St. Croix is the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, but its easygoing vibe seems unchanged from when the Danish settled here in the late 18th century. Its history is enshrined in the colorful buildings of picturesque Christiansted, while smaller and earthier Frederiksted, on the island's rocky east end, comes alive when cruise ships dock and keep the local Cruzan Rum Factory busy. Inland, the island is a lush feast of mango and mahogany trees, tree ferns, and dangling lianas, ringed by beautiful beaches and rolling hills.
Things to Do
Discover St. Croix's Danish colonial history on a walking tour amid brightly painted Georgian buildings in Christiansted, then climb to the top of Fort Christiansvaern for a view of the harbor. In Frederiksted, sample the delights of the Cruzan Rum Factory, or take a boat trip to Buck Island, in the middle of a marine sanctuary. Sunbathe on the white sands under swaying palms at Davis Bay, follow the footpaths through the private "Rain Forest," or see fine black coral while snorkeling in Salt River Bay.
Christiansted is the shopping hub of St. Croix, where hole-in-the-wall and chic boutiques sell an array of handmade goods, beachwear, and decorative carvings. Along the boardwalk try the King's Alley Complex, a pink-sided compound filled with the densest concentration of shops, for china and leather goods. In Frederiksted, look for framed engravings and West Indies antiques in the urban mall at Frederiksted Pier.
Nightlife & Entertainment
The waterfront bars and clubs at Christiansted hum to a lighter groove than they do on St. Thomas, but you can still have a nice night out listening to live reggae and soca, linger over a beer at a hip dive, or listen to DJs spin island sound. Try to catch an exciting performance of the flamboyant Quadrille Dancers -- watch and learn their steps, and then join them on the dance floor.
Restaurants & Dining
Christiansted is filled with a variety of restaurants, so it's not hard to settle into a bistro serving spicy Creole seafood, steaks, or homemade soups. Frederiksted features simpler, more laid-back dining rooms where you can sample the local fungi (fish with cornmeal and gravy), daube (meat roasted in a pot with spicy seasoning), or souse (a lime-flavored stock of pig's feet, head, and tail).
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