The Buck Island Reef National Monument covers 19,015 acres, but only 175 acres of that area is land. The monument has 18,839 acres of submerged reef, including a barrier reef with thick mats of elkhorn coral that reach up to 30 feet toward the surface. Underwater extravaganzas present unique sights to snorkelers. Many endangered marine animals like the leatherback, hawksbill, and green sea turtles live along the reef and lay eggs on Buck Island's beaches. Those beaches surround an island of dazzling color and texture as both natural and imported trees, shrubs, and grasses grow freely on the uninhabited island creating a naturalist's dream format where wildlife thrives. Buck Island Reef was made into a national monument in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy and expanded by President Bill Clinton in 2001 to its current size.
RV Parks & Campgrounds Near Buck Island Reef National Monument
Buck Island Reef National Monument is a place where RVs cannot go. Located east of Puerto Rico, RVs cannot reach the area even by ferry. However, most visitors enjoy making their way to the Miami, FL, area in an RV, where they camp at a local RV campground or resort, and take a plane or ferry to St. Croix to find the Buck Island Reef National Monument. Using that method, visitors know that there is a comfortable home to stay in when returning to the mainland. It is easy to find an RV to rent in southern Florida by visiting one of the RVshare sites above.
Things To Do Near Buck Island Reef National Monument
Buck Island Reef National Monument provides a fantastic array of activities for visitors to enjoy. Activities on the island include hiking, wildlife observation, beachcombing, and spectacular ocean views. Underwater, the activities are more unique with snorkeling and following underwater trails amongst the favorite activities visitors enjoy.
Diedrichs Point/West Beach Trail
Diedrichs Point/West Beach Trail on Buck Island is a marked trail that crosses the island from West Beach to Diedrichs Point. The path hits the highest spot of the island by traveling through low-lying forests and across open ground. The walk downward to Diedrichs Point is steeper and requires several switchbacks before reaching the low-lying beach. The trail follows the coastline around the tip of the island to the West Beach area to return.
Buck Island, Virgin Islands
Buck Island Reef Snorkeling Trail
Visitors to the monument have the unique opportunity to follow the same snorkeling trail President John F. Kennedy followed before designating the area a national monument. Guides aid as you snorkel over the reef by following underwater markers. The most exciting views include acres of elkhorn coral and brain coral as large as elephants as you swim past the wonders the reef provides.
Buck Island Reef
Intermediate to Difficult
Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve
Another significant national effort to preserve an area on or near St. Croix Island is the Salt River Bay National Park and Ecological Preserve. Located on the northern shore of St. Croix, this park is home to one of only seven bioluminescent bays in the world. It also preserves the landing spot where Christopher Columbus made his first call in the Caribbean during his initial voyage.
2100 Church Street, Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI 00820
Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge
Located along the southeastern coastline of St. Croix, this refuge preserves long stretches of sandy beaches where leatherback turtles lay eggs and nest. The refuge also hosts the Aklis Archeological Site, which showcases prehistoric artifacts going back to 400 A.D.
3013 Estate Golden Rock, Suite 137, Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI 00820
Estate Whim Museum
On this 12-acre estate are found a colonial-era great house, slave quarters, and a mill factory complex. Various museum exhibits include a reconstruction of rooms at the great house to show the owners' different living conditions versus the living conditions in the slave's quarters. The museum holds genealogical documents from which many citizens of the island trace their ancestry.
Centerline Road, Frederiksted, St. Croix, USVI 00840
Steeple Building Museum
The Steeple Building Museum is housed in an old Lutheran Church. The museum houses documentation that demonstrates the evolution of the slave trade on St. Croix.
Church Street, Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI 00820
Nearby Shops and Restaurants
Nano's Souvenir Shop
Find an eclectic selection of souvenirs at Nano's Souvenir Shop. Here, you'll discover products created by local artists and items imported from other islands in the group. Flags of every nation of every size are examples of the variety of souvenirs found in this shop.
1 Cross Street, Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI 00820
Sunny Isle Shopping Center
The Sunny Isle Shopping Center is the commercial hub of the island of St. Croix. It houses 79 shopping spaces occupied by many local businesses and national brand franchises such as Payless Shoe Source and Kmart.
4500 Sunny Isle Shopping Center, Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI 00820
Zion Modern Kitchen
The Zion Modern Kitchen specializes in American cuisine. Their reputation demonstrates an intense dependence on fresh products with meats cut daily and fresh-caught sea products. Try their fresh catch meal, which features the chef's choice of the sea bounty delivered that day.
2132 Company Street, Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI 00820
The menu at Savant Café varies daily. Savant depends on fresh farm-to-business products augmented by the sea's bounty delivered by fishing trawler for the meals it will serve any given day. Each day may find a specialty as diverse as goat cheese-soaked pork chops or char-grilled fresh calamari.
4C Hospital Street, Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI 00820
How To Get To Buck Island Reef National Monument
After you arrive at Henry E. Rolsen Airport, drive east on Route 64 to Melvin Edwards Highway. Turn right and continue for 4.8 miles onto Old Centerline Road (Queen Mary Highway), and go straight for 3.7 miles. Turn left onto Hospital Street. The parking lot for the Buck Island Reef National Monument office is on your right.
The monument is open year-round to visitors. However, the monument is only accessible via boat, either through a concessionaire or by private craft. Check at the office to reserve a vessel to visit Buck Island and the monument area.
2100 Church Street, Suite 100, Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI 00820
Fee: Entry fee $0
Americans visiting Buck Island Reef National Monument find themselves in a different world. Though they had to leave their RVs on the mainland, the three-hour plane ride is worth the trouble to see one of the wonders of the Caribbean up close. After your visit, you can book a return flight the same day if you wish to relax in your RV and remember a pleasant and exciting time in the Virgin Islands.