East End/Christiansted and reviews of my favorite restaurants.  Don’t forget about my e-book for 40+ pages on how to move to St. Croix, what to do when you get here and all the fun stuff and logistics of island living.

 

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