Buck Island National Monument (St. Croix)#17 in Best Things To Do in U.S. Virgin Islands
Located about 2 miles off the coast of Christiansted, Buck Island is St. Croix's go-to spot for scuba diving or snorkeling. The 176-acre island is fringed with a barrier reef chock full of tropical fish and elkhorn coral. On land you just might spot a hawksbill turtle or brown pelican. There are picnic spots and restrooms on one side of the island, but you'll need to pack your own refreshments.
Those who've made a recent excursion to Buck Island reiterate that this is the spot to snorkel, but note that the underwater coral isn't worth the hype. One traveler writes in to TripAdvisor: "The snorkeling was pretty good, but the coral on most of the reef is dying."
The Buck Island Reef Monument is open every day, but closes from sunset to sunrise. There's no entry fee to enjoy the island, but you will have to charter a boat or visit with a tour company. Visit the reef's official website to learn more about the park's rules and regulations.
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#1 Virgin Islands National Park (St. John)
You don't have to make a special effort to visit the Virgin Islands National Park; if you're on St. John, you're probably standing right on the edge of it. Two-thirds of the island is parkland, and most of Love City's top attractions — Annaberg Plantation, Caneel Bay and Trunk Bay — are within its confines. There are numerous ways to enjoy this tropical paradise. Adventurous travelers should hike at least one of the 22 trails, while families will enjoy camping overnight on the beach.
There is no fee to enter the park, but you'll have to fork over $4 per adult to enjoy Trunk Bay beach. One TripAdvisor user raves that a visit to Trunk Bay is well worth the price: "Trunk Bay is absolutely gorgeous and has all the amenities — sheltered picnic tables, restrooms and a good snack stand. If you want to sit, read and/or watch the world go by this is the very best beach!"
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